mfioretti: israel*

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  1. India is looking forward to exploring some of Israel’s offshore gas fields soon. Analysts suggested that by including oil in its relationship with Israel, India is giving a strong message to Iran that has held up the allocation of two gas fields discovered by oil companies.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian consortium led by ONGC was among the two global entities that took part in the auction of Israel's offshore gas fields held last month after a gap of more than 4 years during which the sea was completely closed for the distribution of new exploration licenses.

    The consortium comprising ONGC Videsh Ltd, Bharat PetroResources Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Oil India Ltd is also set to be registered as a foreign company in Israel's Corporations' Authority in January 2018. This would facilitate its participation in the second round of bidding.

    "This bid round is the first step in a long-range process that would lead to utilization of the gas and oil fields in the Israeli EEZ to the benefit of Israel's citizens. I am pleased to have companies from Greece and India contribute to Israel's energy market. I have ordered preparations for a 2nd licensing round to be launched in 2018, in which lessons from the 1st round will be incorporated," Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Israel's Energy Minister said after the completion of the first round.

    The Israeli blocks are in close proximity to a number of large and proven gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean. Some are adjacent to the recently discovered Leviathan and Tamar fields. According to an industry estimate, nearly 2,200 billion cubic meters of natural gas and a potential 6.6 billion barrels of oil are to be discovered in these blocks.

    India's decision to enter Israeli waters for energy exploration has a greater strategic significance than securing energy at another location, especially after waiting for several years to win exploration rights for Iran's Farsi and Farzad B gas fields.

    "India wants to send two signals from this decision. First, if Iran continues to dillydally on the proposal of awarding gas fields to India, New Delhi can open new vistas for exploration in the region; secondly, to Israel that New Delhi really wants to deepen its relationship with the Jewish nation," SC Tripathi, former secretary in India's Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas told Sputnik.

    Spike missile
    CC BY-SA 4.0 / Rhk111 / Spike NLOS missile
    India Calls off $500 Mln Spike Missile Deal With Israel
    Making oil a subject of bilateral relation will also pacify Israel which received a jolt in four major defense deals with India in the last year. The Indian government scrapped defense contracts for light machine guns, close quarter battle carbines, assault rifles and anti-tank missiles with Israeli firms either due to the single-vendor situation or for giving priority to homemade equipment.

    India's decision to expand the horizons of the bilateral relationship with Israel will have some ramifications on its relationship with the Arab world.

    "Entry into Israeli water for gas exploration could upset some Arabian nations. But, of late, it is being seen that countries like Jordon have started co-operating with Israel while Saudi Arabia is no more fervently opposing Israel. Iran is the only country in the region which could pose strong opposition to the Indian move," SC Tripathi, added.
    https://sputniknews.com/analysis/2017...4122-india-to-explore-israel-oi-field
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  2. Building bridges between individuals in the Middle East, a conflict-ridden area, through mutual respect and teamwork in practical projects, is our hope for the future. FabLab Israel engages children from the ages of 3-16 (as well as adults and senior citizens; the oldest FabLab participant is 96) from a poor and crime-ridden neighborhood (Holon, south of Tel Aviv), in building a work and play environment which is uniquely theirs, devoted to imagination, creation, and fabrication, as well as study, a place the community members eagerly look forward to going to each day, a place they maintain with great pride and responsibility – new sentiments for these children without direction and commitment.

    FabLab Israel has given the participants not only concrete proof that they are capable of making wondrous things (music boxes and furniture, for example), but that they can, when working together, build a space that not only serves them and their community, but also serves as a model for children like themselves – underprivileged, directionless, prone to violence and law infractions – in all parts of the world where fear of the other separates the different segments of the population and causes hatred difficult to overcome. The FabLab Israel experience demonstrates that intimate acquaintance, interaction, and collaborative work leads not only to tolerance and empathy, but to lasting friendships on which to build in the future. Children are learning that as viable members of a society enmeshed in an age-old conflict, their teamwork and mutual understanding can help build a more peaceful world and establish connections between peoples of disparate backgrounds with opposing historical narratives.
    http://awards.fab10.org/browse/projects/75
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-10-13)
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  3. as Netanyahu spoke, his military and intelligence services were assessing that Tehran was not enriching uranium to a level beyond that needed for a civil programme. They conclude: “Iran at this stage is not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

    With the prime minister trying to block a nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia), the timing of the leak is significant. But it’s only part of a bigger story.

    In autumn 2012, the Israeli military and intelligence community were holding Netanyahu back from air strikes on Iran that could have sparked a regional war.
    The final reckoning

    As early as 2010, Netanyahu and the then defence minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, issued orders for the military to be on notice to attack Iran within a few hours. The military’s chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, and the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, both objected.

    According to a report by Irael’s Channel Two, Ashkenazi said air strikes would be “a strategic mistake” because of the risk of war, while Dagan said they were “illegal” and called for a decision by the full cabinet decision.

    Rather than press a confrontation, Netanyahu withdrew the orders. But he remained defiant: “In the final reckoning, the responsibility lies with the prime minister and as long as I am prime minister, Iran will not have the atomic bomb.”
    https://theconversation.com/how-israe...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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  4. But no matter. Their cartoons were noble and should be celebrated – not just on free speech grounds but for their content. In a column entitled “The Blasphemy We Need,” The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat argued that “the right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order” and “that kind of blasphemy that provokes violence » is precisely the kind that needs to be defended, because it’s the kind that clearly serves a free society’s greater good.” New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait actually proclaimed that “one cannot defend the right to blaspheme » without defending the practice.” Vox’s Matt Yglesias had a much more nuanced view but nonetheless concluded that “to blaspheme the Prophet transforms the publication of these cartoons from a pointless act to a courageous and even necessary one, while the observation that the world would do well without such provocations becomes a form of appeasement.”

    When we originally discussed publishing this article to make these points, our intention was to commission two or three cartoonists to create cartoons that mock Judaism and malign sacred figures to Jews the way Charlie Hebdo did to Muslims. But that idea was thwarted by the fact that no mainstream western cartoonist would dare put their name on an anti-Jewish cartoon, even if done for satire purposes, because doing so would instantly and permanently destroy their career, at least. Anti-Islam and anti-Muslim commentary (and cartoons) are a dime a dozen in western media outlets; the taboo that is at least as strong, if not more so, are anti-Jewish images and words. Why aren’t Douthat, Chait, Yglesias and their like-minded free speech crusaders calling for publication of anti-Semitic material in solidarity, or as a means of standing up to this repression? Yes, it’s true that outlets like The New York Times will in rare instances publish such depictions, but only to document hateful bigotry and condemn it – not to publish it in “solidarity” or because it deserves a serious and respectful airing.

    With all due respect to the great cartoonist Ann Telnaes, it is simply not the case that Charlie Hebdo “were equal opportunity offenders.” Like Bill Maher, Sam Harris and other anti-Islam obsessives, mocking Judaism, Jews and/or Israel is something they will rarely (if ever) do. If forced, they can point to rare and isolated cases where they uttered some criticism of Judaism or Jews, but the vast bulk of their attacks are reserved for Islam and Muslims, not Judaism and Jews. Parody, free speech and secular atheism are the pretexts; anti-Muslim messaging is the primary goal and the outcome. And this messaging – this special affection for offensive anti-Islam speech – just so happens to coincide with, to feed, the militaristic foreign policy agenda of their governments and culture.

    To see how true that is, consider the fact that Charlie Hebdo – the “equal opportunity” offenders and defenders of all types of offensive speech - fired one of their writers in 2009 for writing a sentence some said was anti-Semitic (the writer was then charged with a hate crime offense, and won a judgment against the magazine for unfair termination). Does that sound like “equal opportunity” offending?
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/20.../09/solidarity-charlie-hebdo-cartoons
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  5. Israel's defence minister has confirmed that military plans to 'uproot Hamas' are about dominating Gaza's gas reserves.



    "Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israel's past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…

    A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority PA » will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement."
    http://www.theguardian.com/environmen...a-palestine-natural-gas-energy-crisis
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2014-12-04)
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  6. When war between Israel and Hamas broke out two weeks ago, the Palestinian militant group was so hamstrung, politically, economically and diplomatically, that its leaders appeared to feel they had nothing to lose.

    Hamas took what some here call “option zero,” gambling that it could shift the balance with its trump cards: its arms and militants.

    Now, this conflict has demonstrated that while Hamas governed over 1.7 million people mired in poverty, its leaders were pouring resources into its military and expanding its ability to fight Israel. If it can turn that improved military prowess into concessions, like opening the border with Egypt, that may boost its standing among the people of Gaza — although at an extraordinarily high cost in deaths and destruction.

    Hamas had been struggling. The turmoil in the region meant it lost one of its main sponsors, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whom it broke with over his brutal fight against a Sunni Muslim-led insurgency, and weakened its alliance with Iran. It lost support in Egypt when the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted and replaced with a military-backed government hostile to Hamas.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/wor...ar-as-its-woes-grew-in-gaza.html?_r=0
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  7. Representatives for the Israel Defense Forces claim that Iron Dome has been about 90 percent effective in knocking down Hamas missiles fired from Gaza. Lloyd and a handful of other outside experts, including Theodore Postol of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have been challenging the IDF’s assertions on Iron Dome’s success rate since at least 2012.

    On Monday, Lloyd e-mailed me a copy of a 28-page analysis that’s the most detailed critique yet of the holes in the Iron Dome system—holes so big that, if he’s right, would justify calling it Iron Sieve. He says his paper is based entirely on open-source documents and observations and was cleared for public release by the Pentagon in late May.
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/...e-weapons-expert-warns-of-major-flaws
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  8. close study of photographic and video imagery of Iron Dome engagements with Hamas rockets—both in the current conflict and in the 2012 hostilities—shows that the low casualties in Israel from artillery rocket attacks can be ascribed to Israeli civil defense efforts, rather than the performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system.

    The collection of data for Iron Dome's performance in July 2014 is still in progress. The data we have collected so far, however, indicates the performance of Iron Dome has not markedly improved.

    Analysis of photographs of contrails left by Iron Dome interceptor missiles can show whether or not an attempted rocket intercept could have been successful. Such analysis focuses on two connected facts: To have a realistic chance of destroying an artillery rocket's warhead, an Iron Dome interceptor must approach the rocket from the front—in fact, almost directly head-on. And for all practical purposes, an Iron Dome interceptor has no chance of destroying the warhead if the interceptor engages the rocket from the side or from the back.

    Photographs of Iron Dome contrails indicate that most of the system's interceptors have either been chasing Hamas rockets from behind or engaging those rockets from the side. In both such cases, geometry and the speed of the interceptors and rockets make it extremely unlikely the interceptor will destroy the rocket's warhead.
    http://thebulletin.org/evidence-shows-iron-dome-not-working7318
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  9. In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”

    That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”

    Admittedly, demurrals on government policy by Israel’s top defense brass, once virtually unthinkable, have become almost routine in the Netanyahu era. Usually, though, there’s some measure of subtlety or discretion. This particular interview was different. Where most disagreements involve policies that might eventually lead to some future unnecessary war, this one was about an unnecessary war they were now stumbling into.

    Spokesmen don’t speak for themselves. Almoz was expressing a frustration that was building in the army command for nearly a month, since the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva boys. The crime set off a chain of events in which Israel gradually lost control of the situation, finally ending up on the brink of a war that nobody wanted — not the army, not the government, not even the enemy, Hamas.

    The frustration had numerous causes. Once the boys’ disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock. Only on July 1, after the boys’ bodies were found, did the truth come out: The government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.
    http://forward.com/articles/201764/ho...es-triggered-an-unintended-war/?p=all
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  10. The meeting takes place in a bare room in a block of flats in the centre of Gaza City. No photographs, no real names – those are the conditions.

    This is the first time that a group of young Palestinian cyber-activists has agreed to meet a journalist since launching what it calls Gaza Youth's Manifesto for Change. It is an incendiary document – written with courage and furious energy – that has captivated thousands of people who have come across it online, and the young university students are visibly excited, but also scared. "Not only are our lives in danger; we are also putting our families at risk," says one of them, who calls himself Abu George.

    Gaza Youth's Manifesto for Change is an extraordinary, impassioned cyber-scream in which young men and women from Gaza – where more than half the 1.5 million population is under 18 – make it clear that they've had enough. "Fuck Hamas..." begins the text. "Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!"

    It goes on to detail the daily humiliations and frustrations that constitute everyday life in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian slice of land that Israel and Egypt have virtually sealed off from the world since Hamas was elected to power in 2006.

    We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011...outh-manifesto-palestinian?CMP=twt_gu
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