The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting on Sunday 11 Tammuz, approved transferring to itself the Economy Minister’s authority under Article 52 of the 1988 Restrictive Trade Practices Act, regarding actions necessary to increase the quantity of natural gas produced at the Tamar field and to quickly develop the Leviathan, Krish, Tanin and other natural gas fields.
Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the cabinet meeting:
“Last week, the cabinet unanimously approved the expedited development and expansion of the natural gas fields that have been discovered off Israel’s coast. I am determined to advance a realistic solution that will bring gas to the Israeli economy. I will not capitulate to populist proposals that will leave the gas deep underground. We have already seen enough countries that succumbed to these pressures and the gas has remained in the ground. This cannot be allowed to happen here. The outline that has been formulated breaks up the monopoly. In the coming decades it will put hundreds of billions of shekels into education, culture, health and many other things for the benefit of all Israeli citizens. After years of discussions, the time has come to decide so that the gas will emerge from the ground and reach the Israeli economy and the citizens of Israel.”
The foregoing decision is to transfer the aforementioned authority from the economy minister to the full cabinet and does not constitute approval of this or that outline. In the coming days the outline will be submitted for public comment. It will subsequently be discussed by the cabinet.
In essence this means the cabinet has decided to circumvent the Antitrust Commissioner’s opposition to the arrangement. The second mentioned, “52”, permits the Minister of the Economy, in this case Aryeh Deri, to override the commissioner should the matter be classified as one of national security. Last week the Security Cabinet ruled the continued development of the natural gas program falls within this category.
This must now pass in Knesset, which is far from guaranteed.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
Do it NOW!!!!
Will that also have some affect on the $8.50 per gallon cost of gasoline? Just curious!