[News] Egypt Just Annulled Mubarak's Natural Gas Giveaway

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 2 13:37:12 EDT 2012


May 02, 2012

Egypt Just Annulled Mubarak's Natural Gas Giveaway
Will Sadat's Camp David and the Zionist Embassy be Next?

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/02/will-sadats-camp-david-and-the-zionist-embassy-be-next/
by FRANKLIN LAMB

Beirut.

The Egyptian people are demanding the return of their 
sovereignty.   According to recent opinion surveys they believe it 
was partially ceded to Israel by the two post-Nasser dictators, Anwar 
Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, at the behest of American administrations, 
from Nixon to Obama.

The removal of three humiliating shackles for Egyptians, the gas 
give-away scheme, the 1979 Camp David Accords and the US forced 
recognition of Israel, constitute a strategic national security 
objective for most of Egypt's 82 million citizens.   According to the 
results of an opinion poll, conducted for Press TV and published on 
October 3, 2011, 73 percent of the Egyptian respondents opposed the 
terms of the agreement. Today the figure is estimated at 90%.

For the past eight years, the 2004 gas deal has been widely 
unpopular, and one of the charges in the current indictment against 
Mubarak is that the deposed President sold Egypt's gas as part of a 
sweetheart deal involving kickbacks to family members, associates and 
Israeli officials. Mohamed Shoeib, the chairman of state-owned 
Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, told AFP last week that the gas 
deal was "annulled with the Israeli East Mediterranean Gas Co (EMG), 
because the company failed to respect conditions stipulated in the contract."

Once Mubarak was toppled and his 14 secret police agencies began to 
lose some of their omnipresence, the gas line to Israel was severed 
14 times in 12 months by a series of explosions that cut off 40%, of 
Israel's supply which was used to generate electricity.

In the recent parliamentary elections and now during the presidential 
campaign, Egyptians have been debating relations with Israel publicly 
for the first time. Previously Mubarak was Israel's protector and 
like some other Arab leaders still clinging to power, ignored his 
people's demands for actively supporting for the liberation of Palestine.

In late January 2011, an Alexandria University student briefed this 
observer and a small group of Americans and Europeans sitting on 
benches opposite the ancient city's majestic Great Library. He 
explained, recalling the demands of the Tahrir Square protests on 
January 25, 2011, "Our slogans at Tahrir Square were bread, freedom, 
dignity, and social justice. That was almost exactly one year ago. 
God willing, we will soon achieve the demands of our historic 
revolution which include canceling Camp David and withdrawing 
recognition of the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine.   Egypt 
must again lead the Arab Nation's sacred obligation to liberate 
Jerusalem and all of Palestine from the river to the sea."

A stunning hijabed female student continued the dialogue, giving us 
her opinion:   "The USA bought some of our leaders with billions in 
generous cash from your people but without any real benefit to 
ours.   Camp David was essentially a private agreement by Sadat and 
then Mubarak. Our people had no say and were never asked whether we 
agreed.   If we protested, we were jailed or worse.   Now, the 
Egyptian people are gaining power despite a likely military coup by 
the SCAF military junta before the scheduled June elections."

Israeli officials, in tandem with the US Zionist lobby are claiming 
that the abrogation of the gas agreement constitutes an "existential 
threat".   According to a researcher at the US Congressional Research 
Service in the Madison Building on Capitol Hill whose job includes 
keeping track of Israeli claims, it's the 29th "existential threat" 
the Zionist colony has identified in its 64 year history.  These 
perceived existential threats range from the internationally 
recognized Right of Return for Palestinians ethnically cleansed from 
their homes during and   since the 1948 Nakba, to various Palestinian 
groups, more than two dozen UN Resolutions including, 194 and 242, 
Hezbollah naturally,   international solidarity movement projects, a 
Jewish academic or two, Iran for sure, the rise of internet blogs, 
and potentially virtually every   Christian, Arab and Muslim on the 
planet, not to mention the claimed rise of global anti-Zionism which 
the US Zionist lobby has recently decreed was always just another 
form of virulent anti-Semitism.

Despite all these perceived "existential threats" including recently 
the so-called "Road Map", Israeli leaders continue to eschew any 
substantive negotiations which could mean Arabs and Jews sharing 
Palestine as part of one democratic, secular state on the basis of 
one person one vote, minus any "chosen people' lunacy.

Yuval Steinitz, Israel's finance minister warned that Egypt's 
questioning its relations with Israel was "a dangerous precedent that 
threatens the peace agreements between Israel and Egypt."

Ampal, the Israeli company which buys the gas, said that it considers 
the termination of the contract "unlawful and in bad faith", and 
demanded its full restoration. Ampal, is planning to use 
international arbitration to attempt redress and is sending a 
corporate delegation to Washington to meet with AIPAC and 
administration officials   to ask them to get the Egyptian action 
nullified and to force Egypt to keep selling its natural gas at below 
market prices.  One congressional staffer joked in an email that 
Israeli companies get way better constituent services out of Congress 
than American companies, or even the voters who elect its members.

Israeli political analyst Israel Hayom wrote last weekend:" The 
painful conclusion from the collapse of the gas agreement with Egypt 
is that we are regressing to the days before the peace agreement with 
Egypt and the horizon does not look rosy at all. Camp David is in 
mortal danger. The painful conclusion is, once again, that we have no 
genuine friends in the region.  Certainly not for the long term."

The ADL's Abe Foxman lamented, "Israel gave Egypt a great deal in 
exchange for the Camp David peace agreement, much more than we should 
have. Among other things, a free trade zone, in which we veritably 
pushed for the establishment of sewing workshops and an Egyptian 
textile industry so that they would be able to easily export cheap 
cotton and other goods to the United States as well as to Israel. We 
made the Egyptians a respectable people in the eyes of the American 
public. And this is how we are repaid what they owe us?"

Never idle for long, AIPAC began circulating a draft resolution this 
week to its key Congressional operatives aimed at having the US 
Congress condemn the cancellation of the gas giveaway and demanding 
its immediate renewal under threat of the US terminating aid to 
Egypt. The lobby has also begun to squeeze the Obama administration, 
threatening a cut off of Jewish donors if nothing is done to convince 
Egypt "to get real" in the words of ultra-Zionist Howard Berman, the 
ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The political reality is that American diplomats, AIPAC, and Israeli 
officials, sometimes difficult to distinguish from one another, have 
been bracing for a breach in Egyptian-Israeli relations since last 
spring's demonstration in Tahrir Square.  They rightly fear that Camp 
David and the Israeli embassy in Cairo will be next on the chopping 
block as the Egyptian people stand up.

Regarding the expected closing of the Israeli embassy, according to 
the daily Yedioth Ahronoth: "What we have at the moment is a swift 
deterioration in relations: Israelis can no longer set foot in Egypt, 
and the Egyptian consulate in Tel Aviv does not have a mandate to 
issue entry visas.  Anyone who insists on going to Egypt from Israel 
even with a foreign passport can expect to get into trouble.  His 
name could join the list of "spies"  and "Mossad agents" They don't 
want us. It's that simple and it is very dangerous now for Israelis 
to be in Egypt."

According to Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, "There is also no one 
who will rent a building to the Israeli embassy in Cairo, for the 
small embassy staff headed by Ambassador Yaakov Amitai.  Due to 
security considerations, we have cut drastically their work week. The 
staff lands every Monday afternoon and leaves early Thursday.  Every 
time an address is found for the embassy (at an exorbitant price), 
the local security officials shoot down the deal.  As far as the 
Egyptians are concerned, the Israeli diplomats can stay in Jerusalem 
until their next president is elected and then we will see what happens."

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be reached c/o 
fplamb at gmail.com



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