|MIDDLE EAST UPDATES FROM SEPTEMBER 1st 2010|
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Potential of 4 Billion Barrels of Oil Offshore by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
More optimistic reports continue to flow from the giant Leviathan energy field off the Haifa coast. Following previous higher estimates of gas and “signs of oil,” the latest report points to a potential of 4 billion barrels of “black gold.” The ramifications of the discovery are immense. If the estimates materialize, Israel will become self-sufficient in energy, enjoy a boon of employment for engineers and laborers, and will become an exporter of gas and oil. The shekel, barring a conflict with Hizbullah or Iran, may become rock-solid, dropping the representative rate; Israel's shekel is now worth about 26.3 cents (3.8 shekels) to the dollar. The announcement of the new estimates states that there is a 17 percent chance of finding reserves equal to 3 billion barrels of oil at a depth of slightly more than a mile undersea. The oil field is slightly beneath the mammoth gas reserves that already have been estimated to contain 13 trillion cubic feet of gas. There also is an 8 percent chance that another 1.2 billion barrels exist at an even lower level. Earlier this month, oil reserves at Rosh HaAyin, east of Tel Aviv and bordering Samaria, were estimated to have a possible potential of 1.5 billion barrels of oil but that commercial quantities will be much lower, if at all. Israel's estimated oil consumption is slightly less than 100 million barrels a year.
Hamas Threatens to 'Step on Heads' of PA for Talks with Israel by Chana Ya'ar
The military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization that controls Gaza has threatened to “step on the heads” of the PA government if it compromises on Jerusalem, right of return , ‘Palestine’ and other issues in direct talks with Israel.
Left-Wing Campaign: PA Wants Peace by Hillel Fendel
A new left-wing public relations campaign seeks to persuade the Israeli public that the Palestinian Authority truly wants peace – despite all indications to the contrary. The aggressive initiative includes quotes from leading PA spokesmen, billboards, and widespread media coverage. The objective is to imbue the Israeli public with the sense that the ball is in its court, and that the PA leadership is truly ready to make peace. A survey carried out by a PA organization this month finds that the Arab public is, in fact, not quite ready for peace. 86.3% of those polled - 3,001 Arab residents in the Palestinian Authority - see violence for the purpose of achieving a Palestinian state as anywhere between “essential” and “tolerable.”
Jewish Home Threatens to Bolt Gov't if Freeze Goes On by Gil Ronen
The Jewish Home / New NRP will bolt the coalition if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu extends the 10-month building freeze, MK Zevulun Orlev told party activists in Be'er Sheva Sunday. He said the party will not stay in the government if the freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is continued, even if the extension is carried out in an undeclared manner.
Report: Israel Plans to Strike in Syria by Elad Benari
The Alrai daily newspaper in Kuwait reported on Saturday August 28, that Israel is planning to attack Hizbullah weapons storage and production facilities in Syria. According to unnamed Western sources who were quoted in the report, the IDF has strengthened its troop presence in the Golan Heights and Galilee panhandle. European sources told the paper that Israel had sent unmanned aerial vehicles over Syria and Lebanon, which they see as a sign that a military operation in the area is in the works. Meanwhile, the Lebanese army claimed on Friday that Israel has begun to use hot air balloons above Lebanon’s skies. The balloons, said the Lebanese army, are equipped with camera and transmission capabilities.
Huge sale of fuel by USA to Israel
On Aug. 6, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, DSCA, informed Congress of the sale to Israel of 60 million gallons of unleaded gasoline, 284 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel and 100 million gallons of diesel fuel at an estimated cost of two billion dollars. "The proposed sale of the JP-B aviation fuel will enable Israel to maintain the operational capability of its aircraft inventory. The unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel will be used for ground forces' vehicles and other equipment used in keeping peace and security in the region. Israel will have no difficulty absorbing this additional fuel into its armed forces."
Report: Syria, Hizbullah Sign Defense Pact (Jerusalem Post)
The Syrian army has signed a defense alliance with Hizbullah, the Kuwaiti paper Al-Rai reported Monday. August 30. In case of war, the two will split a "bank" of targets in Israel, and Syrian radar will supply Hizbullah with intelligence on the location of Israeli aircraft, to assist Hizbullah in aiming anti-aircraft weapons.
Four Jews Murdered in Arab Terror Attack by Gil Ronen, Hillel Fendel and Elad Benari
Palestinian terrorists murdered four Jewish civilians in a shooting attack at the Bani Naim junction just south of Hevron Tuesday evening August 31 Emergency service paramedics could do nothing to save the victims whose bodies were riddled with bullets. The terrorists had reportedly made sure their victims were dead by shooting them from close range after the initial fusillade, as terrorists have done in prior attacks on unarmed civilians and children.
US will drop military drill with Turkey if Israel banned
The United States has said it will exit a planned joint military drill with Turkey in October if Israel is barred from participating, the Turkish daily Hürriyet reported on Wednesday September 1. Sources told the newspaper that Washington relayed its position to Ankara after invitations for a joint military drill to be held in central Turkey were sent out to several countries, but not to Israel.
Iran makes another defiant nuclear announcemen
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian Vice President and the chief of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, announced on Tuesday August 31, that the Islamic Republic has already produced 25 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20% purity and it will continue to enrich to this level in order to produce fuel for a nuclear research reactor. The move is the latest in a long series of incremental moves to advance Iran’s renegade nuclear program in defiance of the international community.
PLO envoy in Washington blasts Yale for conference speakers
Maen Rashid Areikat¸ the head of the PLO's mission in Washington, has accused Yale University of promoting "anti-Arab extremism and hate mongering" by inviting three Israeli speakers to a recent conference on anti-Semitism. The conference, entitled "Global Antisemitism - A Crisis of Modernity," was organized by the Yale Initiative for the interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA), included over 100 scholars from dozens of universities all over the world
Unemployment in Israel drops to pre-meltdown levels
The Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday August 31, that Israel’s unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent of the civilian labor force in the second quarter, one of the lowest rates in the developed world and almost at the same level as before the start of the global economic meltdown in 2007.
Response to Attack: Thawing the Construction Freeze! by Hillel Fendel
The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria announced that in response to the Hamas murder of 4 Israelis, it will be “breaking the construction freeze” four weeks early. The Council is galvanizing the Jewish towns and communities in Yesha to begin building new homes as early as this evening.
Barak: Israel May Divide Jerusalem, Internationalize Holy Basin by Chana Ya'ar
Defense Minister Ehud Barak says it is likely that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will agree to divide Jerusalem with the Palestinian Authority. Barak told the Hebrew-language newspaper Haaretz in an interview published Wednesday that he believes the best chance for peace lies in a peace deal in which all the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem would be handed over to the PA in order to create a capital for a new Arab country.
Barak: Israel May Divide Jerusalem, Internationalize Holy Basin by Chana Ya'ar
Defense Minister Ehud Barak says it is likely that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will agree to divide Jerusalem with the Palestinian Authority. Barak told the Hebrew-language newspaper Haaretz in an interview published Wednesday September 1, that he believes the best chance for peace lies in a peace deal in which all the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem would be handed over to the PA in order to create a capital for a new Arab country.
Hamas Calls Murder of Four Israelis a "Heroic Operation" - I Kershner and M Landler (New York Times)
Hamas described the killing of four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday as a "heroic operation" on its Arabic Web site. In Jabaliya in northern Gaza, hundreds of Hamas supporters took to the streets to celebrate the news of the attack, urged on by the calls of an imam over the loudspeaker even before Hamas had officially said it was behind the killings.
Israel, Our Ally - Ksenia Svetlova (Jerusalem Post)
Kurds in northern Iraq are reaching out to Israelis, whom they believe share a historic ethnic connection, and many common enemies.
Netanyahu and Abbas Begin Direct Mideast Peace Talks - Helene Cooper and Mark Landler
Israeli and Palestinian leaders were to open direct peace negotiations September 2, in Washington following a White House dinner Wednesday where President Obama vowed to do everything within his power in the next year to achieve a comprehensive agreement. Prime Minister Netanyahu, turning toward Palestinian President Abbas, called him his "partner in peace." "The Jewish people are not strangers in our homeland, the land of our forefathers," he said. "But we recognize that another people share this land with us. And I came here today to find an historic compromise that will enable both peoples to live in peace, security and dignity." (New York Times)
Two Israelis Wounded in Second West Bank Shooting Attack in Two Days - Natasha Mozgovaya
Two Israelis were wounded, one seriously, on Wednesday night September 1, in a shooting attack near Kochav Hashachar, east of Ramallah in the West Bank, one day after a similar attack left four Israeli civilians dead. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Palestinian gunmen ambushed the Israeli car, which was riddled with bullets. Hamas claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Mideast Peace Talks' Hidden Threat - Jonathan Schanzer
In the past week, some Palestinian leaders have voiced concerns about the new U.S. initiative. In the words of Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, successful negotiations could "liquidate the Palestinian cause." Meshal is not exaggerating. A Palestinian state, as endorsed by the Obama administration, very likely would include only the West Bank, where the leaders are not democratically elected.
Yishai loosens gun control laws for West Bank settlers
In the wake of violent attacks against Jewish residents of the West Bank in recent days, Interior Minister Eli Yishai took steps on Wednesday September 1, to make it easier to acquire a permit to carry weapons . “I instructed to immediately relax the registration of weapons to residents of Judea and Samaria,” Yishai explained Wednesday. Yitzhak Ames, one of the four victims of a fatal attack Tuesday night, had his weapons permit revoked a few months ago. The new guidelines will include allowing settlers to acquire weapons without police approval, relying instead on professional opinions from the Interior Ministry, the Population Registry and the Immigration Authority.
'They Shoot, We Build; Everyone Does His Thing by Hillel Fendel
The “genuine Zionist response” to Arab terrorism was activated again yesterday, September 1, with the beginning of construction of three new buildings in Judea and Samaria. The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria declared, the morning after the quadruple murders of the Beit Haggai residents, that it officially views the construction freeze as over and expired.
PA: Hamas Will Strike Again - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
Hamas will try to execute more terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank, Gen. Adnan Damiri, a commander and spokesman for the Palestinian Security and Police Forces, said Thursday September 3
"As the negotiations progress, if they see it stands a chance, Hamas will attempt to step up the attacks."
American Jews Remain Attached to Israel, Study Shows (JTA)
American Jewish attachment to Israel is holding steady among younger Jews as well as older respondents, a new study shows.
Hamas Supporters Celebrate the Murder of Israeli Civilians - Tom Gross (Mideast Dispatch Archive)
Hamas supporters take to the streets of Gaza to celebrate the murder of four Israelis on Tuesday August 31.
Israel Tells the Palestinians: Mutual Recognition Is the Key to Peace
At a meeting at the State Department on Thursday September 2 with Secretary of State Clinton and PA President Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "Just as you expect us to be ready to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, we expect you to be prepared to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. 12,000 rockets have been fired on our territory, and terrorist attacks go on unabated." (U.S. State Department)
Hamas Leader Rejects PA Talks with Israel - Diaa Hadid and Karin Laub
Top Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar rejected compromise with Israel in a fiery speech Wednesday September 1 in Gaza, a day after Hamas gunmen killed four Israelis. Zahar rejected the idea of compromise with Israel, saying that "liberating" all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River - a reference to Israel's destruction - is a moral and religious duty. The group - shunned by the West and Israel as a terror organization - possesses a large arsenal of rockets that it could launch at Israel. (AP)
While Leaders Talk Peace, PA Ministers Inciting, Encouraging Terror - Gil Hoffman e
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon noted Thursday September 2, that a Palestinian Authority minister had visited the families of suicide bombers while PA President Abbas was meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Karake visited the Abu Hamid family, to meet a mother whose four sons were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Israelis and give her an award. Karake praised the terrorists' mother and her family's contribution to the "struggle for Palestinian independence." He also visited the family of Ayyat Al-Akhras, a suicide bomber who murdered two Israelis in a Jerusalem supermarket in 2002
PLO Ambassador to Iran Hopes to See "Complete Eradication" of Israel
Palestine's Ambassador to Tehran Salah Zawawi said on Thursday September 1 that the relentless struggle with the Zionist occupiers will continue until liberation of Holy Qods (Jerusalem). He said that the Zionist regime was established by Western powers to harm unity of the Arab nations and the world Muslims. "As our struggles with the Zionists will get tougher in the future, we hope for more support from the Islamic Ummah," he said. "Through sol idarity of world Muslims, we hope to witness the complete eradication of the fabricated regime in due course," Zawawi said. (IRNA-Iran
What Egypt's Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah Want in Washington - Khaled Abu Toameh
Mubarak went to Washington not to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis, but to pave the way for his son's rise to power. If Mubarak really cared about the peace process, he would not be allowing his government-controlled media to continue vomiting anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda: instead of delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews, he would be preparing his people for peace. King Abdullah went to Washington because he wants to secure the continued backing of the West - and Israel - for his regime. King Abdullah is afraid of an independent Palestinian state on his border. He would rather see IDF soldiers patrolling the border with Israel than Palestinian border guards. Mubarak and Abdullah are in Washington because they want to get rid of the Palestinians, not because they want to help them, because they want to make sure that the Palestinian issue remains Israel's problem alone. (Hudson Institute-New York)
When the West Bankers arrive in Washington… Hillel Frisch, BESA
Substantive progress in the peace process is hardly what Mahmoud Abbas was seeking to achieve in Washington. While he wishes to maintain an appearance of movement in the negotiations, he cannot yet afford to lose the Israeli army presence in the West Bank as the threat of a Hamas takeover there still looms. While all of the major political actors involved concur on this point, the pretense of peace talks is essential to keeping the Arab world at bay
More Israel-PA Talks in Two Weeks by Maayana Miskin
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to meet every two weeks to continue negotiations for the creation of a PA state. The next meeting will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on September 14 and 15. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell plan to attend the Sharm el-Sheikh talks.