From the January 2009 Idaho Observer:


Israel refuses to pay for Palestinian oil

The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is, perhaps, unique in that Israelís statehood was imposed upon the regionís indigenous people as one of the first acts of the UN in 1948. The situation in former Palestine is also unique in that, no matter how many times Israel violates highly-publicized, internationally-brokered peace agreements with Palestinians, neither the international community, the international media nor the Arabic world has made a real attempt to stop the relentless Israeli persecution of these dispossessed people at any time in the last 60 years.

What is not unique is there may be a hidden purpose for the conflict. Territorial waters belonging to the Palestinians contain mineral wealth in the form of crude oil and natural gas. In the July, 2005 edition of World Energy Monthly Review, Robert Bryce noted that, "The Palestinians are, in aggregate, energy rich. For the past six years, the Palestinian Authority has been sitting on a major gas field that contains at least 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas."

Bryce also noted that the manner in which the Israelis have been enclosing Palestinians behind "security perimeters" makes the "construction of new energy infrastructure (pipelines, powerlines, etc.) more difficult and more expensive."

In the late 1990s, the Palestinian government then headed by Yasser Arafat was able to secure an oil reserve 22 miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The development was expected to result in providing the impoverished and displaced Palestinian people with the economic freedom and financial stability to rebuild their nation. Unfortunately, financial success did not come directly on the heels of the discovery. The Palestinians have not been able to develop their oil resource and remain destitute as a result.

Upon the death of Yasser Arafat in 2005, the subsequent election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to settle about half the Gaza seacoast and establish de facto control over Gazaís offshore oil reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government, which is not recognized as a government with bargaining power, has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

Since the election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000, Israel has been pressing forward with its campaign to build walls around the Palestinian people and systematically destroy them. Israelís attempts to gain "legal" rights to exploit the Palestinian-owned oil was reportedly challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. An article in the Oil and Gas Investing Glossary reported, "Sharon stated unequivocally that ĎIsrael would never buy gas from Palestine,í intimating that Gazaís offshore gas reserves belong to Israel."