Palestine's Stolen Wealth

Nov 14, 2022 09:22 am

Mohammed Matar
Occupied Palestine has huge amounts of wealth and natural energy resources like water, minerals, gas and petrol, triggering the Israeli occupation to race time to steal or dominate it, and to deprive the Palestinians from enjoying its assets. Leviathan, Samson, Dalit, Tamar, Roy, Mary and Gaza Marine are all names of marine gas fields in the territorial waters in the Occupied Palestinian lands. They are subject to theft attempts by the Israeli occupation on a daily basis and with huge amounts; nonetheless, there is a serious silence regarding the volume of the real stolen gas and its revenues to the Zionist occupation.

Perhaps, Palestinians were the first to discover their natural gas resources in the Middle East region, especially inside the economic zone of the Gaza Strip many years before the occupation's discovery of the other fields. However, the Israeli occupation managed to control them and prevent the Palestinians from enjoying them, taking advantage of the Palestinian conflict, the heavy pressure imposed on the Strip as a result of the Israeli blockade, and the Palestinian Authority's inability to face the Israeli occupation. 

Once the Gaza Marine for gas was discovered, the Israeli occupation exerted serious attempts to extract and use gas, and remained an obstacle in front the development of the field under security pretexts in order to prevent the funding of terrorism. It later put a fabulous condition regarding the passage of a pipeline through the gas field reaching the gas liquefaction plant in Occupied Ashkelon, from which gas is distributed to Gaza and West Bank. This thus indicates the occupation's control over the gas quantities received by its original holders. 

For a long time, "Gaza Marine" has been observed as a golden opportunity before Palestinians to join the beneficiaries of the Midetrranean's gas, providing them with a main source of income and production and reducing dependency on foreign assistance. This gas reserve would meet the needs of both the West Bank and Gaza for 25 years to come, as well as would be enough to be exported, according to experts. Therefore, occupation does not want the Palestinian to own natural resources that generate large sums of money, away from its control. It rather seeks to keep the Palestinian economy under its cloak and the Palestinian Authority's money to pass through it. 

In a time the Palestinians are prevented from benefiting from their natural gas and are obliged to buy the extracted from it with a lot of money for the Israeli occupation with an average annual bill of $1.4 million, Arabs accelerate to sign gas agreements with the Israeli occupation. They might have forgotten that the stolen gas pumped through their pipes in light of their normalization agreements is a Palestinian gas, whose cost could have been much less, if they defended the Palestinian rights and bought gas from the Palestinians themselves. Frustrated, Palestinians -lying under the Israeli occupation- follow the deal of selling their "stolen gas" to the European Union through Egypt, under the umbrella of the known as "Forum of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum."

On the other side, the occupation authorities have exerted intensive efforts in extrapolating and drilling petrol. It also dug about 385 wells in Occupied Palestine during the past 5 decades, through which "Majd" well for petrol was found in West Bank, especially over the lands of Rantis village. However, occupation put its hand on this field completely, which, up to this day, pumps about 1000 barrels every day. There is also a Zionist plan to expand the well drilling operations. International studies and data collected by the Palestinian Environment Authority referred to petrol in commercial quantities in fields extending under the West Bank lands. 

In addition to that, the Israeli occupation continues to steal oil shale from three sites in the West Bank, one of which is near Tarqumiya town in western Hebron and other two sites are located in northern and eastern Dimona in Occupied Negev. It does not hide its plans, through which it steals the natural water resources and other natural ones in Palestine.

Based on international conventions and laws, there are no legal impediments that prevent the Palestinian people from using their natural wealth. Also, the Israeli occupation has no right to exploit the assets of the occupied land nor does it have the right to prevent the Palestinian from using them. The Zionist occupation itself is a legal violation, and any action prevents the Palestinians from enjoying their resources is also a violation of the international law. 

Nonetheless, the absence of the political administration of the Palestinian Authority has made it uninterested in improving the economic structure of the Palestinian people. Palestinians therefore must move in all directions to chase the occupation, regain their rights and restore their stolen natural wealth and assets.