Gaza gas is Palestinian national asset, says PA prime minister – Middle East Monitor

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described on Monday Gaza Marine, the gas field located 36 kilometres off the coast of Gaza, as a “Palestinian national asset.” Shtayyeh told his ministers during a cabinet meeting in Ramallah that the PA leadership, in collaboration with Egypt, plans to develop the gas field.

The announcement came on the heels of Israel’s preliminary approval for the development of the field, following negotiations with the PA and Egypt.

“In the framework of the existing efforts between the State of Israel, Egypt and the PA, with emphasis on Palestinian economic development and maintaining security stability in the region, it has been decided to develop the Gaza Marine gas field off the coast of Gaza,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said on Facebook.

“Implementing the project is subject to coordination between the security services and direct dialogue with Egypt, in coordination with the PA, and the completion of inter-ministerial staff work led by the National Security Council, in order to maintain the security and diplomatic interests of the State of Israel on the matter.”

The Palestinian Investment Fund, in partnership with an Egyptian developer, has already started work on the project, explained Shtayyeh, who thanked Egypt for its efforts. He stressed that the development of the gas field has significant political implications for the Palestinian people.

Gaza Marine was discovered in the late 1990s, but the Israeli occupation authorities have been hindering its development. It lies within the territorial waters of the Palestinian enclave, which is under the control of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and continues to be under a 17-year Israeli and Egyptian siege.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem asserted the right of the Palestinian people to benefit from their natural resources. “We do not need anyone’s permission to extract this gas,” he insisted.

READ: Israel gives nod to Gaza Marine gas development, wants security assurances

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