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Egypt cancels Israeli gas contract

Egypt has cancelled a 20-year contract to supply Israel with natural gas in a move interpreted as a sign of increasingly fragile relations between the allies.

(THE GUARDIAN) Jerusalem - Both Egyptian and Israeli officials said the reason for the termination of the deal, which was signed in 2005 and provided 40% of Israel's natural gas, was a dispute over payments between private companies. But the governments were trying to prevent it escalating into a political crisis.

The deal is unpopular in Egypt because of claims that Israel buys the gas at below-market rates. A pipeline that carries the gas to Israel across the Sinai desert has been sabotaged at least 14 times since the start of the Egyptian uprising last year, seriously disrupting supplies.

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Geopolitics

Should We Still Even Be Talking To Netanyahu?

After forming a governing coalition with right-wing extremists, will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu face a chill in relations with the West? The reshuffled geopolitical cards offer a fair share of paradoxes.

Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu listening to someone speak

Benjamin Netanyahu, aiming to stay in the conversation

Jini/Xinhua via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — No one has yet dared to call for a boycott of Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived in Paris for talks Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron. And yet ... the political leaders with whom he's built his ruling coalition in Israel make Europe's far right look like centrists.

In Israel, it's an unsettling question. The government is seeking to defuse the risk of diplomatic isolation resulting from the Jewish state's extreme rightward turn. The first weeks of the new government have been like a storm warning for the region — both because of the outbreak of violence which killed dozens of Israelis and Palestinians in January, but also threats to Israeli democracy itself.

In a sign of the changing times, the Arab countries in the Gulf that have recently normalized ties with Israel after decades of conflict are turning a blind eye to the Palestinian question. Their security ties with Israel are more important.

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