Thousands gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening, July 4, to protest against the terms of a proposed natural gas deal which the neo-liberal Netanyahu government is trying to conclude.
About 2,000 demonstrators gathered at Habima Square, chanting “the gas belongs to the public,” and then marched to the government complex on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, shouting “Robbery!” and “The public ain’t dumb, gas is for everyone!” Smaller protests were also held in Beersheba, Jerusalem, and Kiryat Shmona.
About 150 demonstrators also protested in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Caesarea, hoisting signs reading: “Nationalization now,” “Yallah Bibi, hit the gas,” and “Outline of surrender: No energy independence, we deserve a better deal!”
Last week, a similar protest attended by thousands in Tel Aviv witnessed some violence between demonstrators and police. At least four were arrested after a crowd of people blocked a main intersection in the city after midnight. Small fights also erupted between police and protesters.
Opposition has been mounting over the past several weeks to the deal emerging between the government and a US-Israeli energy conglomerate entrusted to develop Israel’s natural gas reserves. Opponents of the deal which awards America’s Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group access to Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields say it constitutes robbery of Israel’s natural resources. The opponents are demanding government transparency on the terms of the agreement.