Europe Should Be Getting Its Gas from Israel and Its Neighbors, Rather Than Russia

March 4 2022

In 2020, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel concluded an agreement to build the EastMed pipeline, through which they could export their offshore natural-gas to Europe. Egypt, Italy, the U.S., and other countries were involved in the project, but shortly after President Biden came into office his administration withdrew its support—putting plans for construction on hold. Since Europe gets most of its gas from Russia, the lack of alternative sources of energy has suddenly become a very obvious strategic liability. Shoshana Bryen comments:

Amos Hochstein, now Biden’s senior advisor for energy security, was reported by the Jerusalem Post to have previously said he would be “extremely uncomfortable with the U.S. supporting” EastMed. “Why would we build a fossil-fuel pipeline between the EastMed and Europe when our entire policy is to support new technology . . . and new investments in going green and in going clean?”

Yet Hochstein seems less than consistent in this view:

Hochstein was recently in Lebanon and Israel, trying to resolve a long-standing maritime border dispute to enable Lebanon to take part in the natural-gas drilling and exploration revolution in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Yes, that would be the same Lebanon that is occupied by U.S.-designated terror organization and Iranian proxy Hizballah, and which has built an enormous and increasingly powerful military force aimed expressly at Israel.

To make matters worse, Hochstein has also gotten behind a plan to bring Egyptian natural gas to Lebanon via Syria, as bringing Lebanon gas from neighboring Israel is, of course, out the question. Bryen finds America’s stance “staggering.”

First, . . . that Hizballah would 100-percent rather rule a “failed state” than take gas from Israel is a given. That the U.S. government agrees with Hizballah about this is troublesome, to put it mildly. And, [what’s more], the U.S. will facilitate commerce through the criminal and sanctioned Assad regime, responsible for the deaths of an estimated half-million-plus people, including through the use of chemical weapons, rather than issue an ultimatum to Hizballah—gas from Israel or no gas at all.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Israeli gas, Lebanon, Natural Gas, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, War in Ukraine

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship