Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to the Board of judges of the high court of appeals with a request to dismiss lawsuits filed against the agreement of the state with the gas companies. The head of the government, which was allocated half an hour for the performance, argued that «with the best of intentions, Israel might miss out on a unique opportunity.»
Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the court for giving him the opportunity to defend gas agreement. He also noted that this is the first case in the history of the state of Israel, when the incumbent head of government invited to speak in court.
Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that attaches great importance to the development of gas fields on the basis of risk assessments and prospects in this direction. According to him, the time when Israel may fully realize our gas potential. Any delay, any new discussion is fraught with enormous damage that, according to the Prime Minister, may not be able to overcome in the future.
«I’m not a lawyer and don’t pretend to be a substitute for a dozen lawyers who are here. All legal issues were discussed in detail previously, and therefore I do not intend to delve into the procedural niceties. I responded positively to a request to appear in person in order to show how it is important for me that the gas agreement came into force as quickly as possible and with the least problems. It is of great importance not only for the economy of the state of Israel, but also for national and energy security, as well as to the positions of Israel in the middle East,» said Netanyahu.
According to Netanyahu, the gas agreement, there is no alternative. In this case, any delay may lead to rupture of the already achieved agreements, which, in turn, will cause significant damage to the country in the long term.
In response to the charge in advancing the interests of the stakeholder group at the expense of ordinary citizens, Netanyahu recalled that he spent several reforms, promoting competition in the Israeli market. According to the head of the government, he should not be reminded of how harmful monopolization of the market. However, signing the gas agreement, it is understood that other choice Israel has no.
Netanyahu talked about the need for trust-building and long-term cooperation with international companies and foreign governments, since the development of deposits of «Leviathan» and other fields, requires investment, tens of billions of dollars. And this requires long-term contracts on gas production.
The Prime Minister said that the development of gas fields located at a depth of two kilometers below the sea surface and in dozen kilometers from the beaches, is a complex task and requires a lot of knowledge and experience. This knowledge and experience available to large companies.
He noted that the actions of the former Director of the competition authority David Gilo has led to a crisis of confidence with the energy companies, as well as with a number of countries. Netanyahu reminded that everything is already all was ready to sign the contract with Jordan for the supply of Israeli gas that would support the economy of the neighboring state and would help him in solving the problem of Syrian refugees. But at the last moment was made «strange» decision to cancel the compromise agreement with the companies and Noble Energy, «Delek», and the contract fell through. The contract, said the head of government, was important from the safety point of view and helped consolidate the position of Israel in the middle East.
About a court building have gathered about a hundred of demonstrators, urging the court to recognize the agreement between the state and gas corporations invalid.
Claims against the gas agreements were filed «the Movement for clean government,» conservation body «Adam, Teva ve-DIN», academic center of law and business, Chairman of the Meretz Zahava Gal-on and the block «the Zionist camp».
In accordance with the current procedure, last week Netanyahu gave the high court of appeals its response, in which he indicated that the gas agreement was taken in the interests of national security and foreign policy considerations.
Israeli media were broadcasting from the foyer of the court, as the high court of appeals previously rejected a request to allow media live broadcast the trial.