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Gaza, Egypt deal sparks dispute in Palestine

A top Hamas member demanded Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority disclose details of an agreement it signed with Egypt regarding a natural gas field off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

“Gaza must be present in any understandings about the gas fields on its shores,” tweeted Mousa Abu Marzook, from the group’s political bureau. “If Gaza is forced to import natural gas from the occupation to the only power station in the Strip, then we should not stand by and watch, and our natural resources go away.”

“We need to know the details of the agreement that was signed with the Investment Authority,” he added.

But Hussein al-Sheikh, a member of the Central Committee of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah, responded on Twitter and said: “Agreements are made between countries, and Palestine is a member of the Mediterranean Gas Forum.”

“The agreements are signed with states, not with factions and organizations,” he said.

The Palestinian Investment Fund signed an agreement Sunday to develop the Gaza Marine gas field and necessary infrastructure, with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company EGAS.

The Fund, which is the sovereign fund of Palestine, said the agreement will provide Palestine’s needs for natural gas and the possibility of exporting part of the gas to Egypt.

Gaza Marine was discovered in the 1990s but Palestinians could not utilize it because of rejections by Israel.

The field is located 36 kilometers (23 miles) west of the Gaza Strip in Mediterranean waters and was developed in 2000 by the British Gas company.