هل تستغلّ كورونا لشنّ عدوان على محور المقاومة؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

تتزايد موجات التهويل بشنّ حرب على مكوّنات محور المقاومة بشكل متوازٍ مع انشغال العالم بالمواجهة القاسية مع الوباء الذي يجتاحه ويصيب مئات الآلاف ويقتل عشرات الآلاف من البشر في معظم أنحاء المعمورة عامة، وفي العالم المصنّف بأنه العالم الأوّل من حيث التقدّم والحضارة خاصة أميركا وأوروبا الغربية.

فمن مسرّب لقول بأنّ أميركا تتحضّر لشنّ حرب صاعقة مدمّرة في العراق تحقق لها العودة لاحتلاله بصيغة مطوّرة تختلف عن صيغة الاحتلال الأولى، إلى قول بأنّ الحرب الفعلية ستكون أميركية «إسرائيلية» ضدّ إيران المنشغلة بمواجهة الحرب على كورونا في ظلّ تشديد التدابير الوحشية التي تتخذها أميركا ضدّها تحت مسمّى العقوبات، إلى رأي يروّج لفرضية أقدام «إسرائيل» على استغلال فرصة انشغال حزب الله ولبنان بمواجهة كورونا وللقيام بحرب خاطفة ضدّه تحقق لها ما فشلت في تحقيقه من أهداف منذ 20 عاماً، إلى رأي أخير يتضمّن القول إنّ «إسرائيل» ستجد في غزة الحلقة الضعيفة التي تغريها بالعدوان عليها وتسجيل نقاط قوّة وردع تحتاج اليها في ظلّ أزمتها الداخلية. فهل هذه الفرضيات قابلة للتنفيذ؟ وهل الحرب بذاتها فرضية محتملة في ظلّ هذه الظروف؟

قبل مناقشة تلك الفرضيات لا بدّ من التذكير بشروط يفترض تحققها للقيام بأيّ هجوم من طرف ضدّ آخر وفي طليعة هذه الشروط وجوب امتلاك المهاجم القدرة على تحقيق الإنجاز العسكري المحدّد هدفاً لهجومه (نقول القدرة وليس القوّة، لأن المعوّل عليه هنا هو القدرة أيّ تناسب القوة المتوفرة مع الهدف المحدّد ما يعني أخذ قوة العدو الدفاعية بعين الاعتبار عندما نقيّم القدرة)؛ أما الشرط الثاني فيتمثل بقدرة المهاجم على حسم الحرب ووقفها في التوقيت الذي يريد، ما يعني وجوب امتلاكه القدرة على اقتياد الخصم إلى الانهيار الإدراكي او الميداني الذي يجبره على أن يتوقف عن القتال بمجرد ان يعلن المهاجم انتهاء عملياته العسكرية، أما الثالث فهو امتلاك المهاجم المناعة الدفاعية الكافية التي يحتاجها لاحتواء ردة فعل العدو ومنع الأخير من إنزال أضرار به لا يقوى على تحمّلها، أما الأخير فيتصل بالبيئة الدولية الإقليمية والعامة التي تتيح للمهاجم أن يستثمر نتائج انتصاره وان يصرف إنجازه الميداني (إذا تحقق) في السياسة. فهل هذه الشروط متحققة في الواقع القائم؟

بداية لا ننكر أبداً بأنّ الجهات الأربع (إيران العراق لبنان غزة) المحتمل استهدافها بعدوان تقوم به أميركا و»إسرائيل» مجتمعتين او منفردتين، أنّ هذه الجهات مشغولة وبمستويات متفاوتة بمواجهة جائحة كورونا، ولكن يجب ان نذكّر أيضاً بأنّ أميركا و»إسرائيل» تترنحان تحت ضربات هذا الفيروس، وبالتالي انّ القول بالانشغال يشمل الجميع فعلياً، وتتقدّم أميركا و»إسرائيل» الجمع المحتمل استهدافه بدرجة الانشغال، حيث انّ في أميركا وحدها ربع الإصابات التي حلّت بكلّ العالم (330 ألف من أصل مليون و300 ألف في العالم). وانّ كورونا اقتحم جيوش أميركا و»إسرائيل» وأثر في الجهوزية القتالية والمستوى المعنوي فيهما بشكل بالغ السلبيّة.

ومن جهة أخرى، فإنّ هذه الجائحة فضحت أميركا وأظهرت هشاشة الوضع الداخلي فيها وهشاشة التماسك الوطني بين ولاياتها وهشاشة الروابط التحالفية خاصة مع أوروبا فضلاً عن كشفها المستوى اللاأخلاقي في التعامل مع الإنسان عامة ومع حلفائها خاصة، حيث إنّ كورونا أظهر انّ هذه التي تسمّى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية او التي تريد أن تحكم العالم وتسيطر على مقدّراته هي كيان واهن في الوضع الداخلي وعلى المستوى التحالفي والوطني والصحي والأخلاقي وانّ الهيبة التي أرادت أميركا ان تحكم العالم بها هي هيبة مصطنعة كاذبة وقد سقطت فعلياً، ولم يكن سقوطها في قاعدة عين الأسد في العراق إلا البداية التي جاءت كورونا لتعززها. وبالتالي نقول إنّ كياناً واهناً أمام وباء نجح الآخرون في مواجهته حيث عجزت أميركا وتسرّب إلى جيشها وأنهك شعبها، انّ كياناً هذه حاله ليس هو الكيان الممتلك قدرة الذهاب إلى حرب. وما نقوله عن أميركا ينسحب على «إسرائيل» وإنْ كان من أبواب أخرى ومستويات مختلفة.

وعلى جبهة الأطراف المستهدفين بالعدوان المبحوث فيه، نجد انّ كورونا لم تشغلهم إلى حدّ يصرفهم عن إدارة حرب دفاعية ناجحة خاصة انّ القوى المخصّصة لمواجهة العدوان ليست هي نفسها المنوط بها الاتقاء من الفيروس، وان كانت القيادة قد تخصّص جزءاً من وقتها لهذه المهمة الطارئة، لكن ذلك لا يعيق عملها الرئيسي في المهمة الدفاعية، ما يعني انّ المراهنة على الانشغال بمواجهة كورونا وعلى أهميته هو رهان في غير محله.

ونعود إلى الشروط المتقدّم ذكرها ولنتوقف فيها خاصة عند أمرين الأول ردة فعل المعتدى عليه، والثاني قدراته على الاستمرار في الميدان. وهنا لن نصرف كثير وقت في النقاش حول الموضوع بعد أن بات من المسلم به انّ «إسرائيل» عجزت عن تأمين الدفاع المتين على الجبهة الداخلية وفشلت في الوصول إلى حالة «شعب يعمل تحت النار»، ما يعني انّ الحرب إذا وقعت فستضعها بين حصارين حصار نار المقاومة التي ستطال كلّ هدف في فلسطين المحتلة صغيراً كان أم كبيراً، وحصار فيروس كورونا الذي اقتحم أيضاً الجيش الإسرائيلي ويبدو أنه طال القيادة في المستويين العسكري والسياسي.

أما أميركا التي لها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط ما يناهز السبعين ألف عسكري منتشرين في 54 قاعدة عسكرية برية أساسية (يُضاف اليها القواعد الظرفية الصغيرة وهي كثيرة وعددها متحرّك) وأكثر من 60 قطعة بحرية موزعة على 3 أساطيل، فإنها باتت تعلم بعد صفعة عين الأسد أنها لا تستطيع أن تطمئن إلى الدفاع عن وجودها هذا بشكل محكم وآمن يحقق الطمأنينة، وأنّ 4 منصات باتريوت نشرت حديثاً في العراق لن تقدّم ولن تؤخّر. ويبقى ان نشير إلى الأمر الثاني لنؤكد قطعاً بانّ أيّاً من أميركا و»إسرائيل» لن تستطيعا حسم الحرب ووقفها في التوقيت الملائم لهما، وهنا تكون الكارثة التي يكفي فيها أن ينظر إلى حالة أفغانستان او اليمن ليُعرَف نموذج مصغر لها.

يقودنا هذا إلى القول إلى أنّ التهويل بالحرب من قبل أميركا و»إسرائيل» هو عمل إعلامي نفسي يدخل في إطار الحرب النفسية غير القابلة للتحوّل إلى حرب في الميدان العسكري، وانّ كلاً من «إسرائيل» وأميركا بحاجة لهذا التهويل بالحرب للضغط في السياسة او لحجب عيوب الأشغال عن أزمات وإخفاقات او لتغطية انسحاب وانزياح او لصيانة قدرات ردعية تآكلت او استعادة لهيبة تهشمت في الآونة الأخيرة، ثم جاء فيروس كورونا ليكشف مقدار الوهن لدى أميركا التي انقلب رئيسها إلى ممثل يثير السخرية في معرض إدارته للحرب على هذا الوباء.

وعليه نقول في زمن سقطت فيه الأقنعة وكشفت فيه الحقائق وتآكلت فيه الهيبة التي تبيّن أنها ليست واقعية، في زمن يستعدّ فيه العالم للدخول في نظام ما بعد كورونا، زمن تعاد فيه صياغة التحالفات ورسم الخرائط الاستراتيجية الجديدة تسقط فيه أحلاف وتقوم أخرى، يكون انتحارياً من يقدم على حرب لا يضمن حسمها لصالحه وفوزه فيها بدون أيّ شك، وانّ أيّاً من أميركا او «إسرائيل» ليستا في هذا الوضع وليستا على هذه القدرة، ما يجعلنا نستبعد بشكل شبه قاطع الحرب التي تهوّل بها أميركا و»إسرائيل» لإنزال ضربة قاصمة بمحور المقاومة، أما إنْ حصلت المجازفة وارتكب الخطأ الاستراتيجي وكانت الحماقة هي المسيّرة لذوي الشأن واتخذ القرار الانتحاري فإنها ستكون حرب تحرير «الشرق الأوسط» من الوجود الأجنبي الاستعماري، وهذا ما يجب أن لا يثنسى من مواقف قادة المقاومة ومحورها تلك المواقف التي أطلقت على ألسنة أولئك القادة من إيران الى العراق ولبنان وغزة واليمن…

*أستاذ جامعي وخبير استراتيجي.

Don’t Let COVID-19 Devastate Syria, Yemen and Gaza

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

TEHRAN (FNA)- It doesn’t take a strategic mind to realize what the likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would be on Syria, Yemen and Gaza.

It is not difficult to make predictions, either, because much will depend on the way these nations, already devastated by US-led wars of aggression and occupation, won’t be able to react.

The World Health Organization fears the numbers of people infected with coronavirus will far exceed the official figures estimated by these nations. An even worse scenario is thought to be unfolding in Syria, where an internally displaced population of 7 million, and the fact some parts of the country remain outside central government control make controlling the spread of the virus almost impossible.

The same argument could be made about Yemen and Gaza. Ground and air links between them have been largely severed, and there are deepening concerns that large numbers of virus carriers were able to return before border was sealed in Gaza.

On the medical supply side, there are also likely to be disruptions, as there are shortages of imported raw materials and spare parts because of US sanctions and Israeli-Saudi blockades. However, this is likely to be less of a factor than in Western countries, where long supply chains are now the norm rather than the exception.

The severity and duration of the short-term demand and supply impacts depends on the measures these nations may take to contain the spread of the virus. If the pandemic shows signs of spreading rapidly as it is doing in Europe and the US, these three governments will start to close factories and shops – if any – selling nonessential items.

Although there are still many uncertainties about how the pandemic will develop, it is clear that international support mechanisms may not be able to fully cope. Moreover, such mechanisms tend to be relatively weak in war-torn areas as the scattered nature of the population makes it difficult to reach effected people.

To complement international initiatives, Gaza, Syria and Yemen will need to mobilize their own institutional machinery as well, particularly those with presence in hard-hit areas. These include police stations, health clinics and agriculture/livestock offices which could provide logistic bases to reach the displaced people with medical assistance, as well as income and food support.

These facilities should be brought into play with funds from the United Nations and international aid agencies. There is no question that these governments are struggling to meet rising medical care costs, their financial capacity is severely limited. International organizations should be mobilized to help.

Will these measures be enough? Probably not. The whole world, specially the Western countries that have been making a fortune through arms deals with the Saudis and have been backing Riyadh as well as the Israelis and militant groups in Syria should do their part in helping these war-ravaged nations.

The US and countries in Europe should also step up their level of assistance outside their borders. One way to quickly and effectively do this has to be ending their wars of aggression and support for the Saudi and Israeli regimes, or proxy forces in Syria. At this time, this policy reversal would be far better than sending money to help people survive the health crisis.

As many observers have emphasized, the COVID-19 crisis is not just one of health and the economy, but also has other dimensions. COVID-19 is already challenging our assumptions about humanity, about society, about greed and selfishness, about the need to cooperate.

The pandemic has exposed fault lines in trust among humans, among groups, among countries, between citizens and governments, and faith in many of assumptions about life, not only beliefs and humanity, but also knowledge itself.

The world is beginning to doubt America’s role as the world’s leader and a trusted partner to turn to at times of crisis like this. As we slowly realize that we are inundated with fake news by Washington and its war-party goons

The time has come for the UN and the rest of civil society to begin to address and come to terms with what life is going to be like in Syria, Yemen and Gaza after they impose the lockdowns and other inconveniences forced by the virus and its consequences.

Put simply, this time it is different. Millions of lives are at risk. The world will not be able to simply revert to business as usual after the virus hit these nations in the coming days and weeks. The time has finally come for the world community to help build a life that’s more secure, equitable, inclusive and sustainable in Syria, Yemen and Gaza.

Blockaded Gaza Looks Wryly On As World Isolates Itself

Blockaded Gaza Looks Wryly On As World Isolates Itself

By Nidal al-Mughrabi – Reuters

“Dear world, how is the lockdown? Gaza.”

A sly dig at the international community, this is just one among a torrent of social media posts that has emerged from the blockaded Gaza Strip in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The sight of a world locking itself down seems to have unleashed a wellspring of emotions in Gaza, from sardonic political commentary to schadenfreude, emerging from Palestinian denizens of the tiny coastal enclave that has for years lived with enforced isolation and confinement.

“Have you got bored with your quarantine, the closure of your crossings, your airports and your trade? We in Gaza have been living under this for 14 years,” one social media user posted this week.

“Oh world, welcome into our permanent reality,” he added.

Gaza, measuring 375 square kilometers is home to around two million Palestinians, more than half of them refugees.

Along 90% of its land and sea boundaries its access to the outside world is controlled by ‘Israel’, and by Egypt on its narrow southern border.

An ‘Israeli’-led blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years, amid security concerns following the 2007 takeover of Gaza by Hamas, and three subsequent wars which killed thousands of Palestinians and around 100 ‘Israelis’.

The irony is not lost on Gazans that the restrictions they chafe against may also have contributed to slowing the entry of coronavirus, with no cases reported thus far in Gaza.

But prolonged closure and isolation have contributed to the crippling of Gaza’s economy, with unemployment at 52 percent and poverty levels of over 50 percent.

Standing in his empty metal factory in northern Gaza City, businessman Youssef Sharaf recalled the years when he used to be able to export electric heaters to ‘Israel’ and the West Bank.

“I had 70 people working here, today I only have one,” Sharaf told Reuters.

Although the underlying causes of his closure were man-made, he empathized with those facing shutdown because of disease.

“It is tough,” he said. “May God be with them.”

But in Gaza’s small but resilient high-tech sector, the obstacles that stop travel abroad also forced the early adoption of teleconferencing and other practices that world is now catching up with.

At Gaza Sky Geeks, an incubator for young entrepreneurs, computer programmers and web developers work remotely with international firms. “Because of the years-long blockade on us, Gaza people better understand the current situation in world countries,” said Angham Abu Abed, 24, a computer engineer who works with a software company in Britain.

“We hope the blockade on us will end, and we hope the virus will disappear from the world.”

Imagining Return: Palestinians in Jordan’s Sprawling Refugee Camps Still Yearn for Home

B Miko Peled

Source

Amman, Jordan — Abna’a Gaza (the Children of Gaza) is a status given to Palestinian refugees who fled from the Gaza Strip to Jordan in 1967. They fled during the 1967 war and consequent Israeli occupation of Gaza. Today, over five decades later, these Palestinians who originally fled to Gaza from their homes in greater Palestine in 1948 number 150,000. They remain mostly in camps, unable to leave, unable to work except for menial labor, with no access to healthcare and with no formal national identity.

The Larger Refugee Issue

Israel and the various other Zionist institutions have always claimed that the refugee problem has nothing to do with them. They offer all sorts of stories to explain the flight of close to one million Palestinians from their homes and land. Still, all the obfuscation in the world cannot change the fact that Zionist militias forced Palestinians out of Palestine in an attempt to establish a state with a clear – if not an absolute – Jewish majority.

In cities like Tabariya and Safad, in the north, in large stretches of land in the Naqab in the south, and in West Jerusalem, which became the capital city of Israel, the ethnic cleansing was so complete that not even one Palestinian family remained.

Now, over seven decades later, the Palestinian refugee population is estimated at around five million people. Banned from returning to their lands and homes, they live in squalor in refugee camps that quite often are only a few short miles from their original homes.

The Gaza Camp

Lying in Jordan’s rolling northern hills, Jerash is said to be one of the best kept ancient Roman cities outside of Italy. Much of the ancient ruins are still intact and they are an incredible sight to see. A few short miles from Jerash, however, lies the Palestinian refugee camp, Gaza Camp. It is an equally incredible sight to behold but for completely different reasons.

I visited the Gaza Camp for the first time in 2013 and then again in February 2020 and though some small changes were visible. By and large, the living conditions and the abject poverty remain the same. Forty thousand people live in this particular camp, which sits on about a quarter of a square mile.

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

The camp residents are all Abna’a Ghaza, an Arabic phrase meaning the sons of Gaza. All were turned into refugees in 1948 and sent to resettle in Gaza. Then, in 1967, they fled as Israeli forces occupied Gaza and were settled in this camp, where to this day they are forced to live this impossible reality.

During my visit to Gaza Camp, I visited the home of Umm Mohammed. She lives in a small house with several rooms with her children and grandchildren. The house is made of cinder block and tin and is freezing cold. The children run around barefoot and resources are scarce. The local camp school has six thousand students who attend in two shifts. The boys and girls take turns, each month switching shifts.

Umm Mohammad hails from a village near the city of Bir-a-Saba in the Naqab Desert. Today, the city is called Be’er Sheva and the desert has been renamed the Negev. Some say that in Jordan alone there are close to one million refugees from the city of Bir-a-Saba. Umm Mohamad was 13 in 1948 when Zionist forces expelled her family. “I was 13,” she recounted, “we left on a caravan of camels.” She went on to tell us that “the Jews committed a massacre, killing people in their sleep.”

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

Imagining Return

Zochrot means “remembering” in Hebrew. It is also the name of an NGO “working since 2002 to promote acknowledgment and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 and the reconceptualization of the Return as the imperative redress of the Nakba and a chance for a better life for all the country’s inhabitants.”

Zochrot is dedicated to keeping the memories of destroyed Palestinian towns and villages alive by providing information, action on the ground and tours throughout historic Palestine. Zochrot also operates a website chock full of articles, studies, testimony and a wealth of other valuable information on all issues regarding historic Palestine.

The organization recently launched a campaign called “Choosing to remember – voting for return,” to encourage Israeli citizens to remember Palestinian refugee issues during the March 2 Israeli elections. A post made on Zochrot’s Facebook page to promote the campaign (accessible by clicking “see more” on the post’s caption) reads in part:

Tomorrow, Israel’s citizens will vote for the third time within a year. Once again, the most important and critical issues in our lives here are not part of the agenda or platforms of the Zionist parties. Recognizing the Nakba, including the crimes of 1948 and the ongoing Nakba, is not proposed by any party. Recognizing the right of return and a practical plan for the return of refugees are not even discussed.
The political system and society in Israel continue to deny and erase these issues.”

We choose to remember the crimes of the Nakba, remind Israeli society of them and make them visibly present everywhere, at every opportunity, and oppose their erasure. We vote for the return of Palestinian refugees and view this return as an opportunity to liberate ourselves of the colonialist mindset and practices that define Israeli politics.”

As Israel and the United States presented the latest version of a plan to bring Palestinians surrender, known colloquially as the Deal of the Century, the approach of Zochrot presents a real alternative. In the current political climate, discussing the Palestinian right of return in practical terms while demanding it on all political platforms will create the polarization needed to distance those who seek justice and peace from those who wish to continue to spill innocent blood.

Funding Crimes

Jordan’s Gaza camp is no more than an hour’s drive from the country’s border with Palestine. Most, if not all the inhabitants, came from the Naqab. In other words, these refugees could all be home, in their country and on their land in less than a three-hour drive. Israel, of course, would never allow that to happen.

Palestinian refugee camp

Walking through the camp, poverty is rampant. Small projects lie in various states of completion, donated by various NGOs here and there, one to pave a road, another to refurbish the school. One cannot help but think of the four billion dollars the United States gives Israel each year. Israel is a wealthy country and has no need for foreign aid, yet Palestinians in refugee camps are living in abject poverty. Yet the U.S., Germany and other countries constantly contribute to its wealth while ignoring and even perpetuating the poverty inflicted upon Palestinians.

A strong Israeli state has guaranteed that Palestinians remain poor and hopeless. Imagine reversing the roles. Imagine what three or four billion dollars per year could do to repatriate and compensate Palestinian refugees and ensure a better future for all who live in historic Palestine. As the Zochrot slogan says, “Imagine Return.”

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, February 28, 2020

Global Research 8 January 2009

Eleven years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”.

The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.

***

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Author’s Note and Update

The purpose of Operation Cast Led was to confiscate Palestine’s maritime natural gas reserves. In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law.

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”,  Tel Aviv announced the discovery of  the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area.

What has been unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.

While the debate regarding  Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has largely concentrated on the de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the integration and extension of  Jewish settlements, the issue of the de facto confiscation and ownership of  Palestine’s offshore gas reserves have not been challenged.

Michel Chossudovsky, February 28, 2020


War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

by Michel Chossudovsky

January 8, 2009

The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. 

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline. 

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21,  2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.Will Israel’s Gas Hopes Come True? Accused of Stealing Gas from the Gaza Strip


Map 1

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.” The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

 “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security?  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics 

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)


Map 3The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020


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The War Scenario Between Israel and Hezbollah

Elijah J. Magnier
Notwithstanding the increase in power of the “Axis of the Resistance”, with its precision missiles and unrivalled accumulated warfare experience, the possibility of war is still on the table. The “Axis of the Resistance” is increasing its readiness based on the possibility that Israel may not tolerate the presence of such a serious threat on its northern borders and therefore act to remove it. However, in any future war, the “Axis of the Resistance” considers the consequences would be overwhelmingly devastating for both sides and on all levels if the rules of engagement are not respected. Notwithstanding Israel’s superior air firepower, its enemy Hezbollah has established its own tremendous firepower, and its experience in recent wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen is an important asset.

Sources within the “Axis of the Resistance” believe the next battle between Hezbollah and Israel, if ever it takes place, would be “controlled and not sporadic, with a focus on specific military objectives without damaging the infrastructure, on both sides”.

The sources consider Gaza as a precedent. In Gaza Palestinians and Israelis have fought many recent battles that lasted only a few days in which the objectives bombed were purely military. This is a new rule of engagement (ROE) regulating conflict between the belligerents. When Israel hits a non-military target, the Palestinian resistance responds by hitting a similar non-military target in Israel. The lesson extracted from the new ROE between Israel and the Palestinians is that every time exchanges of bombing go out of control, both sides understand they have to bring it back to an acceptable and equitable level, to limit damage and keep such mutual attacks from targeting civilians.

The “Axis of the Resistance” therefore considers that the probability is high that the next battle would be limited to military objectives and kept under control. If one side increases the bombing, the other will follow. Otherwise, both sides have the capability to cause total destruction and go on to uncontrolled bombing. In the case of an out-of-control war, allies on both sides would become involved, which renders this scenario less likely.

Hezbollah in Lebanon is said to have over 150,000 missiles and rockets. Israel might suppose that a limited attack could destroy tens of thousands of Hezbollah’s missiles. Is it worth it? “From Israel’s view, Israel may think it is worth triggering a battle and destroying thousands of missiles, thinking that Israel has the possibility to prevent Hezbollah from re-arming itself. But even in this case, Israel doesn’t need to destroy villages or cities or the Lebanese infrastructure, instead, it will limit itself to selective targets within its bank of objectives. However, we strongly doubt Israel could succeed in limiting Hezbollah’s supply of missiles and advanced weapons. Many of these missiles no longer need to be close to the borders with Israel, but can be deployed on the Lebanese-Syrian borders in safe silos”, said the sources.

However, Israel should also expect, according to the same sources, that Hezbollah will respond by bombing significant Israeli military targets within its bank of objectives. “There is no need to bomb airports, power stations, chemical industries, harbours or any highly significant target if Israel doesn’t bomb any of these in Lebanon. But if necessary Hezbollah is prepared to imitate Israel by hitting back without hesitation indiscriminately and against high-value targets, at the cost of raising the level of confrontation to its maximum level. Hezbollah and Israel have a common language in warfare. If the bombing is limited, no side interprets the others’ actions as a sign of weakness”, said the sources.

“Hezbollah doesn’t want war and is doing everything to avoid it. This is why it responded in Moawad, in the suburb of Beirut, when Israeli armed drones failed to reach their objectives. By responding, Hezbollah actually prevented a war on a large scale because it is not possible to allow Israel to get away with any act of war in Lebanon, violating the ROE” said the sources.

Last September, Hezbollah targeted an Israeli vehicle in Avivim with a laser-guided missile in daylight after forcing the Israeli Army to hide for a week and retreat all forces behind civilians lines, imposing a new ROE. The Israeli army cleared the 120 km borders with Lebanon (5 km deep) to avoid Hezbollah’s revenge retaliation for violating the 2006 cessation of hostility’s agreement. Israel refrained from responding and swallowed the humiliation due to its awareness of Hezbollah’s readiness to start a devastating war if necessary.

Israeli officials used to threaten Hezbollah and Lebanon to take the country “back to the stone age”. This is indeed within the reach of Israel’s military capability. However, it is also within Hezbollah’s reach to bring Israel back to the stone age, if required. Hezbollah’s precision missiles can hit any bridge, airport, gasoline deposit containers, power stations, Haifa harbour, oil and gas rig platforms, any infrastructure and military and non-military objectives if Israel attempts to target similar objectives in Lebanon first. Hezbollah’s new missile capability is not new to Israel, who is observing the latest technology Iran’s allies are enjoying and “testing,” mainly in Yemen. The recent bombing of Saudi Arabia oil facilities and the downing of a Saudi Tornado in Yemen revealed that Iran’s HOT missiles are capable of downing jets at medium height and any helicopter violating Lebanese airspace.

Hezbollah’s latest version of the Fateh precision missile, the supersonic anti-ship missiles and the anti-air missiles can prevent Israel from using its navy, stopping any civilian ship from docking in Haifa, thwarting the use of Israeli Helicopters and precision bombing attacks- as in Iran’s latest confrontation with the US at Ayn al-Assad base in Iraq.

Hezbollah’s missiles are unlikely to cause simple traumatic brain injuries – as per the Iranian missile at Ayn al Assad – when hitting targets in Israel in case of war. They can avoid missile interception systems. This increase of capability is a game-changer, and Hezbollah believes it is already decreasing the chances of war. Arming itself with precision missiles and armed drones and showing these capabilities to Israel is Hezbollah’s way to avert a war and protect the equation of deterrence.

In its 2020 security assessment, the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate (Aman) unwisely evaluated the assassination of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani as a “restraining factor”. Aman’s report, showing astonishing ignorance, stated that Soleimani was responsible for Hezbollah’s missile projects. This lack of understanding of the Hezbollah-Iran relationship and dynamic is quite surprising. Sayyed Ali Khamenei told Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah decades ago that he knows what he needs and what to do and doesn’t need to fall back on Iran. The IRGC and Hezbollah have set up a collaboration engine that won’t stop even if half of the IRGC leadership is killed. The possession of the feared Iranian precision missiles is no longer a secret: all Iran’s allies have these deployed, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Yesterday is unlike today: the power of destruction now belongs to all parties, no longer to Israel alone. War is no longer an option. US/Israeli aggression will be limited to an economic war, so long as the “Axis of the Resistance” continues updating its warfare capability to maintain deterrence parity.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

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Israel attempted to assassinate Islamic Jihad leader in Syria: Netanyahu

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the IDF’s attack last night in Syria’s capital city, Damascus.

In an interview with Radio Jerusalem, Netanyahu said the operation was an attempt to target a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement, but failed.

“The Israeli army tried to assassinate and target an Islamic Jihad leader in Damascus without mentioning his name, but failed and instead targeted two from his movement,” Netanyahu reportedly said, as quoted by Sputnik Arabic.

On the possibility of the Israeli army entering into a military operation in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu said that “if Israel enters into a large-scale military operation in Gaza, it will be greater than the three previous wars,” pointing to “tension in the south and rocket fire in the vicinity of the Strip.”

The Israeli Prime Minister said: “They know they are attacking us and we are ready to attack and eliminate them.”

He pointed out that “there may be no escape but to go out in a battle to clean Gaza, but I do not rush to war.”

Netanyahu’s comments came just hours after the Israeli Defense Forces carried out several strikes in Damascus and the Gaza Strip.

Watch: Syrian air defenses confront Israeli missiles over Damascus

Syrian air defenses in Damascus brought down several ‘hostile targets’ coming from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights last night after the Israeli forces fired several missiles towards the southern outskirts of the capital.

The Israeli military launched a series of raids against what they called ‘terrorist targets’ belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Syria and throughout Gaza, IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee confirmed in a rare admission of strikes against its neighbor.

According to the Islamic Jihad Movement, at least two of their members were killed as a result of this attack by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) last night.

The Islamic Jihad Movement confirmed that the Israeli Defense Forces also targeted several of their sites inside the Gaza Strip.

The Syrian military did not report any casualties.

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