With the Egyptian authorities proven inability to establish control and security in the Sinai, and with the peninsula rapidly turning into the lawless cousin of Afghanistan, the Yemen and Somalia, Israel must accept that the regular flow of cheap Egyptian gas has now come to an end.
Egypt may have an economic interest in keeping the supply going, albeit at a much higher price. Former President Hosni Mubarak is standing trial with one of the central allegations being a corrupt low priced gas supply deal with Israel. However, with the Muslim Brotherhood poised to become Egypt’s ruling party, and with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Godfather of Iran’s nuclear bomb, the most likely candidate to be elected as Egypt’s next president, nationalist sentiments may well overcome economic logic.
Whilst full production of gas from Israel’s newly discovered large reserves in the Mediterranean is still some years away, it is Israeli citizens serving in the IDF who are already being called to defend these gas fields against similar terrorist attacks, already on the cards. The economic and political powers controlling gas fields’ development and the revenue they will generate will do well to remember that when they come to set up energy prices for Israel’s population.