$15 Billion Deal with Jordan
Global Research, September 06, 2014
Photo: “Gaza electricity; ‘enemy of the (Jewish) state’” wrote the Middle East Online during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead.
While Gazans suffer from daily power shutdowns, Israel is signing an important deal to sell gas to Jordan, gas which, researchers say, was stolen from Palestinians.
In addition to confiscating Palestine’s energy resources, Israel has destroyed Gaza’s only power station in its latest military offensive.
On July 29, 2014, RT reported:
Over a million people in Gaza could be without electricity after Israeli tank shells hit the fuel depot of the enclave’s only power station, causing it to shut down. Its director, Mohammed al-Sharif, said, “The power plant is finished.” (Gaza’s only power plant shut down by Israeli shelling, RT, July 29, 2014)
The Middle East Monitor reported September 4, 2014 that a Memorandum of Understanding ”is due to be signed between Israel and Jordan in the reservoir of Leviathan to export Israeli natural gas to Jordan during the next 15 years with a total value of $15 billion”. (Jordan to buy $15bn of Israeli gas, Middle East Monitor, September 4, 2014.)
Israel’s first natural gas export deal will also be signed by “the Leviathan field partner Noble Energy Inc. on behalf of itself and its partners Delek Group Ltd. units Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP.” (Leviathan partners signing $15b Jordanian gas deal, Globes, Israel business news, on September 3, 2014)
We may recall that in the wake of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead, “Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law”:
A year following “Operation Cast Lead”, Tel Aviv announced the discovery of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”
At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.”
Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013)
The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area. (Michel Chossudovsky, War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields, Global Research, January 8, 2009)
The Times of Israel said this first export deal “makes Israel chief energy supplier for [the] kingdom.” (Marissa Newman, Israel signs $15 billion gas deal with Jordan, The Times of Israel, September 3, 2014)
The Israeli business news outlet Globe reports that the U.S. State Department “assisted” both countries in signing the deal which gives Israel the capacity to “use its position to achieve strategic aims”:
The deal has been brought to fruition with the assistance of Israel Minister of Natural Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom and the US State Department.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs Amos Hochstein is in Jordan for the signing ceremony. Silvan Shalom will be required to approve the deal before contracts are finally signed.
This deal significantly changes the economic strategic relations between Israel and Jordan and makes Israel an energy producer and exporter that can use its position to achieve strategic aims. Discussions over Israeli gas exports have rumbled on in Israel for the past few years and ultimately it was decided that Israel can export 40% of its offshore natural gas reserves. (Leviathan partners signing $15b Jordanian gas deal, Globes, Israel business news, on September 3, 2014)
According to the Middle East Monitor, Jordan approved last month a recommendation “calling for supplying Jordan with natural gas from Palestinian water of the Gaza Marine”:
“The Jordanian cabinet approved, last month, the recommendation of the Committee on Economic Development, calling for supplying Jordan with natural gas from the gas field discovered in the Palestinian water of the Gaza Marine, after coordination with the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinians own a stake in the Gaza Marine field, located 35 kilometres away from the coast of the Gaza Strip, which was discovered at the end of the 90s, nothing has been extracted from it yet.” (Middle East Monitor, op. cit.)
Will this deal between Israel and Jordan jeopardize this approval?
One thing is certain, this new deal making Israel the “chief energy supplier for the kingdom” and making Israel an important energy player able ”use its position to achieve strategic aims”, sheds a new light on the purported objectives of the relentless Israeli attacks against Gaza.
In 2007 a year before Operation Cast Lead in which Palestinian gas fields were confiscated, Israeli Defense minister and former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon wrote that “Israel needs additional natural gas sources”. However, purchasing gas from Palestinians, he claimed, would be “tantamount to Israel’s bankrolling terror against itself” and that gas revenues cannot be “a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state”. His statement below clearly shows the links between Israel’s military operations and Palestine’s oil and gas reserves:
British Gas is supposed to be the crown jewel of the Palestinian economy, and provide part of the solution to Israel’s pressing energy needs. The British energy giant, now called the “BG Group,” and its local partners – the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and the private, Palestinian-owned Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) – are currently involved in advanced negotiations to sell to Israel massive amounts of natural gas – reserves of nearly 1.4 trillion cubic feet – that BG first discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast. The market value of the gas has been estimated at $4 billion. Therefore, sale of the gas to Israel would mean a billion-dollar windfall for the PA and, potentially, for the Palestinian people.
Unfortunately, British assessments, including those of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, that Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state, are misguided. Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public.
For Israel, the need for BG’s gas may have already taken a toll. It is possible that the prospect of an Israeli gas purchase may have played a role in influencing the Olmert cabinet to avoid ordering a major IDF ground operation in Gaza …
Clearly, Israel needs additional natural gas sources, while the Palestinian people sorely need new sources of revenue. However, with Gaza currently a radical Islamic stronghold, and the West Bank in danger of becoming the next one, Israel’s funneling a billion dollars into local or international bank accounts on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would be tantamount to Israel’s bankrolling terror against itself. Therefore, an urgent review is required of the far-reaching security implications of an Israeli decision to purchase Gaza gas. (Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza Threaten Israel’s National Security?, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 19, 2007)
What needs to be understood from that declaration is that Israel will not allow Palestinians to have a viable economy by exploiting their natural resources. The “terrorist threat” is just a pretext to maintain Palestine under military occupation and continue to steal its land and resources.
Independent researchers have indicated that these military operations as well as the illegal blockade of Gaza are in fact all about oil and gas:
What is now unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).
It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves. (Chossudovsky, op. cit.)
For further information on the Palestinian offshore gaz fields, we suggest the following GR articles:
Copyright © 2014 Global Research
The new Gaza reality
Published — Tuesday 9 September 2014
Aside from being a major military setback, Israel’s war on Gaza has also disoriented the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like never before. Since the announcement of a cease-fire on Aug. 26, his statements appear erratic and particularly uncertain, an expected outcome of the Gaza war.
Since his first term as a prime minister (1996-99), Netanyahu has showed particular savviness at fashioning political and military events to neatly suit his declared policies. He fabricated imminent threats that were neither imminent nor threats, for example, Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Later, he took on Iran.
He created too many conditions and laid numerous obstacles for a peace settlement to ever be realized. Late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat labored for years to meet Israel’s conditions, and failed. Abbas has taken the same futile road. But Netanyahu’s conditions are specifically designed to be unattainable.
For example, Netanyahu insists that the Palestinian leadership must accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, despite the fact that millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians share that land, which has for centuries constituted the land of historic Palestine. Signing off the rights of non-Jews is not only undemocratic, but also tantamount to clearing the way for another campaign of ethnic cleaning of Palestinians.
But in actuality, none of this truly matters to Netanyahu. For him, protracted “peace talks” are a smokescreen for his illegal settlement construction project, which remains as ravenous as ever.
For nearly two decades, Netanyahu negotiated his political survival based on that very strategy, skilfully, although underhandedly playing on existing fears and engineering security threats. For him, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Syria and so on, are essentially one and the same. Of course, they are not, and he knows it well. If one skims through his speeches and media interviews throughout the years, one can easily spot the oddly fashioned discourse. No threat, however, was as consistently exaggerated and misleadingly presented as that of Hamas. Whenever the Iran discourse grew too redundant and unconvincing, and when Hezbollah (especially in the last three years) grew irrelevant, he infused Hamas. Many in the media willingly or out of sheer ignorance, played into Netanyahu’s hand, presenting the Palestinian political movement with a military wing as a menace that has “sworn” to destroy Israel.
War for Israel is also important as a tool to distract people from political trouble at home, an under-performing economy or whatever else. One could argue that Israel’s recent war on Gaza would have taken place even if Israel’s premier were someone other than Netanyahu. All signs were in place that made the Israeli military move impending. Rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah reached a unity agreement, despite strong Israeli rejection. Alone, that would have been a compelling reason for Israel to feel the need to squash Hamas and end the need for unity in the first place. But more importantly, the mood in the West Bank was begging for change. Protests and rallies were reported throughout the West Bank in June, despite Israeli attempts to crush them. Indeed, that was more important than the unity deal itself. Palestinians were being mobilized outside the fractured political landscape. Taking the focus back to Gaza, where Netanyahu was leading a supposed war to fight terrorism, extremism and Israel’s arch enemies who are “sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state” seemed, from Israel’s Machiavellian logic, like a good idea.
In fact, Netanyahu succeeded, at least temporarily, to distract from the looming confrontation in the West Bank. But what he expected was a relatively easy battle. Hamas and other resistance groups were arguably weakened due to the advent of the so-called Arab Spring. Just before the war, a June public opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) showed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was winning the trust of 53 percent of Palestinians, while Hamas’ Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh received the support of 41 percent. Netanyahu’s war was the Israeli leadership’s attempt at capitalizing on Hamas’s purported decline. But the war was a disaster. It killed over 2,150 Palestinians and wounded over 11,000 more. But it failed miserably. The Israeli army was held back by a unified Palestinian resistance front. It lost 64 soldiers and hundreds more were injured. It cost the Israeli economy millions. The war to end Hamas gave birth to the strongest Palestinian resistance front ever.
When the war ended on Aug. 26, Netanyahu, who insisted on defining the political discourse of any war or major political event, simply disappeared. Two days later, he held a press conference in which he declared that Israel had “won.” But both Israelis and Palestinians disagreed. According to a poll conducted shortly after the cease-fire announcement and reported in the Israeli Jerusalem Post, 54 percent of Israelis believe they lost the war.
On the other hand, numbers among Palestinians have dramatically shifted as well. According to PCPSR, 61 percent of Palestinians would now vote for Hamas, a huge climb from few weeks earlier; 94 percent were satisfied with the resistance military performance; and, more astoundingly 79 percent said that Palestinian resistance had “won” the conflict. Netanyahu’s war-turned-genocide backfired beyond anyone’s expectations. He helped resurrect the very movement he tried to crush. And now he is desperately back attempting to reconstruct the lost political discourse, associating Hamas to vile terrorists, and absurdly presenting Israel as a victim, just as Palestinians finished burying thousands of their dead. This time however, few seem to believe him.
Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 09 September 2014/14 Dhul Qa’dah 1435
It is no secret to the rest of the world, that Washington plays a huge role to prop Israel. The same apartheid Tel Aviv regime routinely launches terror attacks and metes collective punishment on Palestinians. The atrocities committed by Israel against the subjugated Palestinians, whose crime, in addition to their unfailing demand for equal rights, is their Semitic ethnicity, are well-recorded. Washington has both protected and funded the genocidal Israel. Strangely, people of the United States of America, whose taxes finance the Israeli atrocities, seem oblivious.
US citizen Alison Weir, an executive director of If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest, was as naïve. This, she told Sabahul Khair, was due to whitewashing and the Zionist propaganda that permeates in the media in the USA.
“I certainly had no idea that the United States was such a major player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As you just pointed out, it’s interesting to me that people around the world, and in South Africa, know that the USA funds Israel to a great extent,” Weir told Cii listeners this morning. Until she did her research, that eventually led to her enlightened and authoring Against Our Better Judgement: How the US was used to create Israel, Weir believed the Zionists.
“(The US) supports Israel, and sort of protects it from international condemnation but most Americans don’t know any of that. The media really don’t tell us about that,” said Weir, highlighting the Zionist-biased but mainstream media’s role in perpetuating the pro-Israeli propaganda while demonising freedom fighters like Hamas or ignoring the plight of the subjugated Palestinians.
Average people of the US have no idea that they give “a great deal of money” to Israel, she explained to Cii listeners. “When I researched my book I was astounded to learn that there was a pro-Israel movement, a Zionist movement, that existed in the United States since the late 1800s which was specifically to use Americans and push the propaganda in which Americans would help to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine even though Palestine was, at that time, 95% non-Jewish,” Weir asserted.
This harks to the era of Theodor Herzl, one of the pioneers of the Zionism project – Israel’s version of Nazism, which sought to create a volkstaat by importing Europeans with Jewish ancestry or their relatives and, in the process, exiling or killing indigenous Palestinians. To this day, with Binyamin Netanyahu at the helm and Barack Obama facilitating its survival, the Herzl project is in tact. That is why Israel – which recently slaughtered more than 2,100 people (that is 30 times the number of lives taken by in 1961 in Sharpeville) – is, unlike apartheid South Africa, not being isolated and boycotted.
“It was very interesting to me when I did this research to discover how (deep) it is than most people think. I don’t happen to be Jewish or Muslim or Arab. And my background is Christian. Like most Americans I found this issue very confusing. I was certainly sympathetic towards Israel but like most people I really just did not know much about it,” explained Weir, whose hard-hitting research and civil rights work attract naked verbal abuse and threats from Zionists supporting Semite-on-Semite genocide.
“There’s been a movement in my country, of Zionism, to create a Jewish state that most Americans have never even heard about and yet has been extremely significant in the creation of Israel and in the way in that Israel got created especially in connection to the Balfour Declaration,” she added.
This declaration, dated 1917, relates to colonist Britain’s support for the creation, in Palestine, of what was termed a “homeland” for the Jewish people. For this to be created, Palestinians, fellow Semites, were dispossessed of their ancestral lands in 1948 and subsequently subjugated. Millions exiled notably in 1948 and 1967 are barred from returning. The indigenous people who did not leave Palestine, and their descendants, are now confined to 10% of their land (under heavy Israeli control and siege).
Decades later, with Obama in charge, Israel remains Nazist. Palestinians continue to be treated as sub-humans and bear the brunt of Tel Aviv’s atrocities and human rights violations. An Obama that was seen as an equal rights activist would never tolerate this type of segregation and holocaust. How did Israel’s Nazism elude him? “The sad fact was, however, and is, that Barack Obama had great many donations from pro-Israeli individuals in Chicago,” Weir observed, citing reports that Obama was bankrolled by Zionists years before he went to the White House.
“This was a surprising trajectory. This is someone… suddenly out of nowhere have this great political campaign to be a candidate for the United States presidency and to even win. Those of us that are followed Israel-Palestine saw that the funding for Obama and the campaign for Obama was coming, quite a bit of it, was coming from individuals and groups that were very pro-Israel,” noted Weir, adding that his first official speech was before Zionists, AIPAC. “That was an indication of who was really going to be pulling the strings.”
LISTEN to Cii Radio’s Interview with Alison Weir HERE