EU appears to Israel because it battles Russian power ‘blackmail’


The EU is pushing forward with efforts to spice up its power co-operation with Israel because it battles Russian power “blackmail”, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stated on Tuesday.

The EU has been trying to find methods to chop its dependency on Russian fossil fuels since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine earlier this yr, and Israel, which found massive offshore fuel sources lately, is eager to assist the bloc diversify its power provides.

Von der Leyen stated the EU was persevering with preparations on two “major” infrastructure initiatives designed to bolster power hyperlinks with Israel: a fuel and hydrogen pipeline within the japanese Mediterranean, and an underwater energy cable linking Israel to Cyprus and Greece.

“Since the beginning of the war, Russia has deliberately cut off its gas supplies to Poland, to Bulgaria, to Finland, to Dutch companies, to Danish companies, in retaliation for our support to Ukraine,” von der Leyen stated throughout a go to to a college in southern Israel.

“But the Kremlin’s behaviour only strengthened our resolve to break free of our dependency on Russian fossil fuels.”

Mario Draghi, left, and Naftali Bennett on the Israeli prime minister’s workplace in Jerusalem on Tuesday © AP

Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, additionally mentioned power co-operation with Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, who made his personal go to to Israel on Tuesday.

But in an indication of the complexities of growing Mediterranean fuel sources, Bennett additionally criticised Lebanon’s leaders for “unnecessary disputes”. This follows a row between the 2 nations, which shouldn’t have diplomatic relations, over a contested offshore gasfield.

A US state division official, Amos Hochstein, is in Beirut this week to assist mediate the dispute, after a vessel operated by London-listed Greek oil and fuel explorer Energean arrived on the Karish gasfield on June 5. The firm stated its fuel rig was scheduled to begin manufacturing there within the third quarter. While Israel says the sphere lies in an space recognised by the UN as its unique financial zone, Lebanon says the world is disputed.

US-brokered talks between the 2 nations stalled final yr after Lebanese negotiators proposed a brand new maritime border, which considerably expanded the territory it claimed at Israel’s expense.

Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hizbollah, stated earlier this month that his group was able to act if Israel started drilling earlier than an settlement was reached.

The highly effective political and paramilitary drive has fought a number of wars with Israel, and Nasrallah has beforehand stated that he would defend Lebanon’s financial rights by drive.

Israel’s power and defence ministers stated final week that the rig was in Israeli waters, and wouldn’t pump fuel from disputed territory. But they warned that Israel “prioritises the protection of its strategic assets, and is prepared to defend them and the security of its infrastructure”.

Reports in Lebanese media recommend that the federal government was making ready to supply a compromise to resolve the dispute, that would embody dropping the declare to the expanded maritime border or swapping Karish for an additional close by discipline, Qana.

Asked about the potential for a swap, Hochstein informed US-backed Al Hurra TV that Lebanon is “looking at what kind of a compromise can be reached that the Israelis can agree to and not feel like [they are] being pushed into something against their interests, while still preserving the most important part of Lebanon’s interests.”