Israel Resumes Offshore Natural-Gas Exploration

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has created an energy crisis in Europe, which can no longer rely on gas imported from Russia. Israel, which has spent two decades cultivating an offshore natural-gas industry, has an opportunity to meet this vital need. Zev Chafets reports:

Six months ago, at the climate summit in Glasgow, Israel’s newly elected prime minister Naftali Bennett pledged to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Israel’s small but vociferous community of environmental activists were jubilant over the reversal of the aggressive natural-gas drilling of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a show of seriousness, Israel’s Energy Ministry announced a one-year freeze on gas exploration and on further export permits. From now on, thought the green lobby, renewables would be the future of Israeli energy. . . . That excitement came to a screeching halt last week, when the Bennett government announced a 180-degree shift in its natural-gas policy. The reason was obvious. As the director-general of the ministry, Lior Schillat, unapologetically put it, “The energy crisis in Europe has shuffled the deck. We are not sticking to dogma.”

The war in Ukraine has made it clear that it’s dangerous for a country to count on the goodwill of foreign suppliers for its energy needs. This is especially true for a country like Israel, a small nation in a hostile region. In the past twenty years, Israel has gone from being a net importer of fossil fuels to being self-sufficient, thanks to offshore gas drilling. The government is wise to preserve that independence and to take advantage of the demand from European nations looking for a substitute for Russian imports.

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Israeli gas, Naftali Bennett, Natural Gas, War in Ukraine

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship