The slate of Palestinian parties in the Knesset, aligned with neither the coalition nor the opposition, is quickly — and at times clumsily — discovering its own power. Lessons from Israel's natural gas debacle. By Samah Salaime There’s an old joke about a tyrannical lion who abuses a monkey in the jungle. Every time the lion sees the monkey he gives him a hard, loud slap, and asks him, “why aren’t you wearing a hat?” After a few good, hard slaps, the monkey decides to fight back against these unprovoked injustices. He starts to organize, enlists some animal rights organizations,…Read More... | 1 Comment
A photo chronicle of the past few years of protest against the Israeli government's handling of newly discovered offshore natural gas reserves. Social activists, and economists, believe that Israeli citizens — and the state — are getting an unfair deal from the private companies who own the drilling rights. Photos by Activestills.org Text by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man For the past few years a dedicated group of Israeli social activists have been protesting what they, some economists and even a number of members of Knesset have termed “the great gas robbery.” The protests came on the tail end of a wider…Read More... | 2 Comments
This week: Turkey's protests take new forms, Israelis protest privatization of natural gas and militarization of education, Palestinians return to their land after 10 years, and animal rights activists say 'non' to foie gras.Read More... | 1 Comment
The High Court of Justice views petroleum and natural gas as ‘limited, non-renewable, publicly-owned resources.’ So how is it that our own government violates the basic rules of public policy? By Ofer Sitbon (translated from Hebrew by Miriam Erez) In a 2011 ruling handed down by the High Court of Justice (Bagatz 3734/11), Justice Miriam Naor wrote: Petroleum and natural gas are limited, non-renewable, publicly-owned resources. It’s a short sentence that speaks volumes, and contains within it everything needed to understand the public interest regarding gas exports. The following is an in-depth analysis of the quote. A publicly owned resource…Read More... | 1 Comment
Former Israeli finance minister reveals how the former American president tried to influence Knesset legislation and committee hearings on behalf of U.S. energy corporations. Former Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that former U.S. President Bill Clinton tried to have the Sheshinski Committee for natural gas revenues dismantled. According to Steinitz, Clinton, along with several members of congress whose names weren’t revealed, tried to stop the Israeli government’s attempt to increase the tax burden on American corporations. Yair Lapid replaced Mr. Steinitz at the Finance Ministry when the new Netanyahu government was formed. Several years ago, the unexpected discovery of huge…Read More... | 3 Comments
Faced with a power shortage for Israelis, the environment minister offers to cut the life-saving power Israel is selling to Gaza strip. Israel's minister of environmental protection, Gilad Erdan (Likud), has demanded that the government stop supplying power to the Gaza Strip in order to prevent power failure in Israeli cities this summer. In an official letter addressed to all government ministers (below), Erdan notes that 4.5 percent of Israel's power supply is sold to Gaza. Erdan writes (emphasis in the original): The State of Israel is preparing itself for a power shortage during the summer of 2012. In order…Read More... | 3 Comments
Cancellation of the commercial deal between private Egyptian and Israeli entities has more to do with Egypt's own internal confrontation with corporate governance and transparency than with the peace treaty with Israel. According to several news reports, Egypt has terminated a deal to supply Israel with natural gas. Egyptian sources say that the deal was canceled over a legal dispute, as well as Israel's failure to pay for the gas over the past four months; Israeli government sources, meanwhile, insist they have paid all the money they owe. Several Israeli officials, including Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz and Finance Minister Yuval…Read More... | 49 Comments
The New York Times reports good news for Israel: Exploratory drilling off Israel’s northern coast this week has confirmed the existence of a major natural gas field — one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade… As I wrote in the past, this story has not garnered the attention it merits. The natural gas find could finance a huge improvement in public services, which have been seriously underfunded in recent years, with disastrous consequences. Alternatively, it could make the wealthiest people in Israel – already one of the Western world's most unequal nations – even richer.…Read More... | 5 Comments
Headlines: It’s déjà-vu all over again >Top of the news: Israel under attack! All-out war! Egyptians cross the channel! No, wait a second… what? That was the 1973 Yom Kippur war, which is now back in the headlines. A declassified protocol reveals that the Israeli leadership was overwhelmed, and that the security minister at the time, Moshe Dayan, was panicking. Those who have learned the history will not be surprised, but three of Israel’s four dailies find it shocking, even 37 years later. And as to the loss of trust in leadership [Heb]: it has left Israelis ever more passive,…Read More...
Headlines: >The top story in most outlets is the Israeli response to pressures to renew the settlement freeze, which lapsed last week. Ha’aretz and Yisrael Hayom [Heb] present Netanyahu’s position as uncompromising: he will only agree to limit construction. The two other dailies, on the other hand, claim that Netanyahu is still considering Obama’s offer of American security guarantees in exchange for sixty more days of freeze, and might discuss it with some ministers during the week. According to Ma’ariv, the sweetener will be continuation of construction that begun during the interim period (and settlers are indeed gearing up [Heb]).…Read More... | 1 Comment
One of the most heated debates you’ve probably never heard of going on in Israel these days is over natural gas. Ever since reports began to surface on the huge reservoirs of gas off the coast of Israel, the discussion over who the it belongs to and how much money everybody is going to make from it seems to get uglier by the day. In fact, this is probably one of the most intense debates you’ll find today between tycoons and regulators around the world. But now, what until recently was solely an economic discussion has suddenly turned political. Left…Read More... | 2 Comments
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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