In addition to the difficult long-term security concerns that are sure to arise from Operation Cast Lead, the long-overdue Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip has also raised a number of ancillary concerns that will need to be addressed over the coming weeks, including the future of key offshore natural-gas supplies.
About a year ago, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel and UK-based BG Group, one of the world's largest purveyors of natural gas, broke off talks concerning the possible sale of the natural gas contained in the Gaza Marine gas field, an area about 36 kilometers off of the Gaza coast.
Removing Hamas from power in Gaza and reinstating Fatah will be almost impossible. However, according to newspaper reports, cabinet ministers have been told that some Hamas leaders in Gaza are desperate for a cease-fire and would be willing to settle on almost any terms stipulated by Israel.
This presents the Israeli government and cease-fire negotiating team with the opportunity to snatch control of the royalties from the sales of the natural gas that Hamas is claiming as its own and restore it to the PA. Hamas has been dealt a serious blow and is so vulnerable that giving up its claim on the natural gas as part of a cease-fire agreement will not be such a significant concession.
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