UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Saturday, February 8 2014:
**Southern Israelis have been huddled in their bomb shelters again late this afternoon as at least one rocket has struck Sha’ar Hanegev.
Normally, the IDF dismisses rockets that hit outside of Israeli towns and cities by saying that they hit “in an open area.” In a new twist, the IDF spokesman’s office indicated today that the missile exploded “in an open area inside Sha’ar Hanegev“. This apparently means that it hit a street, park, sidewalk, lawn, or some other space that is not technically “lived in.”
**In an extremely significant business move that puts Israel on line to become a natural gas exporter, Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has purchased a 25% stake in Israel’s Leviathan gas field.
Woodside is a world leader in liquified natural gas (LNG), and the deal signals movement away from the pipeline option of delivering the gas and toward the LNG terminal option of delivering gas. Under the pipeline option most of the gas would have been delivered to Turkey and perhaps the Palestinian Authority, while under the LNG terminal option the gas would be delivered to world markets.
Speaking at an event of Israel’s Industrial and Commercial Association the other day, FM Avigdor Lieberman declared: “I’m willing to give up territory in the name of national unity.”
To anyone outside of Israel, Lieberman’s widely reported comment seemed to be embracing the concept of “land for peace” and to be trumpeting his belief in the “two-state solution.” Considering the fact that Lieberman has spent his career railing against any sort of territorial appeasement with the Palestinians, his comments seemed to be nothing short of a political earthquake.
The U.S. State Department in particular was quick to jump on the Lieberman bandwagon with State Department spokesman Jen Psaki raving: “It certainly is a powerful statement and a powerful message given his history and his background on these issues and where his view was.”
Your humble servant has to laugh.
What was completely missed by the State Department and others in the international arena is that Lieberman’s view has not changed one iota. Lieberman was not advocating giving up Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria at all; what Lieberman was talking about was placing all Israeli Arab population centers in a new country of “Palestine” and retaining all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in Israel.
This has been Lieberman’s view of a “two state solution” since day one.
It is a view that is going nowhere because Israeli Arabs do not want to live in a new state of Palestine and because the PLO does not want to give up its claims to the land on which the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are located.
Almost as ridiculous as the misreading of the U.S. State Department of Lieberman’s comments about his “two state solution”, however, was the international misreading of Lieberman’s comment about John Kerry.
Speaking at the podium, Lieberman solemnly intoned that “John Kerry is a true friend of Israel. I do not see the wisdom of transforming friends into enemies.”
Then, in a convoluted addendum completely missed by the media, Lieberman added–in apparent reference to the “private” comments made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon about the “messianic and delusional” Kerry: “That Israeli politicians do not agree with everything the secretary of state thinks is not a secret but [these disagreements] should not be leaked to the media.”
Your humble servant suspects that Lieberman was not only talking about Ya’alon’s disagreements with Kerry but also his own.