Before the recent Iran nuclear deal, I lost count of the number of times I was told that “Iranians don’t keep deals”, or “a written agreement is worthless to them” or “They are great negotiators. They will find a way to cheat.” So much so that I wrote an article for Al Monitor which explained that depending on its interests, Iranian governments have cancelled some deals, while keeping others.
Well it turns out that while we accuse Iran of breaking deals, we in Israel are pretty good at breaking deals too. Just ask Noble Energy.
We signed an agreement with them, allowing them to explore Israel’s shores for gas. They risked their money by taking on a gamble. Had they not found gas, they would have lost all of their had earned cash. But it turns out that they did find gas.
And since then, we have made life a living hell for them, despite the fact that we signed an agreement with them. Despite finding gas, the Israeli government has still not been able to approve the deal. And today, our High Court declared that:
“the deal to extract offshore natural gas would be canceled within a year unless a central tenet of the agreement, preventing future governments from altering the terms, is significantly changed or canceled.”
Seriously? Our High Court believes that future governments should be able to change the terms of a signed deal with a foreign investor? Then what is the point of investing in Israel? On average we have elections here every 3 years.
And more importantly, after such a decision, who is going to invest in Israel’s natural resources? Would you?
The deal may have shortcomings. The deal may not be transparent enough for some. But if you are unhappy with it, don’t sign it. But once you do….