BDS calls on Palestine to leave Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (R) attends the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo in 2020 (Khaled Desouki - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  April 28, 2021

The Palestinian BDS National Committee has called on the Palestinian Authority to cancel its membership of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), saying the membership “gives legitimacy to Israel to steal natural gas off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea”, Anadolu reported.

The committee’s General Coordinator, Mahmoud Nawajaa, told reporters yesterday that Palestine’s accession to the EMGF “gives Israel the opportunity to expand normalization with the Arab countries”.

Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority established the EMGF in September 2019, as an intergovernmental organisation that seeks to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean.

On 30 June 2020, the Palestinian government ratified its accession to the forum but did not attend the signing ceremony.

A member of the Fatah Central Committee, Abbas Zaki, also called on the PA to “immediately withdraw from the forum in order not to give Israel the opportunity to become a regional energy centre”.

The Gaza Marine gas field is located 37 kilometres off the shore of Gaza and includes an estimated reserve of one trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas. It was discovered in 1999 by British Gas (BG) following a seismic survey and the drilling of two exploration wells.

Israel has refused to allow Palestinians to exploit the gas. However, last February, a Palestinian official told Anadolu that his country had received positive signals from Israel regarding the possibility of developing the Gaza Marine gas field.