A motley coalition of nationalities and supranational organizations have reconciled differences to help construct a natural gas pipeline running from Israel into the Gaza Strip. Palestinians, Israelis, Qataris and Europeans have pledged the requisite willingness as well as funds to ease the energy crisis which has long plagued the truncated Gaza enclave.
Natural gas now flowing through a pipeline in Israel from the eastern Mediterranean will be transported via a new extension into Gaza, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on its website. The eastern Mediterranean has become one of the world’s major offshore drilling zones, with lucrative deepwater gas fields like the Leviathan recently discovered in Israel’s territorial waters.
Qatar has pledged $60 million for the pipeline on the Israeli side, while the European Union has pledged over $24,448,800 to fund the pipeline on the Gaza side of the border, the Qatari Foreign Ministry added.
There will be two contracts for the gas pipeline: The first for the purchase of gas between the Palestinian Authority and Israel's Delek Group, one of Israel's largest conglomerates involved in energy and infrastructure, and the other for extending gas pipelines between Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Qatari aid, delivered with Israeli consent, has provided some relief to the local economy and is seen as a factor in preventing simmering tensions between Israel and Hamas from boiling over into renewed conflict.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh praised Qatari and European support, saying the project would “solve the electricity problem absolutely,” according to the Qatari statement.