Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Israel. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Israel. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 18, 2017

Θερμό επεισόδιο Ισραήλ-Συρίας: Ισραηλινό τανκ εκτόξευσε προειδοποιητική βολή

Golan Heights
Ένα ακόμη θερμό επεισόδιο μεταξύ των ισραηλινών στρατευμάτων και συριακών δυνάμεων καταγράφηκε το Σάββατο, ανεβάζοντας το θερμόμετρο της έντασης στην περιοχή, ενόψει και των εξελίξεων για την επόμενη μέρα του εμφυλίου πολέμου.

Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 07, 2017

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 18, 2015

Israel: Gov't officials presenting outline to solve natural gas turmoil

Government officials have formulated an outline to solve the current natural gas stalemate, which has resulted in the freeze of the Leviathan reservoir's development, government sources told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday late afternoon.

"There is a government outline that all the government is supporting for the solution of the gas problem," the sources said. "An outline was presented to Noble Energy and at the moment is being presented to Delek."

While the government sources would not expand upon the details of the outline at the moment, its contents are aimed at putting an end to nearly two-month-long situation in which the reservoir partners and the Israel Antitrust Authority have been butting heads.

On December 23, Gilo announced that a proposed consent decree regarding the entry of the Delek Group and Noble Energy into the Leviathan reservoir would not be submitted to the Antitrust Tribunal for approval as had previously been agreed upon. In addition to nixing his support for this arrangement, which would have allowed the companies to sell two smaller reservoirs in order to remain in Leviathan, Gilo said he would consider whether their stake in Leviathan constitutes an illegal “restraint of trade,” or restrictive agreement, similar to a cartel.

Houston-based Noble Energy owns a 39.66% stake of the 621-billion-cubic-meter Leviathan reservoir, while Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each hold 22.67%, and Ratio Oil Exploration has a 15% share.


Noble Energy also holds 36% of the 282 billion cu.m. Tamar gas reservoir –which began flowing to Israel’s domestic market in March 2013.The Delek Group’s Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each own 15.625%, Isramco controls 28.75% and Dor Gas has 4%.

While the Tamar reservoir has been flowing into the Israeli domestic gas network since March 2013, development of the Leviathan basin has been stunted due to the disagreement between the companies and the Antitrust Authority.

Foreign stakeholders and local industry sources have continually warned that the uncertainty in Israel's gas regulatory environment could discourage further investment into the Israeli hydrocarbon sector. However, Knesset members and social activists have thus far hailed the Antitrust Authority’s move as an opportunity to tackle corporate interests and bring natural gas to Israeli citizens at a competitive price.

Regarding the new outline that  officials have been presenting to the gas companies on Wednesday evening, the government sources assured the Post that all relevant government authorities and ministries stand behind the document. 

  jpost.com
18/2/15
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Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 13, 2015

Egypt 'doesn't mind' Israeli gas

A week after Reuters broke the news of talks between the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the American Noble Energy Company, which operates Israeli gas fields, the Ministry of Petroleum appears to publicly support a new policy that would allow the importation of Israeli gas.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Despite full diplomatic relations, official niceties and, many years later, US-encouraged commercial and business agreements between the two former enemies, normalisation with Israel remained taboo and was rejected by the wider public.
So when former president Hosni Mubarak approved a 20-year agreement to export Egyptian gas to Israel in 2005 it caused a political uproar that continued until his ouster in February 2011.

Not only was Egypt pumping natural gas directly to Israel, it was doing so at below-market prices through East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), then co-owned by Mubarak 's friend Hussein Salem and former Israeli Mossad agent Yossi Maiman, who then sold the gas to Israel at higher rates, pocketing the difference.

In the aftermath of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011, Egypt unilaterally terminated this agreement, citing failures by the Israeli side to meet payment deadlines in violation of the contract.

The decision was met with relief and a sense of revolutionary achievement, but things did not end there. When Mubarak was referred for trial in 2011, the gas deal was added to the corruption charges (a Cairo court dismissed the charges three months ago because the charges were too old to fall within its jurisdiction.)

More than four years later, Egyptian officials are negotiating a reversal of the gas deal through the very same pipeline that exported the gas to Israel, according to Reuters and official statements attributed to top-level officials in the ministry of petroleum......................http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/122969.aspx
13/2/15
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Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 02, 2015

Egypt advances plans to import Israeli gas

CAIRO - A delegation from American oil firm Noble Energy is in Egypt for talks with the state gas company about importing Israeli gas to energy-starved Egypt, sources at the airport and the oil ministry said on Sunday.

Gas shipments could come from Israel's offshore Tamar gas field, which Noble operates, and whose partners have floated plans to connect the field with Egypt's Damietta LNG plant.


Israel's Delek Drilling, one of the partners in the field, said in November that if an agreement is signed, gas supplies to Egypt could start flowing in 2017.

Egypt has signed several deals in past months to import natural gas, which powers most of its homes and factories, but imports from Israel are potentially more sensitive because of the countries' rocky history.

The oil ministry source said Sunday's talks concerned the technical procedures for bringing natural gas from Israeli fields into Egypt.

"Negotiations are under way about the amount of gas that can be imported," the source said.

Another source at Cairo's airport earlier in the day said that a delegation came for several hours from Israel to discuss gas shipments.

Egypt's oil minister said two weeks ago that the country was open to Israeli imports.

Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, following three decades of intermittent conflict since Israel's creation in 1948.

While many Egyptians still view Israel with suspicion, relations have improved since the army toppled President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The two countries also have a shared interest in containing Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and maintaining stability in the Sinai Peninsula where security has deteriorated since Morsi's ouster.

  • Egypt, which once exported gas to Israel and elsewhere, is going through its worst energy crisis in decades, with rising consumption and declining production turning it into an energy importer.
  • The government has tried to improve the energy landscape by slashing subsidies, paying down its debt to foreign energy firms, and negotiating import agreements.

After finalizing a long-delayed deal for an LNG import terminal, it has reached agreements to receive gas from Algeria, and is in talks with Russia and Cyprus for gas shipments. 

 http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Egypt-advances-plans-to-import-Israeli-gas-389661
1/2/15
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Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 06, 2015

EU urges Israel, Palestine to stop aggravating tense situation

The European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said here on Tuesday recent steps taken by Palestinians and Israelis could aggravate the already tense situation on the ground and bring them further away from a negotiated solution.

The decision of the Israeli government to halt the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority "runs counter to Israel's obligations under the Paris Protocol," Mogherini said in a statement.

An effective Palestinian Authority, committed to non-violence and a peaceful resolution of the conflict, is a key element for a two-state solution, she said, urging Israel and Palestine to refrain from taking actions that could raise obstacles to the rapid return to the negotiations.

She said the EU was providing considerable support, including financial assistance, to ensure the building of the institutions and infrastructure of a future Palestinian State. And these achievements should not be put at risk by not meeting obligations regarding the timely and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues.

"The European Union will promote and support now more than ever efforts to achieve a lasting peace based on a two-state solution, including through the Middle East Quartet," she said.

Half a billion shekels, or about 128 million US dollars, in tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority for the month of December were being frozen. Israel made the decision last week to punish the Palestinians' bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israel's collection of tax money for the Palestinian Authority was established under the 1993 Oslo Accords. The last time Israel froze the money's transfer was in April last year, following the Authority's reconciliation with Hamas and the establishment of a Palestinian unity government.

Palestinians sought to join the ICC after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2017, in order for a Palestinian state to be established unilaterally.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
6/1/15

Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 31, 2014

UN Security Council action on Palestinian statehood blocked

UN, 30 December 2014 – Falling short of the required number of positive votes and faced with a veto from one of its permanent members, the United Nations Security Council today failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have affirmed the “urgent need” to reach within 12 months a peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East and would have paved the way to a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The draft also outlined several parameters for the proposed solution – with a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel and a “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017 – and would have looked forward to welcoming Palestine as a full UN Member State within the 12-month timeframe, urging both parties to build trust and negotiate in good faith.
Eight of the Council's 15 members voted in favour, one fewer than the nine members needed to pass a resolution in the absence of a veto by any of the Council's five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom or the United States.
While the resolution failed to receive the required majority among members, the United States also opposed the text, a move that would have seen the draft fail to pass.
Following the vote, Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN, stressed her country’s support for new ways to constructively support both parties in achieving a negotiated settlement.
“This resolution is not one of those constructive steps,” she said, adding that the draft set the stage for “more division, not compromise.”
The vote set-up a “staged confrontation” that did not contribute to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question, especially as the text was “deeply imbalanced”, establishing “unconstructive deadlines.” Five Council members abstained from the vote, including the United Kingdom, whose representative, Mark Lyall Grant, said he supported much of the draft’s content but was disappointed by the lack of negotiation and had therefore abstained.
“The Security Council has once again failed to uphold its Charter duties,” said Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, who said the draft was tabled in the face of a political impasse caused by “Israeli intransigence.”
Israel’s representative said the opposite was true, with the Palestinians having “every chance to negotiate.” Having refused to engage, they had now tabled their “preposterous unilateral proposal,” and he warned his Palestinian counterpart that he could not “agitate and provoke” his way to a State.
The representative of France voted in favour, calling on the Council to be a positive actor, “not a theatre,” and noting his support for a “clear timetable” on peace negotiations. The other remaining permanent members also voted in favour of the draft, with Russia’s representative, Vitaly Churkin, regretting the Council’s failure to adopt, and China’s representative, also stating his deep regret.
María Cristina Perceval, the representative of Argentina, said explanation of her affirmative vote was “unnecessary” and lamented the Council’s failure to adopt the text, while Chad’s representative, Mahamat Zene Cherif, current Council President, said the draft was “balanced and moderate” adding that the Council had “once more missed a date with history”, sending a negative message that encouraged continuation of occupation, injustice and oppression. The Council, he said, had missed an opportunity give the Palestinians “a ray of hope” after direct talks yielded almost nothing.
 [un.org]
30/12/14
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Τρίτη, Δεκεμβρίου 30, 2014

Palestinians demand UN vote on Israeli withdrawal, defeat likely

UN Security Council is expected to vote as early as Tuesday afternoon on a Palestinian draft resolution that calls for a peace deal with Israel within a year and an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017.

Jordan's UN Ambassador Dina Kawar said Arab delegations had agreed the draft should go to a vote as soon as possible and the timing would depend on how quickly the 15-nation council's secretariat organize a meeting. Kawar said she was requesting a Tuesday afternoon vote.

Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour said the vote could be on Wednesday morning if it does not happen on Tuesday. Western diplomats said a 5:00 p.m. ET (2200 GMT) was possible, adding that the United States was expected to veto the measure if it managed to muster the minimum required nine yes votes.

 [jpost.com by Reuters]
30/12/14
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  • Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird released a statement Thursday night saying that Canada is opposed to the imminent vote for the Palestinian resolution in the UN Security Council to put a deadline to the Israeli "Occupation."
“Canada fundamentally believes that Palestinian statehood can only be a by-product of negotiations with the State of Israel. We have long rejected unilateral action on either side, as we believe it is ultimately unhelpful to the cause of peace," the statement said. 
[ jpost.com]

Δευτέρα, Δεκεμβρίου 08, 2014

Israel's Greatest Ecological Catastrophe Unfolding in Arava Desert

The crude oil spill in the Arava Desert, southern Israel, is 'twice as bad as initially estimated,' according to the Israeli Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company....

"The volume of crude oil that spilled into the Arava Desert last week is 60 percent larger than the amount that was originally reported, the company responsible for the pipeline acknowledged on Sunday night," Haaretz, the Israeli news agency reported.
Although the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) initially reported of a spill between one million and 1.5 million liters, it later revised its calculation to three million liters. However, the company reported on Sunday a report issued by the company on Sunday has revealed that some five million liters of crude oil spilled out of the pipeline last Thursday, December 4.

"We were skeptical about the figures provided by the company from the start," a ministry official said on December 8, as cited by Haaretz.

Meanwhile damage control teams have already removed 13,000 tons of polluted soil in order to reduce the impact of the pipeline leak.

The Times of Israel notes that according to weather forecasts heavy rainfall is expected in the region later this week. It has sparked concerns among ministry officials over the possibility of further contamination of the area, including the Gulf of Eilat, home to rare coral reefs, which could be damaged by the leak, the media outlet stresses.

Haaretz notes, however, that dams are being erected in order to prevent the oil flowing into this area.

"It's the biggest ecological disaster Israel has seen. This is because of the material itself, crude oil, which is particularly hard to flush out, and the location of the spill [on the reserve]," Gilad Golub of Israel's Environmental Services Company told Agence France Presse.

The Times of Israel notes that Eilat residents have already filed a lawsuit against the pipeline operators referring to the tremendous environmental damage caused through negligence.

"Mellish is demanding NIS 220 million ($55m) to rehabilitate the environment in coordination with the Environment Minster and the Israel Nature and Parks authority, as well as another NIS 180 million ($45m) for the 48,000 residents of Eilat for damage to their health and discomfort caused by the ecological disaster," the media outlet reports.

More than 80 people on both sides of the Israel-Jordan border have complained about health problems caused by the spill.

[sputniknews.com]
8/12/14
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Κυριακή, Δεκεμβρίου 07, 2014

Syria: Israeli jets bomb army facilities near Damascus airport. (no reports of casualties)

Syrian media reported on Sunday evening that Israeli jets had bombed targets near Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, north of Damascus and near the border with Lebanon.
There were no reports of casualties in the reports, but the general command of the Syrian army said in a statement that several facilities had been hit, both at the Damascus International Airport and in the area of Dimas.


According to the reports, the Israeli air force flew at least 10 sorties over the Dimas area and attacked several military targets. Residents of Damascus reported hearing loud explosions on the outskirts of the city

  • Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied the reports and it is unclear how reliable they are.
  • "This aggression proves Israel's direct involvement in supporting terror in Syria, along with other Arab and regional countries," the Syrian military command said..

"The Israeli attack was designed to lift the morale of the terror groups, primarily Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State, after the blows they have received from the Syrian army."

  • Lebanese sources that the Israeli air force had been flying over southern Lebanon since Sunday morning. It was not specified whether the planes entered Syrian air space or fired from within Lebanese air space."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned live video broadcast on Sunday evening due to "events in Jerusalem." The premier made do with a short, pre-recorded speech to the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, being held in Washington.

Earlier, during the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that Israel "is following the Middle East and what is happening very closely, with wide open eyes and ears – and a lot is happening.

"We will continue to keep our fingers on the pulse and we will deal with these threats and these challenges, which never take time off. We will deal with them with the same responsibility that we have demonstrated until now." 

 [haaretz.com]
7/12/14 
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Παρασκευή, Δεκεμβρίου 05, 2014

France, US strike deal to pay $60 mln for Holocaust victims deported by SNCF

France said today it had agreed to put $60 million into a fund managed by the United States to compensate Holocaust victims deported by French state rail firm SNCF to Nazi death camps, a deal that protects it from future US litigation.
About 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported in appalling conditions in railway boxcars to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most died.

In 1995 France's then-president, Jacques Chirac, officially acknowledged for the first time French complicity in the wartime deportations. But it was only in 2009 that France's highest court recognised the state's responsibility.
Several state legislatures in the United States, including Maryland and New York, have previously threatened to pass legislation that would block the SNCF from bidding in rail projects unless it paid compensation to US victims.
The compensation deal, which will be signed in Washington on Dec. 8, is open to people from all countries with the exception of Britain, Poland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, which already have bilateral agreements with France, said Patrizianna Sparacino, who negotiated the accord for Paris.
Several hundred people including survivors and family members have already been identified for compensation, initially from the United States and Israel.
The total number of those compensated will run into the thousands, Sparacino said.
"For now the objective is that those survivors from the deportations would get roughly $100,000 (each)," Sparacino said, adding the United States would manage and allocate the funds.
Washington will also undertake to handle any future Holocaust-era claims against France or any of its entities, meaning that SNCF will no longer be directly targeted or threatened from exclusion in tender processes.
"The US will defend France and its entities as a counterparty to this agreement," Sparacino said.
The talks, launched in February, were initially bilateral between Paris and Washington but were widened to include all nationalities that had not been compensated by France.
US federal authorities took over the dossier saying that efforts by state legislatures to penalise SNCF were an obstacle to securing a global accord.
The state of Maryland removed its threat to bar SNCF from bidding for a 4.5 billion euro contract to build and operate a 25 km train line. SNCF, through its local Keolis subsidiary, has since bid for the project.
Although SNCF has acknowledged guilt, it says it was a "cog in the Nazi extermination machine" and forced to obey the orders of the government and the German occupiers.
Lawyers for French families say SNCF acted out of greed, pointing to evidence it charged French authorities the price of a third-class rail ticket for each person it transported.
Washington has been pushing European governments and firms with links to the Nazi era to compensate Holocaust victims since the 1990s.
Germany agreed in 1999 to create a fund offering some 10 billion marks compensation to Nazi-era forced labourers.
The fund was launched by about 65 leading German companies, many of which had faced legal action over their past role. They included blue chip firms such as Siemens and Volkswagen.
The US government pledged to protect them from future litigation over their Nazi past in return for the fund.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who authored the Holocaust Rail Justice Act to allow victims living in the United States to sue SNCF, hailed the accord as "a breakthrough in a decades-long struggle for justice waged by Holocaust survivors."
 [buenosairesherald.com]
5/12/14

Πέμπτη, Δεκεμβρίου 04, 2014

Oil pipeline bursts near Israel-Jordan border.(the reason for the spill was under investigation)

An oil pipeline rupture has caused thousands of cubic metres of crude oil to spill into the Arava desert in southern Israel near the border with Jordan, officials said Thursday (Dec 4).The incident took place just north of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat and 500m from the frontier. 

The spill was "a couple of kilometres long", according to an Israeli environment ministry spokeswoman who was unable to give more specific information.

She said it was unclear whether there was any foul play and environmental authorities would open an investigation. "They have forces on the ground that prevented it from spreading to Jordan," she added.
The leak involved a 245km pipeline carrying crude oil from the southern port city of Ashkelon on Israel's Mediterranean coast to Eilat. 

Ronen Moshe, spokesman for the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC), said the spill happened at 12.45 am on Thursday in a new section of the pipeline.
"The leak has been stopped," he said, adding that the reason for the spill was under investigation. "There are dozens of people in the field taking care of the aftermath," he said, indicating there had been no impact on supply. According to the company's website, the EAPC was founded in 1968 and serves as a land bridge for transporting crude oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 29, 2014

Arab League to push UN on Palestinian state. (Draft resolution to the Security Council setting a timeframe for creation of Palestinian state)

The Arab League has agreed to present to the UN Security Council a draft resolution that will set a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state.

"We can no longer wait. We can no longer live with the status quo. Israel wants us to be an authority without authority," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said. "I understand the consequences of the UNSC move, but the most dangerous situation we can be in is remain in the status quo."
Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said that Palestinians expected to face a veto from the United States - Israel's biggest ally - at the UN.
  • "If the US decides to take punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority - maybe cutting off the much-needed aid - it will not be able to survive on its own and will need support from the Arab states. And the issue must have been discussed at the meeting today."
The foreign ministers of the League set up a committee on Saturday comprising Kuwait, Mauritania, Jordan and Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby to begin seeking international backing for the resolution, they said in their closing statement.

The statement did not specify when the resolution would be presented, but diplomatic sources have said Jordan, an Arab member in the Security Council, will present the draft within the next few days.

The move came after the Palestinians drafted a UNSC resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation by November 2016, which they shared informally with Arab states and some council members, UN diplomats said on Wednesday.

The text has not been formally circulated to the full 15-nation Security Council, a move that can only be done by a council member, said the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It calls for "the full withdrawal of Israel ... from all of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, as rapidly as possible and to be fully completed within a specified timeframe, not to exceed November 2016," diplomats said.
 Source: Al Jazeera and agencies 
29/11/14
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Τρίτη, Νοεμβρίου 18, 2014

Israelis demand govt resignation after Jerusalem attack

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated in west Jerusalem on Tuesday to demand the government's resignation in the wake of a deadly attack on a Jewish synagogue in which four Israelis were killed.

About 300 Israelis chanted slogans for the government, amid chants against Palestinians and Arabs, according to Israeli Channel Two.
Earlier Tuesday, four Israelis were killed and seven others injured in an attack by two Palestinians on a Jewish synagogue in West Jerusalem. The attackers were shot dead by Israeli police in the immediate wake of the attack.
No group has thus far claimed responsibility for the incident, which is the eighth such Palestinian attack on Israelis to have occurred in Israel or the occupied territories within the last month.

Israeli wounded in fresh stabbing attack in E. Jerusalem
An Israeli settler was wounded Tuesday after being attacked by two Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Two Palestinian youths attacked an Israeli settler with a metal rod in East Jerusalem's Old City, leaving him with minor injuries, a source in the Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency service, was quoted as saying by Israeli Channel 7.
According to the channel, Israeli forces have launched a manhunt for the attackers, who fled the scene on a bike after the attack.
Israeli police have yet to comment on the incident.
Six Israelis, including two security personnel, have been killed – and several others injured – in a spate of attacks by Palestinians since late October.
Tension mounted further on October 30, when Israeli authorities sealed access to East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Asqa Mosque complex for several hours after an extremist rabbi was shot and injured by a Palestinian man in West Jerusalem.
www.aa.com.tr/en
18/11/14

Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 16, 2014

Israel will ‘never’ limit Jerusalem settlements (Avigdor Lieberman)

Israel will never agree to limit its construction activity in Occupied East Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday. “One thing should be clear: we will never accept the definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem as settlement activity,” he said at a news conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“We won’t accept any limitation on building in Jewish areas of (east) Jerusalem,” he said.

His remarks came four days after Israel approved plans to build 200 homes in Ramot in Occupied East Jerusalem despite months of almost daily clashes and tensions there with Palestinians, triggered in part by settlement expansion.

The announcement prompted a sharply-worded rebuke from Washington which reiterated its “unequivocal” opposition to such construction in east Jerusalem, warning it could “exacerbate this difficult situation on the ground and... will not contribute to efforts to reduce the tension.”

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Israel seized east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

It refers to the entire city as its “united, undivided capital” and does not view construction there as settlement activity.

The Palestinians want the city’s eastern sector as capital of their promised state and vehemently oppose any Israeli attempt to expand construction there.

Last Update: Sunday, 16 November 2014 KSA 12:36 - GMT 09:36 
AFP- english.alarabiya.net
16/11/14
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Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 20, 2014

Israel's Tamar gas field to sell gas to Egypt

The partners in Israel's Tamar gas field announced on Sunday they have signed a bid to sell at least five billion cubic meters of natural gas over three years to private consumers in Egypt.

The Tamar partners, led by Texas-based Noble Energy and the Israeli Delek Group, said in a statement that they have signed a letter of intent with Dolphinus Holdings, a consortium of industrial and commercial gas consumers and distributors in Egypt.


The partners said the gas will be sold based on Brent crude oil prices, with estimated revenue of about 700 million US dollars per year.

The gas would be transferred via an old pipeline in Sinai peninsula that was built nearly a decade ago to carry gas from Egypt to Israel. However, gas flow ceased in 2012 given the ousting of the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and repeated sabotages by Sinai militants.

  • Earlier on May 5, the Tamar partners planned to transfer one- fifth of their gas in 15 years to Egypt for liquefaction and then exporting abroad.

A few weeks later, the partners in the Leviathan gas field, a consortium also led by Noble Energy and Delek Group, signed a letter of intent to sell seven billion cubic meters to British Gas in Egypt.

Discovered in 2009 off Israel's northern city of Haifa, the Tamar field is believed to contain about 223 billion cubic meters of gas. Production there began in March 2013.

In February, Israel became a gas exporter for the first time when Tamar's partners signed a deal to supply 500 million US dollars worth of gas to two Jordanian companies.

Source:Xinhua -  globaltimes.cn
20/10/14
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Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 17, 2014

Israeli ministers denounce Kerry remarks on conflict

Two senior Israeli government ministers lashed out at US Secretary of State John Kerry on Oct. 17 over remarks he made linking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the growth of Islamic extremism.
     
"I respect John Kerry and his efforts but he keeps breaking new records in lack of understanding of our region and the essence of our disputes," Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said in an interview with Israeli public radio.

     
"I think that this time it is really a new record," he said.
     
Kerry, just back from a visit to Egypt for a multilateral conference on the reconstruction of Gaza, said on Thursday that in conversations he had heard that the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict was fuelling recruitment for the Islamic State jihadist group.
     
"There wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation," Kerry said.
     
"People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity," he added.
     
Erdan, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party who holds a seat on the prestigious security cabinet, mocked the idea that building in West Bank settlements, such as Maaleh Adumim, near Jerusalem, was fanning the flames of jihad.
     
"'Absence of dignity', is that what's causing the rise of Islamic State?" he asked.
     
"Two hundred thousand people murdered in Syria, British and Americans whose heads are being cut off ... is all this because of settlement in Maaleh Adumim?"      

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the far-right Jewish Home party and also is in the security cabinet, said that the world sought to make Israel a scapegoat for its troubles.
     
"Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian there will always be someone who blames the Jews," he wrote on Twitter, alluding to the killings of two British aid workers -- recorded in videos posted online -- by a jihadist with an English accent.
     
Kerry has taken flak from Israel before, most recently in July during the military campaign in Gaza when anonymous officials hit out at Kerry's truce proposal, calling it "a strategic terrorist attack".
     
The US State Department called the allegations "offensive and absurd."  

[hurriyetdailynews.com]
17/10/14

Κυριακή, Οκτωβρίου 12, 2014

In Cairo, Ban urges parties to Gaza conflict to end "cycle of building and destroying"

UN, 12 October 2014 – On the next stop of his tour of North Africa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Egypt today at a conference on the reconstruction of Gaza urged all parties to last summer's war to address the root causes of the protracted conflict to prevent the “cycle of building and destroying” from becoming a ritual. “We are here to stand with the people of Gaza who have endured a terrible summer of suffering,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks to the Cairo Conference on Gaza attended by the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and several foreign ministers including of Egypt, and Norway.

Mr. Ban's spokesperson announced today that the UN Chief will visit Gaza on Tuesday to help advance reconstruction efforts. 
More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the recent 51-day conflict, along with more than 70 Israelis. Almost one-third of Gaza's population was uprooted from their homes and entire neighborhoods were flattened. The Secretary –General recalled how in 2009, the international community gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh in the wake of another devastating war in Gaza. 
“We pledged our support. We expressed our commitment. We resolved to rebuild. And yet here we are again. The cycle of building and destroying has continued– only worse,” said Mr. Ban.

  • This time around, dozens of schools, hospitals and clinics were destroyed or damaged. UN facilities sheltering women and children were hit, resulting in many casualties. Eleven staff members of the UN were killed in the course of the conflict.
Meanwhile rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza continued to be fired indiscriminately causing fear, panic and suffering, said Mr. Ban. Children of Gaza who have not yet reached grade three have already lived through three wars. To effectively respond, the UN and partners in Palestine are working with the Palestinian Government to develop the “Gaza Crisis Appeal”. The “UN Support Plan for the Transformation of the Gaza Strip” amounts to about $2.1 billion for early recovery and reconstruction efforts. 
But ultimately, the successful reconstruction of Gaza requires a strong political foundation, said Mr. Ban, adding that the comprehensive reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo on 25 September was a promising first step.

  • Mr. Ban pledged UN support for the Government of National Consensus as it manages Gaza's reconstruction needs and said he was encouraged by the recent historic Palestinian unity government meeting in Gaza led by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
Promoting an environment conducive for peace must include an investigation into potential violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Mr. Ban added. It was equally important to make the most of the opportunity presented by the upcoming Cairo talks, strengthen the ceasefire to return to broader peace talks and refrain from unilateral actions which only exacerbate tensions and resentment.
“Gaza remains a tinderbox,” said Mr. Ban, reiterating the need to address the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations.
  • All parties must come together to chart a clear course towards a just and final peace -- including achieving a full lifting of the blockade, ensuring Israel's legitimate security concerns; and establishing two States living side by side in peace and security.
“I do not want my successors or yours to make conferences such as this a ritual: building and destroying– and then expecting the international community to foot the bill,” the Secretary-General said.[un.org]
12/10/14
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Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 11, 2014

Syrian rebels overrun intelligence base on Golan Heights used to spy on Israel

Syrian rebel forces fighting the government of President Bashar Assad overran a military intelligence base on the Golan Heights that served as a joint Russian-Syrian forward post for information-gathering on Israel.

In a four-minute video clip which was posted on the Internet by the rebels, Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in a building in Quneitra, just near the boundary between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.


The footage shows pictures of Russian officers visiting the base as well as Russian-language maps of Israel. There are also photographs of the Russian defense minister’s top intelligence advisor as well as various other senior Russian defense and military officials having once visited the base. 

[jpost.com]
11/10/14

Παρασκευή, Σεπτεμβρίου 26, 2014

Abbas at UNGA: Israel perpetrated genocide in Gaza, we won't forget or forgive

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of conducting a "war of genocide" during the 50-day summer conflict in Gaza but stopped short of saying he will pursue war crime charges against Jerusalem at the International Criminal Court...

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Abbas also said he will seek a UN resolution to set a deadline for Israel to pull out of Palestinian lands captured in the 1967 war. He did not, however, include a three-year deadline as his aides had said he would, evidently due to concerns that the U.S. would veto such a resolution, Palestinian officials told Haaretz. 

"In this year, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people," he said.
"This last war against Gaza was a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment," Abbas added. The devastation unleashed, he said, "is unmatched in modern times."
The recent Gaza war killed 2,100 Palestinians and has weakened Abbas domestically, with his Hamas rivals enjoying a surge of popularity among Palestinians for fighting Israel. Sixty-six soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.
"In the name of Palestine and its people, I affirm here today: we will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment," Abbas said.
The Palestinian president is under pressure at home to come up with a new political strategy after his repeated but failed attempts to establish a Palestinian state through U.S.-mediated negotiations with Israel.
Abbas called on Israel to end the occupation, with a deadline for this goal.
"Israel refuses to end its occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967, but rather seeks its continuation and entrenchment, and rejects the Palestinian state and refuses to find a just solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees.
"... There is no meaning or value in negotiations for which the agreed objective is not ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the entire Palestinian Territory occupied in the 1967 war. And, there is no value in negotiations which are not linked to a firm timetable for the implementation of this goal.

"The time has come to end this settlement occupation."

Abbas further called for "a comprehensive, credible" strategy against terrorism - including what he called Israeli  "state terrorism." 
"It is an urgent matter that requires much more than condemnations and declarations of positions, which are of course necessary," he said. "…It requires, in this context and as a priority, bringing an end to the Israeli occupation of our country, which constitutes in its practices and perpetuation, an abhorrent form of state terrorism and a breeding ground for incitement, tension and hatred."
  • In his speech, Abbas introduced a resolution, to be submitted to the UN Security Council, aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli occupation.
"This endeavor aspires to correct the deficiency of the previous efforts to achieve peace by affirming the goal of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-state solution, of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied in 1967, alongside the State of Israel and reaching a just and agreed upon solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194, with a specific timeframe for the implementation of these objectives as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative.
"This will be linked to the immediate resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel to demarcate the borders, reach a detailed and comprehensive agreement and draft a peace treaty between them." 
Senior Palestinian officials told Haaretz after the speech that Abbas sought to avoid a confrontation with the U.S. over the resolution, which is why he did not set a specific timeframe, but only demanded that one be set. The decision was evidently made after Abbas met several world leaders at the UN, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
One senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinian delegation was aware of the U.S.' intention to veto any such unilateral move, should it garner a majority at the Security Council. 
The Associated Press contributed to the report.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.617831
26/9/14 

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