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Tuesday 3 September 2013

Israel, Murdoch, And An Oil Well

While news that the Israeli Government has awarded a licence to drill for oil to an American-Israeli company has been available over the wire for over six months now, very few media outlets have been willing to cover it. And one well-known media owner’s empire does not appear to be covering it at all, for reasons that will become all too clear as the story unfolds.
The licence has been awarded by Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to a local subsidiary of a company called Genie Energy Corporation, following a decision last year by Minister Uzi Landau, which in turn was prompted by the discovery of “significant” reserves of conventional gas off the country’s Mediterranean coast. That much is not controversial.

And, although Genie is headed by former Minister Effie Eitam, this too should not be regarded as necessarily A Bad Thing, if his company is up to the task. The problems begin when it is revealed that exploration licence is for an area of the Golan Heights, which was captured from Syria – yes, the one with the civil war going on right now – in the 1967 Six Day War, and later annexed by Israel.

The occupation of the Golan by Israel is not recognised by the International Community, although right now the Syrians may have more pressing matters than to argue the toss over oil exploration rights, which has prompted some more cynical observers to wonder if the two are in some way connected. And there are other luminaries connected to Genie apart from Eitam.

Genie’s Strategic Advisory Board has, among its membership, “Dick” Cheney, ultra-hawkish Veep to Dubya Bush, and none other than Rupert Murdoch, yes, Rupe, the Dirty Digger himself. So it should be no surprise that Genie’s activities in territories occupied by Israel are not being reported by any of the Murdoch press, or indeed Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

Indeed, it appears that the only UK paper to report on the granting of licences to Genie has been the Maily Telegraph, and even then, Eitam is the only one connected with the company to get a mention. And what the Tel, and most other reports do not say, is that Eitam is well known for his incendiary comments towards the Palestinians in a New Yorker interview.

I don’t call these people animals. These are creatures who came out of the depths of darkness ... We will have to kill them all. I know it’s not very diplomatic. I don’t mean all the Palestinians, but the ones with evil in their heads. Not only blood on their hands but evil in their heads. They are contaminating the hearts and minds of the next generation of Palestinians”.

What a charming fellow. And now endorsed by Rupert Murdoch too.

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