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A Shameful Egyptian Deal

Al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt, February 21

Two weeks ago, President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi stood proudly at the inauguration ceremony of Egypt’s offshore Zohr gas field and declared that Cairo is now entering the “age of energy self-sufficiency.” The people of Egypt celebrated this announcement together with the president, thrilled at the prospect of their country overcoming its financial hardships and political turmoil. This celebration, sadly, only lasted a few days. Last week, on a bright, quiet morning, Egyptians woke to the news that their government has agreed to purchase gas from Israel for a period of 10 years. The deal, totaling over $15 billion, was announced by none other than the Israeli prime minister, who hailed the fact that revenue would flow from Egyptian hands into the Israeli Treasury, thereby funding the Israeli military and its continuous occupation of Palestine. To the Israelis, this deal is nothing short of a strategic milestone. It allows Tel Aviv to assert dominance over Cairo and threaten the entire Egyptian nation with the loss of power at the turn of a switch. Under this so-called era of energy “self-sufficiency” Egypt is actually becoming energy-dependent, held hostage by the Israeli regime. This deal is a crime against the Egyptian people. Even more shameful is that the Israeli field from which the gas originates is located in disputed territorial waters that historically belonged to Egypt. Instead of strengthening our country and restoring its leadership role in the region, the Egyptian government has further weakened the nation. It ceded control over a valuable resource and strengthened our enemies at the expense of our allies. This is a disgraceful deal for Egypt and for the entire Arab world. – Emira Abd al-Fateh