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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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

Ben Gurion died at 87 on December 1, 1973. Upon his final retirement he said that he will write his biography as a history of his time but he never finished that task. His wife Paula died four years before him and he said he felt like a half man.

Recently, in two separate places, were found the video and the audio tape of an interview by a British media person after his wife’s death. When the video and the audio were put together it became clear that excellent material was there for a documentary film on that amazing small but great man.

Ben Gurion was born October 16, 1886, as David Gruen in Plonsk – a basically small town in then Congress Poland that was part of the Tsarist Empire. The people there were dreaming about the Israel of old – in what was called Palestine. When Herzl came to town he was greeted as if the Messiah arrived.

David reached Palestine first time in 1915 and started out as an agricultural laborer. Jewish farmers came to check the muscles of the offerings.His personal development took time but eventually we see him sitting down with Adenauer, when against the will of many of his followers he accepted reparations for the Holocaust. Ben Gurion realized the young new State needs help and Germany provided training for 5,000 Israeli military personnel and scientists to start the nuclear sector.

Ben Gurion brought together philosopher-giants Hugo Bergman, Martin Buber and others, as the State he envisioned was not to be based on the military but on Judaism, humanism, and democracy. He said that the greatest Jew we had was Moshe (Moses)

Ben Gurion does not define himself as a Zionist and definitely not as a Socialist – he accepts plain Judaism as it appears in the Bible and promoted by the prophets.
It is just simple humanism that comes about from deep thinking or meditation.

He has studied Buddhism but finds greatness not in the thinking but in the doing -and realizing what one finds best in himself. The interviewer wanted to know about the “I” and if one has to rid himself of that “I?” Ben Gurion says to him that the “I” is not the question but the quality of the “I.” Is it an “I” of selfishness, or an “I” of humanity. Buddha was preaching 500 years before Christ and the Bible is not just about Jews.

The people that came to Palestine were looking for peace but to achieve this had to have the capability for wa,r and it was Hashomer active since 1870 that showed the way.

For Israel, with people from many different countries, the army was the best place to bring people together.

Asked if there are things he has done that he is sorry about. He said that you can never know you are not making mistakes – I did things I thought had to be done – so I was at peace with myself.

Asked that most countries that were created after WWII failed as democracies, can Israel continue to be democratic? He said that if the question is peace or territory – he is for peace. And here, though he has no doubt that old Israel gives his country the right for all the territory from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea – he was ready gladly to give up all those lands gained in the Six Days War in exchange for peace. He said then clearly – WE ARE PLEASED WITH THE 1967 BORDERS IN EXCHANGE FOR PEACE.

We want peace on the basis of the Status Quo pre-1967. And here the tape has a series of meetings Ben Gurion had with Musa Alami whom he knew for 40 years
when they represented the two main factions of the land. Now he received phone calls from Mussa Alami when on a trip in London. This part touched memories with me as well as in Buffalo, New York, at the State University I befriended an Alami from that family from the Old City in Jerusalem, and when I went to Jerusalem, but he could not go, after the end of the 1967 fighting, his parents and sister came to see me in the West Jerusalem to send with me some goodies for their son. No doubt, sane people can find ways to coexist

Asked what would he have done after 1967. Ben Gurion said, had he been asked he would have presented his views.

At 85 Ben Gurion was celebrated by the Knesset and the interviewer asked him if he was pleased with what he has done – to which he said it was not him – it was the Halutzim that had the vision. He knows only one person who has done everything by himself – that was Albert Einstein when he invented the theory of Relativity. Everybody else had to work with a group. I never guided Israel – The State does not exist yet!

Regarding his wife Paula, he said she was no zionist nor Socialist, she just followed him to Palestine. Later she said she was not the Prime-Minister’s wife – only the Wife of David Ben Gurion.

David said when the talk was about his age – I was reborn when I came to Israel from New York in 1919 followed by Paula – a new man – so, he was much younger.

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Musa Alami (May 3, 1897 – June 8, 1984) (Arabic: Müsa al-‘Al?mi) was a prominent Palestinian nationalist and politician. Due to Alami having represented Palestine at various Arab conferences, in the 1940s Alami was viewed by many as the leader of the Palestinian Arabs.

Alami was born in the Musrara district of Jerusalem, into a prominent family. His father was Mayor of Jerusalem Faidi al-Alami, his sister was married to Jamal al-Hussayni and he was the uncle of Serene Husseini Shahid.

He was first taught at the school of the American Colony and at the French Ecole des Freres in Jaffa. During World War I Alami worked at the censorship office in Damascus. Alami retained a positive view of the Ottoman empire; recalling that the Arabs regarded the Turks as partners rather than oppressors, and above all: Palestine was largely ruled by Palestinian officials. Alami claimed that “a greater degree of freedom and self-government existed in Palestine than in many Turkish provinces”.

Later he studied law at Cambridge University and was admitted to the Inner Temple and graduated with honors degree.

Upon his return to Jerusalem, Musa Alami worked for the legal department of the government of the British Mandate of Palestine and eventually became the private secretary of the High Commissioner General Arthur Grenfell Wauchope. In 1934, Alami participated in talks with the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett. According to Ben-Gurion, he suggested that the Zionists could provide significant help developing the region, but according to Ben-Gurion, Alami replied that he would prefer waiting one hundred years and leaving the land backward, as long as the Palestinians could do the job themselves.

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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!

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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.

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

From FAREED ZAKARIA’S Daily Briefing for Tuesday March 7, 2017


“Eurodeterrent” is Going Mainstream

Some European officials are mulling something that until recently had seemed unthinkable – a European Union nuclear weapons program, writes Max Fisher in the New York Times.

“Analysts say that the talk, even if it never translates into action, demonstrates the growing sense in Europe that drastic steps may be necessary to protect the postwar order in the era of a Trump presidency, a resurgent Russia and the possibility of an alignment between the two,” Fisher writes. “Even proponents, who remain a minority, acknowledge enormous hurdles. But discussion of a so-called ‘Eurodeterrent’ has entered the mainstream…”

“Mist of Fear” in Turkey
Opposition voices in Turkey should be given the same kind of support that the West offered dissidents speaking up in the Soviet Union, suggests Timothy Garton Ash in The Guardian.

“To travel to Turkey today is to journey into darkness: tens of thousands of state employees and thousands of academics dismissed, more journalists locked up than in any other country, and a chilly mist of fear.”


China Eyeing Up America’s Backyard?

China is poised to step into the void being left by the Trump administration in America’s own backyard, writes Kevin Gallagher in Foreign Policy.

Latin American nations “are understandably wary of negotiating anything with a government that has denigrated them and called their citizens ‘bad hombres’ and worse,” Gallagher writes. “Enter China, which just days after the election released a new white paper calling Latin America and the Caribbean a ‘land of vitality and hope.’ The plan promises to implement earlier pledges of trade and investment, but without the U.S.-strings attached in terms of deregulation and name-calling.”

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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

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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.

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

As reported by Irith Jawetz from Vienna:


Fareed’s Take: He tackled the 54 billions Trump wants to spend on additional Military. He quoted General Petraeus who told him a few years ago that during the Gulf war he wished he had more Foreign Office people to advise him.


Why? Soldiers do not understand the problems of the Middle East, the difference between the Shiites and Sunis, the history, the culture, and a brave officer who knows how to fight is not enough to win a war.

The Military budget of the US is already huge. It is 9 times the size of the Russian Military budget and 3 times them size of China’s,

Then he interviewed two National Security Advisors. Tom Donillon who was under President Obama and denied the allegation of wiretapping. He also said that Trump has no idea how the system works. The President cannot order wiretapping without a court order. Presidents cannot just order wiretapping..As for Jeff Sessions he was right to recuse himself and should not resign. We have to wait for his new explanation which will come this week.

Stephen Hadley who was National Security Advisor under George W. Bush agreed with Donillon on the wiretapping..Presidents cannot just do it.. If the Obama Administration was really worried about ties to Russia they may have had a reason to do it, but until now there is no proof that it happened. He also said what the panel today said that Trump likes to distract. Whenever something does not go his way and he gets criticized, he tweets something outrageous and diverts from the issue. This now seems to be a general idea floating around.

As for Sessions – he did the right thing and should not resign until he clarifies his position in the coming days. Then we’ll see.

They both agree that: North Korea is the biggest crisis Trump will face now. President Clinton faced the Oklahoma bombing, President Bush 9/11, President Obama the financial crisis and Trump will face North Korea. However if he does not appear to be reliable and trustworthy there will be trouble.

On the idea that Trump’s immigration policy will be good for the economy, Fareed disputes it vehemently. The costs of more agents, building that wall and not having immigrants for menial work will cost more than it will save.

Then he talked about Canada which has now surpassed the USA and a Land of opportunities. In every poll Canada ranks before the US in welfare, economy, freedom, healthcare.

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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.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

As per Washington Post’s and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria:
March 2, 2017

ISIS Threatens
“Blood Like Rivers” in China: Report

ISIS militants have released a video threatening to “shed blood like rivers” in China, according to a jihadist-tracking firm, AFP reports. The video would mark the first such direct threat against China, and comes against the backdrop of growing concern among Chinese officials that militant members of the country’s Uyghur ethnic minority might link up with foreign jihadist groups.

“The video was released on the same day China staged the latest in a series of mass rallies by armed police in Xinjiang meant to indicate Chinese resolve in crushing security threats,” Benjamin Carlson reports.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From information we received from Michael Madsen of IRENA

The IRENA (The Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE based International Renewable Energy Agency)
Global Atlas for Renewable Energy. The new Global Atlas 3.0 beta – to be released this month.

Please go to the following link in order to find global maps relating to the existing maps
– there will soon be more maps:

Tidal currents
Geothermal
Geothermal District Heating potential across Europe
global heat flow
global wind
global solar
global Bouger and Free Air gravity
investment opportunities in South-East Europe – Sustainability analysis.

PLEASE GO TO:

 globalatlas-uat.masdar.ac.ae/gal…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 26th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


The Disjointed World that never was based on Human Rights.

————————–

AN ADDITION WITH GLOBAL INTEREST:

Muhammad ali Jr. – Muhammad Ali’s son detained by immigration staff and repeatedly asked – are you Muslim?
by: Nicole MorleyNicole Morley for Metro.co.ukSaturday 25 Feb 2017

The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration staff who asked – ‘are you Muslim?’ {ah! those Trump goons have no idea about America!}

A lawyer claims Muhammad Ali Jr, was asked targeted by immigration officials at a Florida airport who repeatedly asked about his religion and where he got his name.

Chris Mancini tells the Courier-Journal in Louisville that 44-year-old Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from Jamaica.
Khalilah Camacho-Ali, who married the boxer in 1967, was in Jamaica with her son to deliver a speech on black history.

Read more: metro.co.uk/2017/02/25/muhammad-a…

Read more: metro.co.uk/2017/02/25/muhammad-a…

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Iran tells U.S. chess champion to wear a hijab – here’s how she responds

By Carlos Garcia Feb 21, 2017

Nazi Paikidze is the reigning U.S. chess champion, but when the Iranian government told her she had to wear a hijab, the Muslim head veil, and restrict contact with men in order to compete in the world competition hosted by Iran this year, she refused. The “morality laws” were supported by FIDE, the international organization that coordinates the world chess championship event.

“By participating, I would be forced to submit to forms of oppression designed specifically for women,” Paikidze told Marie Clare magazine. “It sets the wrong example, particularly for young girls interested in chess.”

Paikidze further explained her decision in a post on Instagram in September.

This is a post for those who don’t understand why I am boycotting FIDE’s decision. I think it’s unacceptable to host a WOMEN’S World Championship in a place where women do not have basic fundamental rights and are treated as second-class citizens. For those saying that I don’t know anything about Iran: I have received the most support and gratitude from the people of Iran, who are facing this situation every day.
Paikidze also retweeted this tweet noting the irony of members of the Swedish team, a country known for its feminist advances, giving in to the gender-specific oppression imposed by Iran by wearing the hijab.

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SECOND ADDITION/UPDATE to this article

This after the night of the Oscar’s and the fact that the Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi won it for best foreign language film – for the second time. But this time, under Trump’s goons – he voluntarily refused to come to the big event as he did not want to submit to the official present US insanity!


Iranian director Asghar Farhadi just won his second Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for The Salesman — but as an act of protest against President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries, and nearly all refugees, from entering the United States, he wasn’t at the ceremony to accept the award.

As Farhadi told the New York Times in a statement when Trump first signed the order in late January, he decided not to attend even if he could be granted an exception, saying it “now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

So instead of Farhadi giving a speech, Iranian-American businesswoman Anousheh Ansari — the first Iranian to go to space — read a statement from him:

It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the academy, my crew in Iran, my producer, Amazon, and my fellow nominees.

I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US. Dividing the world into the “us” and “our enemies” categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.
This statement falls right in line with one he released in conjunction with all of his fellow Best Foreign Language Film nominees, which they wrote to “express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.”

So whether the winner was Farhadi, Denmark’s Martin Zandvliet, Sweden’s Hannes Holm, Germany’s Maren Ade, or Australia’s Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, it’s a safe bet that this acceptance speech wasn’t about to shy away from the harder realities lurking outside the sparkling Hollywood theater.

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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.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


This is a SustainabiliTank.info original and it was inspired by our watching his press conference at the side of his guest – the Prime Minister of Japan – H.E. Shinzo Abe.

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Mr. Abe seemingly knew well what happened to even a greater ally of the US – the Prime Minister of Australia, so it was evident he was well prepared for meeting his host whom he met already once before by visiting at the Trump Towers in New York – at a time Trump was not yet sitting President. Mr. Abe seemed worried that the new US President who talks of making “America Great Again” – has no interest in Asia and while nevertheless pulling at China’s toes. Japan does not want to be left to face China alone.

But as we wrote earlier today in “The Taming the Tramp” – Mr. Trump beat retreat from his earlier high talk about China-China. He did this in clear light by promising to the Chinese leader that he will not change the One China policy. Surely we do not know how this phone call went, but it is obvious that Mr. Xi Jinping made his demand for a public statement very clear and Trump had to comply – “do not look at what I say – look at what I do.”

Now with Mr. Abe, Trump was visible only against the Red Sun of the Japanese flag – but remained unseen against his golden backdrop.

Trump allowed only two questions from the media – from correspondents of The New York Post and The Fox Network – both owned by US Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch – a card holding right wing Republican. But something happened, Murdoch’s people, thinking of what Trump did to the Australian Prime Minister, so they insisted to know about the US backing out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). When the first question was not answered, the second reporter insisted even stronger and forced an answer. Trump thought that was it and wanted to end he Press Conference. But Prime Minister Abe, though smaller in stature, but with black hair – quite visible in front of those golden drapes, knew that he has the accepted right to pass two questions to Japanese reporters as well. Actually in friendlier environments the host varies the reporters called upon – but this Golden Room is not a friendly place and accepted manners were dismissed with the entry of the new occupants.

Worthwhile to mention here is the obviously trained diplomatic way Mr. Abe answered the essence of the four questions by not getting involved but rather saying that substantial matter will be taken up at the working lunch. We also assume he will try, like Mr. Xi, get in private agreements that will then be publicized at the appropriate time. China and Japan are not out to make “Deals” but as obvious – they want open guarantees that no shenanigan behavior will lead to an abrupt change in the Status Quo ante.

The issues he is putting on the table are Free Trade between Nations in the Pacific area – with State Governments not being involved in regulations, Rule of Law, the security of navigation in the East China Sea and the recognition of the large investments Japan made in US industry and the fact that Japan technology – like the Maglev fast trains – can yet increase that Japan-US cooperation. He also by the way thanked the US for 115 years ago having learned from the US about democracy. Quite subtle and diplomatic.

Trump said that the US being great again is good for Japan – that jobs will come by tax policyack to the US – like Ford and GM – and an announcement will be make soon about Intel He will achieve this by tax policy and financial incentives.

Following the Press Conference, the TV pundits unanimously showed their astonishment at an issue that was evolving in parallel to the Abe visit that is the involvement of the Trump White House Adviser to the President Michael Flynn who talked with the Russian Ambassador about reducing the US Sanctions against Russia – this while Trump was not yet President –
a clear illegality that was known seemingly also to the man who is now Vice President.

Have we reached already time to clean House? I must thus remind our readers that considering the Russian involvement in the elections we called the home of the Golden Rooms – The Red House in Washington DC. Will finally some ethics Congressional Committee start looking seriously into the backdrop of the Flynn Affair? Will finally someone be indicted.
People start demonstrating with the deadly slogan – “DO YOUR JOB.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


Asia & Pacific
Trump agrees to honor one-China policy in call to Xi Jinping

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Jim Lo Scalzo/Filip Singer/European Pressphoto Agency)

By Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker – The Wahington Post – February 10, 2017

BEIJING — President Trump held a lengthy, “extremely cordial” telephone conversation with China’s President Xi Jinping late on Thursday evening in Washington, and — in a move set to ease tensions between the two nations — agreed to honor the one-China policy, the White House said in a statement.

The one-China policy forms the bedrock of U.S.-China diplomatic ties, established by President Richard Nixon and China’s leader Mao Zedong. It rules out independence and diplomatic recognition for the island of Taiwan.

But Trump has publicly called U.S. adherence to this policy into question, suggesting he would only commit to it once he evaluates China’s progress in addressing trade and currency concerns.

In response, China insisted the policy was highly sensitive and “nonnegotiable.”

The United States maintains a military relationship with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a province, but closed its embassy there in 1979.

What is the One China policy, and why is Beijing so infuriated with Trump? Play Video3:03
China has expressed “serious concern” after President-elect Donald Trump said the United States would not necessarily be bound by the One China policy unless it could “make a deal,” potentially on U.S.-China trade. (Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy,” the White House statement said.

Representatives from both countries will engage in “discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest,” the statement said.

“The phone call between President Trump and President Xi was extremely cordial, and both leaders extended best wishes to the people of each other’s countries,” it added.

“They also extended invitations to meet in their respective countries. President Trump and President Xi look forward to further talks with very successful outcomes.”

The phone call came on the eve of a formal summit between Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to take place in Washington on Friday.

Japan is a historic enemy of China and a key modern-day strategic rival.

In December, following his election and before his transition, Trump made waves with a protocol-breaking telephone call with Taiwan’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen.

It was the first communication between leaders of the United States and Taiwan since 1979 and the product of months of preparation by Trump’s advisers, who advocated for a new strategy of engagement with Taiwan to rattle China.


As expected, China reacted sternly, but Trump publicly questioned whether the one- China policy was in America’s best interests.


He fired off provocative tweets about the Chinese — on currency manipulation, imports from the United States and its military buildup in the South China Sea.


Trump told the Wall Street Journal in a January interview, shortly before his inauguration, that he was open to shifting U.S. policy on China and Taiwan.

“Everything is under negotiation, including ‘One China,’?” Trump told the newspaper.

The phone call to Xi came a day after Trump sent a letter wishing China a “prosperous Year of the Rooster” — which was sent 11 days after China celebrated its Lunar New Year festival.

The White House issued a statement saying Trump had “provided a letter” to Xi on Wednesday, thanking the Chinese leader for a congratulatory note he had sent on the U.S. president’s inauguration.

Trump wished the Chinese people a “happy Lantern Festival and prosperous Year of the Rooster” and said “he looks forward to working with President Xi to develop a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China,” according to the statement.

China celebrated its Lunar New Year on Jan. 28, and the lack of a customary new year’s greeting from the U.S. president at that time was noticed here. The Lantern Festival will be celebrated on Saturday.

Rucker reported from Washington.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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