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EGYPT: Court overturns ban on natural gas to Israel

February 3, 2009 |  7:47 am

Demo_for_gas The Highest Administrative Court has dealt a serious blow to the Egyptian opposition by overturning an earlier verdict banning the exportation of Egyptian natural gas to the state of Israel.

The court ruled Monday that the government acted within its jurisdiction when it decided to export surplus natural gas to Israel in 2005. The decision overturned an earlier verdict that found the executive branch needed approval of Parliament before it could provide Israel with 1.7-billion cubic meters of natural gas a year.

The Egyptian-Israeli gas agreement came into the limelight after an independent newspaper alleged last year that Cairo was selling gas to Israel at cut-rate prices. The report resonated strongly with many Egyptians who still perceive Israel as an enemy despite the peace agreement signed with the Jewish state in the late 1970s. 

Shortly after the newspaper article broke, a campaign was launched to end the exportation of gas to Israel. Campaigners held that Monday's verdict "was shocking to everybody." They had reportedly vowed to hold mock trials to expose the beneficiaries of an agreement that drained Egypt’s resources.   

—Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo

Photo: Demonstrators raise banners in protest of the exportation of gas to Israel  Monday. Credit: Ahmed El-Masry / Al-Masry al-Youm

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