Israeli experts warned that the oil agreement between Tel Aviv and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would lead to an “environmental disaster” in the Red Sea.
Late last year, Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi signed an agreement to transport UAE crude oil via tankers to a pipeline in the port of Eilat overlooking the Red Sea, after signing an agreement to normalize relations between them in mid-September.
There is talk about a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Israeli-owned Eurasian Pipeline Company and Mid-Red Land Bridge Ltd., which represents a joint venture between the “National Holding” company in Abu Dhabi and several Israeli companies.
The agreement provides for the transportation of crude oil from the UAE to Eilat and its transfer via a pipeline to the city of Ashkelon on the Mediterranean for export to Europe.
Israeli experts told “Agence France Presse” that the oil agreement, which is expected to enter into force during the next few months, poses a threat to the unique coral reefs in the Red Sea.
And last week, dozens of environmental activists staged a protest in a parking lot overlooking the oil dock at the port of Eilat on the Red Sea coast, against what they said was a looming disaster.
Shmulik Tajar, a founding member of the Society for the Conservation of the Red Sea and a resident of Eilat, confirmed that the reefs are 200 meters away from where the oil will be emptied.
He warned that the arrival of two tankers to three tankers per week means that their traffic will be “consecutive” in the port, which will affect the image of the city that promotes environmentally friendly tourism.
He stressed that “green tourism cannot be promoted when you have oil tankers in the port.”
Experts say that while coral reefs around the world are being bleached due to climate change, those in Eilat remain stable due to their unique resistance to heat.