Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

The platform jacket, a key support structure that will hold gas facilities above water, arrives from Texas at country’s (Israel’s) largest gas prospect.


This picture taken on January 31, 2019 shows a view of the SSCV Thialf crane vessel after laying the newly-arrived foundation platform for the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of the Israeli coastal city of Haifa. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/AFP)

Officials went to sea Thursday to mark the arrival of the platform jacket for Leviathan, a structure designed to support the giant offshore oil platform’s deck, heavy equipment and facilities above the water line, a major step in the “revolution” the massive gas reservoir is expected to generate.

“The Leviathan gas field is the greatest natural treasure that has been discovered in Israel and the arrival of the platform foundation symbolizes our entry into the final stage of its development,” said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, quoted by a government statement.

The 98-meter (322-foot) high jacket was built in Texas and arrived over the weekend on a huge barge after a 28-day journey across the Atlantic, according to US firm Noble Energy and its Israeli partner Delek, the Leviathan consortium’s lead partners.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke during the inauguration of the newly-arrived foundation platform for the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of the Israeli coastal city of Haifa, on January 31, 2019.

“Completion of the Leviathan gas platform and the pumping of gas from this field later in the year is a critical component of the strategic, energy, economic and diplomatic strength of the State of Israel,” he said.

“A gas pipeline will run from here and will link us to the gas economy of Europe. It will reach our Arab neighbors.” Leviathan will also supply “clean energy” to Israel that will replace coal and boost the state’s coffers with “billions of shekels,” Netanyahu said.

Steinitz noted agreements are in place with Egypt and Jordan to sell surplus gas.

Leviathan was discovered in 2010 and is located some 125 kilometers (80 miles) west of the Israeli port city of Haifa. It is estimated to hold 18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cubic meters) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

The platform jacket will be fastened to the sea bed, and the topsides are expected to arrive in the coming months, according to a statement by Leviathan.

Once in place, the platform will receive the gas from the reservoir through two underwater pipelines, process it and then send it via another pipeline to the Israeli gas transmission system, the statement said.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/leviathan-gas-field-nears-final-stage-of-development-with-floating-rig/

Also read:

(MENAFN) Israel’s Leviathan gas field will be linking Tel Aviv to the gas market within Europe and extended to the Arab world with Jordan and Egypt specifically included.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the statement while launching the installation of the lower part of the Leviathan gas field platform in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

“Two-thirds of the gas revenue from this facility will be transferred directly to the treasury of the state and about hundreds of billions of shekels will be used in the areas of education and social welfare and funding vital needs,” the prime minister stated.

“The completion of the gas platform in the Leviathan field in the Mediterranean Sea and the start of gas pumping and delivery throughout the year is a critical element of the State of Israel’s strategy,” Netanyahu stressed.

“Gas is a vital component of our strategic power, energy, economy and diplomacy,” he noted, adding that “this is a very important revolution, turning Israel into an energy superpower, giving us independence in this area and giving us great power.”

https://menafn.com/1098060467/Leviathan-gas-field-to-connect-Israel-with-Europe-Arab-nations

“Erdogan’s Vision”

Posted: March 15, 2018 in Israel, Middle East, Turkey
Tags: , ,

From CBNNews.com online

Erdogan’s Vision: Uniting an ‘Army of Islam’ to Destroy Israel in 10 Days
03-13-2018
Tzippe Barrow

JERUSALEM, Israel – An article in a Turkish paper with close ties to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exposes the regime’s desire to form an “Army of Islam” to attack and destroy the State of Israel.

The article calls on the 57 member nations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) throughout the Muslim world to join forces against the Israeli “occupiers” who would then be vastly outnumbered and unable to defend their country.

Translated and posted by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), the article details how combined ground, air and naval forces could defeat Israel militarily in 10 days and diplomatically in 20 days, thereby liberating “Palestine.”

According to MEMRI’s well-documented post, the article’s key points came from the website of Turkey’s SADAT International Defense and Consulting Company, which promotes pan-Islamic military cooperation.

SADAT was founded by President Erdogan’s senior military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi. The group provides information on “conventional and unconventional defense and warfare.” Its mission statement envisions helping “the Islamic world take its rightful place among the superpowers.”

Citing Israeli security sources, MEMRI notes that SADAT provides funding and military equipment to Hamas in the Gaza Strip with the goal of creating a Palestinian army to fight Israel.

“If the OIC member states unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world,” the article states. “These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100.”

The article in that Turkish daily, which is called Yeni Safak, describes Israel’s population (just over 8 million) and military forces “as significantly inferior,” noting that the population of Istanbul, Turkey’s capital, is more than 14 million.

“The military capability of the OIC member states is considerable,” the paper says. “These armies have the necessary equipment to carry out a military operation on land, sea and air.”

It continues. “Turkey alone is superior (to Israel)” and “will serve as an important headquarters during the operation due to its land, air and naval infrastructures.” And he says, Turkey is actively pursuing and renewing alliances with Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa.

“Those who believe that they are the owners of Jerusalem today will not find a single tree to hide behind tomorrow,” he concludes.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/israel/2018/march/erdogans-vision-army-of-islam-to-destroy-israel/

(Update 29 June 2014 from Debka File online)

iraqsyriaFullMid East is sizzling: Armed US drones over Baghdad, Saudi, Jordanian tanks deploy
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 28, 2014 (IDT)

The Obama administration announced Friday, June 27, that unmanned aerial vehicles flying over Baghdad would henceforth be armed in order to defend the US Embassy in the Green Zone. The embassy was originally assigned the tasks of guardian of Iraq’s central government and symbol of post-Saddam national unity. These roles have remained out of reach ever since the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003.

Today, the armed drones overhead are reduced to holding back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and its local Sunni allies from overrunning the Green Zone and seizing the embassy, most of whose 5,000 staff were evacuated as a precaution.

President Barack Obama has again decreed that no US soldiers will take part in combat in Iraq. Therefore, American military personnel on the ground will be there to guide the drones to their targets.

Those targets were defined Saturday, June 28, by Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as striking at ISIS leaders and defending Iraq’s strategic facilities. He did not elaborate.

Debkafile reports that he was referring to the Haditha dam on the Euphrates. ISIS fighters have been battered the town of Haditha on and off for some days.

Its dam is the key to the water supply of most of Iraq, including Baghdad. With its capture, Al Qaeda’s affiliates will have gained control of northern Iraq’s oil refineries and pipeline networks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jordan Friday laid out another piece of the Iraq-Syria imbroglio. He estimated that the Syrian rebel recruits enlisted from among the nearly one million Syrian refugees sheltering in Jordan could be deployed in Iraq for fighting ISIS.

His words were accompanied by the Obama administration’s application to Congress for half a billion dollars to arm and train such a force.

President Obama is therefore in the midst of yet another U-turn on the Syrian-Iraqi war scene – this one involving Israel too.

(Continued)
http://www.debka.com/article/24042/Mid-East-is-sizzling-Armed-US-drones-over-Baghdad-Saudi-Jordanian-tanks-deploy

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(Here’s some information you probably won’t read in the US mainline media. Long but well worth reading.)

King Abdullah calls up Saudi armed forces on high preparedness. Egyptian troops ready to fly to kingdom.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2014 (IDT)

Thursday, June 26, the day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” This meant a general call-up of military units for a high level of preparedness.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that Egypt is assembling an expeditionary commando force to fly to Saudi Arabia and bolster its border defenses.

This flurry of Saudi-Egyptian military steps comes in the wake of intelligence gathered by Saudi reconnaissance planes showing Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border and aiming to seize control of the Iraqi-Saudi crossing at Ar Ar (pop: 200,000).

ISIS and its Sunni allies are still on the march after capturing Iraq’s border crossings with Syria and Jordan earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Kerry warned Mideast nations against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten sectarian divisions. By then, he had been overtaken by a rush of events, as Debkafile reported this morning.

When the first of the 300 military advisers US President Barack Obama promised the Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad Wednesday, June 25, Iranian and Saudi Arabian arms shipments were already in full flow to opposing sides in embattled Iraq, Debkafile’s military sources report.

At least two cargo planes from bases in Iran were landing daily at Baghdad’s military airport, carrying 150 tons of military equipment. More than 1,000 tons were flown in this past week alone.

Tehran has replicated for the Iraqi army the routine it established for Bashar Assad’s army, furnishing its needs on a daily basis as per its commanders’ requests. Those requests come before a joint Iranian-Iraqi headquarters set up at the Iraqi high command in Baghdad for approval and the assigning of priorities for shipment.

At the same time, Saudi arms are flowing to the Iraqi Sunni tribes fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) against the Iraqi army and the Shiite Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

They are coming in both overland and by airlift. Saudi arms convoys are crossing the border into Iraq with Saudi and Jordanian air force cover and heading north up to the Al-Qa’im district near the Syrian border. There, Sunni and ISIS fighters, after capturing this key Anbar district, have begun refurbishing the bases and runways at H-2, once one of Saddam Hussein’s largest airbases. Situated 350 kilometers west of Baghdad, this air base has two long runways and hangars for fighter planes and helicopters.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that, on Tuesday June 24, unmarked civilian cargo planes landed at the base, bringing arms shipments from Saudi Arabia.

The response was swift. Syrian warplanes, on their first bombing mission inside Iraq, tried to damage the partially repaired runways at H-2 to prevent any more Saudi air shipments from landing.

Military sources in Washington confirmed Wednesday June 25 that those air strikes were conducted by the Syrian Air Force “in Anbar province” and left at least 57 people dead and 120 wounded – most of them Iraqi civilians. They declined to say what was attacked, referring only to ISIS-related targets.

That incident was a striking demonstration of the tight operational sync between the Iranian command centers in Damascus and Baghdad, which are attached respectively to the high commands of the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

This coordination offers Tehran the flexibility for its command centers in both Arab capitals to send Iranian drones aloft from Syrian or Iraqi airbases to feed those centers with the intelligence they need for the strategic planning of military operations to be conducted by the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

Iranian command centers in Baghdad and Damascus are fully equipped therefore to decide which Syrian, Iraqi or Hizballah force carries out a planned operation in either Syria or Iraq. Both are now pushing back against further ISIS advances towards its goal of a Sunni caliphate spanning both countries.

This is just what US Secretary of State John Kerry meant when he said in Brussels Wednesday June 25, after two days of talks in Iraq, that “the war in Iraq is being widened.”

He had good reason to sound worried. Shortly before he spoke, the first group of US military personnel, out of the 300 that President Obama had promised, had arrived in Baghdad. But neither Tehran nor Riyadh had consulted Washington before they organized heavy arms shipments to their respective allies in Iraq.

The Iraqi battle arena is become a veritable Babel of war. So far, six countries are involved in varying degrees: the US, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

http://www.debka.com/article/24034/King-Abdullah-calls-up-Saudi-armed-forces-on-high-preparedness-Egyptian-troops-ready-to-fly-to-kingdom

One day after it was first pumped to Israeli shores, valuable resource flows to processing plant for use in energy market
By Times of Israel staff and AP March 31, 2013, 11:08 pm 0

TamarLeaseNaturalGasRigMideast-Israel-Natrua_Horo-635x357Undated file photo of the Tamar Lease natural gas rig, located 90 kilometers west of the city of Haifa, northern Israel. (photo credit: AP/Albatross Aerial Perspective)

Natural gas from the offshore Tamar field reached Ashdod on Sunday night after it was pumped to Israeli shores for the first time Saturday, four years after its discovery.

The Tamar deposit, discovered in 2009 some 90 kilometers west of Haifa, holds an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

On Saturday, hailed an “important day for the Israeli economy” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, natural gas from the field was pumped to a newly erected facility on the coast of Ashdod, connected to the gas field via pipelines laid out on the ocean floor, 150 kilometers long and 16 inches wide.

On Sunday, the gas finally reached the Ashdod processing plant from which it will start to flow into the Israeli market.

This newly harnessed resource promises to be a major boon to both the country’s public and private energy needs.

The gas from Tamar is expected to help meet Israel’s energy needs for the next 20 years, Channel 2 said, and will save the economy some NIS 13 billion (some $3.5 billion) per year. Its ahead-of-schedule use will also save Israeli citizens some cash — lowering a planned rise in electricity costs to 6 percent, less than originally planned.

The Tamar deposit, and especially the heftier Leviathan, which was discovered in 2010, are expected to provide Israel with enough natural gas for decades and transform the country, famously empty of natural resources, into an energy exporter.

Leviathan, which boasts an estimated 16 to 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, is expected to go online in 2016, the approximate time when exports are expected to begin.

The discoveries are just a portion of the huge reserves in the Levant Basin, which the United States Geological Survey estimated in 2010 holds some 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/natural-gas-from-tamar-field-reaches-israel/

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Future War: Israel’s Massive Natural Gas Reserve Discoveries Draw Enemy Eyes
Massive Leviathan, Tamar Natural Gas Fields Poised to Transform Israel Into Energy Exporter
From The Hashmonean online
16 June 2010

Tamar&LeviathanMapFor 62 years we have made the desert bloom, innovating water & drip irrigation technologies which have literally changed agriculture and the planet itself. Sadly, our quest for the desert’s more famous yield – Oil has been less than fulfilling. Surrounded by the world’s largest energy exporters Israel until now has been no pun intended, dry.

The planet is addicted to oil, nearly everything today is seemingly petroleum based. But the age of big oil is slowly coming to an end. Oil is dirty as evidenced by the tragic disaster off the US Gulf Coast. Developed economies are scrambling to move and develop cleaner burning technologies to both supply our fuel, as well as skyrocketing global energy needs. Coal & Oil aren’t going anywhere just yet, but the next century may belong to Natural Gas as the new big boy of global energy.

Tamar & Leviathan

The last 2 years have seen blessings bestowed on the State of Israel with the discovery of massive natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean by Texas based Noble Energy & Israeli consortiums. Discoveries within arms reach of the Israeli coast and within our territorial waters. In 2009 the Tamar Israel discovery rippled across energy markets, Tamar discoveries can power 50% of Israel’s energy needs for the next 4 decades.

Now in 2010 a new unbelievably larger reserve named Leviathan may yield massive amounts of natural gas, estimated at possibly twice the size of Tamar! If Leviathan yields, it can transform Israel into a global energy exporter.

The Leviathan natural-gas site off the Haifa shore could be twice the size of the Tamar prospect, the largest gas discovery globally in 2009, and position Israel as a gas exporter in coming years, US oil operator Noble Energy Inc. said Thursday.

“Today is a day of celebration for all of us. The State of Israel is an energy independent country,” Yitzhak Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group, said Thursday. Delek is a partner in the Leviathan natural-gas find through its subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP, who each own 22.67 percent. […]

“In March, when I was last in Israel, I said that Noble Energy planned to be here for decades to come,” Noble Energy chairman and CEO Charles Davidson said Thursday. “I am thrilled that today’s announcement substantiates the potential of a new and significant energy basin in the eastern Mediterranean, which, if successful, could position Israel as a potential energy exporter in future years.

“I would like to congratulate the State of Israel on the discoveries of the last year and a half, which have the potential to strengthen the economy and security of Israel. Noble is honored to be working with our Israeli partners in this historic development.” […]

Noble has to date been a gracious partner, aware of the delicate needs in Israel to both drive profit and secure the State energy wise. By the same token, Noble and its consortium of Israeli partners will require the State of Israel to tap these reserves. Apart from licenses, there are unique security needs, as well as substantial infrastructure investments needed which will largely fall on Israel to supply.

Lebanon & Its Embarrassing, Ugly Islamic Step Child – Hezbollah

Of course, If Israel has it, you can rest assured Hezbollah wants to lay its greedy little Islamofacist hands on it. The exploratory permits licensed to Noble and its partners where these discoveries are being made are clearly off Israeli waters.
tamar

The 2009 Tamar Discovery Off the Coast of Haifa

The Lebanese know that the messy little country they have thanks to their pals like Syria & Hezbollah will not draw the billions in foreign exploratory & drilling investment needed to tap whatever reserves may be off their own coast. That has not stopped Lebanon jealously eyeing Israel’s new reserves, or Hezbollah from issuing threats. After all, Israel belongs to them as per Hezbollah ‘logic’ – Muslim lands occupied by Zionist invaders!

Hizbullah: Israel’s gas belongs to us

Hizbullah claims that that the natural gas fields recently discovered in the Mediterranean, belong to Lebanon and warned Israel against extracting gas from them. Iranian English language paper “Tehran Times” quotes Hezbollah’s executive council chief Hashem Safieddine as saying that it would not allow Israel to loot Lebanese gas resources.

Earlier this week, Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri told “AFP”, “Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposit extends into Lebanese waters. Lebanon must take immediate action to defend its financial, political, economic and sovereign rights.”

Marine law expert Amir Cohen-Dor of the S. Friedman & Co. told “Globes” that the Dalit and Tamar gas fields are within Israel’s contiguous economic zone, and that under the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention, Israel can exploit resources in its economic zone.

Gas War Zone?

Both Hezbollah & the Lebanese Parliament which are today one & the same are getting in on the threats. Make no mistake, this is a threat against infrastructure, pipelines, rigs, shipping and investment needed to tap the reserves that will all be required in the future. The Lebanese have gone so far as to issue veiled war threats..

Lebanese daily “As-Safir” today accused Israel of stealing Lebanon’s natural gas.

Lebanese parliamentarians made similar accusations following the discovery of the Tamar and Dalit gas reserves in 2009.

“As-Safir” correspondent Halami Mussa wrote, “Israel plans to steal natural gas from the territorial waters of Lebanon.” He claims that “the reserves are located outside the territorial waters of Israel and are in Lebanese territory.” […] “a serious political and economic issue”, which could be cause for a diplomatic dispute between Israel and Lebanon.

Mussa said, “The area where the seismic survey was carried out is offshore from the coast of Lebanon, between the international border of Palestine and Cyprus.” He utterly ignores the presence of Israel, but says, “Israel, which received the mandate from Britain, which has no rights to Palestine, gave to some of the license to American companies without any right to do so.”

The Ministry of National Infrastructures Map of Petroleum Rights shows that the Tamar license, as well the licenses that make up the Leviathan structure are located west and northwest of Haifa, south of the Israel-Lebanese border

Potential for conflict is real

With Israeli sovereignty being questioned as usual by Islamists & terrorists, and Lebanon laying absurd claim to Israeli natural gas discoveries the potential for conflict is real. Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon have been certified by the UN, yet that did not stop Hezbollah from launching a war in 2006. The Israeli coastal demarcations are also clear, there is little reason to believe that will stop Hezbollah or its patrons from trying to initiate conflict, terrorism & violence either.

This is part and parcel of the Noble partnership with Israel. Infrastructure – both sea based and land based to process the LNG will need to be patrolled, secured. The State may even be forced into war to secure safe resource extraction.

Turkish Non-Delight!

The notion of Israel becoming an energy player will drive the Iranians and their lapdogs mad, that is to say on top of their already certifiable Islamist state of psychoness. Further, Turkish relations with Israel have been spiralling and it has less to do with Gaza aid flotillas, more to do with large economic interests such as these Gas discoveries.

Israel is poised to knock the Turks a few pegs down on the international scale if it starts exporting large quantities of LNG. This threatens Turkish LNG pipeline plans from Russia, potentially removing them from a profitable picture if Israel begins large sea based exports of LNG to Europe & Asia in the coming decades…

Peace and even clean burning energy in the Middle East does not come cheap.

http://hashmonean.com/2010/06/16/future-war-israels-massive-natural-gas-reserve-discoveries-draw-enemy-eyes/

Screenshot from one of the online news sources I read daily…


http://english.aljazeera.net

“You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars… nations shall rise up against nations, and kingdom against kingdom… all these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
July 6, 2011

“…it will take place shortly after the Libyan war is brought to a close – ideally by a four-way accord between the US, France, Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan rebels or, failing agreement, by a crushing NATO military blow in which the United States will also take part.”

The Obama and Sarkozy administrations are working together on a plan to convene an Israel-Palestinian peace summit in Paris on Sept. 2 shortly after the Libyan war is brought to a close, Debkafile’s Washington and Paris exclusive sources disclose.

If they can pull it off, Presidents Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy will join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at a summit in the French capital to announce the restart of Israel-Palestinian peace talks, thereby calling off the unilateral Palestinian request for UN recognition of an independent state.

President Obama’s Special Adviser Dennis Ross and senior French diplomat Jean-David Levitte are leading the effort to get this summit off the ground.

According to the US-French plan, it will take place shortly after the Libyan war is brought to a close – ideally by a four-way accord between the US, France, Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan rebels or, failing agreement, by a crushing NATO military blow in which the United States will also take part.

The proposed accord would be based on Muammar Qaddafi’s departure and the establishment of a power-sharing transitional administration in Tripoli between the incumbent government and rebel leaders.

The US and French presidents hope to be credited at home and in the Middle East with a triple feat: two diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East and a US-French victory in Libya.

To this end, negotiations are going forward with the concerned parties. Russia and the African Union have been drawn into the drive to end the war in Libya. One stumbling block still remaining is Qaddafi’s demand for his sons to be part of the proposed transitional administration in Tripoli.

To clear the way for the Paris summit, Ross recently put before Netanyahu Obama’s revised formula for the starting-point of negotiations with the Palestinians: Israel would accept the 1967 borders with territorial swaps in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. Just this week, the Israeli prime minister said that if the Palestinians recognized Israel as the Jewish homeland, the other outstanding issues could be easily and quickly resolved.

However, it is not clear whether the revised formula had won prior Palestinian approval before it was presented in Jerusalem or Washington intended to later squeeze this concession out of Mahmud Abbas and so drive a crack in the deadlock which has frozen the peace track for more than seven months.

At all events, Netanyahu’s reply was qualified. He accepted the new US formula in principle, but batted the ball back into the White House’s court. Debkafile’s sources in Jerusalem and Washington disclose that he made acceptance contingent on President Obama publicly and formally affixing his signature to President Bush’s letter of April 2004 to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

This letter constituted a presidential commitment to support negotiations with the Palestinians based on UN Resolution 242 (which promised Israel defensible borders), to refrain from demanding Israel’s return to the 1949 lines, and to acknowledge the existence of major Jewish population centers on the West Bank as demographic changes occurring in the years since the Six-Day War.
The prime minister is now waiting for an answer from the White House.

Our sources in Jerusalem explain that this exchange encapsulates the US-Israeli-Palestinian debate over how much territory the land swaps would leave Israel and the Palestinians respectively in future agreements on their borders.

Up until now, the Palestinians have insisted on a ratio of one kilometer in pre-1967 Israel for every kilometer awarded Israel on the West Bank. This ratio Jerusalem has found to be unacceptable. A comprehensive study commissioned by the prime minister’s office from the National Security Council found that the big settlement blocs on the West Bank cover roughly 8 percent of West Bank area.

Giving up an equal area of Israeli territory would imperil its security no less than a flat return to the 1967 borders. Israel cannot therefore afford to cede more than 4 percent of its sovereign territory at most. The Palestinian demand for parity in the mutual exchanges of land is therefore rejected by Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is reverting to the Bush letter and its reaffirmation of UN Resolution 242 – not just because it better addresses Israel’s security needs more advantageous, but also because, “You can’t just toss out UN Resolution 242 and Bush’s letter to Sharon,” Netanyahu has been saying in recent private talks. In his view, the Obama White House cannot simply ignore a presidential commitment given by his predecessor personally to an Israeli prime minister.

In the opinion of the prime minister and his advisers, the formula incorporated in Obama’s May 19 speech requiring Israel to return to the 1967 borders with mutual land swaps and accept a non-demilitarized Palestinian state is tantamount to giving up on secure borders. The UN 242 and the Bush commitment upheld this principle and is therefore the option preferred in Jerusalem.

http://www.debka.com/article/21091/

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2011, 5:47 PM (GMT+02:00)

Less than 24 hours after the breakdown of its nuclear dialogue with the six world powers in Istanbul, Iran announced plans Sunday, Jan. 23, to send a fleet of warships, including a home-made destroyer, on operational and intelligence-gathering missions to the Red Sea and on to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal.

Debkafile’s military sources: Parts of the fleet will in fact be deployed in the three waters around Israel’s southern and western shores.

Tehran is taking advantage of the lack of military and diplomatic momentum on the part of US and Israel for a naval thrust to expand its range of operations and encroach on their areas of control.

It is also a rapid response to the arrival of the USS Enterprise carrier with a strike group carrying 6,000 sailors and marines and 80 warplanes in the Mediterranean at the end of last week on its way to the Arabian Sea opposite Iran.

British ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s call on the West to stop apologizing and react to Iran with force was not lost on the rulers of the Islamic Republic.

The Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari spoke of three or four vessels including Iran’s first home-made destroyer, Jamaran, with back-up operational units standing by for urgent support missions.

His deputy, Rear-Admiral Gholam Reza Bi-Gham said the deployment would last about a year and at some future time, long-distance submarines would join the fleet.

Since Nov. 2008, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols between the Gulf of Aden Straits of Bab al-Mandeb off Yemen so some of its units are not far away.

Both admirals reported that a flotilla of Iranian naval officer cadets would soon be dispatched to the Mediterranean and Red Seas to gain experience in these new areas and gather intelligence.

Iran recently purchased three Kilo class submarines from Russia and is using them in the Persian Gulf. Debkafile’s military sources report they belong to a bygone generation of subs and lack advanced electronic systems, making it hard for them to stay deep down underwater for long periods without surfacing.

For two years, Iranian military shipyards have been building miniature submarines, war ships and fast assault craft. Most Western naval give them low ratings in performance especially in view of their outdated electronics.

Debkafile’s military sources, however, estimate that if deployed in support of the warships assigned to the Mediterranean and Red Seas, those mini-submarines and assault craft could be extremely troublesome and give plenty of headaches to American, Israel and Egyptian naval commanders.

http://www.debka.com/article/20580/

Image: Natural gas rig off the coast of Haifa, Israel. Photo credit: Noble Energy.

Excerpted from Joel Rosenberg email update 31 Dec 2010

“… a trail of prophetic clues found in the Hebrew Scriptures that some believe (myself included) indicate that in the “last days” the nation of Israel will be blessed by discovering huge reserves of petroleum that will make Israel quite wealthy.

Those clues suggest Israel will be able to “dip his foot in oil” and draw “oil from the flinty rock.” The Jewish people will find “hidden treasures in the sand” and an “abundance of the seas.” This newfound wealth in the last days will certainly be a blessing for Israel, but it will also draw enemies and may very well help trigger the “War of Gog and Magog” when the nations ask the leaders of the Russian-Iranian alliance that comes against the Jewish state, “Have you come to capture spoil [from Israel]? Have you assembled your [military forces] to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold….to capture a great spoil?”

Are such prophecies now coming to pass? Are such headlines further evidence that we are living in the “last days” before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ? It’s a story worth keeping an eye on, to be sure. ”

Joel’s weblog: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com

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Discovery of giant gasfield sparks frenzy in Israel
The National online 31 Dec 2010

The discovery of the largest gasfield in the eastern Mediterranean set off a frenzy yesterday in Israel, which has long depended on imported energy.

The Leviathan field, estimated to hold 16 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas worth more than US$95 billion (Dh348.93bn), was discovered by Noble Energy and its partners 130km offshore from Haifa, the northern Israeli port.

The discovery will “impact many fields in Israel,” Uzi Landau, Israel’s infrastructure minister, said after the announcement.The discovery is almost three times as large as the nearby Tamar gasfield that a group led by Noble struck two years ago.

It is four times as big as Egypt’s largest gasfield and eight times larger than the Gaza Marine gasfield…

The twin Tamar and Leviathan discoveries mean Israel has more than enough gas to fuel its power stations for decades. It currently depends on Egypt for much of its gas supply.

Israel’s gas find has sparked a trading frenzy in Tel Aviv and New York. The shekel gained as much as 0.8 percent to 3.5432 per dollar, the highest level since October 2008.

Shares of local oil and gas companies have shot up this year, but many pulled back yesterday as investors realised that the path to bringing Leviathan’s gas on stream might not be smooth.

One factor is that Noble, based in the US, and its Israeli partners, Delek Energy, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration, are nervous about the deteriorating environment for oil and gas investment in Israel.

“Realising the potential of Leviathan requires from the developers enormous investment in infrastructure to export gas,” said Gideon Tadmor, the chief executive of Delek Energy, a unit of Delek Group.

Yoram Turbowitz, the group’s chief executive, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper he was experiencing “a sense of success mixed with worry and concern that we will not be able to utilise the huge discovery … to its limits”.

“[It] will demand enormous investment in infrastructure. The state will need to assist with regulations, planning and accompanying what will become the largest infrastructure project in the country,” he added….

At least part of the 325 square kilometres covered by the Leviathan field lies within waters contested between Israel and Lebanon. The two neighbours do not have diplomatic relations and their maritime border has not been formally demarcated. Beirut stated this year that part of the Leviathan prospect lay within Lebanese territory.

In August, Lebanon’s government passed the country’s first oil exploration law. Gibran Bassil, the oil minister, said the first auction of offshore exploration licences could be held just over a year from now.

The border disputes may not stop there. This month, Israel and Cyprus reached an accord on their border that was promptly rejected by Turkey.

http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/discovery-of-giant-gasfield-sparks-frenzy-in-israel?pageCount=0

(Did you ever wonder about scriptures suggesting Russia will come against Israel in the last days? Here are some clues as to why that might be: Tamar, Dalit and Leviathan Mediterranean gas fields. Be sure to read both articles below.)

Russian President Medvedev to visit Israel in mid-January
DEBKAfile December 15, 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s first visit to Israel in mid-January, part of a Middle East tour, is intended to signify a major switch in Kremlin Middle East policy to warmer relations with Israel and correspondingly less intense ties with Iran, Syria and the radical Palestinian Hamas….

Furthermore, the Russians have got two bids in play for a slice of the as-yet untapped Mediterranean gas. While offering to partner Lebanon in exploring the oil and gas potential opposite its shores earlier this month, Debkafile’s sources report that the Russian energy giant Gazprom sent secret envoys to Tel Aviv at the same time.

They came to discuss investment opportunities with the Israeli firms holding the concessions for the Tamar, Dalit and Leviathan Mediterranean gas fields off the Israeli shore and a possible partnership in Israel’s Ashkelon-Eilat oil and gas pipelines.

According to our sources, Russian energy experts calculate that Israel’s offshore gas reserves, currently estimated at about 25 trillion cubic feet, are in fact much bigger, and maintain they could be better explored with Russian professional assistance. Leviathan is seen as the most promising of the three strikes….

Moscow sent five messages to Jerusalem:

1. For the purchase of military UAVs for the Russian army – for which an agreement will be signed – Moscow will guarantee to withhold advanced weapons, such as the sophisticated S-300 interceptor missile systems, from Iran and Syria. By this move, the Medvedev-Putin administration is drawing a line limiting Russia’s vital contribution to their military buildup and upgrade.

2. Moscow shares Israel’s view that any hi-tech Russian military hardware sold to Damascus or Tehran would eventually reach Hizballah. The Russians have no wish to upgrade Hizballah’s arsenal and therefore has a further incentive for keeping this weaponry out of Iranian and Syrian hands.

3. The Kremlin has recently shifted ground on the Palestinian issue and is no longer willing to automatically endorse Palestinian demands of Israel. Unlike Palestinian negotiators headed by Mahmoud Abbas, Moscow is prepared to look at interim solutions for the Palestinian-Israel dispute. The Russians say the Palestinians are aware of the new winds blowing in Moscow….

4. The Russians ask Israel to take note of another change in its favor: Hamas’s Damascus-based leader Khaled Meshaal is no longer welcome in Moscow.

5. Moscow is seeking to exploit the deepening strategic ties between Israel and Greece to jump aboard their plans to build an underwater gas pipeline linking Greece to the Israeli Mediterranean port of Ashkelon. This would link up with the existing Ashkelon oil and gas pipeline to Eilat, Israel’s Red Sea port.

Russian energy strategists are eyeing the planned and existing segments of this route with great interest, having calculated that the quickest and cheapest outlet for marketing Russian gas to the Far East is through Eilat.

Israeli leaders, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have high hopes of the Medvedev visit.

http://www.debka.com/article/20457/

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Moscow, Ankara move in on Lebanon’s offshore energy potential
DEBKAfile December 8, 2010

Photo: An effusive Kremlin welcome for Lebanese PM Hariri. With his sharp instincts for chances in the field of energy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was stirred into discreet action by Israeli entrepreneurs’ discovery in the past year of a gas bonanza – three fields, dubbed Tamar, Dalit and Leviathan, off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, Debkafile’s Moscow sources report.

Their currently estimated reserves of 25 trillion cubic feet would more than cover Israel’s energy needs and enable it to become a gas exporter, revolutionizing an economy which has developed despite a paucity of natural resources.

Neither did Putin miss Beirut’s claim that Israel was “looting” Lebanese gas resources, or that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri had encountered a polite rejection when he travelled to Nicosia on Oct. 21 to ask Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias for help in mapping the borders of oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean.

Moscow accordingly went into action by inviting Hariri for a visit, which took place Nov. 16-17. With his back to the wall in a life-and-death struggle to save his government from falling into the hands of Hizballah, the Lebanese prime minister was granted the rare honor of an elaborate welcome by both Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The Russian prime minister then pitched into his spiel: Moscow could help Lebanon place itself on the map of oil and gas fields and pipelines in the eastern Mediterranean. But to exploit its oil and gas wealth under the sea, Lebanon needed Russia as energy partner and provider of funds, equipment and skilled labor.

Russia would reciprocate with heavy investments in the Lebanese economy that would restore Beirut to its former prestige as financial capital of the Middle East and an assured supply of advanced weapons at token prices to secure those investments.

None of this prevented the Russian prime minister from sending a delegation to Tel Aviv last week to sound out Israel’s gas new tycoons for opportunities. On offer were Russian investments in funds and equipment and a Russian-Israeli partnership in laying the gas pipeline which Israel and Greece are planning as part of their evolving strategic alliance.

The Lebanese prime minister left Moscow with an understanding in his pocket on three points. As a mark of Russian goodwill, he was promised the gift of six MI 24 helicopters 31 T-72 tanks, 36 130 mm cannons complete with half a million shells and thirty thousand artillery shells – an unprecedented donation to a country outside Moscow’s sphere of influence. Their understanding extended to three key areas:

1. They would discuss big Russian firms building a number of gas-powered electricity plants in Lebanon, backed by Kremlin guarantees and financing – against a Lebanese guarantee to purchase their output over a 30-year period.

2. The Russian-built Arab Gas Pipeline Project Phase II, designed to bring gas from Egypt and run through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, would grow a Lebanese branch. On Dec. 5, a Kremlin official said: “We want to study a possibility of gas shipment from Syria to Lebanon, for example, by using the Arab Gas Pipeline capacity.”

3. Moscow offered to build three nuclear power plants in Turkey.

The second understanding was the real reason for Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Beirut Wednesday, Nov. 24 and his talks with Hariri. Erdogan now has a new interest in defusing the tensions in Lebanon and keeping Hariri in power.

Debkafile’s military sources say that, in addition to his abiding interest in energy, Vladimir Putin keeps his eye on the big Russian naval base going up in Tartous, Syria. As headquarters of the Russian Black Sea and Mediterranean fleets, this base will also guard Moscow’s investments and holdings in gas and oil fields in the Mediterranean.

http://www.debka.com/article/20435/

DEBKAfile Special Report November 1, 2010

Hizballah last Thursday, Oct. 28, conducted a command exercise in all parts of Lebanon to test its armed militia’s readiness for what its leaders called “zero hour;” i.e. asserting its grip on Lebanon and “cornering” Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Debkafile’s military sources report the exercise took all day and led up to the sabre-rattling speech delivered by Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah that night, which was interpreted by all Lebanese factions interpreted as a declaration of war on their government and the prologue to heating up the border with Israel.

(To read our Oct. 30 report on the speech and its impact, click here: http://www.debka.com/article/9115/)

The Shiite terrorist group made no bones about the reasons for its war stance – just the opposite:

1. Hizballah found it necessary to answer the Israel Defense Forces’ recent “electronic exercise,” in keeping with a top-level Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah decision never to leave any American or Israel military step without response.

2. It was a practice for the military action planned for the hours leading up to the Special Lebanese Tribunal’s issuance of indictments against Hizballah leaders for complicity in the assassination of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri five years ago.

The “zero hour” exercise demonstrated, according to Hizballah sources, “the quick implementation on the ground” of the necessary deployment. They claimed that in “less than two hours” they were able to “maintain a security and military grip of large areas of Lebanon.”

Our sources note that this is the first time Hizballah has leveled publicly about its plan for seizing control of Lebanon by force of arms – even without waiting for the STL indictments to be issued. The disclosure was made five days after the critical command exercise in order to establish a fact. It took advantage of a moment when its key opponents were otherwise engaged.

President Barack Obama has his hands full with the Democrats’ sliding rating in polls ahead of the Nov. 2 midterm elections to Congress.

Saudi King Abdullah had an eye on an ambitious initiative to convene a national conciliation conference of all Iraqi factions for breaking the long impasse over the formation of a new government in Baghdad. The Saudi king was seeking an al-Arab breakthrough that would push Iran off the board.

And in Jerusalem, political circles in Jerusalem are full engaged in the trivia of domestic scandal, such as the illegal employment of a foreign worker at Defense Minster Ehud Barak’s home or endless bickering over the stipends for yeshiva students with families.

Hizballah also feels it can safely send its gunmen out on the streets of Beirut and vent its ire on Israel without being jumped on by Western media because they are all totally absorbed in al Qaeda’s bomb package plot and its intercontinental ramifications.

http://www.debka.com/article/9118/