What's really going on in Gaza is a resource war.
Israel wants control of the Palestinian's Natural Gas Fields as the above article points out.
They will dismantle the government in Gaza making all contracts null and void and take control of those fields.
All this crap about fighting terrorists is just that, crap, just like 911 was an excuse to steal Iraq's oil.
I wish there would be more concerning this on the news here. Not going to happen though.
Here's the article for you but you can check out the link above.
Hamas holding Natural gas discoveriss off coast of Gaza hostage in
Written by www.daily.pk
Sunday, 04 January 2009 02:08
Why It Rains: Hamas holding Israeli gas reserves hostage
British Gas, the company that signed an agreement to sell Gazan gas to the international market.
An unexpected energy windfall on Israel's doorstep promises to resolve Israel's energy security concerns for years to come. Unfortunately for Israel, it is the Palestinian Authority that controls the licensing of these reserves. So, as Operation Summer Rains washes away the administrative and political structures in the occupied territories, has Israel decided to use Hamas as an excuse to dismantle the PA and seize its energy assets
After the Iranian Revolution cut-off energy supplies in 1979, and the loss of Sinai's oil in 1982, Israel became dependent on expensive, long-distance energy imports. Towards the end of the 1990s, in an attempt to alleviate concerns over its energy security and reduce its dependency on imported oil, Israel decided to place a greater emphasis on natural gas. The architect of Israel's energy strategy at the time was Netanyahu's Minister of National Infrastructure, Ariel Sharon.
After Netanyahu's election defeat in 1999, Ehud Barak sought to take advantage of improved relations with Egypt to import some of Israel's gas from the Nile Delta 1. There was, however, political resistance to the deal from within both countries and, when relations with Egypt began to deteriorate with the start of the 2nd Intifada and Sharon's subsequent rise to power, the $3 billion deal was put on the back-burner. However, the possibility of avoiding dependence on such a politically contentious source arose in 2000 when several energy companies, including British Gas (BG), announced the discovery of significant deposits of natural gas off the Israeli coast 2.
Estimated at 100 billion cubic meters of proven reserves, these discoveries potentially offer enough gas to meet Israel's goal of supplying 25% of its energy needs for more than 20 years - even without further imports 3. The discovery has also raised realistic expectations of locating oil deposits beneath the gas fields.
Unfortunately for Israel, 60% of these reserves are in waters controlled by the Palestinian Authority, which has signed a 25-year contract with British Gas for further exploration in the area. Since this discovery, Israel has proceeded with the development of its reserves with the US-Israeli company Yam Tethys, but has been faced with an obvious dilemma over the Palestinian deposits 4. Keen to secure the gas for its domestic market but unwilling to submit its sensitive energy supplies (and their profits) into the hands of the Palestinians, Israel has for the past 6 years pursued a policy of non-commitment, stalling and obstruction.
Despite early endorsement of the British Gas plan to develop the PA reserves for the Israeli market, the intensification of tensions during the Intifada allowed Sharon to veto the Gaza deal on security grounds. With the exploitation of the Palestinian reserves halted and the Egyptian deal put on hold, Israel has used the Yam Tethys supply as a stopgap. However, as its hungry economy quickly bought up these reserves and prices began to rise Israel needed to act to guarantee its future supplies. After years of on-off negotiations between the two reluctant trade partners, in July 2005, Israel signed a 15-year contract for Egyptian gas 5.
However, following the signing of the deal it was revealed that - impatient with Israeli intransigence - Egypt, British Gas and the Palestinian Authority had also been secretly negotiating a deal to sidestep the problematic Israeli market. Within a month, the three parties announced their plan to extract Gazan gas, transport it to Egypt in an Egyptian controlled pipeline, and then ship it on in liquefied form to the international market 6.
The possibility that Israel could be permanently excluded from such a tempting energy windfall on their doorstep, and that the main beneficiaries would be Egypt and the Palestinians, has since prompted Olmert to reverse Sharon's veto and reopen negotiations with BG over the supply of Gazan gas to Israel. Despite the ongoing international isolation of Hamas, the BG deal was high on the agenda during Olmert's recent meeting with British Chancellor Gordon Brown 6.
Despite BG's commitments to Egypt and the PA, the company has announced that it is willing to enter into a deal with Israel. Within Israel, political legitimacy for the reversal has come from increasing criticisms of high prices caused by Egypt's effective monopoly of Israeli gas supply. Also, according to Haaretz, Israel is confident that it has enough influence to persuade Egypt to back out of the Gazan deal, with senior government sources asserting that: The gas off Gaza will come to Israel in the end. 6.
Until last week, Israel's confidence did not make any sense. The security situation that provoked Sharon's original veto of Gazan gas had not improved and it seems inconceivable that Israel would allow the PA, let alone Hamas, to reap the benefits of the Gazan gas fields. BG has made it clear that its Gazan gas will be developed soon, whether Israel likes it or not, but if Hamas is not to be the partner, then who is
The arrival of Summer Rains gives us a sour answer. If the ongoing attacks on Gaza succeed in destroying the Palestinian Authority as a viable political entity, all commercial contracts with the Authority, such as that with British Gas, will become worthless and will have to be renegotiated with the Israeli government. Perhaps the most valuable hostage that Hamas has in the current crisis then is not the 19-year old Israeli soldier, but the Palestinian gas reserves that Israel claims as its own, and may go to extreme lengths to rescue.
here is another article that talks about how Israel doesn't want Hamas to have the money from the reserves fearing that they would fund further military attacks against Israel. There are more links at the bottom of the article.
This is like trying to untangle a nest of snakes!
Ya'alon: British Gas natural gas deal in Gaza will finance terror
By Avi Bar-Eli
The public disagreements between former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon and the politicians running the country have reached a new level, and have put the spotlight on one of the most sensitive affairs in the Israeli economy: the negotiations with BG (British Gas) over the purchase of natural gas from the undersea field off the Gaza coast.
In an article written by Ya'alon that appeared Friday on the Web site of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), he accuses the Security Cabinet of not ordering military action in Gaza so that it would not damage the chances of reaching a deal with BG.
he Prime Minister's Office declined to respond to Ya'alon's comments.
The rights to the offshore gas field belong to BG (60 percent); the Lebanese construction and infrastructure company CCC (30 percent); and the investment fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent).
The Gaza Marine field was discovered in 2000 after years of gas and oil prospecting in the area, and the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas is worth an estimated $4 billion.
In a highly controversial move, then-prime minister Ehud Barak gave up Israel's rights to the natural gas field and gave them to the Palestinian Authority for free.
According to Ya'alon, the British government and Tony Blair pressured former prime ministers Barak and Ariel Sharon to agree to a deal, but Mossad head Meir Dagan objected to such an agreement, fearing the proceeds from selling the natural gas to Israel would not benefit the Palestinian public, but instead would finance more terror attacks against Israel.
The negotiations continued for years, due to both the problems of devising payment methods to prevent the transfer of the proceeds to terror organizations, as well as disagreements over the price of the gas.
More recently, the negotiations have been further delayed by a petition to the High Court of Justice by rival natural gas supplier Tethys Sea. Tethys Sea is asking the court to forbid an agreement between the state and BG without the publication of a tender.
Despite Sharon's refusal to agree to such a deal, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resurrected the negotiations with BG, and invested quite a lot of energy in trying to reach a deal over the purchase of the gas. This comes despite the increased terror threat from Gaza after the Hamas takeover, said Ya'alon.
"The prospect of an Israeli gas purchase may have played a role in influencing the Olmert cabinet to avoid ordering a major IDF ground operation in Gaza, even though there have been at least 1,000 rocket and mortar attacks against southern Israel since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007," he wrote.
He further warned that organizations associated with the international Islamist fundamentalist terror network would be highly motivated to attack British Gas' production facilities off the Gaza shore, and said he expected Hamas would increase its attempts to damage the Ashkelon power plant as the negotiations with BG advanced.
Ya'alon further claimed that since 2002, Israel has not held a serious, thorough discussion of the security implications of a natural gas deal with BG.
With his controversial statements, Ya'alon is continuing to make headlines.
"The British government seems to have pinned much of its Middle East policy on the successful outcome of British Gas negotiations with Israel. A September 18, 2007, report in the Arabic al-Quds newspaper noted that the British government views Gaza's natural gas reserves as central to 10 Downing Street's 'economic road map' for the Middle East. Tony Blair's position, first as prime minister and now as the very active Quartet envoy for Palestinian Economic Development, has been that the Palestinian Authority's share of the gas sale proceeds, which could reach well more than $1 billion, could serve as the economic fuel to jump-start the Palestinian economy and advance the peace process," wrote Ya'alon.
He further emphasizes that all the plans to bypass Hamas in Gaza are futile: "British officials have expressed confidence that the gas proceeds can bypass Hamas and benefit the Palestinian public by being deposited and monitored in international bank accounts. Israel also has proposed paying for the gas in goods and services. However, these assessments are mistaken. A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties, or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel - or all three."
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an independent policy institution, was founded in 1976 by the late Prof. Daniel J. Elazar, and currently is headed by Israel's former UN ambassador, Dr. Dore Gold.
The JCPA states "it approaches its work without preconceptions to generate new ideas, which may prove vital in Israel's fight for survival."
"Israel must consider whether it can afford to be dependant on the Palestinians for such a critical energy asset as natural gas. If Israel becomes the Palestinians' main gas customer in a multi-year agreement, the PA or Palestinian terror groups could use the continued supply of gas as a lever to pressure Israel to make additional concessions and "gestures" as part of political negotiations. More significantly, the Palestinians could threaten to cut off the natural gas supply to Israel to prevent the IDF from responding to terror attacks and other threats emanating from Gaza or the West Bank," wrote Yaalon in his essay.
He concludes that while Israel needs additional energy resources, including natural gas reserves, "funneling $1 billion into local or international bank accounts on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would be tantamount to Israel bankrolling terror against itself."