zaterdag 25 april 2009

Link tussen aanpakken Iran en vredesproces Israel-Palestijnen

Volgens sommige media heeft Israel gezegd alleen met het vredesproces met de Palestijnen door te gaan als de VS Irans dreiging serieus neemt, en volgens andere media heeft de VS gezegd alleen Iran aan te pakken als Israel concessies doet aan de Palestijnen. Dat laatste zou nogal stom zijn, want Iran is niet alleen een dreiging voor Israel, en zo zou de VS haar eigen veiligheid en strategische belangen afhankelijk maken van concessies van de nieuwe Israelische regering aan de Palestijnen.

Iran-Israel-Palestine: Who linked what to what and what does it mean?

According to Washigton Post, Israel tried to link the peace process to progress in stopping Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons:
The new Israeli government will not move ahead on the core issues of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limit Tehran's rising influence in the region, according to top government officials familiar with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's developing policy on the issue.
"It's a crucial condition if we want to move forward," said Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, a member of the Israeli parliament and former ambassador to the United States. "If we want to have a real political process with the Palestinians, then you can't have the Iranians undermining and sabotaging."
But this was promptly denied:
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Wednesday denied a report that Israel will not move ahead with diplomatic talks with the Palestinians until the US places more pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program. 

"We will deal with the Palestinian issue as if there is no Iranian issue, and with the Iranian issue as if there is no Palestinian issue," Ayalon said. 

But wait, it's not over yet, because US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists that progress in stopping Iran depends on progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace procress:

"For Israel to get the kind of strong support it is looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts. They go hand in hand," she told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.
Both sides have to realize that that the linking is a fact of life, if not a policy. There is no way to make peace with the Palestinians as long as Iran will continue to support Hamas and block peace efforts. Any peace agreement, especially one brokered by the USA, would be sabotaged by Iran's tame terror groups: Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
On the other hand, it is hard to imagine a coordinated Middle East effort to deal with Iran unless there is either peace between Israel and the Palestinians, or, the Arab street and public opinion as well as American public opinion come to perceive Iran as a direct threat.
Ami Isseroff

Dubbele standaards bij de Verenigde Naties?

Je moet maar durven. De VN beschuldigen van pro-Israelische vooringenomenheid en eenzijdige kritiek op Iran. Toch hoor je dit geregeld, met soms de toevoeging dat de VN een zionistische creatie is en slechts haar belangen dient.

Why A Good Sense of Humor is Useful in Dealing with Contemporary International Affairs
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said some critical things about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the Durban-2 conference calling for Israel's destruction and questioning whether six million Jews were murdered by the German Nazis and their collaborators. Ki-Moon said he regretted that the Iranian president's speech tended "to accuse, divide and even incite."

In response, Iran's regime has lashed Ki-moon for "double standards."

Iranian U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee
condemned the UN and its officials for having allegedly "remained silent on [the] Israeli regime's abhorrent crimes against the innocent Palestinians, and on the threats, allegations and distortions made against...Iran by the Israeli regime."

Now, I don't have the stomach for it but some of you readers could easily total up the percentage of its time and the proportion of its money (much of it from U.S. taxpayers) and resolutions the UN has devoted to bashing Israel. Indeed, the entire Durban-1, Durban-2, and no doubt Durbans 3-through infinity conferences have been and will be devoted almost exclusively to this purpose.

And it was Iran's president who, according to the official translation, called for wiping Israel off the map at the same time as he's developing the nuclear weapons which might conceivably make some progress toward that goal.

Moreover, Iran and its friends were allowed to run the conference's preparations and word the resolution. The UN has ignored all the Iranian regime's human rights' violations and expressions of hatred toward several groups of other peoples and religions. Its treatment of the Bahais alone should get Iran mentioned perhaps in a resolution about religious persecution, right?

You'd think Tehran would be a bit grateful to the UN for white-washing it and ignoring its repressive behavior.

All kidding aside, the arrogant attitude, aggressive manner, and endless threats and demands of regimes like those of Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Libya make them their own worst enemies. (They should have much worse enemies among democratic states and their potential victims but that's a matter for another article.)

Given their frequently self-inflicted wounds, these regimes and their ideologies are certain to lose. Memo to Ahmadinejad: prepare your bunker and suicide note now for future use.

vrijdag 24 april 2009

Graf van Jozef bij Nablus vernield en beklad

Velen zullen ongetwijfeld zeggen dat dit een vervelend doch onvermijdelijk gevolg is van Israels wrede bezetting; dat zet nou eenmaal kwaad bloed. Deze redenering is natuurlijk zowel moreel als practisch onhoudbaar: mogen slachtoffers van zelfmoordaanslagen of hun nabestaanden dan ook in Israel Arabieren molesteren of hun moskeeën in brand steken? Mogen christenen in Arabische staten, waar zij stelselmatig worden gediscrimineerd en soms regelrecht vervolgd, moskeeën vernielen? Het is sowieso niet aan te raden: hun gemeenschap zal het zeker berouwen gezien de reactie van zowel de omgeving als de staat.
Religieuze plaatsen dienen te worden gerespecteerd, behalve wanneer zij worden misbruikt om wapens op te slaan of strijders zich er verschuilen. Deze Palestijnen gooien hiermee ook hun eigen glazen in: hoe kan men hun een staat toevertrouwen in een gebied waar verschillende voor de Joden heilige plaatsen liggen, als zij daar zo mee omgaan? Sinds de Palestijnse Autoriteit gebied onder haar controle heeft, zijn Joodse heilige plaatsen geregeld vernield of beschadigd.

Joseph Tomb compound vandalized
Worshippers arriving at compound to hold prayer service shocked to discover smashed headstones, swastika graffiti
Efrat Weiss - YNET
Hundreds of Jewish worshipers who arrived at Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus overnight were stunned to find the compound severely vandalized - yet again.

Israel pulled its forces out of the compound in October 2000. The IDF disallowed Jewish worshippers from entering it for a long period of time due to security concerns; and deserted, it has been burnt down and defaced many times.

December of 2008 saw Joseph Tomb's restored and the military began allowing worshippers to visit it once more, but always at night and under heavy military guard, for their own safety.

Wednesday night's visit was approved by the proper military authorities and the IDF provided the worshippers with an escort.

The group which entered the compound was made up of some 500 people. Upon entering the tomb they found it had been defaced - the headstone smashed and swastikas sprayed on the walls, as well as graffiti of a blood-dripping sward over a Star of David, and another "trampled" by a boot.

Some reported seeing visible boot prints all over the compounds, which they claim are consistent with the Palestinian police standard issue boots.

'We are to blame'
"Woe to the nation that allows its sacred places to be vandalized like this over and over again," said Gershon Mesika, head of the Shomron Regional Council, who was among the visitors.

"Only barbarians could do such things. People who pathologically disgrace such a holy place don't deserve to be called human beings," he added. "The Palestinian police terrorists have long since lost all shred of humanity. The State of Israel must return to Joseph's Tomb, as even the horrible Oslo Accords state."

The Shoulder to Shoulder group, which facilitates worshippers who wish to take part in services held in Joseph's Tomb called the situation "outrageous," adding that "on many a visit to the tombs of the just throughout Samaria we find them desecrated. This situation is unacceptable and must be rectified."

Yossi Dagan, of Homesh First, added that "if Jews were to even to consider inflicting one-tenth of this horror on a tomb of an Arab sheik, the entire world would get up on its hind legs and protest. What's absurd is that we are to blame, since even the Oslo Accords place the tomb under our responsibility."

Britse pro-Hamas lobby krijgt EU-subsidie

Met EU-geld is het Britse 'Conflicts Forum' actief bezig met het promoten van het gedachtengoed van Hamas:
What this anodyne phrase means in practice is revealed in a remarkably frank document published by this group, in which it explains the means it intends to use to bring about the basic change in perception that will bring Hamas and Hizbullah into the mainstream.
The document notes the need to build a "link-up between activist groups and mobilizers of opinion in order to shift the debate on Islamism from a predominantly defensive posture to a positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking."
It suggests "articulation of Hamas's and Hizbullah's values, philosophy and wider political and social programs... Being more proactive in statements and rephrasing discourse to focus on the positive aspects of Islamist ideology."
The Conflicts Forum publication lays down a precise strategy for the promotion of Hamas and Hizbullah in the West - of which the meeting in the British Parliament forms a part.
Wellicht dat ook in Nederland dergelijke organisaties achter de schermen bezig zijn om Hamas en andere jihadistische organisaties een humaan gezicht te geven. Dat zou een goede verklaring zijn voor het feit dat zij zo mild worden bejegend door de pers, en door zoveel linkse politici en opiniemakers als legitieme verzetsbewegingen worden beschouwd.

Analysis: The energetic Hamas lobby

Apr. 22, 2009

A meeting was meant to take place on Wednesday in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House, adjoining the House of Commons in London. The planned meeting was titled "Talk with Hamas" and was meant to feature a video link to Damascus.

Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, was supposed to address members of Parliament and journalists via the link, but he failed, due to a technical glitch.

This planned meeting was the latest event in an ongoing and organized campaign to break the Western boycott of Hamas and transform policy toward the organization. Much energy is being expended in the UK. But London is only a way station, with the real prize being the transformation of the US stance.

This campaign is part of a larger effort to change the way that the West sees Islamist movements - and by doing so to bring many of the arguments made by such movements into the mainstream.

Who is behind this effort? The invitation to MPs to the Mashaal meeting came from the office of Independent MP Clare Short.

However, it was issued in the name of John, Lord Alderdice. This name immediately offers a pointer. Alderdice, a veteran Northern Irish politician, is head of the board of advisers of an organization called Conflicts Forum.

Conflicts Forum is jointly led by Alistair Crooke and Mark Perry, former intelligence officers from the UK and US, respectively. It describes its aim as opening "a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world."

What this anodyne phrase means in practice is revealed in a remarkably frank document published by this group, in which it explains the means it intends to use to bring about the basic change in perception that will bring Hamas and Hizbullah into the mainstream.

The document notes the need to build a "link-up between activist groups and mobilizers of opinion in order to shift the debate on Islamism from a predominantly defensive posture to a positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking."

It suggests "articulation of Hamas's and Hizbullah's values, philosophy and wider political and social programs... Being more proactive in statements and rephrasing discourse to focus on the positive aspects of Islamist ideology."

The Conflicts Forum publication lays down a precise strategy for the promotion of Hamas and Hizbullah in the West - of which the meeting in the British Parliament forms a part.

The various PR devices suggested include "Use influential individuals - key Muslim personalities... use the Internet, DVD, interviews, podcasts... Link with mass organizations in Western countries - social movements, trade unions - to challenge hegemonic discourse. Approach editors of established journals... with a view to the possibility of them doing a special issue on Islamist thinking or on particular issues."

Undoubtedly, the attempted video link between Hamas HQ in Damascus and the Grimond Room in Portcullis House was meant to be a worthy contribution to this extensive effort to "re-brand" Hamas and Hizbullah.

The UK, and the EU as a whole, remain committed to the Quartet conditions which Hamas must meet to become a partner for dialogue. Hamas (or at least its "military wing") remains on the EU list of proscribed terror organizations.

A cursory observation of the backers of Conflicts Forum, however, reveals a curious paradox. In January 2007, the group proudly announced that it had been awarded a grant of €500,000 by the EU, to develop "more inclusive and legitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict." More specifically, the project entails the "engagement" of "faith-based movements."

So the EU, while currently opposing "engagement" with Hamas, also appears to be offering financial support to a body engaged in lobbying for the organization.

How important are the efforts of Conflicts Forum and its associated groups? Are initiatives such as Wednesday's planned meeting likely to have a tangible effect on policy?

Britain has, of course, already announced that it intends to hold talks with Hizbullah. On Hamas, however, no immediate significant shift in British government policy looks likely.

The Hamas Lobby is busy and active. It encompasses former senior diplomats such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, as well as the Conflicts Forum nexus.

Foreign Secretary Miliband has praised the Egyptian role in managing dialogue with Hamas in the following terms: "Others speak to Hamas. That's the right thing to do, and I think we should let the Egyptians take this forward."

A knowledgeable source noted that many in the Foreign Office consider that engagement with the group is a "matter of time."

Still, for as long as the US remains firmly committed to insisting that Hamas first abide by the three Quartet conditions (committing to nonviolence, recognizing Israel and accepting previous agreements and obligations), the UK is unlikely to openly break ranks. Differences might well surface if a Palestinian unity government were to be formed. But this too currently looks highly improbable.

Ultimately, the main obstacle to the success of Lord Alderdice, Clare Short and their friends in Conflicts Forum may well be the nature of their client. Hamas leaders have an unfortunate tendency to be candid regarding their movement's goals. This makes presenting the "positive aspects of Islamist ideology" something of a challenge.

Hamas "Foreign Minister" Mahmoud Zahar, for example, speaking last week, stated bluntly that "[Hamas] will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form."

A few months ago, the same speaker asserted that "they [Jews] have legitimized the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine... They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people."

Spinning statements of that kind into moderation would pose a challenge to the smoothest of PR operators. But as the planned Portcullis House meeting showed, Hamas possesses an experienced, well-oiled, well-funded (largely by the European taxpayer) lobby in the heart of London, in which it may take justifiable pride.


Jonathan Spyer is a Senior researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya.

donderdag 23 april 2009

Conclusies IDF onderzoek naar aantijgingen Gaza Oorlog (Operatie 'Gegoten Lood')

Het Israëlische leger heeft een onderzoek gedaan naar de Gaza Oorlog en een aantal claims en aantijgingen onderzocht zoals dat ambulances en medisch personeel beschoten zouden zijn door het IDF, en gebouwen van de UNRWA, witte fosfor in dichtbevolkt gebied werd gebruikt, zonder militair doel civiele infrastructruur is vernield etc. Uit dit onderzoek blijkt dat slechts in een enkel geval fouten zijn gemaakt door het leger waardoor nodeloos burgers en infrastructuur zijn getroffen, en het leger zich aan het internationale recht hield. Men zou soms zelfs nog strikter geweest zijn dan vereist.
Het is natuurlijk geen helemaal objectief onderzoek omdat het leger het zelf heeft uitgevoerd en dus zijn eigen vlees keurt, anderzijds heeft het leger vaker onderzoek gedaan dat wel degelijk kritisch van toon was en dat vervolgens ook tot verbeteringen leidde. Ook naar aanleiding van dit onderzoek heeft de chefstaf al verbeteringen aangekondigd, om bepaalde incidenten in de toekomst te vermijden.
Bovendien volgen de media en de politiek de zaken in Israël kritisch, alsook juridische experts, en kan het leger fouten niet zomaar wegpoetsen. Ik miste zelf wel meer details waardoor je als leek beter in staat zou zijn te beoordelen hoe iets kon gebeuren en of het gedrag van het leger gerechtvaardigd was. Ook miste ik sommige incidenten, zoals de beschieting van het huis van een familie waarbij tientallen doden waren gevallen. Sommige zaken worden nog onderzocht, dus misschien dat daarover later nog een onderzoek verschijnt. Verder stoorde ik me aan de soms wel erg verdedigende toon. Na een pagina weten we wel dat Hamas zich achter burgers verschool en huizen en andere gebouwen vol explosieven had gestopt. Waar het hier om gaat is of het leger altijd genoeg deed om burgerdoden te voorkomen.

Al met al verdient dit onderzoek zeker zoveel aandacht als alle aantijgingen van oorlogsmisdaden en alle geruchten en verhalen over wangedrag van soldaten, wat betekent dat iedere krant er minstens een hele pagina aan moet wijden, er een uitgebreid item over in het NOS journaal en verschillende actualiteitenrubrieken moet komen en ook andere media er aandacht aan besteden. Dat lijkt helaas niet te gebeuren.

IDF Spokesperson April 22nd, 2009

Conclusion of Investigations into Central Claims and Issues in Operation Cast Lead

The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi recently approved and authorized the publication of the conclusions of five investigative teams assigned to investigate events relating to the conduct of IDF soldiers during Operation Cast Lead.

The teams, headed by officers of the rank of Colonel, were composed of officers who were not a direct part of the chain of command in the operations in question and were appointed by Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi to thoroughly investigate a number of issues which were brought to general attention (by, amongst others, international organizations and the international and Israeli media).

The five investigative teams dealt with the following five issues:

1. Claims regarding incidents where UN and international facilities were fired upon and Damaged during Operation Cast Lead. The investigation was conducted by Col. Itzik Turgeman.

2. Incidents involving shooting at medical facilities, buildings, vehicles and crews. The investigation was conducted by Col.Erez Katz.

3. Claims regarding incidents in which many uninvolved civilians were harmed. The investigation was conducted by Col. Tamir Yedai.

4. The use of weaponry containing phosphorous. The investigation was conducted by Col. Shai Alkalai.

5. Damage to infrastructure and destruction of buildings by ground forces. The investigation was conducted by Col. Adam Zusman.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit emphasizes that these experts' investigations are not a replacement for the central operational IDF investigation of the entire operation which is continuing at various levels and which will be concluded by June. Additional issues are also undergoing a process of verification or investigation at various levels within the IDF.

The decision of the Chief of the General Staff to appoint the five investigative teams emanates from the IDF's professional, moral and legal obligations to thoroughly a number of claims which were made in relation to the conduct of the warfare. The process of examination involved a series of operational investigations, which are the accepted procedure in the IDF and other western militaries. These were carried out by three expert investigators of the rank of Colonel who had no direct involvement with the incidents in question.

In accordance with accepted IDF protocol for professional investigations, the investigators operated independently and were provided with access to all relevant materials and the freedom to question any of the relevant personnel. They were given the complaints that reached the IDF and other Israeli authorities, interviewed many soldiers and officers, and gathered relevant documents and other materials. It should be noted that each soldier whose testimony was requested was required to cooperate with the investigation, and the investigators received full cooperation.

The investigations showed that throughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF maintained a high professional and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians whilst taking cover amidst uninvolved civilians in the Gaza strip and using them as human shields. Notwithstanding this, the investigations revealed a very small number of incidents in which intelligence or operational errors took place during the fighting. These unfortunate incidents were unavoidable and occur in all combat situations, in particular of the type which Hamas forced on the IDF, by choosing to fight from within the civilian population.

The government of Israel ordered the IDF to embark on Operation Cast Lead as part of its duty to protect its citizens following eight years of rocket fire on Israeli communities in southern Israel. This fire was especially difficult during the three years since the "disengagement" when Israel withdrew from Gaza, and during two months prior to the operation when 160 rockets and mortars where fired at Israel. During these years, hundreds of thousands of Israeli children, women and men were terrorized by endless attacks executed by Hamas and other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of rockets and mortars were fired at schools, kindergartens and residential neighborhoods. No other choice was left other than to act against these continuous acts of terrorism whose cost was many killed and injured, in body and soul, and which disturbed any attempt to live a normal life in the cities and communities of Israel's south.

The fighting in Gaza took place in a complex battlefield against an enemy who chose, as a conscious part of its doctrine, to locate itself in the midst of the civilian population. The enemy booby trapped its houses with explosives, fired from the schools attended by its own children and used its own people as human shields while cynically abusing the IDF's legal and ethical commitment to avoid injuring uninvolved civilians. In order to ensure compliance with the IDF's obligations under international law, the IDF invested an enormous effort and huge resources to warn civilians in the Gaza Strip away from harm. The IDF dropped more than 2,250,000 leaflets during the fighting, used Palestinian radio, made personal telephone warnings to more than 165,000 Gaza residents and carried out a special warning shot procedure ("A knock on the roof"), in order to ensure that Palestinian civilians could avoid harm. Additionally, the IDF made extensive use of accurate munitions, wherever and whenever possible, to minimize harm to civilians. In addition, during the operation the IDF authorized humanitarian convoys to enter the Gaza and employed a humanitarian recess for several hours a day.

The IDF operated in accordance with moral values and international laws of war, trained its soldiers to act in accordance with the values and norms which bind the IDF, and made an enormous effort to focus its fire only against the terrorists whilst doing the utmost to avoid harming uninvolved civilians. Like other militaries that are forced to fight a terrorist enemy that hides and operates under a civilian cover, the IDF had to face difficult moral dilemmas as a result of the illegitimate approach of Hamas.
This approach turned Gaza's urban areas into a battle field and intentionally made use of uninvolved civilians, civilian buildings and sensitive humanitarian facilities (i.e. hospitals, religious and educational institutions and facilities associated with the UN and other international organizations). The investigations clearly showed that the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF's legal commitments were implemented in the operational plans, the training the forces received prior to the operation and the orders that were given during the operation. In some of the incidents the IDF even placed more limits on its actions than required under international law, and acted with restraint in order to avoid harming civilians.

The IDF achieved the aims and objectives that were set and struck a heavy blow to the terror organizations lead by the Hamas, by targeting terrorists, military infrastructure and weapons manufacturing facilities. The complex operation involved cooperation between air, naval and ground forces together with different intelligence agencies, including both reserve and regular forces. Prior to the operation, careful planning and preparations were undertaken in order to ensure that the units were and command centres were trained and ready for any challenge.

The investigation process was lengthy due to the extent of the fighting, the complex and thorough work of the investigators, the time required to gather information from the various units involved in the operation, and comprehensive cross-checking. With regard to some of the investigations presented here, some specific additional issues are still being checked, and additional allegations are now being investigated.

In accordance with usual practice, a summary of each investigation will also be presented to the Military Advocate General, who is entitled to decide whether additional checks need to be done or if there is the basis for opening another type of investigation. His decision is entirely independent and he is subject only to the law.

Due to their significance, the conclusions of the investigations and the opinion of the Military advocate will be presented for review to the Attorney General.
Voor het uitgebreide rapport zie:

Zionisten Tegen de Bezetting

Bradley Burston wil Zionisten Tegen de Bezetting oprichten. Die bestaan natuurlijk allang: een flink deel van de zionisten, wellicht een meerderheid zelfs (ligt aan je definitie en de voorwaarden onder welke de bezetting beëindigd zou worden) is tegen de voortdurende bezetting van de Westoever. Neem een Amos Oz, Gershon Baskin, zelfs Uri Avnery en talloze minder uitgesproken zionisten. Neem Tzipi Livni of Ehud Barak onder voorwaarden.
Extreemrechtse zionisten die het hele 'land van Israël' opeisen als - liefst exclusieve en religieuze - Joodse staat, hoeven maar licht voorover te buigen om de hand te kunnen reiken aan hun tegenstrevers van Hamas, die een islamitisch Arabische staat gevestigd willen zien in heel 'historisch Palestina'.
Om het conflict op te lossen moet de ene partij de andere uitmoorden en/of verjagen, of er moeten twee staten komen waarin Joden en Palestijnen hun nationale autonomie en kunnen uitoefenen en hun eigen lot bepalen. Wie het meeste 'recht' heeft op de grond is daaraan van ondergeschikt belang.

Zionists Against Occupation

Will the ZAO replace the ZOA? Should it? The important thing is that someone has finally said in public, loudly, that Zionism and support for occupation are not synonymous. But what is really needed is to get those Zionists who oppose the occupation to also oppose Zionism-bashing and delegitimation of Israel.
Haaretz - 20/4/2009
ROME - It occurred to me while leaving St. Peter in Chains.
I decided to do the very last thing the Jewish People needs: start a new Jewish organization.
The inspiration was the unassuming but sublime church of San Pietro in Vincoli [St. Peter in Chains]. Tucked into a back corner of the city, it is home to Michelangelo's monumentally wistful marble of Moses.
There is no more perfect representation of the contemporary Zionist enterprise than that of this first of all Zionist ideologues - the melancholy language of the sculpture's eyes and clenched sinews a simultaneous translation of betrayal, disillusion, ire and the clutch of hope against all better judgment.
This is the Basilica of the Displaced Person. No one is more displaced than this prince who cannot feel at home in his native Egypt, but who will forever be denied entry to that promised place he knows he belongs.
By the Renaissance, Moses' truncated fate extended to the sculpture itself, stuck here for 500 years in a well-tended purgatory, a permanent Diaspora, far less grand if perhaps far better suited than the one - the much better-known St. Peter's across town - originally offered to, and snatched away from, Michelangelo.
What better time, then, to think about promised lands?
In particular, what better time to think about what separates Israel from a future of genuine calm and confidence?
This is, after all, the bedrock challenge facing Benjamin Netanyahu as he scrambles to cobble together a foreign policy.
This is also a key challenge for Barack Obama as he lays the groundwork for an ambitious regional solution to a brace of Arab-Israeli and pan-Muslim conflicts.
When the two meet in the coming weeks, the press will watch closely for nuances in terminology, and concessions from one side or another over the nature of a future Palestinian state.
So what can a cold marble Moses tell the rest of us about a course of action and a path toward peace?
This is what I took away from St. Peter in Chains, and a prophet of Judaism, Islam and Christianity holding tablets close to the vest: Jews have to end the occupation for the sake of Zionism.
Herewith, then, a manifesto of one. The founding document of Zionists Against Occupation:
1. Thou Shalt Not Have Other Gods Before Me.
2. Thou Shalt Not Make For Thyself an Idol
3. Thou Shalt Not Bow Down to Them
4. Thou Shalt Not Use the Lord's Name in Vain
It is time to acknowledge that the settlements are the Golden Calf of the current generations of believing Jews.
The settlements have made much of Orthodoxy delirious with worship of property, even some elements of Orthodoxy who refrain from fully recognizing the legitimacy of the state of Israel. They have tried to make settlement synonymous with Zionism, even when settlement conflicts with Israel's strategic and diplomatic interests.
It is time to recognize that settlement of the West Bank is a commandment which came not from God, but from rabbis, which is to say, all too often, from politicians.
5. Thou Shalt Not Steal, Nor Covet That Which Is Your Neighbor's.
6. Thou Shalt Not Murder.
7. Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother, So That Your Days May Be Long in the Land that the Lord your God is Giving You.
Both the Jews and the Palestinians have valid claims to the Holy Land. If the Holy Land is to be shared, Israelis and Palestinians both will have to sacrifice legitimate grievances for the sake of a livable future, one which honors ancestors by making it possible for children to grow and thrive.
Finally, and most importantly, it is time for Jews to recognize how lethal the occupation is, to the idea of maintaining a Jewish state.
When right-wing Jews say that all of the Holy Land, the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel proper, belongs to the Jews alone, they are in effect de-legitimizing Israel. They are adding fuel to the arguments of Hamas, which views all of Israel, West Jerusalem, Haifa, and Sderot alike, to be occupied Arab land.
In the end, the question of whether Israel will be a Jewish state will not depend on what the Palestinians say, but on what the Jews do.
8. Thou Shalt Not Be Silent.
9. Thou Shalt Not Look Away.
10. Thou Shalt Use the Word Occupation
It is time to follow Ariel Sharon's example and call the occupation what it is. It is time for Zionists to stand up and declare strong support for Israel and strong opposition to the occupation. Not for the sake of the Palestinians. For Israel's sake.
"Controlling 3.5 million Palestinians cannot go on forever," Sharon told a weekly meeting of stunned Likud leaders, Netanyahu among them, in May, 2003. "You want to remain in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem?"
"The idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation - yes, it is occupation, you might not like the word, but what is happening is occupation - is bad for Israel, and bad for the Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli economy," Sharon said.
If the last 40 years are any indication, the Palestinians will be able to survive the occupation. A healthy state of Israel will not.

Palestijnse dokter uit Gaza deelt vredesprijs met Israelische aktiviste uit Sderot

Nomika Zion in 2007

Beiden is de prijs van harte gegund, maar....
Het zijn wel weer twee mensen die beiden de bezetting bestrijden en vooral kritisch zijn over Israel. Abu El Aish is ondanks al zijn mooie en moedige woorden niet echt voor een tweestatenoplossing en kijkt vanuit Palestijns perspectief naar het conflict. Nomika Zion, eveneens zeer moedig en actief in diverse vredesinitaitieven, kijkt ook vooral kritisch naar wat haar eigen land, Israel, doet.
Dit is een bekend fenomeen bij dialooggroepen en gezamelijke initiatieven: beide kanten bekritiseren vooral Israel, terwijl er toch zeker evenveel aan te merken is op de Palestijnen....
Zie ook mijn blog uit 2007: Sderot en de Qassams

Gaza doctor to share US prize with Sderot woman
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Gaza doctor who in January lost three of his daughters when IDF soldiers fired tank shells on his home, thinking there were terrorists inside, will share the Niarchos Prize for Survivorship with Nomika Zion from Sderot.

The prize, sponsored by the group Survivor Corps, will be presented to the two on April 29 in New York City as Palestinian and Israeli survivors of war and violence.
The physician, who continues to work at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, appeared on Israeli TV programs immediately after the tragedy and while expressing immense grief, he called for peace, provoking a strong positive reaction in Israel and across the world.
Zion lives in an urban kibbutz in Sderot, where she works mostly from home in a concrete shelter. In January, she published War Diary from Sderot about her experiences, and opposes the glorification of the war by some in the name of Sderot residents.
"I am frightened that... we are losing the human ability to see the other side, to feel, to be horrified and to show empathy," she wrote.
Survivor Corps is a global network helping people recover from war and rebuild their communities and was a leader in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Land Mines.
Jerry White, the co-founder and executive director, lost his leg to a land mine in the Golan Heights 25 years ago. He later escorted Diana, Princess of Wales, on her last humanitarian mission to Bosnia and then spearheaded efforts to promote a mine-free Middle East with the late Jordanian King Hussein and his wife Queen Noor.
Last month he visited the region again to launch Survivor Corps' Israeli-Palestinian program.
Two days before the ceremony at Pier 61, Chelsea Piers, in Manhattan, Abuelaish and Zion - together with survivors from Bosnia and Rwanda - will share their stories with the public at the Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington .

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Meerderheid Israeli's voor vredestroepen NAVO op Westoever

Gezien de nogal kritische houding van veel EU leiders en parlementariërs tegenover Israel en natuurlijk het belaste verleden, zijn de resultaten van deze enquete opmerkelijk. Israeli's blijken een behoorlijk positief beeld van Europa te hebben, en zelfs haar rol in het vredesproces wordt niet in meerderheid als negatief beoordeeld, en een meerderheid vindt de steun van de EU aan de Palestijnen en voor de tweestatenoplossing een goede zaak. Alleen een dialoog van de EU met Hamas vinden de meesten geen goed idee. 
Het probleem met het EU beleid ten aanzien van het Midden-Oosten is wat mij betreft ook niet dat de Palestijnen zulke ruimhartige steun ontvangen of dat men zich inzet voor een tweestatenoplossing, maar wel dat men vaak zo eenzijdig is in zijn kritiek: er gaat onevenredeig veel aandacht uit naar de nederzettingen en de roadblocks als obstakel voor vrede, terwijl zaken als dat de Palestijnen vasthouden aan het recht op terugkeer van alle vluchtelingen naar Israel, en de Palestijnse Autoriteit Israel niet erkent als Joodse staat en heel Oost-Jeruzalem opeist, worden genegeerd. Ook negeert men het feit dat Palestijnse media, soms door de EU gefinancierd, terroristen als helden eren en allerlei fabels verkondigen over Joden en Israel. Dit geldt ook voor door de EU gefinancierde schoolboeken en 'vredesgroepen' die voor boycots en 'verzet' pleiten.

Jewish Israelis favor NATO peacekeepers

Israelis would trust NATO in W. Bank

Apr. 22, 2009


Almost two-thirds of Israeli Jews support sending NATO troops to the West Bank in a peacekeeping capacity, according to a poll conducted by Jerusalem-based KEEVOON Research and set to be released on Wednesday.

Israeli Jews supported the presence of NATO peacekeepers in Palestinian areas by 62 percent to 34%, the study found. But that support was not shared among Israeli Arabs, who opposed the idea by 44% to 24% - though a third said they did not know or refused to answer the question.

"We are seeing a change in the readiness for third-party intervention in the conflict," according to Dr. Lars Hansel, head of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung office in Jerusalem, which commissioned the study.

"Three or four years back, there was no readiness for international involvement, but I think this changed because of the EU monitoring mission in Rafah, which was seen positively, and the German marines deployed on the Lebanese coast, who are seen [by Israelis] as a welcome development. We are clearly sensing a shift in discourse in Israel about this," Hansel said.

Indeed, a majority of respondents (54%) supported outright Israeli membership in NATO (33% did not). Support rose to 60% when only Jewish responses were counted.

This high support was almost identical among Jerusalem and Tel Aviv residents - 65% and 64%, respectively - suggesting that this view cut across social, religious and political divisions. A similar majority was maintained among the voters of all major parties, including Labor (70%), Israel Beiteinu (67%), Kadima (63%) and the Likud (59%).

The study also found that more than two-thirds of Israelis (69%) would like to join the European Union, with just 18% opposing the idea. Support was higher among Jews (75%, with 15% opposing) than among Arabs (40% vs 30% opposing).

To test the strength of this support, the survey presented a hypothetical situation in which "Israelis would be able to live or work anywhere in Europe, the shekel would have to be replaced eventually with the euro, and the Law of Return might be amended."

Even then, support for joining the EU narrowly defeated opposition by 44% to 43%.

According to Hansel, "there is a general attraction to the EU, which is interesting because it is based not only on economic issues, but also on values. The study showed that Israelis liked the EU in part because it promotes democracy and pluralism. For Israelis, the EU stands for certain values and a certain kind of prosperity."

Nearly half of Israelis welcomed EU aid to the Palestinians.

After being told that "the European Union is the largest donor to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and is committed to improving their humanitarian and economic situation," 47% of Israelis said this caused their support for the European organization to increase, while 37% said it diminished their support.

Similarly, 54% said the EU's support for a two-state solution encouraged them to support the EU, while 34% said it hurt their support.

Israelis were less forgiving on the question of a potential EU dialogue with Hamas, however, as 59% said it would reduce their support for the EU. And though they generally held a high opinion of the European organization (63% favorable), Israelis were evenly split (36% to 34%) on whether it had advanced or impeded the peace process in recent years.

Unlike with NATO, opinion on the European Union seemed to depend heavily on political and religious belief and age. Large majorities of Kadima, Labor and Meretz voters and most Israelis over 51 said they liked the European umbrella organization, while much of the opposition came from large segments of the young Israeli population, the Orthodox, and voters for Arab parties.

The study asked Israelis to rate their opinions of several well-known foreign leaders. The results showed that Israelis were as susceptible to the charisma of the new American president as people from any European country: Barack Obama was the most popular of the world leaders, with a favorability rating of 74% and just 11% saying they had an "unfavorable" view of him.

The high figures indicate that Obama's popularity is widespread even among Israel's political Right.

After Obama, Middle East negotiator and former British prime minister Tony Blair is the next-most popular foreign leader, with 68% favorable to 14% unfavorable.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy came third with 64%. That marks a doubling of support for the French presidency compared to Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac. In 2007, Chirac had 29% approval and 63% disapproval among Israelis.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana came in last among foreign leaders mentioned in the poll, with 26% approval and 28% disapproval.

The study put a particular focus on Israelis' views of Germany, finding that two-thirds had a favorable opinion of the country. Fully 62% of Israelis believe Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany's first female chancellor, improves the country's image abroad.

The survey included a battery of other questions.

Asked about their main concern vis-a-vis their government, Israelis said they were overwhelmingly more concerned about the economy than foreign policy by a margin of 61% to 12%.

In the wake of February's election (the study was conducted from April 1 to 5), the poll found a significant swing toward optimism among Israelis compared with the last poll from 2007. Two years ago, fully 77% of respondents said the country was going in the wrong direction. By 2009, that figure had dropped to 50%.

However, Israelis' views of Turkey took a sharp turn for the worse, in the wake of the bitter diplomatic dispute between the two countries over Operation Cast Lead in January. Approval for Turkey dropped from 65% in 2007 to just 34% in the current study.

The survey also questioned Hebrew-speaking respondents about the countries from which their grandparents had come, concluding that 40% of Israeli Jews had European origins and were likely eligible for European citizenship. The 2007 poll found a similar figure of 36%.

The KEEVOON poll was directed by Mitchell Barak, funded by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and advised academically by Dr. Sharon Pardo of the Center for the Study of European Politics and Society at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba. It questioned 600 participants - 500 Jews polled in Hebrew and 100 Arabs polled in Arabic.


Hamas video toespraak aan Britse kamerleden mislukt door technische storing

Waarom moet Hamas het Britse parlement toespreken? Ik geloof dat Achmadinejad dat eerder al heeft gedaan. Wie volgt, Osama Bin Laden? Misschien hebben de Somalische piraten ook wel een interessante boodschap voor het Britse parlement. Of de Janjaweed. Zij hebben allen ongetwijfeld zeer begrijpelijke redenen voor hun agressie, en wie weet, als we hun tegemoet komen en hun grieven serieus nemen, dat ze dan wel bereid zijn ermee op te houden. Een en ander uiteraard wel onder hun voorwaarden...

Last update - 22:30 22/04/2009       
Hamas video address to British MPs fails due to technical glitch
By Barak Ravid
Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal's plan to address British lawmakers in an unprecedented video teleconference on Wednesday failed due to a technical glitch.
The Damascus-based Meshal had hoped to address the parliamentarians as part of the Islamist group's campaign to persuade the West to engage in dialogue with Hamas as part of the Middle East peace process.
Event organizers had hoped the session could help persuade the U.S. and European governments to review their policy toward Hamas, but were unable to speak to Meshal when a video link failed.
Independent British lawmaker Clare Short, a former Labor Cabinet minister and one of the event's organizers, said she would invite Meshal to address a future meeting in the same way.
About 25 members of the British House of Commons and House of Lords had gathered for the session, which was criticized by Britain's Foreign Office and Israel's Foreign Ministry.
The event was arranged by MP Clare Short, who reigned from the Labor Party in 2006, several years after quitting the government over the war in Iraq. Short recently led a delegation of British MPs to meet with Meshal in Damascus.
Short extended personal invitations about a week ago to dozens of MPs to attend the videoconference, to be broadcast to a meeting room in the MPs' office building. A large number of MPs are expected to attend.
The Israeli Embassy in London tried unsuccessfully to get pro-Israel MPs to exert pressure to cancel the event.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said Monday: "If Khaled Meshal would ask to enter the U.K., he would be denied, because the British government knows very well that Hamas is a terror organization. It is therefore a very serious matter when the British Parliament gets around this obstacle and opens its doors to a terror leader by means of a videoconference."
In recent months, particularly after Operation Cast Lead, several MPs have met with Meshal in Damascus and with Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza.
The British government does not meet officially with Hamas, as it is on the European Union's list of terror groups.
U.K.-Israeli relations have been overshadowed recently by closer relations by British politicians and Hamas.

Durban II conferentie en de schaduw van de Holocaust

Ami Isseroff schrijft:
As William Faulkner remarked, and as events keep on proving, "The past is not dead. It is not even past." The anti-Semitism industry is far older and more successful than any real or imagined "Holocaust Industry." Just because we are paranoid, does not mean there are not people out to get us. Jews should one day be healed of the obsession with the Holocaust. But that can only happen when the world is healed of its pathological obsession with the Jews.
Helaas herkennen velen de antisemitisme industrie niet omdat ze er slechts kritiek op Israel in zien, of slechts de bedoeling om te provoceren of wat voor excuses men allemaal al niet verzint. En welk excuus is mooier dan dat Joden het zelf zeggen, en die kunnen toch geen antisemieten zijn?

There is no denying that the Holocaust, and the long and odious history of anti-Semitism, have left pathological marks not only in Jews as individuals and as a group, but in the conscience of the world.

Reactions of Jews range from denial to obsession. Both extremes are pathological, and both extremes coexist not only in Jewish society, but within individuals. Every person's thinking and emotions about the subject may contain elements of both pathologies, creating a constant inner struggle with the issues, and a fruitful field for development of guilt complexes and inferiority.

At one end of the spectrum, the Norman Finkelstein psychopaths rant about the "Holocaust Industry." There are many who minimize not only the Holocaust, but the entire history of anti-Semitism. At the other extreme there are Jews who insist that their identity is centered around the Holocaust, and that only when they visited Auschwitz or participated in the march of the living did they feel truly Jewish. And there are non-Jews who somehow can only relate to Jews as objected of pity. That sort of morose identity, in my view, is not worth having, and it is not worth perpetuating and bequeathing to our children. It is certainly wrong to expect a "free pass" for anything Jews might do because of the Holocaust or anti-Semitism

There are Jews and non-Jews who insist that the entire history of anti-Semitism was invented by "Zionists" and that in reality, Jewish life in the Diaspora was mostly a wonderful story, punctuated by some "unfortunate indignities" and "incidents" that were similar to the fate of many nations and peoples. Or else there is an insistence that the "bad old days" are now passed. The optimist in every one of us wants to believe it. Forgetting and minimizing the past is convenient and less embarrassing for gentiles as well. Everyone wants to think of their ancestors as honored sages and men and women of valor. Nobody wants to dwell on grandpa and grandma running down the street to escape pursuers, hiding in hay stacks to save their lives.

I will burden you with only a few examples. In the town of Proskurov, in February of 1919, about 2000 Jews were murdered in a pogrom. The New York Times wrote

The first of a new series of events which leave the scope of ordinary pogroms and assume the character of slaughter occurred in a city which will forever be written in letters of blood on the pages of Jewish history.

But Proskurov was not remembered. It has been virtually forgotten. In fact, during the Russian Civil War, between 50,000 and 200,000 Jews were killed in pogroms in the area of the Ukraine and Poland. The Ukrainians insist that they didn't do it, it was the Russians. The Russians insist that it was the Ukrainians. The Jews mostly do not want to remember. As for Proskurov, it has been wiped off the map. Appropriately enough, with wry humor, the Ukrainian government renamed the town Khmelnitzky, after the Ukrainian national hero. celebrated in many monuments. Khmelnitsky's major achievement was that he himself, together with his bands, killed up to 200,000 Jews in the seventeenth century. He was a pioneer in the field, you see.

Continued here: Durban renewal: The Holocaust is alive and well

ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log


Knesset voorzitter Ruby Rivlin schrijft open brief over Achmadinejad

De vergelijking van Achmadinejad met Hitler gaat waarschijnlijk te ver, maar er zijn enkele opvallende paralellen, en de dreiging van een Iraans atoomwapen maakt zeker dat waakzaamheid - of zelfs militair ingrijpen - geboden is.
Dat Achmadinejad bij Israëli's en Joden zulke associaties oproept is zeker begrijpelijk.

Press Release


The Speaker of the Knesset, Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, in a personal letter to heads of parliament around the world:


"The hate expressed by the President of Iran is a warning to all humanity: we risk seeing a repetition of the Holocaust and it will be brought about by people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad"




Dear Colleague,


Today, the People of Israel are marking Holocaust Remembrance Day as we do every year on this date. Israel mourns the murder of six million of its sons, daughters, elderly and infants.  Hundreds of state and community ceremonies and events are held throughout Israel and around the world to mark this Memorial Day. Schools and other educational institutions devote the whole day to studying the lessons of the Holocaust, and particularly the universal lesson – the duty to fight against racism and hate.


At 10:00 o'clock this morning a siren was sounded throughout Israel marking a two minute silence. Every Israeli stopped whatever they were doing, stood silently, bowed their heads in respect, remembering.


Cars and busses stopped by the side of the road. The bustle of daily life came to a stop. The busy streets grew silent.


Everything stopped. We remembered our grandparents who we never got to meet; we remembered that only a generation or two ago Jews were hunted like animals. We remembered that not long ago, in the middle of the twentieth century, Jews had no refuge anywhere in the world.


But this morning, in contrast to Remembrance Days of past years, we, the citizens of Israel, Jews all around the world and every man of conscience  faced a new reality that we believed would never reoccur. A reality we had thought was no longer possible in a world that had experienced the horrors of the Second World War.


73 years after the Berlin Olympics, yesterday the world witnessed the return of Adolf Hitler.


This time he has a beard and speaks Persian. But the words are the same words and the aspirations are the same aspirations and the determination to find the weapons to achieve those aspirations is the same menacing determination. Unfortunately, just as at that shameful Olympic event, the world has again given him a platform.


Yesterday, in Geneva, we saw how representatives of the worlds leading democracies stood up and stormed out of the UN Durban II Conference hall in response to the incendiary words of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No doubt they recalled the devastation caused to their countries when the world disregarded the first Hitler. But we also saw how hundreds of representatives of other countries nodded in agreement and even cheered the words of the Iranian President.


We saw how the Secretary General of the United Nations – the organization that was established in order to ensure that there would never be a second Hitler –

remained in his chair and later, softly and hesitantly condemned the appalling incitement. We also saw the honour bestowed on Hitler's successor when he was received by the President of Switzerland. All this of course was carried out in the name of diplomatic protocol and the duty to maintain neutrality. Yesterday, more than a few Jews recalled Swiss neutrality during the 1940's.


However, dear colleagues, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of diplomacy. Today we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of neutrality. Today we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of diplomatic protocol. Today, every civilized human being must decide whether he belongs to the Sons of Light or to the Sons of Darkness; the camp of the civilized world or the camp of the enemies of humanity.


If there is one lesson to be learned from the destruction and devastation the first Hitler brought to the world, it is to be found in the realization that anyone who remains silent, anyone who ignores evil, anyone who deals with the devil – he too in the final analyses pays the price.


I therefore call upon you, my colleagues around the world, not to remain silent, not to turn away and above all not to think for one moment that Ahmadinejad is not a threat to you too.


I call on you to initiate action in your parliament that will convey a clear message to the whole world that we have learned the lessons of the past and that 2009 will not be a repetition of 1939.



Sincerely yours,


Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin


Nieuwe gasvelden ontdekt voor de kust van Israel

Zeker gezien Israels afhankelijkheid van olie-import is de vondst van nieuwe eigen gasvelden een opsteker.
Hoewel om energiebronnen oorlogen worden gevoerd, kan het ook mede een basis bieden aan vrede.
There are also large natural-gas deposits off the Egyptian shoreline and the Gaza Strip in the sediment course of the Nile.
Voor de arme Gazastrook zou het in de toekomst ook gunstig zijn als men deze gasvelden kan exploiteren, met de nodige hulp van Israel en/of Egypte, maar dat lijkt nog erg toekomstmuziek.

Natural gas in Israel

Israel's historic development in natural gas
Apr. 17, 2009
shmuel even , THE JERUSALEM POST
An historic development has marked Israel's energy scene in recent months. In January 2009, a large natural-gas reserve was discovered at the Tamar 1 drilling site (90 kilometers west of the Haifa shoreline), and in late March there was a report of a natural-gas discovery at the Dalit 1 drilling site (60 km. west of the Hadera shoreline). The potential of this site is still being examined.
These discoveries come on the heels of other discoveries of natural gas in the Mediterranean off the coast of Israel, starting with the discovery of the first large reserve in 1999, west of the Ashkelon shoreline. The amount of gas at Tamar 1 is estimated to be at least three times the amount discovered in the past off Ashkelon and Ashdod (the Yam Thetis site), and the value of the gas is assessed at some $15 billion.
On January 18, 2009, following the companies' reports of the gas discovery at Tamar 1, national infrastructures minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer informed the government: "We are witnesses to an historic as well as formative moment for the Israeli energy market." He added: "If drilling at the Tamar site actually produces the amounts quoted, then Israel's dependence on other supplies will decrease, though not disappear altogether."
Natural gas is created by bacteria from organic matter and is a mixture of different gases, with methane being its chief component. The source for much of the organic matter in our region is primeval sediment from the Nile River deposited in the Mediterranean. There are also large natural-gas deposits off the Egyptian shoreline and the Gaza Strip in the sediment course of the Nile.
The new discoveries of gas off of Israel's coast are made possible by innovative deep-sea drilling technologies, but their cost is high. For example, the depth of Dalit is around 1,200 meters, and the drilling is planned to reach a depth of some 3,700 m. The estimated cost of the drilling operation stands at $50 million.
Natural gas is the cheapest energy product on the Israeli market. Compared to other fuels such as mazut, diesel and coal, it burns relatively cleanly and emits fewer pollutants and hothouse gases. Building power stations operating on natural gas is relatively cheap; they need relatively little space, and they can be built anywhere, unlike coal-burning power stations that must be built on the shore - a densely populated and expensive area.
The advantages of using Israeli gas compared with using imported kerosene or gas lie in the direct income generated to the country's Treasury as a result of royalties and taxes and a contribution to Israel's balance of payments. The Israeli gas revolution also intensifies the search for natural gas and fuels in Israel and thereby contributes to employment in the energy sector.
The major drawback of using natural gas compared with kerosene and coal is the difficulty involved in its storage and transportation in containers in its natural state. The cheapest and most efficient way to market it to consumers is by an infrastructure of gas pipes. Therefore, the development of the gas market depends on the parallel development of three components: searching for gas, delivering the gas and consuming the gas.
Nonetheless, it is possible to turn natural gas into a liquid (LNG) at condensing installations, which would allow the product to be moved without a network of pipes. Israel is preparing to operate LNG installations starting in 2015.
The National Infrastructures Ministry estimates that there will be a gap of some years between the time the Tamar 1 site is fully developed, and ready to supply gas, and the expected depletion of the gas at the Yam Thetis site in 2012. In the interval, Israel would, to a large extent, depend on Egyptian gas and might even suffer a natural-gas shortage.
The discovery of gas at the Dalit 1 site is likely to change this forecast, if the anticipated amounts are indeed there. In light of the data on Dalit 1 and its proximity to existing infrastructure for transporting the gas by sea (presently serving the Yam Thetis site), it would be possible to begin moving gas from the site as early as 2012. This would close the expected gap between the depletion of the Thetis Sea site and the start of supply from Tamar 1, and even meet the rising demand expected to occur by the new gas-based power stations.
Local natural gas is important in reducing Israel's energy dependence. More than most nations in the world, the State of Israel has a clear interest in reducing its dependence on the imports of critical resources, including energy. Most of Israel's energy sources are located in remote areas, the supply routes are narrow and limited and it has experience (after the Yom Kippur War) with oil being used as a weapon.
Furthermore, Israel is liable to suffer from disruptions to its energy supply resulting from events not necessarily connected to the Arab-Israel conflict. Like other countries, for example, Israel suffered an oil shortage during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which caused skyrocketing prices and supply difficulties.
Egypt is Israel's only source for imported natural gas, although in the past, importing gas from Russia through Turkey and the Palestinian Authority was considered. The considerations motivating Israel and Israel Electric to purchase Egyptian gas included the large gas reserves in its territory, the desire to vary the country's gas supply sources, initiating competition between the Egyptian and the Israeli suppliers, and political considerations (the natural-gas agreement is one of the hallmarks of peace). These considerations remain valid.
Nevertheless, because of the increasing dependence on gas by Israel's electric system, a critical infrastructure for any Israeli economic activity and growth, and the resistance of the Egyptian opposition to exporting gas to Israel, the long-term viability of this particular supply channel is questionable.
One such challenge occurred in November 2008, when a Cairo court rendered the gas agreement signed with Israel in 2005 void as a result of a petition submitted by the opposition, which protested the low price of the gas in Israel. The regime appealed the decision and the ruling was reversed, but at the same time raised the cost (in an agreement made on February 22, 2009).
In the course of the public debate about the sale of gas to Israel, the Egyptian regime made it clear that the supply of gas to Israel was a function of the peace agreement between the two nations and that Israel was not asking for preferential terms compared with Egypt's other customers.
In any case, according to media reports, after the discovery of the Tamar gas field, EMG (the Egyptian gas supplier) said it was not worried about the implications of the discovery because, on the basis of projections of the National Infrastructures Ministry, the Israeli gas market would need both the quantities of gas guaranteed it by the Egyptians and the gas from Tamar.
As far as the Palestinians are concerned, it is in Israel's best political interests to develop Palestinian gas fields. However, the continuing conflict, the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and the discovery of gas in Israel reduce the possibility of taking advantage of these reserves in the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, the discoveries of natural gas will supply the Israeli energy market with relatively cheap and environmentally friendly energy. They vary Israel's energy sources and are in line with Israel's interests in reducing its dependence on energy from external sources. Nonetheless, it is important to accelerate the rate of development of other alternatives to oil and coal, and in particular to develop the field of renewable energy. (INSS)
The Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) is a policy research and applied strategic learning organization within the National Defense University, serving the US Department of Defense, its components and interagency partners.

Driekwart Israëli's en Palestijnen accepteert tweestatenoplossing

En nu hopen dat die 76% het ook eens kunnen worden over de details, en die 24% geen roet in het eten gooien....




74% of Palestinians willing to accept Two State Solution

78% of Israelis willing to accept Two State Solution



71% of Palestinians & 77% of Israelis feel Negotiations are 'Essential' or 'Desirable'







22 April 2009 / Jerusalem / Despite growing fears that the "Two State Solution" is losing purchase on the ground in Israel and Palestine, today the OneVoice Movement ( released the findings of a new poll which demonstrates that the two state solution remains the only acceptable resolution for the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians.


OneVoice is an international grassroots collective using civic engagement to mobilize citizens and their leaders to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a mutually-acceptable two state agreement which ends the occupation, guarantees the security of Israel, and establishes a viable, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel.


The poll was commissioned by OneVoice in collaboration with Dr. Colin Irwin of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool (, and in conjunction with Dr. Nader Said of Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) in Ramallah and Dr. Mina Zemach of Dahaf Institute in Tel Aviv. The methodology, which had been piloted by Dr. Irwin in Northern Ireland and subsequently used in places as varied as Sri Lanka and Macedonia, involved a questionnaire designed through a series of interviews with civil society leaders and political figures on each side.  The field work was conducted by Zemach in Israel and by Said in Palestine during February 2009, in the wake of the Gaza war and the Israeli elections.


The results indicate that 74% of Palestinians and 78% of Israelis are willing to accept a two state solution (an option rated on a range from 'tolerable' to 'essential'), while 59% of Palestinians and 66% of Israelis find a single bi-national state 'unacceptable.' Additionally, according to the data, 77% of Israelis and 71% of Palestinians consider a negotiated peace 'essential' or 'desirable.' Ninety-four percent of Palestinians and 74% of Israelis think that the people must be continually informed on the negotiations process.


The poll also reveals that consensus still needs to be built. The findings imply that mainstream Israeli and Palestinian populations still have yet to acknowledge the significant priorities and fears on the other side. While the issue of greatest significance for Palestinians is freedom from occupation (94% deem it a 'very significant' problem in the peace process, ranking it the primary issue on the Palestinian side), only 30% of Israelis find it to be 'very significant,' ranking the issue 15th on the Israeli side. Similarly, the primary issue on the Israeli side is stopping attacks on civilians (90% rate it a 'very significant' issue). This issue meets with 50% approval on the Palestinian side, and ranks as 19 in a list of 21 issues. Significant gaps in public consensus persist as well on the issues of settlements and refugees – two issues on which there was no single proposed solution which met with majority approval on both sides.

To address the critical gaps that still exist on some recognition and final status issues, OneVoice is launching a Town Hall Meetings Series in Israel and Palestine to present the findings of the poll and discuss the various issues – from mutual recognition to settlements, refugees, and Jerusalem – that both sides will need to confront in order to reach a two state agreement. Progress at the negotiating table is only one step in the process of reaching an agreement that can be implemented. An end to the conflict will only come when the leaders come to an agreement that their peoples are ready to understand, accept, and support. The series will be launched in May and will be implemented throughout the rest of 2009. It will use the findings of the poll as a starting point for discussions.

Five hundred interviews were completed in Israel and six hundred in the West Bank and Gaza to produce representative samples of both populations in terms of age, gender, social background and geographical distribution. As the polls were conducted during a particularly difficult time on both sides – immediately following the Gaza war and the Israeli elections – the continued insistence of both sides on a negotiated and mutually-acceptable resolution could offer significant legitimacy to political leaders looking to push for negotiations toward a two state agreement.



About the OneVoice Movement:

The OneVoice Movement is an international mainstream grassroots movement with over 600,000 signatories in roughly equal numbers both in Israel and in Palestine, and 2,000 highly-trained youth leaders. It aims to amplify the voice of Israeli and Palestinian moderates, empowering them to seize back the agenda for conflict resolution and demand that their leaders achieve a two-state solution guaranteeing both the end of occupation and the establishment of a viable Independent Palestinian state as well as the safety and security of the state of Israel - allowing both people to live in peace with all their neighbors. OneVoice counts on its Board over 60 foremost dignitaries and business leaders across a wide spectrum of politics and beliefs, joining as OneVoice for conflict resolution. Learn more by visiting

Full Polling Report Available for Download

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