A historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that has the potential to change the Middle East's oil transportation has encountered a major block, stalling efforts to strengthen commercial connections between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.
A joint venture to resurrect the secret Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline was supposed to be a watershed moment in Israel-Palestine normalization, but Israel's environmental protection ministry has called for a halt to any further work.
The 158-mile pipeline, built by Israel and Iran in the 1960s, connected the Mediterranean and Red Seas, providing an alternative to the Suez Canal and thereby posing a danger to Egypt.
The canal, which President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi recently enlarged at a cost of $8 billion, brings in roughly $6 billion every year for Cairo. The Iranian Revolution of 1979, however, brought the pipeline project to a halt.
Furthermore, Israeli environmentalists have stated that the pipeline will harm corals in the Red Sea off the coast of Eilat. They are claimed to have filed a legal challenge against the plan, citing the dangers of a catastrophic oil leak or spill if tens of millions of tonnes of crude oil are transported through Israel each year.
Far-right In the following weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid are set to meet with consultants to discuss the oil pipeline's impact on the Red Sea reefs, the Negev desert, and the Mediterranean shoreline.
For example, giant supertankers cannot pass through the Suez Canal, which has become a major shipping bottleneck. Oil producers like Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will be able to unload at Ashkelon, where it will be piped to Eilat and loaded onto tankers heading for China, South Korea, and other Asian destinations.