Published On: Sun, Mar 27th, 2016

Gas Bombshell: Israel’s High Court Rules Against Netanyahu’s Gas Outline Agreement

The judges have instructed the Knesset to discuss and fix the agreement because of the controversial stability clause, which was declared unconstitutional.

Israeli-Gas Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel’s High Court of Justice on Sunday struck down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s natural gas outline agreement, and instructing the Knesset to discuss the law again because of the stability clause.

Nevertheless, the government was given one year during which it could fix problematic aspects of the deal. At the end of this time, if a deal is not worked out, the plan will be cancelled.

High Court found the 10-year price-freezing, under which the state promises to make no substantial regulatory changes in the gas industry in the next 10 years, in particular in taxation, exports and ownership of the fields, is the most controversial section of the agreement.

Deputy Supreme Court president Elyakim Rubinstein’ wrote “The stability clause in this chapter of the plan, in which the government undertakes for a decade to not only not legislate but to also fight any legislation against the plan’s provisions, was determined without authority – and as such is rejected. It was determined in contrast to the general principle of administrative law regarding the prohibition of shackling the authority’s ability to judge. The government does not have the power to decide not to decide and not to act.”

In their ruling, the High Court of Justice judges wrote, “The stability clause has been set without authority and its legality is repealed. This is because it has been passed in contradiction to the basic rules of administrative law in a way that prohibits restricting the considerations of the (Antitrust) Authority.”

Court president Elyakim Rubinstein made it clear that disapprovingly of Netanyahu’s unwillingness to consider any legislative changes as a further show of handcuffing the current and future governments.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,  issued the following statement:

“The High Court of Justice decision severely threatens the development of the gas reserves of the State of Israel.

Israel is seen as a state with excessive judicial interference in which it is difficult to do business.

Certainly nobody has any reason to celebrate that the gas is liable to remain in the depths of the sea and that hundreds billions of shekels will not reach the citizens of Israel.

We will seek other ways to overcome the severe damage that this curious decision has caused the Israeli economy.”

 

 

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