Sign letter to Obama regarding Palestine

Jewish Voices for Peace and Just Foreign Policy teamed up to get signatures urging President Obama to end the blockade, talk to everyone and jump on this chance to actually have peace in that area of the world.

Advertisements

It’s the Oil and Gas Stupid

Widely covered in Asia and the Near-East, but not in he United States, was the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tbilisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which links the Caspian Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean. This pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian Federation by transiting through the western friendly, former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

But the more sinister implications of this pipeline, are seen when the four partners are revealed and the ultimate destination of the pipeline is reviewed.

The partners are Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel. The destination the Israeli port of Ashkelon, which bypasses Lebanon and Syria utilizing underwater pipelines. However, the ultimate goal is to have back up land based pipelines, which would require Israel, responsible for the security of the pipelines, to have territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline.

The day after the deal was signed, the Lebanon bombing began.  Step one?

Well it failed miserably.

Back up now to the November 1999, when British G Group (BG) and Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed with the Palestinian Authority, then run by Yassir Arafat.

According to Michael Chossodovsky, researcher for Global Research Canada,

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).
The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The problem though, lies in the sovereignty of the gas. Reserves, estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, are valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger, according to Chossodovsky.

Unfortunately for Gaza, under Article XI, of the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement,  three Maritime Activity Zones that extended out to sea 20 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza, were established. Two narrow Zones running parallel to the boundaries of Egyptian and Israeli waters were designated No Fishing Areas. Under the terms of the Agreement the larger remaining Zone “will be open for fishing, recreation and economic activities.” The Gazan fishermen operated freely for the next 6 years within this Zone with no major confrontations with the Israelis.

Until gas was discovered 10 to 15 nautical miles from the coast, within those boundaries. In 2002, the UN’s  Bertini proposed the approved location be reduced to an area within 12 nautical miles of the coast. More recently the area available has been reduced to 300 square kilometers.

According to Global Research Canada,

Consequently,since the death of Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority, Israel has established de facto control over the gas fields.

With this control, they began negotiating with BG for the gas. They were reportedly close to a deal when Hamas won the elections in 2006. When the newly elected Palestinian government collapsed, and Hamas had control of the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Haniyeh  promptly declared that the natural gas deal would have to be renegotiated.

The Times of India reports that  this prompted the Gaza blockade which resulted in the humanitarian disaster that is Gaza today.

In 2001,

Beginning in late 2000 the Israeli military began a campaign of intimidation and harassment against the fishing boats that ventured near or beyond a 6 nautical mile limit. No formal notice or explanation was ever given to the Palestinians. Instead the regulation was written and enforced by Israeli machine guns and water cannons. At least 14 fishermen have been killed by the Israelis, over 200 injured and numerous boats damaged or impounded.

Initially, BG had negotiated with Egypt to buld an undersea pipeline to import the gas, but under pressure from Tony Blair, were forced to negotiate with Israel instead.

After years of wrangling over prices and getting nowhere, BG closed their Israeli office and again negotiated with the Egyptians.

But the true intent of the Israelis comes to light when viewing the quotes from Israeli and officials.

AfterAriel Sharon was elected Prime minister in 2001, he said he would never buy gas from the Palestinians.

In June of 2008, Israel began preparing for Operation Cast Lead, its latest incursion into Gaza. In the same month, BG was contacted by Olmert with a request to reopen negotiations. They began anew in October 2008, shortly before the commencement of the Gaza invasion.

This does not bode well for Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, who were bypassed in the latest negotiations, or the peace process in general.

Egypt would do well to be very careful in what it does, lest its actions blow back on them from the Arab street.The Moslem Brotherhood is very much sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

With Israel’s nuclear capability, their alliance with the Turks, and new found wealth from oil and gas revenues, the west should be very careful in how it sees the balance of power in hte Middle East that would result from this venture.

We should all hope that the Europeans in particular, don’t forget the strength of the Ottoman Empire, the dismantlement of which, after WWI, resulted in the establishment of Iraq, Iran, countries of the Middle East, and the ensuing rise of dictators and radicals alike in subsequent years. Would they like to see a similar rise in power again?

I don’t think so.

It’s past time that this issue of Palestine get settled and we find alternative fuels,  not only for the sake of the innocent civilians caught up in the various conflicts, but for the sake of the rest of the citizens of the world whose children will be the cannon fodder for the inevitable wars to follow and whose money will be squandered funding them.

Sources:

Global Research timeline Lebanon War

Times of India

War and  Natural Gas

Oil and Lebanon

Secretary of State Clinton asks: What is the best Path Forward for Gaza?

Dipnote, the U.S. State Department blog, has a new question, what should we do about Gaza?

On March 2, Clinton will participate in the donor conference for Gaza reconstruction. Until then, she will be taking suggestions from ordinary Americans.

Here is the link. Lend your voice in our participatory democracy, or shut your piehole and live with their decisions. 🙂

Why the Peace Process in Israel/Palestine has not progressed to peace

First are the Media Rules, courtesy of israelity bites:

Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the Palestinians that attack first, and it’s always Israel who defends itself. This is called “retaliation”.

Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called “terrorism”.

Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian civilians; this is called “self-defense”, or “collateral damage”.

Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the “reaction of the international community”.

Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

Rule #6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (over 10,000 to date being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: “terrorism”.

Rule #7: When you say “Hamas”, always be sure to add “supported by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran”.

Rule #8: When you say “Israel”, never say “supported by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some Arab regimes”, for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the words “occupied territories”, “UN resolutions”, “Geneva conventions”. This could distress the audience of Fox, CNN, etc.

Rule #10: Israelis tend to speak better English than Arabs. This is why it is called “balanced journalism”.

Next, courtesy of the same site, the quote:

“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years, neither the United Nations, nor the U.S.A, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” Ariel Sharon to Winston S. Churchill III in 1973.

Would’ve been nice to share that with the U.S. negotiators…..

But there is hope, because not all people feel the same way Ariel Sharon did:

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis
came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers.”
— Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and Orthodox Jew.

And then there’s the old Testament:

He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Micah 4:3

Thanks

israelity bites

Obama’s first interview is with Al Arabiya

Here is the full text of the interview, the video and the comments.

Petition to investigate war crimes in Gaza

There is currently a petition online to appeal for an investigation into war crimes in the latest Israeli incursion into Gaza. There is mounting evidence that white phosphorous bombs were dropped on the civilian population centers, not to mention the destruction of the three UN facilities.

The petition is here. Sign it if you see fit.

State Department asks Americans what our foreign policy objectives should be

The newly revamped State Department website, or “America 2.0” as the Red Eye in Chicago calls the Obama administration, has a new feature called DIPNOTE, which is a State Department blog.

The question of the week is: What Foreign Policy Objectives Should the Obama Administration Establish as its Top Priorities?

Answer it!!! Several people have already mentioned the Israeli/Palestine issue, but we must be direct.

I suggest the following line items:

  1. Insist the blockade be lifted to allow humanitarian aid and items intrinsic to economic survival into Palestine immediately
  2. Immediately halt the building of all settlements and begin the dismantling of all “outposts”
  3. Immediately investigate whether the using of phosphorous bombs in civilian areas is a violation of the Arms Export Control Act and punish accordingly if it is.
  4. Immediately work to engage Hamas and Fatah and get them on the same page – without both entities, there will never be peace
  5. Immediately get assurances from both Hamas and Fatah that any violations of the ceasefire by militants on either side will result in arrests and trial in accordance with the Palestinian Constitution not tribal law
  6. Freeze all aid and arms shipments to Israel until significant progress has been made towards the first two points
  7. Engage the international community to provide security for the checkpoints and remove all access requests from Israeli control
  8. Put the international community in charge of determining what aid gets into Gaza. It should not be an Israeli decision as they state they are no longer “occupying” the country.
  9. Send Americans into Gaza to determine what aid we could provide to rebuild their country and help their people. I would suggest evaluating the role wind and solar power could play in the rebuilding process, so they are no longer completely dependent on fuel and electricity from Israel
  10. Engage the Palestinian and Israeli business communities as they have the most at stake and are the best able to assist in rebuilding decisions

The link is here. Don’t worry if you are not from the U.S., other foreign nationals have already commented, and frankly, we need to engage the world after the last eight years.

If you like my ideas, feel free to copy and paste them. If you have other ideas – please – go for it. Every little bit helps., but make it constructive, no tirades about the past or blame or anything else. You get more traction that way.

%d bloggers like this: