Israeli minister warns of environmental threat posed by UAE oil deal

Israeli minister warns of environmental threat posed by UAE oil deal
The Israeli environment minister said she was concerned that an oil deal with the UAE could harm the country's environment and damage Eilat's coral reefs.
1 min read
05 October, 2021
Zandberg said an oil spill could destroy the coral reefs of Eilat [Nur/Getty]

An Israeli minister voiced concern on Monday over a recent oil deal with the UAE, saying it could pose an environmental risk to the country's Red Sea coast.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg said the government would make a decision on the deal on the transfer of UAE oil to Israel within weeks, on the sidelines of the UAE's Expo 2020.

But she warned that the deal could potentially lead to an oil spill, putting Eilat's coral reefs in "unavoidable danger".

"My opinion is that we don't have to increase any environmental risk," she told Reuters at the Dubai Expo.

She said she had discussed her concerns with the UAE's ambassador to Israel, as the two governments agreed that this was a commercial issue that did not affect bilateral relations.

Israel's state-owned Europe-Asia Pipeline Company sealed the deal with MED-RED Land Bridge - which is co-owned by Emirati and Israeli investors - last year after the two countries established bilateral relations.

If given final approval by the Israeli government, oil tankers would dock at the Red Sea port of Eilat to unload their shipments, before being transported via an overland pipeline into the Mediterranean Sea.