Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Meretz Chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg

An agreement to transport oil from the UAE through Israel to Europe, signed between Israel and the Emirates last year, is on the verge of cancellation due to pressure from environmental organizations in Israel, according to reports in the United Arab Emirates. The contents of the agreement have not been made public.

According to one report, the parties agreed to transport oil from the Emirates to markets in the West via Eilat and then on to the Ashkelon port, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the time the Abraham Accords normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates under the auspices of former US President Donald Trump.

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The transport agreement was signed by the Israeli government-owned Euro-Asian Pipeline Company (EAPC, formerly the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company, Katza in Hebrew), and the Israeli-Emirate MED-RED project. But now, due to the Israeli government’s decision to conduct an environmental survey after rejecting the risk assessment report by the EAPC, investors are angry and the move threatens to create diplomatic crisis between Israel and its new Gulf allies.

Israeli environmental organizations recently asked the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem to stop the transportation of oil, and leftwing Minister of Environment Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) commenced with steps to end the agreement.

In July, Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg instructed the National Unit for the Protection of the Marine Environment not to continue processing and examining any documents submitted by the EAPC pending a debate in the cabinet to determine the future implementation of the agreement signed by the pipeline company to increase the scope of activity at the oil tanker terminal in Eilat harbor.

Sources in the UAE said, according to reports, that the cancellation of the deal is a violation of diplomatic agreements and could harm relations precisely when both parties are working to develop economic relations.

The Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel notes that between January 2020 and June this year, imports from the Emirates amounted to $457 million and exports amounted to $255 million. Dubai reports that trade between the countries since September 2020 stands at $272 million.

Jewish Press News Desk contributed to this report.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.