Energy and Climate Reshape Israel’s ’Hood
And the Dead Sea experiences shrinkage
There was a fascinating article in the Sunday New York Times about how advanced technology, new energy finds, and global warming are all conspiring to create, as the headline has it, “A New Era of Gunboat Diplomacy”—of the navies of rival countries jousting dangerously for maritime supremacy. “If the South China Sea is simmering,” reports Mark Landler,
then the eastern Mediterranean is seething. There, claims to huge natural-gas reserves off the coast of Cyprus and Lebanon have raised tensions with Turkey, which occupies half of Cyprus, as well as with Israel. Cyprus and Israel are drilling for gas, angering Turkey. The militant Islamic group Hezbollah, in Lebanon, has threatened to attack Israeli gas rigs.
Further complicating this is the bitter rift between Turkey and Israel after the deadly Israeli commando interception of a Turkish flotilla trying to transport aid to Palestinians in Gaza last year.
“Part of it,” adds a regional expert, “is just the greater assertiveness of Turkey’s foreign policy everywhere.” similarly with Hezbollah—for which the mammoth offshore gas field Leviathan could be, as Tablet Magazine Mideast columnist Lee Smith put it, a new Sheba Farms. The pretext is kind of the whole point.
Meanwhile, the article notes that global warming has unfrozen parts of the Arctic Sea, leading to disputes over energy sources and shipping lanes. Israel has no polar ice caps to melt, but it does have disappearing water: In some places, the Dead Sea’s coastline has receded by as much as one-third of a mile. Less water means more land; and around the Jordan River, more land axiomatically means more conflict. The northern section of the sea is in the West Bank. Is the new land the military’s? Israel’s? The Palestinians’? (They didn’t have this issue the last time the Dead Sea lost water, about 120 millennia ago.)
Meanwhile, while the Dead Sea had made the Final Fourteen in voting for something called the New 7 Wonders of Nature, it failed to make the last cut. Part of the problem is that Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan all ran separate campaigns. The absence of peace claims one more casualty.
A New Era of Gunboat Diplomacy [NYT]
New Israeli-Palestinian Land Dispute Rises as Dead Sea Water Level Drops [Haaretz]
Dead Sea’s Bid As a New Wonder Is Dead [JTA]
Earlier: Israel-Lebanon Sea Border Dispute Heats Up
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.