Monday, November 7, 2011

More natural gas found off Israel's Mediterranean coast

Sunday, November 06, 2011
ISRAEL MATZAV - Carl in Jerusalem

Israel has discovered another half trillion cubic feet of natural gas off its Mediterranean coast near the Tamar natural gas field.
A U.S.-Israeli energy consortium drilling in the eastern Mediterranean said on Sunday it found "initial indications" of natural gas at a field called Dolphin 1, although estimates have said it is much smaller than the nearby Tamar prospect.

Ratio Oil , one of the partners in the exploration group, reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that "initial indications" show the sands at the drill site, some 110 km off Israel's coast, contain natural gas.

The company said it was too early to determine the size of the gas layer and the quality of the reservoir. An earlier assessment provided by a consulting firm estimated that Dolphin 1 contained 0.55 trillion cubic feet of gas (tcf).

That is much smaller than the nearby Tamar field, discovered in 2009 to have 8.4 tcf of gas, which sparked an exploration frenzy in the eastern Mediterranean's Levant Basin.


Texas-based Noble Energy has a 39.66 percent stake in the Dolphin prospect. Avner Oil and Delek Drilling each own 22.67 percent. Ratio Oil owns 15 percent.

The same group made the world's largest off-shore discovery of the past decade at the Leviathan site last year, which is estimated to have 16 tcf of natural gas.

Last week, Turkey threatened to prevent Israel from exporting natural gas to Europe. I doubt they can make good on that threat. Heh.
posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 7:35 PM

Jews were victims of laws worse than apartheid

Monday, November 7, 2011
Bodies of two Jewish students hanged in Baghdad in 1969 on trumped up charges (Corbis)

The latest weapon in the anti-Israel lobby's delegitimising arsenal, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, is due to reveal its findings today in Cape Town.

The Tribunal, modelled on an earlier, equally one-sided attempt to discredit the US during the Vietnam war, purports to promote Truth and Reconciliation in the Middle East. In reality it has assembled a motley group of 'concerned citizens' - actors and activists and a few big names, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu - in order to reinforce a malicious and spurious comparison between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa.

Yes, there is a role for a Truth and Reconciliation commission in the Middle East but not on the distorted terms of reference of this tribunal.

Half the Jews of Israel descend from refugees from Arab and Muslim countries, driven out by Nuremberg-style laws persecuting Jewish citizens just because they were Jews. These laws were similar, or worse than apartheid, and often accompanied by episodes of mob violence.

Just to give a few examples:

Jews were not granted (or stripped of) citizenship in Arab states.
Jews had to carry special ID documents marked 'Jew'.
Jews had their communal institutions dissolved or nationalised
Jews were subject to restrictions and quotas.
Jews were sacked from public service jobs.
Jews were not allowed to travel or leave the country.
Jews were subject to arbitrary arrest for being 'Zionists'.
Dozens were executed on trumped-up charges.
Jews had their bank accounts frozen and property sequestrated.
Jews were forced into business partnerships with Muslims.

Result: massive ethnic cleansing such that only 4,000 Jews remain out of nearly a million Jews living in Arab lands 60 years ago.

Yes, there were wrongs committed on both sides, but in its determination to depict the Palestinians as sole victims, this charade will ignore or deny the massive injustice perpetrated against Jews indigenous to the region. In so doing this tribunal denies the whole truth. True reconciliation can never be built on lies or omission of essential facts.

Posted by bataween at Monday, November 07, 2011

Arab antisemitism could lead to a new Kristallnacht


Point of No Return

A synagogue in Nuremberg, among the 100s destroyed on Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938

While the West remains silent, the antisemitism flourishing in the Arab world shows no sign of abating in the 'Arab Spring': in fact it is worse than ever, enjoying support at every cultural and intellectual level, says professor Robert Wistrich in the Courier-Journal. While warning against a new Kristallnacht, it is disappointing that Wistrich does not mention the Arabs' own Kristallnacht - the Farhud in Iraq.

Seventy-three years ago, on Nov. 9, 1938, the murderous Nazi onslaught against the German Jews began with a nationwide pogrom that smashed the fabric of their existence. Known euphemistically as “Kristallnacht” (“Crystal Night”), this state-organized orgy of violence happened in peace time. It involved the systematic burning of hundreds of synagogues, the destruction of approximately 7,500 Jewish businesses, the murder of nearly 100 Jews and the deportation of another 30,000 male Jews to German concentration camps. It was a crucial turning-point in Hitler’s “war against the Jews,” a major signpost on the road leading to World War II, which Nazi Germany would initiate less than a year later. Already, Nazi propaganda openly warned about the imminent annihilation of Jewry through “fire and sword,” though few in the West took these threats too seriously.

Today, there is no immediate danger of a new Kristallnacht in the western world, although levels of anti-Semitism (hiding under the more acceptable mask of hostility towards Israel) have reached levels unprecedented since 1945. But in the Middle East, the hatred of Jews burns much more fiercely — both in Iran and in the Arab world. Islamist anti-Semitism, in particular, is soaked in some of the most inflammatory motifs that made the Kristallnacht atrocities possible in Nazi Germany and only three years later provided the rationale for the mass murder of European Jewry.

For example, there is the pervasive exploitation in Arabic of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with its insistence on the reality of the “Jewish conspiracy for world domination”; there is a revival of the medieval Christian blood-libel against Jews, transplanted from Europe to the contemporary Arab-Muslim Middle East; and the mass diffusion of stereotypes about the Jews as cruel, treacherous and bloodthirsty colonialists seeking to destroy the identity and beliefs of the Muslim peoples. To this, one must add the slanderous but widely popular identification of Zionism with Nazism and apartheid and the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians — a Goebbels-like propaganda lie that has also found a growing audience in the West. However contradictory it may appear to some, the Zionism-is-Nazism fabrication co-exists in the Middle East today with Holocaust denial on a broad scale. Indeed, in Ahmadinejad’s Iran, Holocaust denial has become a state-sponsored weapon in the regime’s efforts to win over the Arab street and indoctrinate its own people with anti-Jewish toxins.

The increasingly entrenched anti-Semitism in the Arab world has not, unfortunately, been diminished by the “Arab Spring.” Earlier this year, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most authoritative religious leaders of the Sunni Arab world (and especially esteemed by the Muslim Brotherhood), told a million Egyptians assembled in Tahrir Square that he hoped their mission would be to complete Hitler’s work. Al-Qaradawi, an immensely popular cleric, publicly insisted that the esteemed German Führer had been sent by Allah as a “divine punishment for the Jews.” Not long before, CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted and brutalized in the heart of Cairo by a mob of Egyptian men screaming “Jew, Jew, Jew.” Logan is not, in fact, Jewish. But this aspect of her ordeal was, typically enough, very much downplayed by both the American and European media.

There has indeed been very little appetite in the West for reporting on the Jew-hatred that still saturates the Arab world. Arab nations (not least, the Palestinians) are never held to the standard expected of the rest of the world when it comes to racism, sexism or Judeophobia. Hence, precious little reference is made to the genocidal anti-Semitism that runs through the “Sacred Covenant” of the Palestinian Hamas, any more than the West was unduly concerned with Haj Amin al-Husseini’s role in the Holocaust of European Jewry. Haj Amin, a Hitlerian anti-Semite if ever there was one, dominated the Palestinian Arab national movement for nearly 40 years, leaving a legacy of hatred that would poison the Middle East for decades.
Read article in full
Posted by bataween at Sunday, November 06, 2011

US officials: Israel refused to promise Panetta it wouldn't attack Iran

Sunday, November 06, 2011
ISRAEL MATZAV - Carl in Jerusalem

Well, this ought to keep the military option on the table. Based on conversations with 'American officials' Haaretz reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak refused to commit to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that they would coordinate an attack on Iran with the United States.
Panetta arrived in Israel on October 3 and, in addition to Netanyahu and Barak, also met with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and senior members of the IDF General Staff. The U.S. defense secretary's visit came against the backdrop of a sense among members of the American administration that they didn't clearly understand where Israel was headed with regard to the entire subject of the threat from Iran.

Officials in the U.S. administration noted that, in the months prior to Panetta's visit, there had been a substantial reduction in Israeli pronouncements on the Iranian issue, both in public but also privately through diplomatic and defense channels. This caused the Americans to come to the conclusion that they needed to get a clearer picture from Israel regarding where things stood, the American sources said.

Panetta raised the Iranian issue in his talks in Israel with both Netanyahu and Barak. He sought not only to hear about Israel's intentions but also to underline that the U.S. was interested in full coordination with Israel on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. The American defense secretary hinted that the Americans did not want to be surprised by Israel. For their parts, however, Netanyahu and Barak avoided providing a clear response, answering vaguely and in general terms.

During his visit here, Panetta held a joint news conference with Barak at which the American hinted that his country opposes an Israeli assault on Iran. Panetta said countries must work together to assure that Iran did not pose a threat to the region, adding that a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue requires the coordination of the international community.

The defense secretary's visit and what he heard here led, in the opinion of commentators, to two main schools of thought in Washington on the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran. One view was that the evasiveness displayed by Netanyahu and Barak to Panetta's questions stemmed from the fact that planning is indeed taking place for Israeli military action against Iran, without coordinating the operation with the Americans.

According to the second school of thought, however, the message the United States is receiving from the defense echelon is what reflects reality, while the lack of clarity conveyed by the political leaders was designed to apply pressure on the U.S. administration so it in turn steps up pressure on Iran.
That was the same visit where Panetta warned of our 'growing isolation.' I guess now we all know why.

I would go with the second school, at least so long as our leadership does not decide that the threat from Iran is imminent and/or that the window to stop them is closing. But I doubt the confusion part. We've had too long to wrestle with this and I doubt there is any confusion within the upper echelons of the government and the IDF about what needs to be done and how we will go about doing it. Netanyahu and Barak are both Sayeret Matkal graduates (Barak was Netanyahu's commander) - our most elite force. There is no way they are confused over this. A reminder:

What could go wrong?
posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 4:31 PM

Helping Gilad Shalit heal

Op-ed: After helping secure Shalit’s release, media should now play role in his recovery
Irit Felsen
Published: 11.07.11, 00:23 / Israel Opinion

For five long years, a media campaign swirled around the abduction and internment of Gilad Shalit, gaining momentum with every passing day. Without a doubt, it was the media that helped keep his story alive and contributed significantly to his release, creating public pressure in favor of the historic (though unsettling) exchange of over 1,000 convicted terrorists for Gilad's freedom.

But now that he has been freed, will the media claim its “pound of flesh?”
Keeping Sane
Shalit made drawings, kept journal in captivity / Nechama DuekFormerly captive soldier kept sane by drawing his hometown and keeping record of his thoughts, experiences. He was forced to leave the records behindFull Story
Aside from the interview he was forced to give Egyptian television immediately following his release, Gilad is yet to speak publically about his 1,941-day ordeal. His father, Noam, continues to serve as his mouthpiece, and his family and friends have formed a protective shield around him, disallowing any media contact. As they see it, the media can only harm Gilad at this point, slowing his recovery and reintegration into normal life and society.

But is that true?
The experiences of survivors of captivity, maltreatment and torture from many parts of the world teach us that the phase of re-entry into society plays a critical role in the quality of recovery. The societal attitudes and the degree of acceptance and assistance available to survivors as they return from an ordeal determines their success in psychologically reintegrating their traumatic experiences into a sense of themselves that feels continuous and consistent.

When survivors are met with a “conspiracy of silence” where society and even relatives are not able to listen to their experiences, as with many survivors of the Holocaust, the survivors do not speak of their trauma. And when war veterans and prisoners of war are met with negative attitudes towards the war in which they participated, as was the case with Vietnam veterans, they also refrain from sharing their experiences.

In such cases, where the trauma cannot be discussed and shared in an accepting and truly empathic context, survivors attempt to cope by hiding or denying their distress. Paradoxically, the more dissociated the traumatic experiences become, the more they interfere with daily life.

The presence of supportive, empathic listeners who are genuinely interested in hearing what the survivor has to say is critical to the healing process. Such listening must be truly motivated by sensitivity and deep care and attuned to the needs of the survivor. Listening that is motivated by other, voyeuristic or self-serving interests will lead to additional trauma.

From what they have stated, this is the concern shared by Gilad's family and friends regarding his exposure to the media. There are no guarantees that the media will be the sensitive, empathetic listeners he requires, and it simply isn't worth the irreparable damage to Gilad.

Power of testimony
Exposure to the media, even in the best of circumstances, is often accompanied (true or not) by a feeling that one’s words were “twisted” to mean something else and that the message intended was hijacked and misrepresented. While generally irritating for the masses, such experiences might be truly damaging for an individual attempting to achieve a personally meaningful integration of his own traumatic experience, and might constitute a repetition of loss of control over one’s words, self-definition and life.

It goes without saying that a relentless pursuit by the media would interfere with Gilad's ability to explore and re-establish his personal life. Many bereaved individuals express feeling an added burden of having to live with the image that others project upon them as “the bereaved.” Having become recognizable to every Israeli, he will have a difficult enough task returning to normal life. Having the paparazzi chase him and “experts” volunteering their interpretations for every move he makes will only make the transition that much more difficult.

However, the media could play the hero if it so chooses.
It has been shown that the method of giving testimony has particular value for survivors of captivity and torture. Even decades after their traumatic experiences, survivors of the Holocaust showed significant positive changes after giving testimony.

While the processing of traumatic experiences in therapy and other private settings might confront the survivor with feelings of fear, loss of control, irreversible damage and shame, the process of testifying restores the right order of things, as it establishes who did what to whom, and places the moral burdens where they belong, with the aggressor. Due to its public format, testimony creates a social and cultural context for the individual trauma and accelerates the healing process.

This might be a benign role that the media can play, providing Gilad, at his own pace, with the opportunity to heal and add his personal story to Israeli society's collective narrative about the painful cost paid by everyone’s children in war.

So, now it's up to the media, the very entity that helped bring about Gilad’s release. Will they move in for the “scoop,” or do whatever they can to help free him from his painful past?

Dr. Irit Felsen, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist, and an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University'sFerkauf School of Psychology

Welcome Home, Gilad Shalit - 

 The song "Come Home", written during his long reach of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, and in real anguish and sincere prayer to God to return home safely, out of these days, days when we were told at a good return. Words and Music: AviramSokronaibod and musical production: Elijah HoldrovAriel Kndavi and brother Asher Cohen Alorotzilom & Editing: Ronen father (snail) was recorded in studios'Kndavi Productions' "Come Home" now it's closer than ever, now that I've seen the future. now that the winds of autumn, this evening, come home. now that the smell of Christmas already in the air, now thatshould have to hide, now that your husband light a star, this evening, come home. Hurry Gilad arrived,and the darkness did not break, that prayers are answered there for you. from the mountains of Gilead did you find, and always knew that someday she will still return to the silence, one day, and more return to hope. now that starts to clear, now that bit is falling into place, now the garland of flowers over your head, that tonight Come home. now that fulfilleda dream, now approaching him peace, now that will go down good rains, this evening, come home. HurryGilad arrived, and in the dark do not break, that prayers are answered there for you. - Hurry Gilad arrival, and always knew that someday she will return to the quiet, still, one day more to hope again. againlove it, would be the child you
Uploaded by . on Oct 16, 2011
 ההרכב הווקאלי "מפתח סול" בשיר מקורי לקראת חזרתו מהשבי של החייל גלעד שליט.
השיר "בוא הביתה", נכתב במהלך שהותו הארוכה של החייל החטוף גלעד שליט בשבי, ומתוך כאב אמיתי ותפילה כנה לאל שישוב הביתה בשלום, יוצא בימים אלו, ימים בהם התבשרנו בשעה טובה על חזרתו.

מילים ולחן: אבירם שוקרון
עיבוד והפקה מוסיקלית: אליהו חולדרוב, אריאל קנדאבי ואחיה אשר כהן אלורו
צילום ועריכה: רונן שאבי (שבלול)
הוקלט באולפני "קנדאבי הפקות"

"בוא הביתה"

עכשיו כשזה קרוב יותר מתמיד,
עכשיו כשכבר רואים את העתיד.
עכשיו כשנושבות רוחות של סתיו,
בזה הערב בוא הביתה.

עכשיו כשריח חג כבר באוויר,
עכשיו כשלא צריך כבר להסתיר,
עכשיו כשמעלך אור כוכב,
בזה הערב בוא הביתה .

מהרי גלעד הגעת,
ובחושך לא נשברת,
כי תפילותינו נענו שם בשבילך.
מהרי גלעד הגעת,
ותמיד תמיד ידעת,
שיום יבוא ועוד תשוב מהדממה,
שיום יבוא ועוד תשוב אל התקווה.

עכשיו שכבר מתחיל להתבהר,
עכשיו כשקצת מתחיל להסתדר,
עכשיו כשזר פרחים מעל ראשך,
בזה הערב בוא הביתה.

עכשיו כשמתגשם לו החלום,
עכשיו כשמתקרב לו השלום,
עכשיו כשיירדו גשמי ברכה,
בזה הערב בוא הביתה.

מהרי גלעד הגעת,
ובחושך לא נשברת,
כי תפילותינו נענו שם בשבילך.
-מהרי גלעד הגעת,
ותמיד תמיד ידעת,
שיום יבוא ועוד תשוב מהדממה,
שיום יבוא ועוד תשוב אל התקווה.
תשוב לאהבה, תשוב להיות הילד שאתה

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Being a Dictator: More Physically Destructive than a Crack Habit

Editor’s Note: PJ Lifestyle has recently agreed to a content sharing agreement with the progressive blog Sunny Points Memo, the journalism wing of Sunny TV. Each week we will be featuring various hard-hitting journalistic reports from Sunny’s team of 21st century Woodward and Bernsteins.
The great Oscar Wilde play Dorian Gray depicts an evil man whose sweet, innocent countenance remains untouched throughout his life while a painting of him hidden in his attic takes on all the marks of evil in his face due to his lecherous, wicked character. It does seem that in real life you can’t escape your character; one’s outsides eventually do match one’s insides. Never is that more apparent than with evil dictators (and methamphetamine or crack users, but that’s another article).
Case in point is the world’s most recent example. See this handsome man? Isn’t he charming looking? Can’t you see how a man with this much charisma took over a nation? Who is that handsome devil?

Don Draper's got nothin' on me!

Handsome is as handsome does!
Gah! Yes, it’s Gaddafi. Eventually, after 40 years of being a cruel and vicious dictator, Gaddafi went on to become one of the ugliest people on Planet Earth. His face looks like it’s melting. He looks like that Nazi inIndiana Jones when he opens the sacred arc and his face melts off. Or like that cockroach alien from Men in Black, except instead of wearing an Edgar Suit, he’s wearing a Gaddafi Suit that doesn’t quit fit.

Is my Michael Jackson wig on straight?
Apparently some of his last words were, “Don’t you know right from wrong?” Look in the mirror, Gaddafi, you surely didn’t.
Another guy who was recently captured in a hole was this guy:

When my MGM contract is up, I'm going to become an evil dictator.
Who is that? The handsome actor Errol Flynn?
Doh! No, it’s that crazy homeless lunatic looking guy, Saddam Hussein.

Down, Fang!!
I gotta be honest, I think Saddam came out better than Gaddafi, but still. After 24 years of torturing and murdering and launching chemical weapons, that once handsome youth turned into a Hagrid lookalike.
The good thing about writing this article is that it’s hard to run out of examples. There sure are a lot of dictators to choose from! Here is one that gives me a lot of personal satisfaction:
Okay, so Hugo Chavez never was very handsome. He kind of always looked like a petulant dictator. In fact, this is the youngest picture I could find of Chavez and he’s not really young in it. I guess he sprung fully formed as a bloated, baby-faced dictator. But now he looks like this:

I'll get you Han Solo!
His outsides are starting to match his insides, his body is starting to match his character. Oh s*it, am I making fun of someone with cancer? Yes, yes I am. Rot in hell, Chavez. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Next there’s this cutiepatootie! Look at his happy, delightful, chubby-cheeked expression! Don’t you just want to take him home and feed him milk and cookies?
Better not. If you did he just might bite your fingers off. Too bad this cute kid’s father was insane, and left him a dictatorship to boot, because he turned out like this:

"Gimmie milk and cookies now dammit!"
Kim Jong Il is simply the epitome of the baby faced, evil-eyed dictator. Okay, so this picture is really of a puppet Kim Jong Il from the movie Team America. I could have easily included a real picture of him and gotten the same effect.
Europeans have had their dictators too, but they don’t seem to live long enough for their evil ways to catch up to their visages. There is at least one example, however; there’s Enver Hoxha, communist dictator of Albania for 41 years and best buds with Joseph Stalin. So, all around great guy! What a handsome youth!
Enver Hoxha eventually looked like this:

Wait, what!? Is that Ralph Lauren?
Okay, I guess those suave Europeans are immune to the effects. Although upon his death in 1985 they did find a portrait painting in Hoxha’s attic that could have been of him, except that it looked so evil.

PA CHAIRMAN ABBAS: "Free homes for terrorists"

Abbas to Build Home for Freed Terrorists

PA Chairman Abbas announces that he plans to build homes for terrorists released by Israel in the Shalit deal.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/6/2011, 4:12 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has announced his decision to build new homes specifically meant for the terrorists who were released in the Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Israel has already freed 477 terrorists in the first part of the deal, and an additional 550 are to be released in the second phase.

According to Saturday’s announcement, the construction of the homes will be financed by the Palestine Investment Fund.

“The issue of the prisoners is a top priority for the Palestinian leadership,” Abbas was quoted as saying at a recent meeting with some of the terrorists who were freed. He welcomed the terrorists and reiterated his previous demands that Israel release 1,000 additional prisoners.
Abbas recently claimed that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised him that if Israel were to free Hamas terrorists in exchange for Shalit, it would also free Fatah terrorists, in order to avoid hurting Abbas’ political standing.

Abbas made the claims in a recent interview with TIME Magazine, in which he said the deal was kept secret so that it would not affect negotiations for Shalit’s freedom.

His move to build homes for the murderers comes after the Hamas government in Gaza recently decided to reward each terrorist that was freed to Gaza in the Shalitdeal with a sum of $2,000.