Egypt ends gas deal with Israel, stakeholder says


Egypt’s energy companies have terminated a long-term deal to supply Israel with gas after the cross-border pipeline sustained months of sabotage since a revolt last year, a stakeholder in the deal said on Sunday.

Ampal-American Israel Corporation, a partner in the East Mediterreanean Gas Company (EMG), which operates the pipeline, said the Egyptian companies involved had notified EMG they were “terminating the gas and purchase agreement”.

The company said in a statement that the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company had notified them of the decision, adding that “EMG considers the termination attempt unlawful and in bad faith, and consequently demanded its withdrawal”.

It said EMG, Ampal, and EMG’s other international shareholders were “considering their options and legal remedies as well as approaching the various governments”.

Before the sabotage, Egypt supplied about 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas, which is the country’s main energy source.

Israeli officials have said the country was at risk of facing summer power outages due to energy shortages.

Companies invested in the Israeli-Egyptian venture have taken a hit from numerous explosions of the cross-border pipeline and are seeking compensation from the Egyptian government of billions of dollars.

Ampal and two other companies have sought $8 billion in damages from Egypt for not safeguarding their investment.

The Egyptian decision is a potential blow to the country’s ties with Israel, already tested by the toppling of Israeli ally President Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

Egypt was the first of two Arab countries to sign a peace treaty with Israel, in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Michael Roddy

Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel attacked for 14th time


Egypt’s pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked for the 14th time in more than a year.

The explosion occurred Monday morning at the entrance to El Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Reuters reported. The attack comes days after a rocket fired from the Sinai struck a residential area in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat.

The pipeline has been closed since a similar attack on Feb. 5. It has been blown up 14 times since uprisings began in February 2011 against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed. No arrests have been made in any of the attacks.

The supply of gas to Israel has been halted numerous times in the last year, leading to a scramble to find alternate fuel sources to produce electricity that are more expensive.

Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 20 percent in Israel since the attacks began.

Blast hits Egypt gas pipeline serving Jordan, Israel


An Egyptian pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was bombed on Monday, the 13th such attack since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011, witnesses said.

The attack on the installation that crosses the increasingly volatile Sinai region occurred in the Massaeed area west of the Mediterranean coastal town of al-Arish, in north Sinai.

Witnesses in al-Arish told Reuters that two blasts were set off within 15 m (yards) of each other using remote-controlled explosive devices.

The bombs were planted by at least six armed men who arrived in two pickup trucks, the witnesses added.

Security in Sinai was relaxed after Mubarak’s fall as the police presence thinned out across Egypt.

No group has claimed responsibility for the pipeline attacks.

Egypt’s 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with some Egyptians, with critics accusing Israel of not paying enough for the fuel.

Previous explosions sometimes have forced weeks-long shutdowns along the pipeline run by Gasco, a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.

Gasco said it had resumed pumping gas to households and industrial factories in al-Arish and began experimental pumping to Jordan and Israel last week.

The pipeline has been shut since an explosion on Feb. 5.

Egypt said in November it would tighten security along the pipeline by installing alarms and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen in the area.

Reporting By Yusri Mohamed; Writing by Tamim Elyan; Editing by Michael Roddy.

Egypt arrests man in connection with gas line attacks


An Egyptian man, 20, has been arrested in connection with several attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai that carries gas to Israel.

The Egyptian state news agency MENA made the announcement Tuesday. The suspect is reported to be a resident of Arish, near the site of several of the attacks.

Articles on how to manufacture and use explosives were found on the suspect’s laptop, MENA reported, according to Reuters.

The pipeline has been attacked 10 times in the last year, since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, forcing major disruptions in the gas supply to Israel.

Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 10 percent in Israel since the attacks began.

Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel attacked for seventh time


The gas pipeline between Egypt and Israel was blown up for the seventh time in less than a year.

Thursday’s attack halted gas flow to Israel again after repairs to the pipeline completed last month had resumed delivery to Israel for the first time since July. It also halted gas delivery to Jordan.

The explosion, which was remote controlled, according to reports, took place near the city of Al Arish in the northern Sinai.

Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 10 percent in Israel since the attacks began. The most recent attack came in late September, when three men fired on the pipeline at a pumping station in the northern Sinai.

The first attack on the pipeline came in February during the uprisings against deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In July, machine-gun toting men overtook guards before blowing up a station in the Sinai.

The Egyptian government said earlier this month that it would tighten security along the pipeline.

Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.

Jordan recently agreed to pay a higher price for its gas, Reuters reported. Egypt is expected to demand that Israel also agree to a price hike, according to reports.

Egyptian gas flows again to Israel


Egypt has renewed pumping gas to Israel through a pipeline that has been attacked six times in less than a year.

It is the first time that gas has flowed to Israel through the pipeline since July.

The return of Egyptian gas began on Sunday, after a short test the previous week. Gas flow was also renewed to Jordan, which recently agreed to pay a higher price for its gas, Reuters reported. Egypt is expected to demand that Israel agree to a price hike as well, according to reports.

Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 10 percent in Israel since the attacks began.

The most recent attack came in late September, when three men fired on the pipeline at a pumping station in the northern Sinai.

The first attack on the pipeline came in February during the uprisings against deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In July, machine-gun toting men overtook guards before blowing up a station in the Sinai.

Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.

Blast destroys Egypt gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan


An explosion destroyed an Egyptian pipeline in Sinai on Tuesday that supplies Israel and Jordan with gas, security sources and witnesses said.

The security sources said the explosion happened west of the city of al-Arish. Witnesses said 15-metre high flames could be seen shooting up from the pipeline. The cause of the blast was not immediately known and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The army surrounded the area and the company operating the pipeline closed it down after the blast, which was heard far away from the scene.

The pipeline has been repeatedly blown up by assailants believed to be opposed to selling Egyptian gas to Israel since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.

The last attack occurred in July when men with machine guns in a small truck forced guards at a station out and blew it up.

The pipeline is run by Gasco, Egypt’s gas transport company which is a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.

Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by David Stamp

Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel attacked for sixth time


A pipeline that carries gas from Egypt to Israel was attacked for the sixth time in less than a year.

Three men fired on the pipeline at a pumping station in the northern Sinai on Tuesday morning, according to reports. The pipeline, which also serves Jordan then exploded.

It was not immediately known what affect the explosion would have on gas supplies to Israel and Jordan. Israel has not been receiving gas from Egypt since the pipeline was last attacked in July.

Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 10 percent in Israel since the attacks began.

The first attack on the pipeline came in February during the uprisings against deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In July, machine-gun toting men overtook guards before blowing up a station in the Sinai.

Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.

Pipes Bring More Than Water


Our aging yellow school bus slowly drove up a steep mountain in a verdant forest in Honduras. I wondered why the bus driver was stopping at a seemingly random spot on the worst road I have ever seen. There were coffee and cornfields left and right. A herd of cows meandered down the road. As I peered out the window at the chickens rampaging beneath the mango trees, I noticed that a small crowd of women and children was gathering to stare back. And then I realized that this was it — this section of road was a village and my home for the next six weeks.

This past summer I and 14 other high school students lived and worked in Cuesta del Neo, a tiny aldeo of 70 families in rural, mountainous Honduras. Our mission: to build a pipeline several kilometers long to bring potable water for both domestic and agricultural uses to the village, which had been devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

We volunteered with the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a nonprofit organization devoted to ending poverty by furthering sustainable development and promoting international human rights.

The people of the village lived in immense poverty. There was one streetlamp that sometimes worked. There was one television, about four radios and, more often than not, there was no way to power them. There was no indoor plumbing. School was available to most young children in the village, but secondary school was a two-hour uphill walk if your family could pay for the uniforms. Books were virtually unavailable.

The men worked long hours farming, and the women worked even harder to keep their families fed. The village has not received government aid since 1983.

I expected the impoverished to be downcast and hardened, burdened with the pain of existence and the suffering that plagues them. Nothing could be further from the truth in Cuesta del Neo. The attitudes of the people reflected such vibrancy and exuberance that I could hardly believe these were the same people who struggle just to have enough food on the tables for their large and extended families.

We worked hard on the pipeline. Digging with shovels and pickaxes in waist-high mud is no joke. We worked with a nongovernmental organization called Proyecto Aldeo Global (PAG), which helps aldeos to develop agriculture, technology and education. PAG works with villages that have asked for help as a community, and as such all members are required to participate in the development.

A rotation of men came to work with us digging the ditch, and they were so adept with a shovel that we felt completely useless. While we made pitiful little scratches in the dirt, these men were carving Grand Canyons through forests of roots. We felt inadequate and in the way. Then one of my group leaders, a Peace Corps worker, explained that we were not there only for the actual labor, but also as motivation for the villagers — our efforts gave them hope. Together we cheered when the water rushed through the pipes for the first time.

Not only did we get the experience of the physical labor, but we also got the cultural experience of living in homes of villagers. We shared their food, their stories, their precious few photographs. We shelled beans that had been picked by hand and dried on clotheslines. They taught us Spanish and we taught them English — the most common sounds echoing through the adobe houses were “?Como se dice?”, “How do you say…?” and lots of laughter.

The American teens all practiced different forms of Judaism, from secular to Orthodox. We did our best to make keeping kosher and Shabbat easy. We ate only vegetarian food, cooked with new pots and did not travel or drive on Shabbat. One of our more creative innovations was an “eruv” made of dental floss. We took turns leading Shabbat services. We also studied Jewish texts relating to sustainable development, poverty and the responsibilities that accompany us as Jews.

My experience has helped me to understand that through an accident of birth, I am lucky enough to live in the United States, where I have the responsibility to make a difference. It seems a daunting task, but as Ruth Messinger, the president of the AJWS, has repeatedly said, “We do not have the luxury of being overwhelmed.”

As Americans, and especially as Jews, we are in a unique position to call attention to injustice and to work to correct it. Judaism does not require us to complete the task, but we are required to attempt it. I challenge us to do more — to end our complacency and to create opportunities for us to do good in the world.

For AJWS information, visit