תמר זנדברג
Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg
Photo: Kobi Konaks
Oil storage containers of the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) in the mountains near Israel's Red Sea port city of Eilat

Environment Ministry blocks oil pipeline deal with UAE

Announcement could lead to cancellation of agreement, slammed by activists for ecological risks; deal one of the biggest to emerge from normalization of ties between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi last year

Reuters |
Published: 12.16.21, 21:52
The Environmental Protection Ministry said on Thursday that it had blocked a deal with partners from the United Arab Emirates to transport oil from the Gulf to Europe via an Israeli port city that houses a fragile coral reef.
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  • The announcement could lead to the cancellation of the deal, one of the biggest to emerge from the normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE last year. Environmentalists had petitioned the Supreme Court to block the agreement.
    2 View gallery
    An aerial view of (foreground) oil storage containers of the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) in the mountains near Israel's Red Sea port city of Eilat, and (background) the Jordanian coastline south of Aqaba on February 10, 2021
    An aerial view of (foreground) oil storage containers of the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) in the mountains near Israel's Red Sea port city of Eilat, and (background) the Jordanian coastline south of Aqaba on February 10, 2021
    Oil storage containers of the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) in the mountains near Israel's Red Sea port city of Eilat
    (Photo: AFP)
    Signed between an Israeli state-owned company and a venture with Emirati and Israeli owners, the deal allows for oil unloaded from tankers in the Red Sea port of Eilat to be moved across Israel in an existing pipeline to the Mediterranean coast.
    Responding to the Supreme Court petition, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government said it would not intervene and would instead allow the Environmental Protection Ministry to play its regulatory role limiting activities that pose ecological risks.
    2 View gallery
    תמר זנדברג
    תמר זנדברג
    Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg
    (Photo: Kobi Konaks)
    "We blocked the entry of dozens of oil tankers into the Gulf of Eilat," Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg said in a statement, adding that Israel "will not become a bridge of pollution in an era of the climate crisis".
    The minister had previously come out against the deal, also over environmental concerns.
    The two companies involved in the deal - Israel's Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC), and MED-RED Land Bridge - did not immediately provide comment.
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