Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous Post | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next Post »

EGYPT: Court upholds ban on gas exportation to Israel

January 10, 2009 |  2:23 pm


As public outrage soared over the Israeli attack on Gaza last week, Egypt’s administrative court upheld an earlier verdict banning the exportation of gas to Israel.

In response, the government filed an appeal that the court is expected to examine on Feb. 2. However, the court reportedly ordered that the ban be implemented immediately. Last year, the gas deal with Israel elicited much controversy among intellectuals and activists who decided to take the government to court.

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs twice, but it is still to be seen whether the verdicts will be enforced. “Our government has a history of not executing court verdicts, but in this particular case it would be wise to change this attitude,” said lawyer Ibrahim Yousry, a former ambassador and one of the plaintiffs, as quoted in the Daily News Egypt.

“It is not in Egypt's political interest to continue exporting gas to Israel. There is a huge popular sentiment against it, and in light of what is currently happening in Gaza, this cannot go on," he added.

This new verdict resonated strongly with many Egyptians, who are following the events in Gaza with great interest and sympathy for Palestinian civilians killed in the fighting. Arab satellite channels air coverage, with pictures of slain Palestinians, on a daily basis. Although Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in the late 1970s, many Egyptians still object to full normalization of relations with the Jewish state.

“It is a good time to stop sending gas to Israel in reprisal for the savage attack on Gaza and in order to vent our outrage. Please stop exporting it so that God can bestow mercy upon you,” commented reader Abdullah Mohamed on the website of Al-Masry Al-Youm independent daily.

Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo

Photo: Gas pipelines. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency

P.S. Get news from Gaza in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.