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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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New Israeli Oil Find near Gaza Could Drive Hamas, Abbas into War

Israel may have struck it rich twice – once with indications of oil off the southern coast and twice with the prospect of Hamas and Abbas fighting it out over probably claims to the Israeli discovery.

'Tamar'  gas rig off Israel's northern coast.

'Tamar' gas rig off Israel's northern coast.
Photo Credit: Nobel Energy/Flash 90

A new oil discovery in southern Israel might turn out to be the catalyst for an internal and self-destructive war in the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas in Gaza and chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah likely to claim ownership of a new Israeli offshore oil discovery near Ashdod.

When the Tamar and Leviathan gas and oil fields off the Haifa and Hadera coast, in northern Israel, were discovered, Lebanon and Hezbollah quickly claimed that energy reserves were in their territorial waters.

The oil and gas reserves are clearly within Israel’s territorial waters, but the fields could extend as far as the waters off the Lebanese coast.

Lebanon warned the American Noble Energy company not to approach its territory, and Hezbollah it would go to war over the oil and gas fields. Since then, Israel has brought gas into production, and Lebanon and Hezbollah have kept quiet, partly because the United States has mediated by proposing a boundary between Lebanon and Israel’s maritime economic zones.

Now comes the Israeli Shemen Oil and Gas Company which reported on Saturday indications of  “high quality of oil”  following offfshore drilling at its Yam-3 well, 10 miles from the southern port city of Ashdod, located only a few miles north of Gaza.

The drilling reached a depth of 19,000 feet undersea, but the possibility of commercial production awaits further tests.

“This is good news for Shemen but it is still too early to pop the champagne,” Noam Pincu, an analyst at Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv, told Bloomberg News. “We have to see the results of the production tests to estimate the quantities and quality of oil at the site.”

It still is not clear from the drilling report how thick the reservoir is and how much much oil could be commercially produced. Analysts said it could be only a few barrels a day or it could be several hundred a day, which would bring in millions of dollars.

If the Yam 3 well turns to be commercially viable, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu might be able to relax at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talks and let Fatah and Hamas knock each other out.

Hamas and its rival Fatah movement likely would be at each other’s throats, literally, to claim that Israel is “stealing” the reserves from them.

Abbas was head of all of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria as well as Gaza until Hamas completed a bloody military coup six years ago. Abbas dissolved the Fatah-Hams coalition government and declared himself as ruler of Gaza by presidential decree, which Hamas correctly terms as “worthless.”

Abbas and Hamas de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh have since failed to carry out several declarations of unity.

All it will take is a few barrels of oil near Gaza’s waters for both leaders to draw their knives and guns for energy reserves that are so close to Gaza that Haniyeh and Abbas can claim that Israel is “stealing” them by drilling diagonally into Gaza waters.

Both Ramallah and Gaza City are in serious trouble financially. Egypt’s new war on terror in the Sinai has choked off the flow of commercial goods through the border at Rafiah, and Abbas is totally dependent on the economically ailing European Union, to stave off bankruptcy.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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8 Responses to “New Israeli Oil Find near Gaza Could Drive Hamas, Abbas into War”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    who says either of them have the right to what Israel finds within Israeli territorial borders?

  2. Tim Upham says:

    I am surprised the Palestinians have not entered into a civil war yet. But their great lack of political unity, is the true barrier to them achieving statehood. The United Nations can vote, but for which Palestinian faction are they voting for?

  3. truthseekr says:

    Since Gaza was never officially recognized as a nation, since Hamas took over and there still are no peace or territorial agreements with the Arabs, there should be no question this oil is Israel’s. They can whine and cry and try to steal the oil all they want, but they have no legal claim on it. Still, it’s hard to see how this find plus the previous ones, will benefit Israelis, as the price of gas, already high, is going up even more.

  4. Could this be the "hook in the jaw"?

  5. if it is off the coast of southern israel then its israels. but if it is in the west bank or gaza strip, which this oil might extend to, then it is considered property of the palestinians, either hamas or PA.

  6. I believe Russia or a confederation including Russia are what is referred to in Ezekiel 39 – but yes, I think we are there. This saber rattling and posturing are preludes for what is to come very soon now.

  7. JohnBilly says:

    “…and Abbas is totally dependent on the economically ailing European Union, to stave off bankruptcy.
    Read more at: (by the way, I hate when that read more thing sneaks into my copy paste)”
    Not to mention the millions in foreign aid that Israel gives to the Terroristinians to kill Jews with…

  8. Rejoice KB says:

    these are the end time signs…..

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