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Israel's oil and gas reserves change Obama's calculus vis-a-vis Israel

Reader comment on item: Romney vs. Obama vis-à-vis Israel

Submitted by Martin H. Katchen (United States), Sep 5, 2012 at 02:40

I believe that when looking at President Obama's behavior toward Israel, it is as important to look at what President Obama has not done as much as what he has done. Even when President Obama was pressuring Israel to extend the freeze on Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem,

President Obama did not interfere with Nobel Energy's drilling for gas off Israel's coast. Nor as we are finding out, did the Obama Administration attempt to interfere with American investment in Israeli onshore oil shale (investors which include such people as Haliburton Corporation and Rupert Murdoch). Far from doing so, the Obama Administration has committed the 6th Fleet to protecting Noble Energy gas rigs from Hezbollah missile attacks.

And this is the case even though energy independence for Israel will remove Israel's biggest short term military vulnerability; the need to find oil on the spot market. It is that need which forces Israel to win it's wars in 6 days to two weeks or not at all and to observe UN ce3ase fires when they are imposed. More than spare parts, it is Israel's energy vulnerability which can bring Israel's military to a screeching halt. This vulnerability will start to end when Israel's natural gas comes on line and end completely when Israel becomes self-sufficient in petroleum from oil shale, which can fuel Tzahal's tanks indefinitely.

So one would think that an American Administration that is hostile to Israel would be anxious to prevent Israel from developing energy self-sufficiency and yes, become a major energy exporter and be anxious to perpetuate the status quo of Israel's vulnerability to sanctions against it's energy supply. So if the Obama Administration is prepared to allow US companies to develop Israel's offshore natural gas and oil shale and make Israel a major oil exporter, either the Obama Administration is not hostile to Israel or this Administration has discerned an overriding national interest in permitting Israel to become an oil and gas exporter and thereby fundamentally change the rules of the game in the Middle East in it's favor.

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