Palestine campaigners oppose Israeli takeover of North Sea oil

As multi-million-pound deal is struck in the North Sea, Palestine groups question morality of Israeli-Aberdeen deal

PRO-PALESTINIAN campaigners have responded angrily to the recent takeover of Ithica Energy, a major stakeholder in North Sea oil, by an Israeli firm with connections to Israel’s Government.

Delek, founded in 1951 by the Israeli Government, announced an agreed takeover of Ithaca Energy, headquartered in Scotland which operates a 55% stake in the Stella, North Sea oil field.

It follows the bombing, two weeks ago, of Gaza by Israel’s air defence forces and controversy over BDS campaigns that seek to divest from commercial entities connected to the Israeli state.

“When Palestinians are facing incremental genocide everyone should try and prevent such takeovers and the inevitable consequences.” Mike Napier

Responding to the takeover Mike Napier, national committee spokesperson for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) told CommonSpace: “Obama’s parting gift of 38bn in military and technical subsidies is just one example of how the Israeli state is the ability to buy up small and large companies around the world.

“The profits from such companies feed the state campaigns of Israeli and enable what Amnesty itself has described as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“When Palestinians are facing incremental genocide everyone should try and prevent such takeovers and the inevitable consequences.”

The deal resulted in Delek acquiring Ithaca’s equity at a price of $646m and gives the company and market value of $1.24bn. 

Delek has also bought a 13.18 per cent stake in Faroe Petroleum another North Sea operator, for £43m pounds in December of last year.

“Israeli companies have made a substantial contribution to the drive in world economic growth from both conventional and renewable energy technologies.” Israeli Embassy

When contacted about the deal and the prospect of divestment and action by campaigners, Delek refused to grant any comment. A statement from chief executive Asaf Bartfeld did say “for us this deal is a significant step which, will firmly establish Delek Group as a truly global company.”

The Delek group is owned by Yitzhak Tshuva who is an example of the close relationship between Israeli business and the defence of the state. After being in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Tshuva worked in construction for the civil engineering department of the Israeli Defence Ministry. Before taking up the helm at Delek he was responsible for financing and construction of many of Israel’s defence projects and bases such as the Bar Lev Line near the Suez Canal.

Delek Group, valued at $4.5bn, also deals with petrol, natural gas, insurance, biochemistry and armoured vehicles.

Benjamin Netanyahu has already come out in response to BDS campaigns by damning them as inherently ‘anti-semitic’ and counterproductive to the peace process. However, campaigners who wish to show solidarity with the Palestinian people cite the increased expansion of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Delek Group, valued at $4.5bn, also deals with petrol, natural gas, insurance, biochemistry and armoured vehicles.

A spokesperson from the Israeli embassy in London told CommonSpace: “Israeli companies have made a substantial contribution to the drive in world economic growth from both conventional and renewable energy technologies.” 

However, it would not be drawn on the SPSC's insistence that prevention of takeovers from companies supported and connected to the Israeli state is vital to rebalancing the politics of the Middle East.

On behalf the Scottish Government, a spokesperson said the government would not comment on specific deals apart from reiterating the government’s position that foreign direct investment is seen as a “positive”.

The Scottish Government has been recently investing and encouraging training in ensure oil workers retrain in renewable industries. Its procurement policy, however, “strongly discourages trade and investment from illegal settlements”, including the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Picture courtesy of snapper

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