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Out of the north an evil shall break…



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Jeremiah Lamenting

Jeremiah lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem | Rembrandt, 1630, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land, is probably one of the best known verses in the Book of Jeremiah (1:14). The reason for that is its frequent use by the Israeli Administration in order to scare Israel’s denizens. In days when the social dysfunction of the Israeli government cannot be hidden anymore, enemies reappear - according to Israeli politicians - on the northern border of Israel, bringing the old words of prophet Jeremiah into life.

Today – September 5, 2011 – we got a double reminder of that. Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansor, sent today a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, rejecting Israeli claims on the maritime border between the two countries. Those became important because since 2009 four major fields of natural gas have been found between Israel and Lebanon, in the Mediterranean Sea. Their names are Leviathan, Tamar, Sarah and Myra. Worldwide, they form one of the largest gas reserves found in the last decade. Moreover, Norway-based Petroleum Geo-Services recently announced promising results on the Lebanese side of the border. The map below shows the reason for the controversy. For some reason, the Israeli-proposed border doesn’t run perpendicular to the shoreline border between the countries, but runs northwards, forcing thus some of the new gas fields into Israel. This is a pretty non-standard procedure, and a testimony of Israel’s expansionistic goals. It is hard to see this behavior without thinking of a possible Sea War between the countries. Giving the major civil unrest within Israel, Netanyahu is probably praying for such an excuse to recruit the reserve army, a step that would take many protesters out of the streets.

Yet, Lebanon is weak. Hezbollah won twice battles against the IDF – in 2006 and 2009 – but Hezbollah isn’t part of the Lebanese Army. There is no chance the Lebanese Army will engage in battle against Israel unless it can ensure significant support from other parties, especially on the naval front. Aware of that, Netanyahu is throwing lighted matches in all directions, hoping one of them would begin the much needed fire. On September 20, Palestine would probably declare independence. Yet, this won’t imply automatically a war; especially if the Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority would accompany the event with some gesture towards the Zionists. Instead of lowering the price of cottage cheese and taking emergency steps to save Israeli citizens from their slavery, he attacked against towards the north.

Israel Lebanon Disputed Border | New Gas Fields Marked

Israel Lebanon Disputed Border | New Gas Fields Marked

The recently leaked UN report on Gaza’s Freedom Flotilla led to the expulsion of all senior staff from the Israeli embassy in Turkey, downgrading the relations to third-secretary level. Turkey announced that it would stop immediately the military cooperation between the countries. The cooperation was extensive until now due to strategic reasons. In 1938, the region of Hatay became independent from the French Mandate of Syria as the Republic of Hatay. Following a referendum 8 months later, Hatay decided to join Turkey. This annexation was never recognized by Syria, which continues to show Hatay as part of its territory on maps. Moreover, Syria supports the PKK struggle in eastern Turkey. By making an alliance with Israel, Turkey opened a second front against Syria, which would become strategically important if the conflict becomes violent. This is the “alliance with the next-closest country” approach; it can be seen in other areas of conflict. On the other side of the equation, Israel suffers of a major drawback: a single border line with its enemies. In The Cross of Bethlehem I commented about my having been an officer at a vertical bypass division aimed at landing beyond the enemy’s lines. The unit is aimed at opening a second front against Syrian and Egyptian units. Yet, the deployment of such a unit is complex. A simpler option is getting access to the Syrian backlines through Turkey. That was Israel’s motivation for this unholy alliance. Now, it seems part of the past.

Instead of attempting to fix the diplomatic damage, Netanyahu is attacking, repeating the quintessential Israeli-Jewish error. Yesterday, a group of Israeli tourists was searched upon arrival at Istanbul in a Turkish Airlines flight. The search was unusual, but not more than the search performed on foreigners arriving at Israel. Instead of accepting the Principle of Reciprocity, the Israeli administration went ballistic.

An undisclosed “national-level source” (code name for the Prime Minister in the Hebrew media whenever he doesn’t want to fully disclose himself) said today: “Does Turkey want a confrontation? It will get hurt!” and “The Turkish economy would be hurt, nobody will want to travel there!,” and finally “The Turks want a public confrontation, but we won’t give them the pleasure.” The last bit is highly ironic considering it was published in a prominent place by the largest Hebrew newspaper. Is Israel planning to involve Turkey in a regional war? Considering the cited words, this possibility is real.

There is nothing as a new enemy from the north – “hey, let’s cite Jeremiah again!” is Netanyahu thinking now – to distract the Israeli public back into slavish obedience. Ata Turk, be warned!

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