Gaza and Gas

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While the Tamar field will supply Israel’s domestic needs, the even larger gas deposits from the Leviathan field will be sold abroad starting in 2017. For the first three years, the Swiss bank UBS estimates this field will earn $3 billion a year for Israel. After that, the revenue for the gas will double to $6 billion annually, a very significant amount, making Israel an important gas exporter internationally.

“The exploration of its natural gas resources has become a strategic priority for Israel, particularly given the political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, and specifically in Egypt, which provides Israel with 40 percent of its gas-fired power needs and 20 percent of its electricity generation needs,” read the UBS report.

But it will be much more difficult for Israel to exploit offshore natural resources and increase its security if the Palestinian Authority manages to get recognition for a Palestinian state by the UN. The new state would lay an immediate legal claim to the 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas off its Gazan shore. This development would not only make Israel’s search for and use of gas deposits more problematic, it would strengthen the hand of Hamas, one of Israel’s most bitter enemies.

“Until now, Israel has always known to prevent any use of the gas deposits off Gaza, for it regards its utilization by Hamas as a threat to its national security,” writes Kalnoky.

By challenging Israel and threatening to break the Gaza blockade with its warships, Turkey obviously hopes to receive a share of those deposits from a grateful Palestinian government, much like France and Great Britain are the major recipients of oil deals in Libya for having helped the anti-Gaddafi rebels. Turkey’s insistence that Turkish Cyprus, which the Ankara government controls, receives benefits from the Greek Cypriot-Israeli gas exploration venture is also behind its opposition to that project. Turkey obviously wants a piece of the Levant Basin fields.

That is because Turkey badly needs energy resources and would probably risk war to get them. In its quest to implement its new neo-Ottoman foreign policy and become the major power in the Middle East, Turkey must challenge Iran and Israel. But these countries have oil or gas or both, the one ingredient missing in Turkey’s bid for regional dominance. Gaining a foothold in Gaza’s offshore gas fields would help level the playing field in this respect. And an internationally recognised Palestinian state that would grant Turkey this position would also help immensely. With Turkish support, further Palestinian claims to Levant Basin gas fields would be sure to follow.

So look for Turkey to send its warships with the next aid flotilla to Gaza. In contrast to its dispute with Israel and Greek Cyprus, there would be no American oil company in the way that could provoke an unwelcome confrontation with America’s Sixth Fleet. And since it is unlikely President Obama would place the Sixth Fleet between the two sides, a clash between Israel and Turkey would be highly likely with the status of regional power as the prize.

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  • Larry

    Don't be surprised to see Iranian navy ships getting involved as well.

  • crackerjack

    Mr Brown is missing the main point here. Turkey is NATO. Conflict with a NATO partner would end any Israeli military access to, or cooporation with, the alliance. The notion that NATO chiefs of staff will drop their South-East European cornerstone and nuclear platform to suite the fancy of a non member, goes to show how far Israeli politics has distanced itself from reality.

    NATO is not the Eurovision Song Contest or the European Football Association, where all can make believe that Israel belongs.

    • Ron Lewenberg

      Turkey isn't just messing with Israel. It is messing with Greece, Cyprus, and Russia over the Cypriot gas fields. And Greece is a member of NATO. As for Russia, the recent threat to send 2 nuclear submarines to patrol off Cyprus isn't a joke.

    • New Yorker

      I am not at all convinced that NATO is being amused by Erdogan's nonsense.

    • New Yorker

      Turkey is a NATO member you are saying? Then how come it denied the U.S. – its main NATO ally! – an access to teh Iraqi border from its territory in 2003? Don't you think it has been forgotten. Turkey's goose is likely cooked. A seriously stupid and disastrous move on the part of out-of-control Erdogan will do Turkey in. No NATO member would support him and his increasingly barbaric country in the event of an armed conflict of his own making with Israel or Greece. Just wait and see.

    • SHmuel HaLevi

      Cracker wathever,
      Turkey holds 90 nuclear bombs provided by NATO and US during the Cold War. B-61’s of various rev numbers, at the INCIRLIK TAFB.
      They NATOISTS and other kind of forgot to report that and another 110 bombs spread at various EU locations…
      Turkeu is a NATO peon at best and if the islamic derranged items attack Israel my guess is as good as even yours as to what will happen to Suthern Turkey and a good spread besides that.
      BTW. Russina submarines are posted also nearby and as you may know, there is little possible loss of love between Russian and them Turks.
      So far the noisy venemous snake there is only doing the Ahmedinchub styled empty can rattling.
      As ro Iran…
      The French just passed along to the suicidal maniacs a little note…

      The Israeli and Cyprus-Greece oil and natural gas fields will remain ours and theirs.
      I am not going to bet if anyone trying to take our property will remain though.

  • UCSPanther

    Turkey has several things goings against it. Amongst them, its economy is very weak and unlikely to be able to afford any drawn out conflict that this will undoubtedly create, and second, its military has undergone some purges, which has replaced its experienced officers with Edrogan lackies who are no where near as qualified as the original officers.

    • umustbkidding

      Money will flood into Turkey, all for the cause.

      Just when I was wondering what was next.

  • Dhimmi

    These are worrying times for Eastern Mediterranean.

    Just to clarify: There is no "greek" Cyprus and "Turkish" Cyprus, the entire island is "the Republic of Cyprus". The Republic of Turkey ethnically cleansed/ expelled all non Muslims from the area controlled by the Turkish Army. Ethnic Greeks are only allowed to live in the area South of the cease fire line even they own 87% of legal title to the land in the area controlled by the Turkish Army.

    Also DNA studies have revealed that "Turkish" Cypriots are not that "Turkish". Many are simply the descendants of Greek Cypriots who converted to Islam to avoid paying Dhimmi tax when Cyprus was under Ottoman servitude. Some of the older turkish Cypriots barely speak Turkish and mainly communicate in Greek and practice Christian rituals in secret.

  • StephenD

    Turkey's leadership has made their choice with Erdogan thinking he’s ushering in the world Caliphate. I hope it gets to share in the fate of the folks it has aligned itself with. Israel will not fall to Turkey or Iran without the entire world getting involved. All bets are off at that point. Literally, all hell will break loose then. I just hope America is still able and willing to do the right thing and stand with Israel.

  • maturin20

    This is good news. With this new energy income, American aid to Israel will no longer be necessary.

    • steven l

      Israel has no need for this money. It is well known that the US gets a lot more back than the 3 bil.

      • littlebigman

        It is well known that the US gets a lot more back than the 3 bil.

        So, in fact, Israel is funding the US ?

        Perhaps someone should tell AIPAC. At the moment AIPAC is running on overtime to ensure US Israel funding is excluded from any budget cuts. These good folks could save themselves the trouble. Send them a note.

      • maturin20

        Which money does Israel have no need for, the gas money or the US aid?

        How does the US get more back?

    • Raymond in DC

      That $3 billion should better be called military assistance, not aid. It's provided not just as an *American* interest (as is the US presence in Germany and South Korea at far higher cost) but as a counter-balance to even greater aid provided to Israel's neighbors and enemies (Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinians, Lebanon) not to mention Turkey (which gets at least a quarter billion to "fight terror") and the billions annually to Pakistan – hardly an ally.

      By the way, that $3 billion is less than 2% of Israel's GDP.

      • maturin20

        What's the difference between military assistance and aid?

        Do you think the military aid to Germany and South Korea is warranted?

        If it's a counter-balance to aid provided to Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey, why isn't this aid removed equally all around?

        If Pakistan isn't an ally, why do we provide them with billions of dollars?

        If it's less than 2% of Israel's GDP, then why do they need it?

  • JOHN

    Let the Magog was begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Lord himself will be involved in this one!!!!!!

  • pyeatte

    Turkey can stuff it (no pun intended).

  • Ronald W. Carnine

    Turkey either needs to withdraw from NATO or should be removed. Her policies and this new direction her Pres. is leading is nothing but trouble. Israel and Turkey may very well be in a shooting war before too long. Israel needs to stand her ground and NATO needs to back her. She is the best friend that the US has in the area.

  • jlevyellow

    Ronald Carnine wrote, "Israel and Turkey may very well be in a shooting war before too long." Yes, indeed, because they are under time pressure. If Obama loses the election, free play time is over for the power-hungry Turkish government, since the US government will reassert its position in the world. Therefore, expect your expectations to come true in the next few weeks.

  • Raymond in DC

    Israel's gas finds are just part of Israel's energy future. Not mentioned are the enormous deposits of shale oil under Israel's Negev and Arava recently discovered. A pilot project (led by Shell's former chief technologist) will utilize a new method to extract the oil in situ. If proven to be economically viable with manageable environmental impact, Israel could be a major oil player.

  • Jaime

    The enemies of Israel realize that unless Israel is destroyed now in the next 8 months it will become a major world power: superior technology (major world technological corporations: IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Sandisk, Motorola, etc. keep R & D establishments in Israel), sophisticated metallurgical factories like the one bought by Warren Bufet; Pratt & Whitney manufactures jet engine parts in Israel. Most internet enterprises run on patents designed and sold by Israelis. One of the best all volunter armies in the world. Proven capacity to shoot an incoming missile. The addition of large amounts of recoverable fuels would make Israel almost invinsible. Israel supplies Gaza and the West Bank with water and electricity. Are Egypt and Turkey capable of taking care of Gaza?