ER Editor: This ‘good news for Israel’ story takes on a somewhat different complexion through the lens of illegal Israeli settlements, which will be benefitting from this new energy supply. See Ali Abunimah’s piece from March 2018, EU to supply electricity to Israeli settlements. Of note:
The European Union will within a few years be supplying electricity to Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights, all of which are illegal under international law.
That is what will happen when a major EU-backed infrastructure project, the EuroAsia Interconnector, is completed.
This is a subsea cable system that will connect the Israeli electricity grid to Europe via Greece and Cyprus.
This “energy highway” will create “a reliable alternative route for the transfer of electric energy to and from Europe,” according to the project website.
The European Union has given the initiative high-level support as a “project of common interest” that will “allow for bidirectional transmission of electricity” between EU states and the Israeli grid.
The leaders of Greece and Cyprus signed an agreement in June 2017 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blessing the EuroAsia Interconnector and other joint energy projects.
Last month a $4.3 billion tender was published seeking contractors to build the EuroAsia Interconnector.
When the system is completed by 2021, European electricity will help fuel Israel’s impunity for international crimes, according to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the steering group of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign for Palestinian rights.
“This would connect Israel’s illegal settlements with the European electric grid,” putting the EU in violation of its own policies and its obligation not to recognize or assist Israel’s illegal actions, the BNC notes in a briefing document published last month.
The BNC notes that since large natural gas reserves were discovered in the late 1990s in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel has been involved in disputes over who should control them.
“By purchasing gas from Israel, whether directly or indirectly, the EU would become complicit in Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory, its illegal settlements and the war crime of pillage of Palestinian natural resources,” the briefing states.
Israel, Cyprus, Greece to link power grids via undersea cable
The $9 billion Euro-Asia Interconnector will be the world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable, according to Israel’s Energy Ministry
“The Euro-Asia Interconnector underwater power cable will allow us to receive electricity backing from the power grids of the European continent in times of emergency, and more importantly will also support our ability to significantly increase reliance on solar power generation, and help us meet the government’s 2030 solar energy targets,” he said.
Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said that the MoU marked “a decisive step towards ending the island’s energy isolation and, consequently, our dependence on heavy fuels.”
Once completed, the undersea power cable will be the longest and deepest in the world, according to the ministry. The cable, which will be laid at a maximum depth of 2,700 meters (nearly 9,000 feet), will have a capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts.
According to the ministry, the project is expected to cost a bit more than $9 billion, part of which is to be provided by the European Union, which has recognized the undertaking as a Project of Common Interest.
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