links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter

Israel is the country that stands most to gain from the world's decreased dependence on oil. We always looked upon the Israelis as the potential natural leaders in developing alternate fuels. Israel has the manpower, scientific institutions, and the private enterprise needed for such an endeavor. In effect, going back to the 1950's, it had people aware of the problems that come from being dependent on oil when living in an unfriendly neighborhood. Israelis worked on oil shales first, then on solar, biomass, and geothermal technologies; the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) has even created a "Commission for Future Generations" when it became obvious that for environmental reasons, as well as for sustainable development reasons, the world will have to switch to non-fossil fuels. Nevertheless, Israel itself did not implement these technologies, it also did not give away for free the technologies it did develop, perhaps because of political reasons resulting from the government's close relation to the US. In effect the Environment Ministry became a repository for politicians with other aspirations. In its own interest, as journalist Thomas Friedman said - "petrolism" is the main reason for lack of peace in the Middle East - the Israeli government should have taken a more agresive position on this subject, one seriously wonders why this did not happen.

We launched this Israel section on SustainabiliTank.info because we realized that above may change, if not through the leadership of the government, then at least through the push of NGOs and perhaps with the help of aggregates of local government.


 
Israel:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 11th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Titus Flavius Josephus (37 – c.100), born Joseph ben Matityahu was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.

He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 CE to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a slave and interpreter. After Vespasian became Emperor in 69 CE, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor’s family name of Flavius.

Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian’s son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem. Since the siege proved ineffective at stopping the Jewish revolt, the city’s destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod’s Temple (Second Temple) soon followed.

Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War, including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94) The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66–70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.

===================================

MARCH 10, 2017, THE ALGEMEINER

During Moscow Visit, Netanyahu Receives Special Gift From Putin — a Nearly 500-Year-Old Copy of Josephus’ The Jewish War.

by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Russian President Vladmir Putin presents Israeli Prime Minister with a nearly 500-year-old copy of Josephus’ The Jewish War in Moscow on Thursday. Photo: Screenshot.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presents Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with a nearly 500-year-old copy of Josephus’ The Jewish War in Moscow on Thursday. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a special gift from Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow on Thursday — a nearly 500-year-old copy of Roman-Jewish historian Josephus’ book The Jewish War.

The copy given to Netanyahu at the Kremlin on Thursday was printed in Italy in 1526.

The Israeli prime minister said he was “moved” by Putin’s gesture.

MARCH 10, 2017 5:03 PM0
Report: Member of British Royal Family to Make First State Visit to Israel
 JNS.org – A member of the United Kingdom’s royal family is reportedly expected to visit Israel this year, in what would be…

The Jewish War is an account of the Great Revolt — the uprising of the Jews of the Judea Province against the Roman Empire in the first century CE.

“This is without a doubt an important book in the historical heritage of our people,” Netanyahu said. “This book greatly influenced my beloved father, Professor Benzion Netanyahu z”l, and I read it for the first time when I was 16.”

Netanyahu further stated that Putin’s gift would be handed over to the National Library of Israel.

================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 11th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


Exxon eyes Israel after Cyprus win

 www.globes.co.il/en/article-exxon…

9 Mar, 2017 14:09
Nati Yefet

After winning a Cypriot government tender, Exxon Mobile has expressed interest in bidding for Israeli natural gas tenders.

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz met last week with senior executives from Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell during his visit to the US. The minister’s associates say that while Royal Dutch Shell will probably not take part in the new tender for oil and gas exploration licenses in Israeli waters, the Exxon Mobil executives came equipped with a great deal of relevant information, and expressed interest in the tender.

The reason is allegedly the announcement two days ago that Exxon had won a tender for oil and gas exploration in Block 10 in Cyprus as part of a consortium with Qatar Petroleum. A group composed of Italian company ENI and Total, and ENI by itself, won the concession for two other blocks in the tender.

In a fourth block already held by Total, the company asked the Cypriot government for permission to add ENI as a 50% partner in the license, because the block is located only six kilometers away from the Egyptian Zohr gas reservoir discovered by ENI. Total expects ENI’s extensive knowledge of the geology in the area to be of use in finding gas in Cyprus.

Steinitz’s associates say that since Exxon is starting to prepare for activity in a nearby area, the company believes that it is likely to prove worthwhile to develop parallel activity in Israel, and to use the same transportation infrastructure to export gas discovered in both countries to Europe.

Steinetz went to Europe early this week, and flew from there to New York and Houston for a week of meetings with energy concerns. In Rome, he met with his Italian counterpart, and held meetings in New York with the Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan investments banks, as well as with a group of private investors organized by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). In Houston, he took part in the CERAweek energy conference, and held meetings with energy companies.

Steinitz told “Globes,” I was surprised to see energy ministers and representatives of energy companies from all over the world congratulate us on the beginning of development in Leviathan, after years of delay. Almost everyone had assumed that Leviathan was a lost cause… especially given the global crisis in investments in oil and gas fields and the fact that some of the deep water projects of the Leviathan type have been canceled or postponed in various places around the world.


“In meetings with some of the world’s largest investment banks, they noted the change in Israel’s image in the energy market, from a place to be avoided into a responsible country attractive for energy investments in general, and private gas in particular. The plans we displayed for building an undersea pipeline to Turkey, and from Israel and Cyprus to Greece and Italy, aroused a surprising degree of interest.”

————————————
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News – www.globes-online.com – on March 9, 2017
and appears in many Israeli publications, i.e. The Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2017

SustainabiliTank, sorry for the Trump Administration’s definitive efforts to undo the Obama Administration’s great successes in decreasing the place of oil in the global energy markets,
sees now a decreasing importance of the EPA, Energy Policy, Environment Policy and Global Climate Change avoidance. But also a planed subservience of The State Department to the US oil Interests – the revival of the American Petroleum Institute (API) in the Governing of the USA.
Geting the present Israel Government interested in the cooperation in developing sea resources could perhaps take off some of the pressure in the political arena, though clearly inctreasing
pressure against the potential of an Iranian sea base on Syrian soil. All of this within Israel and US State Department attention.

=============================================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

This week I got an e-mail from the Sierra Club titled – CAN HIKING HEAL? This was in my mind when visiting with the SPNI headquarters in Tel Aviv.

We all now about the APPALACHIAN TRAIL that was completed in 1937 as a sponsored work during the Great Depression years – it took more than a decade of work,

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The A.T. is about 2,200 miles long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. More than 2 million people are said to do at least one day-hike on the trail each year.

SPNI is the “Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel” – the counterpart of the American Sierra Club and they helped create THE ISRAEL TRAIL. Can this become a healing tool in the local political conflict? Will Arabs and Jews use this trail in harmony?

Given a map of this I.T. I decided to list its course.

Actually it was inaugurated in 1995, named Israel National Trail (INT) and stretches 620 mile. It starts at the Ussishkin House in the Upper Galilee – Named for Menachem Ussishkin, a Zionist leader from Russia, the house is an SPNI museum and starting point for hikes.

From there the trail goes south close to Kefar Giladi, Kiriath Schmone, Baram, Miron,towards the the Kineret Sea. Passes Tveria and bends westwards avoiding the West Bank and aiming rather towards Nazareth and Shfaram with their Israeli Arab citizenry. From there through Yagur and Druze Ussefia towards the Nediterranean Sea Shore at Ein Hod, Zichron Yaakov, Binjamina, Caesarea, Hadera, Netania, towards North of Tel Aviv where it turns inland towards Petach Tikva. from there South-East inside the 1967 borders Schoresh and Beit Zait without reaching Jerusalem. Rounding back South West outside the Southern part of the West Bank.
The trail reaches Beit Gobrin and rounding towards Arad. From here it changes direction southwards through the Negev and ends at a border crossing to Egypt south of Eilat.
Hopefully some day it will link with an extension into the Sinai Peninsula and its mountainous areas – a complete culture and nature trail.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The week of Purim – Is Netanyahu now a link to Putin, is Trump just trying to help a friend in trouble or was it a warning call?

Netanyahu is being interrogated at his office in Jerusalem the fourth time on several counts of suspected corruption. These interrogations go on for 5 hours each time.

This Monday the phone rang during the questioning and it was a call from Trump. It was said to the public that Trump informs him that Iran or North Korea launched a new missile and Trump wants Israel’s help. Will be the Israeli Attorney General impressed?

In parallel, it was already known since Sunday that this Friday, Netanyahu will have lunch with Putin in Moscow. The topic of discussion will be the presence of Iranian units
on Syrian soil. Will Netanyahu and his wife stay in Moscow over the Sabbath? Then they could have the chance to read the Esther Megilla at the local Temple, as Ivanka Trump and her husband will probably be doing in Florida. May be even Trump.

But the New York Times has a different idea about what Trump had to say to Netanyahu.
Supposedly he wanted just to say cool it with that construction project on those hills.

Israel Cabinet Minister of Defense, who went to Washington sensing a hurt Netanyahu,
told Lebanon not to join the Iranian side and told the Cabinet that it would be a big mistake to take over another 2 million more Arabs as part of Israel’s citizenry, this just because it would cost billions to give them full rights. That neatly lines up with Trump.

We think rather – Trump might have given to Netanyahu some advice from Tillerson on gas pipelines and the gas market – something of interest to all involved

Have a nice flight and a good weekend!

————

Throughout the centuries, Purim – which celebrates the miraculous salvation of the Jews and the thwarting of Haman’s genocidal plot – has traditionally symbolized the victory of the Jewish people over antisemitic tyranny. As such, Purim is a happy, carnival-like holiday.


The Fast of Esther

The day before Purim is a fast day known as the Fast of Esther, commemorating (inter alia) the fact that Queen Esther – the heroine of the Book of Esther – and the entire Persian Jewish community fasted (4:16) in advance of Queen Esther’s appeal for King Ahasuerus not to implement Haman’s genocidal plot. The fast will extend from before sunrise in the morning until sunset. Special prayers and scriptural readings are inserted into the synagogue service.

The Megilla
The pergament on which all of this was recorded.

=============

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 6th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Ten ways Donald Trump has already made America – and the world – great again.

He’s invigorated the left, revitalized journalism and sparked a great wave of local patriotism all across the world.

An Analysis by Chemi Shalev, an HAARETZ Correspondent.
The Haaretz, Israel, English edition – Monday, March 6, 2017

People complain that Donald Trump overstates his accomplishments. I beg to differ. Not everything is doom and gloom. In less than two months, Trump’s presidency has already sparked a profound and mostly positive revolution all across America, as well as the world. Here are the top 10 ways he’s done so.

1. He’s made people aware just how fragile and vulnerable America’s constitutional freedoms can be. Hitherto taken for granted, many Americans are increasingly appreciative of the Bill of Rights, Constitutional checks and balances, freedom of speech, protection of minorities etc. The more Trump seems blasé about such historical protections, the more people are galvanized to fight for their continued survival.

2. Trump has injected new life into the American left, recreating the kind of energy that helped propel Barack Obama to the White House in 2008. He’s resuscitated a resolve to resist and protest rarely seen since the days of the battle against the war in Vietnam.
Inspired by their disgust with Trump, millions of Americans have taken to the streets to voice their protests, thousands are flocking to town halls to spar with Republicans, and scores are choosing to volunteer, organize communities or contemplate a career in politics. After many years in which the right seemed to enjoy a monopoly on motivation and vitality, the tables seem to be turning.

3. Trump has shaken the Jewish community to its core, sparking an evolution that is too early to decipher. Feeling under threat, Jewish communities are coming together, while the Jewish establishment, with few exceptions, is under harsh scrutiny for what is perceived as its tepid response to what is also perceived as Trump’s complicity in the rising tide of anti-Semitism.
At the same time, Israel’s decision to align itself with Trump at a time when he is deeply unpopular with most Jews cannot but influence the future ties between the Jewish state and the largest Jewish diaspora. The jury is still out on where things will go, but the shake-up of the status quo was long overdue.

4. Trump is a catalyzer for solidarity and brotherhood. He has given many leftists, including this one, renewed respect and admiration for right-wing pundits and politicians who have bravely stayed true to their consciences and have continued to resist Trump, despite pressures to conform.
By the same token, Trump has brought together, at least momentarily, hitherto estranged Jewish groups from the right and the left, such as in their united response to the White House’s refusal to mention Jews in its Holocaust Day statement. And he’s definitely removed fences between Jewish and Muslim communities that share their fears and apprehensions and offer mutual support, as each becomes the target of attacks by haters. 

5. For the free press and for the journalistic profession, Trump has proven to be nothing less than a miracle worker. He’s given new glamor to investigative reporting just as it seemed to be losing its allure, as well as its funding. Trump has reawakened scores of hitherto lifeless and uninspired reporters who are now hungry for scoops and exposes and lusting for the one defining story that will bring Trump down and gain them immortality.
He’s recreated the great newspaper rivalries of yore, especially the New York Times and the Washington Post. And he’s certainly generated a great infusion of desperately needed financial relief to beleaguered news networks, whose ratings and advertising revenues have soared, as well as print and especially digital news organizations, which are collecting new subscriptions and benevolent monetary contributions like never before.

6. Trump has revitalized the careers of late night shows, hosts and comedians, including Saturday Night Live, Samantha Bee and The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, providing them with endless streams of solid material to bite into. 
Most satisfactorily, for this writer at least, Trump has saved Stephen Colbert from slowly suffocating in the previously unbearable nothingness of late night puff interviews. Millions of fans that have been mourning the demise of The Colbert Report have now been rewarded with a Lazarus-like comeback of Colbert’s biting humor and scathing sarcasm. Trump has restored their faith in humanity.

7. Trump has done wonders to generate new support for the much-maligned Affordable Care Act and renewed respect for its creator, Barack Obama. He’s definitely worked miracles in rehabilitating the image of past presidents, especially George W Bush. The 43rd president is now perceived, even by some of his strongest detractors, as a model of fairness, humility and judiciousness (compared to the present occupant of the White House, at least).
And while Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t done himself any favors by slobbering over the new U.S. president, Trump’s magic touch is so powerful that even though they essentially promote the same policies and values, Netanyahu still seems far more polished and restrained today than he did only a few months ago.

8. Trump has exposed the American right wing’s most significant feature: rank hypocrisy. Moralistic Evangelicals suddenly cheer a pussy-grapping Chief Executive; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks holding up Supreme Court picks is abominable; Republican lawmakers see positive points in ObamaCare that should be preserved; Fox News, it turns out, is far less enthusiastic about dealing with questionable military operations like the one carried out in Yemen in late January than it was in obsessively dissecting Benghazi, even when everything had been said about it four times over.
And the granddaddy of them all, of course, is Vladimir Putin, the once reviled dictator heading the Evil Empire who is now revered in some conservative circles as an improved role model that combines the best of Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Andrew Jackson put together.

9. Trump has cured many people around the world of any inferiority complexes they may have had toward America by proving that the U.S. can be just as stupid, reactionary and retrograde as anyone else. In the future this could pave the way to healthier relations for the U.S., as people stop being jealous of American superiority and resentful of American exceptionalism.
Dictators and other supporters of repression will no longer be rankled by America’s presumptuous preaching on human rights and the rule of law. Under Trump, America no longer cares what other people do, as long as they don’t do it in or against America.

10. Finally, as a direct consequence, Trump has sparked a new wave of patriotism all across the globe as people come to appreciate what they have at home more than ever before. He’s enhanced the stature of politicians who were once considered average and increased respect for the hitherto undervalued boring and mediocre.
Trump has also done wonders to renew esteem for international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union, as well as concern for their future. In fact, for many people, Trump is now like a moral beacon, only in reverse. The new global rule of thumb, which Trump has succeeded in instilling in an amazingly short time, is simple: If Trump’s against something, you know it’s good, and if he’s for something, you know it must be bad

==============================================================

ALSO:

AMERICA’S POLITICAL REVIVAL

by Timothy Egan,
THE NEW YORK TIMES, Monday March 6, 2017, The Opinion Page

My friend Sam laughed when I told him I was going to spend my Saturday at a “Search for Meaning” festival at a Jesuit college in the heart of seriously secular Seattle. He assumed, as I did, that a bare handful of the usual search-for-meaning suspects would be straining minutiae while still clinging to the meaninglessness of it all.

But nooooo — all the keynote events at Seattle University were completely sold out. In the winter of the American soul, people thronged to hear advice on how to “live a life of significance and impact” and to “find meaning in times of change, challenge and chaos.”

I credit President Trump. Not because he seems any more evolved than the first earthworms now appearing in the cold soil of my garden. But because the threats to truth, civility, rational thought and brotherly love coming from the White House have prompted a huge counterreaction.

It’s early, but we may be experiencing a great awakening for the humane values that are under siege by a dark-side presidency. People are going inward, to find something bigger than Trump, and outward, to limit the damage he inflicts on the country.


Trump has been good — indirectly — for a free press, an independent judiciary, high school civics, grass-roots political activity, cautionary tales in literature and theater, and spirituality. You don’t know what you’ve got, as the song says, till it’s gone — or nearly so.

Face it: We have become a lazy, aging, fairly ignorant democracy. Even in the most turbulent election in modern history, about 90 million eligible voters didn’t bother to cast a ballot — the basic task of citizenship. Trump took his 46 percent of those who did vote, many of whom believe fake-moon-landing-level lies, and has tried to act like the earth moved, as he said on Tuesday. It did, but not in the ways that he meant it.

It would be immodest, even overtly Trumpian, to boast about the huge circulation gains at the not-failing New York Times, or the robust support for our competitors, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. But let’s just say having a man who told an average of four false or misleading statements a day for the first month of his presidency has been good for those the president calls enemies of the people.

It’s the same story at NPR, where the number of listeners reached new heights during and after Trump’s election. “These increases confirm that there is a real appetite for factual reporting,” said Jarl Mohn, NPR’s president and C.E.O., in a release last fall. No kidding, Sherlock.

A collateral benefit has gone to comedy. Laughter is one of the best weapons in dangerous times. Trump told his lap dog, Fox News, that “Saturday Night Live” was “a failing show, it’s not funny, Alec Baldwin’s a disaster.” In fact, “S.N.L.” has had some of its best ratings in nearly a quarter century. More Trump than Trump, Baldwin is anything but a disaster. And Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” has also taken off, since he took off the gloves.

The hottest book of the Trump era, George Orwell’s “1984,” is headed for Broadway. “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,” Orwell wrote, with chilling prescience. Also sailing out of bookstores: Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and my personal favorite, Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.”

Trump fright has produced a deep dive into history. Millions now know that “enemy of the people” was a Soviet-era threat used by Stalinist thugs. And “America First,” Trump’s governing theme, was a slogan of Nazi sympathizers in the United States just before World War II.

Which brings us to civics. One of the great failures of late has been the diminishment of this vital owner’s manual for citizenship. Only 23 percent of eighth graders scored at or above proficiency in civics in a survey last year. Almost two-thirds of adults cannot name all three branches of government.

But now students are clamoring to talk about government and politics. The kids are demanding that their teachers do something to prevent another generation of politically illiterate citizens from coming of age. They are also marching in the street, along with their parents, who have already pulled off one of the largest political demonstrations in American history.

As for the spiritual revival, the evidence is somewhat anecdotal. We know that Trump-induced stress has spiked. As a response, many people are looking for larger meaning in their lives — or at least a psychological shelter from the storm. In a way, this echoes the first of two earlier Great Awakenings.

In stepping on American values, Trump has prompted people to find out more about those values, and ultimately to defend them. The high to his low is an unexpected renaissance.

====================================================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 5th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Jerusalem Post Israel News Politics And Diplomacy

NETANYAHU TO URGE RUSSIA TO SAY ‘NYET’ TO IRANIAN OPS NEAR ISRAEL BORDER.

BYHERB KEINON MARCH 5, 2017 12:03

PM of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss Syrian civil war developments in meeting with Putin in Moscow on Thursday.

Israel hopes to reach “specific understandings” with Russia to prevent Iran from permanently setting up a base of operations in Syria against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday.

At the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu announced that he will be traveling to Moscow on Thursday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the focus of the discussions will be on current efforts to put together new arrangements in Syria. Those efforts have taken place in recent weeks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, and Geneva.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2017 SHEVAT 27, 5777 6:24 PM IST THE TIMES OF ISRAEL.
ABOUT US ADVERTISE WITH US

INTERVIEW
Defending Trump, ex-envoy to US says nobody blamed Obama for leftist anti-Semitism.

New Jersey-born deputy minister says Jew-hatred is not new in the US; hails PM for being ‘responsible’ in not criticizing US president’s Holocaust statement that didn’t mention Jews BY RAPHAEL AHREN February 23, 2017, 3:18 pm 6

Those who charge US President Donald Trump with fueling right-wing anti-Semitism should recall that no one had accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of spurring anti-Semitism from the left, Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy MK Michael Oren said Thursday.


Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, also defended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to speak out about the White House’s statement for International Holocaust Memorial Day, which failed to mention the Jewish people, saying the prime minister was engaging in “responsible” policymaking.

“Too much emphasis is put on what people say, not on what people do. The question is not what’s being said, but what’s being done,” Oren told The Times of Israel. “Yes, there is an uptick in anti-Semitism, but the conversation about it is not going in the right direction.”

In his meetings with bipartisan congressional delegations from the US, Oren said, he is often told that it is less important that hate crimes are condemned and more important that they are stopped. “The question is what is done operatively to combat and prevent them.”

In recent weeks, amid an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks, including dozens of hoax bomb threats to Jewish institutions, various US-Jewish leaders took the new administration to task for ostensibly failing to forcefully denounce rising anti-Semitism there. Trump shouted down an Orthodox Jewish reporter who tried to ask him about the uptick last week, declaring that “I am the least anti-Semitic person.”

On Wednesday, Trump for the first time condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, such as this week’s desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis in which 170 gravestones were damaged. Vice President Mike Pence paid a solidarity visit to the vandalized site, and actively aided in the restoration effort.

Netanyahu, speaking at a synagogue in Sydney, praised Trump for taking a “strong stand against anti-Semitism.” At a joint press conference with Trump earlier this month, Netanyahu had proclaimed that there was “no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state” than the president.

Oren, who was a noted historian of US-Israeli history before entering diplomacy and politics, did not deny that Jew-hatred was a growing concern in the US but pointed out that it was by no means a new phenomenon.

“Obviously there is problem with anti-Semitism and we have to take it seriously,” said Oren, a member of the centrist Kulanu party. “But there is anti-Semitism on the left, and nobody blamed Obama for that. During my time in Washington [as Israeli ambassador], I never encountered right-wing anti-Semitism, but I experienced a lot of anti-Semitism, mainly on campuses. Ask Jewish students in America if they fear anti-Semitism. They do — not from the right, but from the left.”

Just as Obama should not be blamed for these incidents, Trump cannot be blamed for the current wave of attacks apparently inspired by right-wing ideologies, he argued.

Anti-Semitism is not new to America, the New Jersey native said, citing incidents from his youth. “It is very precedented. Anti-Semitism was a fact of life when I grew up. I encountered it all the time: our windows were broken, I got into fistfights all the time. There were quotas [for Jews] at Ivy League universities.”

The key to confronting today’s anti-Semitism lies in local law enforcement, he said, arguing for greater efforts to trace people calling in bomb threats to Jewish centers and having the FBI put more manpower into fighting the phenomenon.

“When my synagogue was bombed, the FBI showed up the next day,” he recalled. He was referring to an April 1971 attack on the Jewish Center of West Orange, which took place on the night racist American-Israeli rabble-rouser Rabbi Meir Kahane was scheduled to address the Conservative community.


Oren, who served as ambassador to the US between 2009 and 2013, declined to comment on Netanyahu’s previous silence on the rise of anti-Semitism in America and over the Holocaust Day statement. The prime minister initially refused to comment on the fact that the White House omitted any reference to genocide against the Jews in its statement, and he later denounced the US-Jewish community’s protests over the matter as “misplaced.”


While he himself does not agree with the White House explanation for what it called an “inclusive” statement — that other people suffered as well during the Holocaust — Oren said he would not “go out and criticize” the new administration.

Rather, he urged that Trump and his team should be given time before being taking to task over such issues, quipping that it takes a new administration half a year before staffers even know where the bathrooms are in the White House.

“We [Israelis] have crucial issues that affect the security of each and every one of us,” he said, indicating that discussions over Iran, Syria and the Palestinians should take precedence in Jerusalem’s dealings with the new administration.

Netanyahu’s refusal to comment on the controversial Holocaust Day statement “was “responsible and clear-sighted” policy in that it focuses on the bigger picture, Oren said.

Obama, early in his first term, indicated that Israel was created because of the Holocaust, Oren recalled. “This was a problematic narrative, because it basically denies Jewish history. But we didn’t make a big deal about it. It was a new administration and we had important things to discuss.”

It took Obama several years before publicly setting the record straight, when in a speech to the UN he talked about the millennia-old Jewish roots in the Land of Israel, Oren said. “Let’s give Trump that same opportunity [to correct mistakes] and not jump at every little thing he says.”

========================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Uri Avnery Column at the Israeli Gush Shalom website of February 4, 2017

RESPECT THE GREEN LINE!

THE MOST incisive analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have ever read was written by the Jewish-Polish-British historian Isaac Deutscher. It consists of a single image.

A man lives on the upper floor of a building, which catches fire. To save his life, he jumps out of a window and lands on a passerby in the street below. The victim is grievously injured, and between the two starts an intractable conflict.

Of course, no metaphor is completely perfect. The Zionists did not choose Palestine by chance, the choice was based on our religion. The founder of the movement, Theodor Herzl, initially preferred Argentina.

Still, the picture is basically valid, at least until 1967. From then on, the settlers continued to jump across the Green Line, with no fire in sight.

THERE IS nothing holy about the Green Line. It is no different from any other border line around the world, whatever its color.

Most borders were drawn by geography and the accidents of war. Two peoples fight for the territory between them, at some point the fighting comes to an end, and a border is born.
The land borders of Israel – known for some reason as the “Green Line” – were also established by the accidents of war. A part of that line was the result of a deal between the new Israeli government and the king of Jordan, Abdallah I, who gave us the so-called Triangle as a baksheesh, in return for Israel’s agreement to his annexation of most of the rest of Palestine. So what’s so holy about this border? Nothing, except that it’s there. And that is true for many borders throughout the world.

A border is established by accident and confirmed by agreement. True, the United Nations drew borders between the Jewish and the Arab states in its 1947 resolution, but after the Arab side started a war in order to thwart this decision, Israel greatly enlarged its territory.

The 1948 war ended without a peace treaty. But the armistice lines established at the end of the war were accepted by the entire world as the borders of Israel. This has not changed during the 68 years that have passed since then.

This situation prevails both de facto and de jure. Israeli law applies only within the Green Line. Everything else is occupied territory under military law. Two small territories – East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – were unilaterally declared to be annexed by Israel, but nobody in the world recognizes this status.

I ELABORATE on these well-known facts because the settlers in the occupied territories have lately started to taunt their critics in Israel by bringing up a new argument: “Hey, what’s the big difference between us?”

You too sit on Arab lands, they tell us. True, before 1948 the Zionists settled on land they bought with good money – but only a small part of it was bought from the fellahin who tilled it. Most of it was acquired from rich absentee landowners, who had bought it cheaply from the Turkish sultan when the Ottoman Empire was in dire financial straits . The tillers of the land were driven out by the Turkish, and later the British, police.

Large stretches of land were “liberated” during the fighting of 1948, when masses of Arab villagers and city-dwellers fled before the advancing Israeli forces, as civilians do in every war. If they didn’t, a few salvos of machine-gun fire were enough to drive them out.
The inhabitants who were left in Jaffa after the town was conquered, were simply packed on trucks and sent to Gaza. The inhabitants of Lod (Lydda) were driven away on foot. In the end, about 750 thousand Arabs were expelled, more than half the Palestinian people at the time. The Jewish population in Palestine amounted then to 650 thousand.

Some inner voice compels me at this point to mention a Canadian-Jewish officer named Ben Dunkelmann, then 36 years old, who commanded a brigade in the new Israeli army. He had served with distinction in the Canadian army in World War II. He was ordered to attack Nazareth, the home-town of Jesus, but succeeded in inducing the local leaders to surrender without a fight. The condition was that the local population would not be harmed.
After his troops had occupied the town, Dunkelmann received an oral order to drive the population out. Outraged, Dunkelmann refused to break his word of honor as an officer and a gentleman, and demanded the order in writing. Such a written order never arrived, of course (no such orders were ever put in writing), but Dunkelmann was removed from his post.
Nowadays, when I pass Nazareth, a thriving Arab town, I remember this brave man. After that war, he returned to his native Canada. I don’t think he ever came back here again. He died 20 years ago.

HONEST DISCLOSURE: I took part in all this. As a simple soldier, and later as a squad leader, I was a part of the events. But immediately after the war I wrote a book that disclosed the truth (“The Other Side of the Coin”), and a few years later I published a detailed plan for the return of some of the refugees and the payment of compensation to all the others. That, of course, never happened.

Most of the land and the houses of the refugees were filled with new Jewish immigrants.
Now the settlers say, not without some justice: “Who are you to despise us? You did the same as we are doing! Only you did it before 1967, and we do it now. What’s the difference?”
That is the difference. We live in a state that has been recognized by most of the world within established borders. You live in territory that the world considers occupied Palestinian territory. The state of Texas was acquired by the USA in a war with Mexico. If President Trump were now to invade Mexico and annex a chunk of land (why not?), its status would be quite different.


Binyamin Netanyahu – some now call him Trumpyahu – is all for enlarging the settlements. This week, under pressure from our Supreme Court, he staged the removal of one tiny little settlement, Amona, with a lot of heartbreak and tears, but immediately promised to put up many thousands of new “housing units” in the occupied territories.

OPPOSITE POLITICAL extremes often touch each other. So it is now.

The settlers who want to wipe out the difference between us and them, do it not just to justify themselves. Their main aim is to erase the Green Line and include all the occupied territories in Greater Israel, which would extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

A lot of Israel-haters want the same borders – but as an Arab state.
Indeed, I would love to chair a peace conference of Israel-haters and Palestine-haters. I would propose to decide first on the points they all agree on – namely the creation of a state from sea to river. I would leave to the end the decision whether to call it Israel or Palestine.

A world-wide movement called BDS now proposes to boycott all of Israel, in order to achieve this end. I have a problem with that.

GUSH SHALOM, the Israeli peace organization to which I belong, takes great pride in being the first to declare a boycott on the products of the settlements many years ago. We still uphold this boycott, though it is now illegal under Israeli law.

We did not declare a boycott on Israel. And not only because it is rather awkward to boycott oneself. The main object of our boycott was to teach Israelis to differentiate between themselves and the settlements. We published and distributed many thousand copies of the list of companies located and products produced outside the Green Line. Many people are upholding the boycott.

The BDS boycott of all Israel achieves the exact opposite: by saying that there is no difference between Israel within the Green Line and the settlers outside, it pushes ordinary Israelis into the arms of the settlers.

The settlers, of course, are only too happy to get the assistance of BDS in erasing the Green Line.

I HAVE no emotional quarrel with the BDS people. True, a few of them seem to be old-school anti-Semites in a new garb, but I have the impression that most BDS supporters act out of sincere sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinians. I respect that.

However, I would urge the well-meaning idealists who support BDS to think again about the paramount importance of the Green Line – the only border that makes peace between Israel and Palestine possible, with some minor mutually agreed adjustments.


ISRAEL IS there. It cannot be wished away. So is Palestine.

If we all agree on that, we can also agree on the continued boycott of the settlements – and of the settlements only.

=====================================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


PM Netanyahu Instructs the Foreign Ministry to Reprimand the Belgian Ambassador to Israel

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser – February 8, 2017)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 8 February 2017), instructed the Foreign Ministry to reprimand Belgian Ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle.

Israel views with utmost gravity Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s meeting today with the leaders of Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, during his visit to Israel. Initiatives are underway by the Belgian state prosecutor to try senior Israelis including Tzipi Livni and IDF officers.

The Belgian government needs to decide whether it wants to change direction or continue with an anti-Israel line.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has directed that legislation be advanced to prevent financing by foreign governments for NGOs that harm IDF soldiers.

=================================================

And from Ted Belman’s blog that is a US Republican plant in Jerusalem – to our big surprise a criticism of the heralded Trump – right out of the pages of HAARETZ:

Republicans Won’t Defy Trump on His Holocaust Statement – and Israel Should Pay Attention

T. Belman. The harshness with which the Trump administration reject criticism is unfathomable. Why is Trump doing this? Friends don’t do this to friends.

The way a resolution to restate Jewish focus of Holocaust was shot down sends unmistakable signal when it comes to new rules of power in D.C, Jewish community and, by extension, Israel.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer, HAARETZ

=============================================

and then the Netanyahu dream:

The Ultimate Alternate Israel-Palestine Solution

With a new U.S. president, new ideas are emerging on how to resolve the Israel-Palestine debacle. One of the most promising comes from the Jordanian Opposition Council who favor a new Palestinian state — in Jordan.

By Ted Belman

==============================================

find above at:  www.israpundit.org/archives/63621…

==============================================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 6th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

6th International Conference on Deserts, Drylands & Desertification (DDD).

November 6-9, 2017, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel,

(DDD) has emerged since 2006 as an important Science of Development Conference with close to 1000 participants from many developed and developing countries. These subjects impact in effect the majority of the countries and regions of the world – not just the on-going preoccupation of that time with Africa – of the UN or UNEP.

The subject evolved after the Rio Summit of 1992 and the Brazilian Insistence that Dry Lands – arid and semi-arid – are wide spread – even to counties held responsible for the plight of the Amazonas.

Following the success of the previous five international biennial conferences 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, though no conference was held in 2016, but the 2017 6th conference – to be this November – is now in full gear – and this year’s focus is on Healthy Lands and Healthy Collection and Treatment • Remote Sensing Applications for Drylands.

The list of advertised topics includes:

– Ecology of Drylands
– Afforestation in Drylands
– Carbon Footprint
– Desert and Drylands Archeology
– Dryland Agriculture
– Irrigation
– Mathematical Asects, Modeling and Analysis for Dryland Research
– Ecohydrology of Dryland Landscapes
– Geological Aspects of Deserts and Desertification
– GIS Application for Dryland Studies
– Hydrology in Drylands
– NGO perspectives on Dryland Development
– Nutritional and Food Security
– On-site Waste Collection and Treatment
– Remote Sensing Application for Drylands
– Soil and Land Restoration
– Green Roofs an Urbn Forestry
– Women and Economic Change in Rural Arid Lands

Additional topics may be included.
Topics can be submitted till April 1, 2017 and Abstracts have to be submitted by May 15, 2017.

www.desertification.bgu.ac.il at www.bgu.ac.il

write to  desertification at bgu.ac.il

Prof. Pedro Berliner and Prof. Arnon Karnieli, Chairs of the Organizing Committee
Ms. Dorit Korine, Conference Coordinator.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

THE ALGEMEINER – January 29, 2017

Trump’s White House Takes Heat for Holocaust Remembrance Statement Omitting Mention of Jewish Genocide.

The White House has faced widespread criticism since Friday, when it issued a statement in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day that…More at www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/29/wh…

Temple U Chapter of Notoriously Anti-Israel Group Pays Tribute to Late Founder of Deadly Palestinian Terrorist Organization on 8th Anniversary of His Death
The Temple University chapter of the anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) paid tribute Thursday to the late founder of a notorious…More  www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/29/te…

Controversial British Baroness Who Resigned From Liberal Democrat Party Over Antisemitism Allegations Doubles Down on ‘Jewish Lobby’ Comments, Accusations That Israeli Treatment of Palestinians Behind Global Terrorism
British Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was suspended and then resigned from the UK Liberal Democrat party in October over allegations of antisemitism…More www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/29/co…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

MIDDLE EAST

Bill to Legalize West Bank Settlements Advances in Israel

By ISABEL KERSHNER NOVember 13, 2016 revived January 30, 2017

JERUSALEM — An Israeli ministerial committee on Sunday approved a contentious bill that would allow for the retroactive legalization of Jewish settlement outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The measure breaks a longstanding taboo, and in the view of many experts, it defies international law.

The bill requires approval by Parliament before becoming law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed its advancement now, presumably to avoid international censure. The attorney general has cautioned that he will be hard pressed to defend the legislation in Israel’s Supreme Court.

Israel’s pro-settlement camp has promoted the legislation, known as the Regulation Law, with increasing urgency as a Dec. 25 deadline approaches for the court-ordered destruction of Amona, an illegal outpost of 40 families on a West Bank hilltop claimed by dozens of Palestinian landowners and their heirs.

Treading a fine line between world opinion, his conservative Likud Party and his governing coalition, Mr. Netanyahu tried to delay the vote. He said it would harm the chances of a government request pending before the Supreme Court to postpone the demolition of Amona by half a year.

“There is no one who is more concerned about settlement than us,” Mr. Netanyahu said Sunday, in a nod to his pro-settlement constituency. But, he added, “sagacity and responsibility” are needed for the benefit of the settlement project as a whole.

Husam Zomlot, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said that while all settlement was illegal, Sunday’s decision served to “reaffirm the Israeli government insistence on burying the prospects for peace.”

Israel’s expansion of settlements has outraged Palestinians and been a source of acute tension with the Obama administration, which views all settlement activity as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. Most of the world considers the settlements in territory that Israel conquered from Jordan in the 1967 war to be a violation of international law.

President Obama is considering whether to publicly lay out his own parameters for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he leaves office, in a speech or in a resolution before the United Nations Security Council, a prospect Mr. Netanyahu has strongly opposed.

Instead of evicting the settlers, the Regulation Law would transfer the rights for the use of private land into Israeli hands and force the Palestinian landowners to accept compensation. While Israel’s highest legal authorities allow settlements in areas declared public land, private property rights have technically been preserved.

Naftali Bennett, a minister whose Jewish Home party promoted the bill, said Sunday’s action signified that Israel had embarked on “a historic process of normalizing the settlements in Judea and Samaria,” referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.

Critics said it represented a creeping annexation of the West Bank, with Parliament potentially imposing Israeli law in an area that the military authorities have overseen for nearly 50 years.

Tamar Zandberg, a legislator from the left-wing Meretz party, said the proposed law “says you are allowed to steal.”

Although the crisis over Amona preceded the American presidential election, Israel’s right wing has been emboldened by the victory of Donald J. Trump, with the settlements’ supporters believing that his administration will give them a freer hand.

=====================================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 22nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Trump’s coronation by his blind admirers was not the only act of global importance this weekend. We also saw a Turkish Parliament vote that turns Recep Tayyip Erdogan into a Presidential Sultan; he remembers that January 22, 1517 – just a mere 600 years ago – the Turks conquered Cairo.

Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Theresa May of the UK compete to be the new US Chief’s first guest. The Tsar of Russia, Vladimir Putin expressed his wishes to co-reign with the new United States, while at the Davos World Economic Forum, the playing ground of world’s capitalists, it was Xi Jinping – the Chinese Communist Party leader – who is viewed as the new world leader of Free Trade and Globalization. Quite a global change!


And Pope Francis warns against rise of populist leaders ‘like Hitler’ as Donald Trump sworn in as President He said among other things – “In times of crisis, we lack judgement.

President Donald Trump’s World-view is best depicted in a Kurier of Austria, January 22, 2017, drawing:

On the left side it shows a bloated US (TRUMP – Great Again!) sitting on a brick wall under which all of Latin America is marked Mexico.

On the right side you see the British Islands marked Brexit under which there is a rather smallish area labelled Pussies – that becomes recognizable thanks to the Italy-boot.
Underneath there is a much larger area labelled with a crossed-out ISIS and from the West side an incoming missile.

To the further right there is a nondescript large blob marked “Maybe Russia, Maybe China.”

If that map does not talk to you, then you had better listened to Fareed Zakaria’s program on his GPS (Global Public Square) and then followed up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where Chuck Todd was trying to get answers from Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s Senior Adviser on how to beat the press. Obvious to the blind – The President is the LIAR-IN-CHIEF, his Press Secretary – the bamboozler par excellence and Kellyanne – the obnoxious fighter that brought them to where they are today.
From the Washington Post Evening Edition, January 22, 2017: Challenged on falsehoods, Conway says Trump team has ‘alternative facts’ that translates to Alternative meaning evasion and un-truth – simply said intended lies she makes up to avoid an answer.

Bette Midler posted today her findings that Trump’s cabinet is the richest in the history of the nation – worth over 14 billion dollars.
Wonder why you have no money? Because they have it All!

An Israeli facebook writer expressed her question that she does not understand who learned from whom – Netanyahu from Trump or Trump from Netayahu. We have the answer to her dilemma – both learned from Sbeldon Adelson – the Casino mogul from Macao who lives in Miami and who funded the political campaigns of Netanyahu and of the extreme right in the US of which Trump was the ultimate beneficiary. In Israel Adelson bought up the media outlets and created that fake impression of reality. Now, what the wonder that Trump’s Cabinet looks like a Goldman Sachs retreat and the proposed Secretary of State is the greatest Oil Industry executive?

Looking at that “Inauguration speech” that Trump made on Friday in front of a mainly
male audience pockmarked by all those blonde Republican wives, the right-looking well established journalist – George Will – writes:
“Trump vindicated his severest critics by serving up re-heated campaign rhetoric about rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape and an education system
producing students deprived of all knowledge. Yes all.
But cheer up, because the carnage will vanish if we follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. ‘Simple’ is the word.”

Trump missed his chance to make a unifying speech and ended up sawing more division of an already split nation. The event was thus real in its fakeness but next week the country is his to rule. Will he make it better for all – not just for his bunch of oligarchs?

From Kellyanne’s pearls: “*On the Whitehouse press room – “We can’t let the press into the White House press room if they are going to question the facts presented by the team or the President himself.” *On Trump’s tax returns: “The president will NOT release his tax returns. The people don’t want that – they are interested in their own tax returns.”
*On the million who marched in America and more around the world: “I discussed it with him briefly but didn’t see any point to focus on it.”

The most incisive comments on Trump we found in the weekly column of a wise Israeli – Uri Avnery who has seen it all and has clear memories that stretch for 90 years.

He writes that President Trump does not know a thing about history and about many other things as well. Tramp knows real estate and how to make money. But some of the most terrible
wars were started because of ignoramuses. You can think of the First World War, on the millions of dead that started because of an unimportant Serb. Then the Second World War and its tens of millions of dead that was caused by Adolf Hitler, a primitive man, who crossed the border into Poland without giving a thought that he starts a world war. He did not believe that Britain, an Arian Nation he admired, will declare war again him.

Avnery starts his column by saying the only thing that is sure is that we are facing four years of uncertainty. Every morning he expects to get up and first thing he will try to find out what this man will do today. He will be the entertaining-president The World is dangerous and from today it will be dangerous some-more.

Yes, we agree with Avnery and we already named Trump the American Caligula.
Yes, history repeats itself – but please remember – now it is not horses – it is nukes!

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 14th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Breaking News
YNET: U.S. Intel Officials Tell Israel Not To Share Info With Trump Administration.

Haaretz – January 14, 2017

(Haaretz) — Israeli intelligence officials are concerned that the exposure of classified information to their American counterparts under a Trump administration could lead to their being leaked to Russia and onward to Iran, investigative journalist Ronen Bergman reported by Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot on Thursday.

The intelligence concerns, which have been discussed in closed forums recently, are based on suspicions of unreported ties between President-elect Donald Trump, or his associates, and the government of Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

As Russian intelligence is associated with intelligence officials in Tehran, highly classified information, such as Israel’s clandestine methods of operation and intelligence sources, could potentially reach Iran. Such information has been shared with the United States in the past.

American intelligence officials expressed despair at the election of Trump during a recent meeting with their Israeli counterparts, Bergman reported. They said that they believed that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, though they did not elaborate. The American media reported on Wednesday that Russia has embarrassing intelligence about the president-elect.

According to Bergman, the American intelligence officials implied that Israel should “be careful” when transferring intelligence information to the White House and the National Security Council (NSC) following Trump’s inauguration – at least until it is clear that Trump does not have inappropriate connections with Russia.

Cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities has intensified over the past two decades, with most of the joint operations directed, according to reports, against Iran. Hezbollah and Hamas were also intelligence targets. An official agreement in 2008 for comprehensive cooperation, including the exposure of sources and methods of action, reportedly led to impressive results, including the disruption of the Iranian nuclear program.

============================

Terrorism Still Iran’s Most Feared Trump Card.
Marc Perelman May 5, 2006

President Barack Obama put an end to offensive activity against Iran in 2013, at the start of secret talks between the U.S, and Iran over a nuclear agreement. However, the exposure of Israeli intelligence to the U.S. continued.

American officials are convinced that whistleblower Edward Snowden handed over intelligence to Moscow – in return for which he received political asylum – and that some of it was handed over to Tehran, in the context of Putin’s policy of increasing Iranian dependence on Moscow.

=============================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

By Jay Michaelson –
The Forward December 30, 2016

Jay Michelson writes: Looking toward 2017 can be overwhelming. The coming Trump administration presents so many potential risks, it’s hard to know which to feel anxious about. When I feel overwhelmed, I find that it helps to make lists. Here, then, in a rough order of danger, but also grouped by category, are 50 things for American Jews to be worried about as the new administration takes shape.

National Security and International Affairs

1. Unprepared Amateurs in a Crisis. Surely the most dangerous aspect of the Trump presidency isn’t what we know — it’s what we don’t know. What happens when the next terrorist attack takes place? Or the next belligerent move from Russia, China or North Korea? With ideologues and amateurs in charge of national security, the risk of war, even nuclear exchange, grows extremely high.

2. Poor Muslim Intelligence. Having alienated our former allies in the Muslim world and in the U.S. Muslim community, the United States has worse intelligence and more radicalized Islamists. The risk of a large-scale terror attack on our soil skyrockets.

3. Ceding Power to Russia. With America’s retreat from the world stage, Russia gains power, influence and money. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law decline.

4. Ceding Power to China. With America’s retreat from the world stage, China gains power. Same effects as No. 3.

5. Global Disorder. Trump’s erratic behavior alienates our allies, destabilizes the world order and destroys American prestige (as has already begun to happen with his buffoonish phone calls with Taiwan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom).

6. International Organizations Undermined. NATO and the United Nations are crippled. Israel suffers in particular, as its stalwart friend is undermined and ultranationalist Israeli policies leave few other allies.

7. War Crimes. Trump makes good on his promise to kill terrorists’ families and is brought up on war crimes charges. In response, America pulls out of the International Criminal Court. The United States targets and murders innocent people.

8. Climate Change Accelerates. Its effects lead to violence and to further economic destabilization. Global agriculture is severely disrupted, and entire ecosystems wither.
7. War Crimes. Trump makes good on his promise to kill terrorists’ families and is brought up on war crimes charges. In response, America pulls out of the International Criminal Court. The United States targets and murders innocent people.8. Climate Change Accelerates. Its effects lead to violence and to further economic destabilization. Global agriculture is severely disrupted, and entire ecosystems wither.

9. Cowboy Diplomacy. With extremists running the executive branch, the United States engages in “cowboy diplomacy,” including numerous military actions in the Middle East, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and to a further destabilization of the region.

10. Decline of International Rule of Law. The United Nations is weakened as America undermines it and refuses to pay its dues. International rule of law declines to its lowest point since World War I.

11. The Islamic State Group Strengthens. With Assad in Syria, Russia’s sphere of influence grows. The gains Iraq has made against the Islamic State group are lost when the United States alienates Iraq and others. Islamic State emerges stronger.

12. Israel Moves Away From Democracy. Israel passes a wave of anti-democratic measures, leading to the further emigration of its smartest, most productive citizens.

13. Nuclear Iran. With the Iran nuclear deal scuttled, Iran resumes development of nuclear weapons. This leads to a massive, deadly military exchange with the United States and/or Israel.

14. Global Intolerance. The State Department not only stops funding pro-women, pro-education, pro-human rights and pro-LGBTQ initiatives around the world, but also starts funding the exact opposite, channeling billions of federal dollars to hard-right Christian organizations.

15. Russian Machinations. It can’t be ruled out that Russia had further interests in influencing the American election beyond having a weakened America. We don’t know what these interests were.

Decline of Democracy

16. Civil Liberties Are Discarded. Muslims and Mexicans are the primary targets, but the rule of law decays in America with summary deportation processes, decreased oversight from the Department of Justice, and legitimized stereotyping and scapegoating. Other minorities, including Jews, suffer from this overall decline.

17. Big Brother. All Americans are spied on, all the time. Per Newt Gingrich’s recommendation, the Un-American Activities Committee is re-formed, targeting political opponents, liberals, etc.

18. First Amendment Is Redefined. Registries of Muslims are adopted, religious tests barring Muslims from entry, along with other anti-Muslim activities, erode the fundamental constitutional order of the United States and alienate our most important allies — moderates of all stripes, believers in modernity and the 88%? of Muslims who despise the fundamentalist terrorists — against terror.

19. Human Rights Nightmare. Deporting 3 million people is a human rights nightmare, especially for enrollees in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA participants were brought here as young children and gave their private information in exchange for deferred action on deportation. Now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement knows exactly where they are.

20. Social Permission for Discrimination. The “Trump Effect” leads to widespread “brownshirt” violence and discrimination against people of color, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people and Jews, among others. Rudeness, boorishness, chauvinism and vulgarity become even more commonplace, and often spill into physical attacks (as have already taken place).

21. White Supremacists in the Mainstream. The rise of the “alt-right” has unknown effects. At the very least, anti-Semitism and racism are mainstreamed.

22. Escalation of Invasive, Race-Based Policing. National stop-and-frisk and “law and order” policies cause a massive increase in police violence, leading to vicious rebellion by people of color, which in turn leads to further militarization of police, crackdowns across the country and an enormous spike in mass incarceration. Massive private prisons are built. Half of the country’s young black men are in the criminal justice system. Many are dead.

23. Scapegoating the Fourth Estate. With the mainstream media no longer granted access to the White House, partisan, billionaire-funded yellow journalism such as Fox News and Breitbart supplant the “fourth estate.” The press itself becomes regarded as the enemy, and standards of truth and fact-checking are disregarded. Transparency and the principles of government for the people are discarded.

24. Racial Disenfranchisement. Trump continues to baselessly allege voter fraud, leading to widespread disenfranchisement, particularly of people of color. The Republican Party seizes on voter suppression as a primary way to maintain power as a minority party.

25. Kleptocracy. As did his actual conflict of interests, Trump’s potential kleptocracy goes unpunished. In addition to Trump’s family siphoning off billions of dollars, American democracy becomes a banana republic in which kowtowing to the leader is de rigueur for anyone wishing to do business here.

26. De Facto Censorship. Trump continues to insult and assault artists, leading to de facto censorship.

27. Post-Truthiness. All of the foregoing and more lead to a retreat from truth and reasoned discourse, and to its replacement by a conservative relativism that denies science and the basic principles of truthful exposition.

28. Militarization of the Border. Trump’s border policies are an abject failure, leading to further militarization of the border and to numerous incidents of deadly violence.

Other Domestic Issues

29. Gun Violence. All gun control is banned across America, with a federal law taking precedence over local and state regulations and banning gun restrictions. Handgun violence and mass shootings skyrocket, amplifying calls for “law and order.”

30. Drill, Baby, Drill. The “Drill, Baby, Drill” mantra becomes national policy. Devastating spills occur in the Gulf of Mexico and in the former Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Keystone XL and other mega-pipelines are built. America loses its edge in renewable technologies, enriching China. And, of course, climate change accelerates.

31. Pollution Reaches Unprecedented Levels. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act are repealed or unenforced, and pollution reaches levels never before seen in America. The Environmental Protection Agency is dismantled from within by a “director” cherry-picked from the fossil fuel industry.

32. America’s Wilderness Is Destroyed. America’s vast open areas are turned into coal mines, forests are clear-cut and wilderness areas across the country are destroyed. The die-off of mass species spikes.

33. Unregulated Chemicals Cause Devastation. Generally modified organisms, pesticides and other newly unregulated technologies lead to unexpected devastation across the country.

34. Jim Crow Era Voter Restrictions. The Civil Rights Act is ignored, and African Americans have essentially no legal protections whatsoever. The Voting Rights Act is fully repealed, and we see a return to Jim Crow era restrictions on voting. Affirmative action is likewise repealed, of course.

35. Supreme Court Rollback. Another Supreme Court justice dies, and so Trump nominates two arch-conservatives who not only roll back Roe v. Wade and same-sex marriage, but also take a “strict” reading of the Commerce Clause and thus invalidate all civil rights laws, most environmental laws and the modern American state as we know it.

36. Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination Is Legalized, Funded. With the passage of the “First Amendment Defense Act,” it becomes legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people across the country. Conversion therapy is offered in public schools.

37. Transgender Is Declared To Be Mental Illness. Anti-trans discrimination is formally legal, and violence against trans people skyrockets.

38. Church-State Barriers Are Dismantled. Led by Mike Pence, re-Christianization of America unfolds, with billions of dollars flowing to conservative religious organizations, and the introduction “religious liberty” laws that enable anyone to discriminate or otherwise flout laws for religious reasons. Moralizers use intimidation, censorship and regulation to shut down “immoral” art and expression.

39. Gutting of Higher Education. Focusing on the nonissue of “political correctness” and “safe spaces,” public university education is gutted. Liberal arts education particularly suffers. The American work force becomes dumber and less adaptable.

40. Gutting of Public Education. Under Betsy DeVos, federal funds for public education are rerouted to barely regulated sectarian private schools. Federal education curricula promote intelligent design, abstinence-only education and discredited pseudoscience on sexuality.

Financial Issues

41. A Feudal Wealth Gap. With taxes slashed for the .01% richest Americans, the wealth gap balloons to levels unknown since feudalism. The depredations of the 1% look like a socialist paradise. Ironically, Trump’s own working-class supporters lose the most.

42. Health Insurance Destroyed. With Obamacare repealed and replaced by private health accounts, millions become uninsured once again, and the health system becomes further stratified, resembling an airplane with a crowded coach class and an ever more opulent first class.

43. Organized Labor Participation and Wages Plummet. Union busters take over (or eliminate) the Department of Labor, destroying the institutions most responsible for the middle-class: labor unions. Wages fall across the country.

44. Dollar and Real Estate Collapse. With America retreating from the world stage, the dollar loses its status as reference currency, the New York real estate market crashes and trillions of dollars of wealth are wiped out, causing economic depression. (Low risk, but high damage.)

45. Trade War. Protectionist policies and a trade war with China devastate America’s economy, and since the Trans-Pacific Partnership dies, China establishes economic dominance over the entire Pacific Rim. A U.S. depression quickly follows.

46. Risky Wall Street Speculation. Dodd Frank is repealed, which causes a new round of risk-taking and double-dealing on Wall Street, exacerbating the risk of a repeat of 2008. Wall Street wins big, and when the crash comes Wall Street wins big again, as in 2009. Everyone else loses worse than in 2008.

47. Economic Disorder. The Trump administration meddles with the Federal Reserve, causing financial panic.

48. Brain Drain. Immigration laws make it impossible for talented technology workers to come to the United States, leading to a massive brain drain for other countries.

49. Destruction of the Internet as We Know It. Net neutrality is discarded, leading to a monopolization of the internet by a small handful of companies. The internet as we know it is replaced by something that looks more like network television.

50. Creation of the U.S. Oligarchy. Giant monopolies, especially in finance, are allowed to be created through unregulated mega-mergers. Power is aggregated in a small handful of gigantic institutions. The United States becomes an oligarchy.

Jay Michaelson is a regular columnist for the Forward. Follow him on Twitter @jaymichaelson
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

——————————–

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

BREAKING — THE DANGLING FRUIT IN FRONT OF TRUMP: Ford is canceling plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico and instead is investing $700 million in Michigan. The company’s CEO Mark Fields told CNN that the move is a “vote of confidence” in President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to create a pro-business environment. Fields emphasized, however, that he did not negotiate any special deal with Trump. “We didn’t cut a deal with Trump,” he said. “We did it for our business.” bit.ly/2j4UZZ4

U.N.’s Israel vote: The House will vote Thursday on a resolution disapproving of the United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many Democrats could join with Republicans to pass the measure as a means of demonstrating their support for Israel, even if their votes would put them at odds with President Obama. The U.S. refused to veto the Security Council resolution and instead abstained from the vote.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

ISRAELI-INNOVATION By REUTERS \ 01/03/2017 14:05

Israeli firm creates autonomous aircraft that goes where no helicopter dares.
New Israeli tech sees machines leading the blind.


An autonomous aircraft the size of a car could revolutionize aviation by flying in areas currently inaccessible to aircraft, according to its Israeli developers.

After 15 years of development, an Israeli tech firm are optimistic of finally get their one-and-a-half tonne people-carrying drone off the ground and into the market.

The Cormorant aircraft, billed as a flying car capable of transporting 500kg of weight and traveling at 115 mph, completed its first automated solo flight in November, taking off, flying and landing by itself.

========================

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Green Prophet. Sustainable News for the Middle East.

This article base on news from Australia.

Sundrop Farms grows tomatoes with seawater.

Posted on January 2, 2017 by Karin Kloosterman in Green Tech and Gadgets.

Saltwater greenhouses can save the Middle East and humanity from drought and climate change. Three cheers to Sundrop Farms in Australia for pioneering saltwater greenhouses in Australia: they are now harvesting tomatoes for a leading grocery store called Coles. And Sundrop is producing what they say is a “better product, better for the people, better for the planet –– all year round.”

Sundrop Farms is using hydroponics, a method of growing plants on a treated water medium, without soil. It’s an extremely efficient way for growing plants, and it’s now becoming a leading choice for growing food in difficult climates, in urban centers or in areas where water is poor and lacking. In China for instance where the soil is contaminated with cadmium and lead, people are very eager to buy organic food grown hydroponically.

Sundrop says it’s the first farming system of its kind to have reached commercial scale. The 65-hectare facility was made possible with an investment of 200 million Australian dollars ($148 million) which paid for a desalination plant, greenhouses and other installations needed to grow the tomatoes.

It’s a bet worth betting as we see the rise in agricultural crops in Australia and the world.

The Sundrop greenhouses are powered by sunlight, using 23,000 mirrors that reflect rays toward the top of a 127-meter high receiver tower that turns the sun into electricity.

This power is used to pump seawater from 5km away. Beyond producing tomatoes, the facility also produces 1 million liters of fresh water every single day.


Sundrop Farms CEO Philipp Saumweber, a former investment banker, says the agriculture model as “innovative” in that it harnesses only seawater and sunlight.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 27th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


WE POST THIS AS WE WONDER IN WHICH SCHOOL OF DIPLOMACY STUDIED ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU – WHO SITS ALSO IN THE CHAIR OF HIS FOREIGN MINISTER. HE SEEMINGLY DOES SUCH A BAD JOB UNDER BOTH HATS SO THAT HE IS EVEN BEING CRITICIZED IN PUBLIC BY HIS OWN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER. THIS WOULD BE FUNNY IF NOT INVOLVING NUCLEAR POWERS. TO BRING THIS HOME, A STATEMENT BY A FORMER ISRAELI MINISTER LAST WEEK CAUSED THE RATTLE OF NUKES BY PAKISTAN.

FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW -IT BECOMES IRRELEVANT TO TALK OF CLIMATE CHANGE WHEN THE FRY AND THE BIG ONES – i.e. Messrs. Putin and Trump SEEM BENT TO TELL THE WORLD THAT NUKES ARE THE FUNDAMENT OF SECURITY IN A POST-OBAMA ERA.

MIDDLE EAST

Defying U.N., Israel Prepares to Build More Settlements

By PETER BAKER – The New York Times DEC. 26, 2016.


Introducing Photo – Housing construction last week on the outskirts of Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish housing development in East Jerusalem. CreditJim Hollander/European Press photo Agency

JERUSALEM — Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United Nations, Israel’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”

Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.

The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. American officials strongly denied the claim, but the sides seem poised for more weeks of conflict until Mr. Obama hands over the presidency to Donald J. Trump.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at Security Council countries by curbing diplomatic contacts, recalling envoys, cutting off aid and summoning the American ambassador for a scolding. He canceled a planned visit this week by Ukraine’s prime minister even as he expressed concern on Monday that Mr. Obama was planning more action at the United Nations before his term ends next month.


The Times of Israel:

Deputy FM questions PM’s diplomatic embargoes after UN vote. In apparent jab at Netanyahu for canceling meetings with world leaders, Hotovely says ‘part of diplomacy is explaining our position’

BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF December 27, 2016,

Introducing photo – Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely speaking at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem (Elram Mendel)

Raoul Wootliff is The Times of Israel Knesset correspondent.

TZIPI HOTOVELY – Deputy Foreign Minister

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU – Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of many other things.


The prime minister defended his retaliation. “Israel is a country with national pride, and we do not turn the other cheek,” he said. “This is a responsible, measured and vigorous response, the natural response of a healthy people that is making it clear to the nations of the world that what was done at the U.N. is unacceptable to us.”

The Security Council resolution that passed Friday condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” and an obstacle to peace. The Council approved it 14 to 0, with the United States abstaining instead of using its veto, as it has in the past.

Mr. Trump publicly pressed for a veto of the resolution and has chosen a settlement advocate as his administration’s ambassador to Israel. He turned to Twitter on Monday night to air complaints that the United Nations “is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”

Palestinian leaders made clear that they would use the resolution in international bodies to press their case against Israel. With the imprimatur of a United Nations finding of illegality, they said they would campaign to require that other countries not just label products made in the settlements, but ban them.

“Now we can talk about the boycott of all settlements, the companies that work with them, et cetera, and actually take legal action against them if they continue to work with them,” Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Palestinian news media.

He outlined other steps the Palestinians could now take, using the resolution to press the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli leaders, file lawsuits on behalf of specific Palestinians displaced by settlements and urge the international authorities to determine whether Israel is violating the Geneva Conventions.

“We are looking to devise a comprehensive vision, and hopefully 2017 will be the year when the Israeli occupation ends,” Mr. Malki said.

Israeli officials said such pronouncements showed that the resolution actually undermined chances for a negotiated settlement because the Palestinians now have less incentive to come to the table. By declaring Israeli settlements illegal, they said, the United Nations essentially took away the one chip that Israel had to trade, meaning land.

“The Palestinians are waging a diplomatic and legal war against Israel. That’s the strategy,” Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said in a phone interview. “Their strategy is not to negotiate an agreement with Israel because a deal is give and take. They want take and take.”

Israel’s settlement project, once a scattering of houses across the so-called Green Line marking the borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, has grown substantially over the years. In 2009, the year Mr. Obama took office, 297,000 people lived in West Bank settlements and 193,737 in East Jerusalem. That increased to 386,000 in the West Bank by the end of last year and 208,000 in East Jerusalem by the end of 2014, according to Peace Now, a group that opposes settlements.

Israeli officials note that when Mr. Netanyahu acquiesced to a 10-month settlement freeze sought by Mr. Obama in 2009, the Palestinians still did not agree to negotiate until just before time ran out. But the addition of more than 100,000 settlers during Mr. Obama’s tenure convinced him that it was time to change approach at the United Nations, aides said.

The 618 housing units to be granted building permits in East Jerusalem on Wednesday have been in the works for a while, and the planning committee meeting agenda was set before the United Nations acted. But the committee chairman said he was determined to go forward with units totaling 5,600.

“I won’t get worked up over the U.N. or any other organization that might try to dictate to us what to do in Jerusalem,” Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, the planning committee chairman, told the newspaper Israel Hayom. “I hope that the government and the new administration in the United States will give us momentum to continue.”

Although he did not specify which projects he had in mind, Ir Amim, a private group tracking settlements in East Jerusalem, said he was probably referring to projects in Gilo and Givat Hamatos. Betty Herschman, the group’s director of international relations and advocacy, said it was “defiance demonstrated after Trump’s election, now reinforced by the U.N. resolution.”

Anat Ben Nun, the director of development and external relations for Peace Now, said such construction was problematic. “Netanyahu’s attempt to avenge the U.N.S.C. resolution through approval of plans beyond the Green Line will only harm Israelis and Palestinians by making it more difficult to arrive at a two-state solution,” she said.

Israeli leaders said they had no reason to stop building. The Security Council resolution “was absurd and totally removed from reality,” said Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy for the Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlers. “Israeli building policies are set in Jerusalem, not New York.”

For the fourth day, Israeli officials accused Mr. Obama’s team of ambushing them at the United Nations. While the White House denied it, Israeli officials pointed to a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and his New Zealand counterpart a month before the Council vote discussing a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. New Zealand was a sponsor of Friday’s measure.

Mr. Dermer, the ambassador, said Israel had other, nonpublic information proving the Obama administration’s involvement but provided no evidence and would not elaborate beyond saying it would be provided to Mr. Trump’s team when he takes office.

“They not only did not get up and stop it, they were behind it from the beginning,” Mr. Dermer said. “This is why the prime minister is so angry. We’re going to stand up against it.”

Israeli officials worried that Mr. Kerry would use a coming speech or a conference in France to outline an American peace plan that would be hostile to Israel’s interests. Mr. Kerry’s office had no comment.

The fury of Mr. Netanyahu’s response has generated debate at home. Mitchell Barak, a political consultant, said the political left considered the resolution “an epic foreign policy and diplomatic debacle” by Mr. Netanyahu.

But to his base, the Security Council action confirmed what they believed all along, that Mr. Obama is inherently anti-Israel, and so the prime minister comes across as a champion beset by enemies. “For them,” Mr. Barak said, “Netanyahu emerges from this unscathed, as the lone wolf in a lion’s den of hatred.”

Since the measure was passed, Israel has taken a number of retaliatory steps against the countries that supported its passage, including an official dressing-down of the Security Council members’ ambassadors to Israel on Sunday, Christmas Day.

Netanyahu on Saturday disinvited Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman after Kiev voted in favor of the resolution.

Groysman, who became his country’s first-ever Jewish prime minister earlier this year, was scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday for a two-day visit that would have included meetings with Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and other senior officials.

Netanyahu’s office has denied reports that he nixed a meeting with Theresa May next month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying that no meeting had been set. But the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, Tony Kay, told The Times of Israel on Monday there had been plans for a sit-down, though Jerusalem had not told London it planned to cancel the meeting.

Netanyahu has also reportedly ordered the Foreign Ministry to minmize all working ties with the 12 of countries that voted in favor of the decision with which Israel has diplomatic relations. Foreign ministers from the countries will reportedly no longer be able to meet with Netanyahu or Foreign Ministry officials.

In addition, travel by Israeli ministers to the countries will be kept to a minimum, an official said.

Of the 15 countries on the UN Security Council, 14 voted in favor of Resolution 2334, which demands a halt to all Israeli settlement activity — including in East Jerusalem — with one abstention, that of the US, whose veto would have nixed the measure.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 4th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Analyst: Israel Must Take Advantage of Chance to Become Key Stop on New International Chinese Trade Route

The Algemeiner, SEPTEMBER 4, 2016

Author: BARNEY BREEN-PORTNOY

He is Washington, D.C.-based senior correspondent for The Algemeiner. He previously worked in Tel Aviv, Israel as a journalist and served in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Barney holds a BA degree in Government and History from the University of Virginia. He can be reached at  bbreenportnoy at algemeiner.com.


Israel has a chance to become an important stop on a new international trade route being established by China, according to an analysis published by a global news magazine on Thursday.

The article coincides with the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China

“Israel has become a strategic focal point for China, and if it fails to leverage this, it will miss a unique opportunity to not only upgrade and diversify its economy, but to position itself as a critical outpost on China’s New Silk Road,” Roi Feder wrote in the Diplomatic Courier. “If Israel seizes the current window of opportunity, while being sensitive to America’s regional interests, it may become a critical trading route between East and West.”

The “New Silk Road” Feder referred to is the goal of China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative. As it seeks to expand its economic reach throughout Asia and Europe, China is set to invest in infrastructure projects in dozens of countries.

According to Feder, the OBOR is part of Chinese President’s Xi Jinping’s “doctrine to reinstate China’s 7th Century golden age, when the Silk Road was a critical international commercial route.”

To realize this vision, China is strengthening its relations with Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.

“The growth in collaboration between China and Israel over the past few years is predominately due to Israel’s status as a Start-Up Nation which can supply China’s technological needs and help it to upgrade many of its industries,” Feder wrote. “Israel is a center of excellence in managing terror threats, an issue that Beijing decision-makers view with concern as they try to mitigate the rise of Islamist groups in China’s Western provinces.”

However, for China, Feder wrote, Israel’s true “potential lies in becoming an overland bridge connecting China’s trade routes from the Far East through Africa up to the Middle East and on to Europe. Even if it does not proclaim it publicly, China sees Israel as a strategic outpost in its regional interests; a small dot on the map, but one which is vital for ensuring an alternative for the trade and energy routes of the world’s second largest superpower.”

China has already been involved in a number of infrastructure projects in Israel in recent years — including the Carmel Tunnels and two private port projects in Ashdod and Haifa — but, Feder wrote, the “jewel in the crown” for the Chinese would be a “land bridge — a connection [between] the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea via rail which would provide a safe alternative route to the Suez Canal, and a dependable commercial center for China’s trading needs. Such a development will turn Israel into an essential part of the global trading ecosystem while boosting its economy.”

Feder concluded, “Israel must recognize the significance of OBOR and the enormous economic and diplomatic opportunities. If leveraged cautiously and with full consideration of America’s interests in the region, Israel…could become a small yet strategically critical outpost on China’s New Silk Road.”

As reported by The Algemeiner, Israel and China announced in May they would open talks on a bilateral free trade agreement.

In 2012, Israel and China signed an agreement to build a rail line that will link Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa with its Red Sea port in Eilat.

Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang Province on China’s southeastern coast. As the Province’s economic, cultural, technological and educational center, the city also plays a central role in the Yangtze River Delta. With a permanent population of 8.9 million as of the end of 2014, the Municipality is spread over an area of 16,596 square kilometers with the city proper accounting for 4,876 square kilometers.

=============================================================

###