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Israel: Netanyahu testifies at Supreme Court defending his gas deal

 |  February 14, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took on opponents trying to block his government’s contentious plan to develop natural gas fields in unprecedented testimony before the country’s highest court.

Opposition parties and non-governmental organizations have petitioned the court to halt the gas program, challenging the government’s override of the antitrust commissioner’s objections. With global energy prices tumbling, Netanyahu is eager to have Israel’s largest offshore natural gas field developed, and asked to address the court in an effort to sweep away this legal challenge to the plan.

If the plan doesn’t go through, “there won’t be any more investment” from abroad, Netanyahu told the five justices on Sunday, noting that he is the first prime minister to ask to address the court. “Without the gas wells, there will be no competition. Because of good intentions we are liable to miss a historic golden opportunity.” Energy stocks climbed.

Netanyahu’s use of the court to lobby for the plan is in keeping with the lengths he has gone to keep it alive. The prime minister led a political and legal maneuver that allowed him to override the antitrust chief’s objections by maintaining the government’s natural gas policy was in the interest of national security.

Full content: The New York Times

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