Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost

Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost
Israel joined the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo, along with Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the Palestinian authority. Above, an Israeli gas platform in the Mediterranean sea. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019

Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost

Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost
  • The new discovery allows Israel to build tighter relations with neighboring countries
  • The inclusion of Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo was the first time Arab countries accept the state into a regional alliance

JERUSALEM: The discovery of natural gas fields off Israel’s coast along the Mediterranean Sea has given the country a geopolitical boost with its neighbors.
It’s tightened relations with Arab allies and built new bridges in a historically hostile region — even without significant progress toward peace with the Palestinians.
Last week’s inclusion of Israel into the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo — a consortium aiming to cut infrastructure costs and lower prices — marked the first time Arab countries accepted the Jewish state into such a regional alliance, sparking excitement in Israel that its long-held hope of finally also making “economic peace” with Egypt and Jordan was fast approaching.
The forum, which also includes Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the Palestinian Authority, aims to emerge as a mini-OPEC of sorts.