First Published: 2011-08-08

 

Israel electricity prices rise despite protests

 

Tel Aviv blames electricity prices rise on disruptions in cheap gas supply that used to come from Mubarak's Egypt.

 

Middle East Online

After Egypt, Israeli sights are now set on Lebanon's gas

JERUSALEM - Israel's finance ministry on Monday announced a 9.3 percent rise in the electricity price, citing disruptions in the gas supply from Egypt, even as Israelis protest nationwide over the cost of living.

The treasury stressed that it had kept the increase as small as possible, cutting in half the 20 percent rise that had been expected.

"Electricity will rise 9.3 percent primarily because of interruptions in the supply of Egyptian gas to electricity stations," finance ministry spokesman Boaz Stembler said.

Israel's supply of gas from Egypt has been regularly disrupted since an uprising overthrew former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February.

A pipeline that carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel has been blown up at least four times in recent months by unknown attackers.

The disruptions in gas supply have forced electrical stations to use coal and diesel fuel, both of which are more expensive, and prompted the government to consider raising electricity prices by a full 20 percent.

The full increase was avoided, Israeli media reported, when the finance ministry agreed to decrease the import tax on diesel fuel.

The price rise comes as the Israeli government seeks to placate demonstrators angry at the cost of living in the Jewish state.

On Saturday night, more than 250,000 people took to the streets in cities across Israel to demand cuts in the cost of everything from housing and taxes to health care and education.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he sympathises with the protesters but has also warned against the costly, sweeping reforms they are seeking, saying they could throw Israel into an economic crisis.

Egypt supplies about 40 percent of Israel's natural gas, which is used to produce electricity.

But the country's deal to supply Israel is controversial among Egyptians and has repeatedly been challenged in Egyptian courts over its secretive clauses and reports that Israel has been paying below-market prices.

In April, Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf asked for the revision of all contracts to supply gas abroad, including to Israel.

Israel has said little publicly about the possible renegotiation of its gas contract with Egypt.

Israeli ministers have urged the speedy exploitation of recently discovered gas fields off Israel's northern coast, but it faces challenges from Lebanon, which says that the gas fields lie in its territorial waters.

 

Russian, Turkish FMs meet for first time since ties repaired

Istanbul airport attackers ‘planned hostage-taking’

At least 70 killed in north of Syria's Aleppo

Iranians mark annual Quds Day

Egypt becoming departure country for migrants to Europe

Palestinian tries to stab Israeli in West Bank, shot dead

Ankara suicide attack mastermind killed

Oil prices rise in Asia

US Navy probe finds leadership failings in Iran capture

Quartet report says Israel must urgently halt illegal settlement expansion

At least 70 killed in northern Aleppo clashes

Sisi praises Egyptian 'revolution' against Morsi

US-backed Syria rebels look to cut off ISIS from Iraq border

Egyptian Coptic priest shot dead in El-Arish

Iran sacks heads of four state banks over high pay

EU agrees to opens new chapter with Turkey on accession talks

Detained RSF Turkey representative released

Lebanese army says ISIS attacks foiled, 5 arrested

UN extends Darfur mission despite Sudan opposition

Air strikes kill 150 militants fleeing Fallujah

Turkey detains 13 over airport attack

Palestinian killed by Israeli troops after deadly attack

UN envoy seeks Syria peace talks’ resumption in July

Tunisian killed in Istanbul attack seeking to repatriate IS-linked son

Turkish forces kill 2 suspected IS jihadists at Syria border

Egypt president urges religious reforms to counter extremists

First aid convoy since 2012 enters two besieged Syria towns

Race to succeed Cameron begins after stunning Brexit vote

Yemen peace talks to take two-week break

Iraq secures $2.7 billion US military loan

ISIS pushes back Syria rebel offensive on Iraq route

Israel cabinet approves Turkey reconciliation deal

Turkey airport attack slams limping tourism industry

Putin lifts Turkey travel restrictions, orders trade 'normalised'

Fears for stranded Syrian refugees as Jordan blocks access

Bahrain activist back in jail despite worsening health

41 killed in Istanbul airport bomb, gun attacks

Witnesses recount Istanbul attack

Car bomb kills 10 in Kurdish-held Syria town

Ban to Israeli PM: Gaza blockade ‘collective punishment’

Alstom-led consortium awarded $2.88 billion Dubai metro extension

Democratic hopes fade away in Egypt

US-backed Syria rebels advance on key IS link to Iraq

Israel revokes controversial 'Hannibal Directive'

Detained Bahraini activist hospitalised