Israeli media, quoting government sources in Jerusalem, say the controversial cancellation of the Egyptian-Israeli natural gas agreement is not diplomatic in nature, but rather has to do with a commercial dispute between private companies and the Egyptian state energy company that is currently before the courts. Globes, the authoritative Israeli business journal, reports (in Hebrew) that a senior Egyptian military source told an Egyptian television station “that the deal was not canceled but suspended because of unpaid funds.”
Globes also quotes a report from “Arab media” in which Hani Dahi, chairman of the Egyptian National Gas Company:
made clear that the decision has no diplomatic background or impact – but was taken solely for economic and commercial considerations. “The Israeli gas companies have not upheld their financial commitments for months,” he told Egyptian media. “We have asked Israel more than once to pay the money in arrears, and it has not done so,” Dahi clarified. “Neither the military council nor the government had any part in this decision.” Likewise Muhammad Shu’eib, the chairman of the Egyptian gas company EGAS, announced this evening that it was Israel that had not met its commitments in the gas agreement between the countries.
Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).