The death toll from Israeli violence in Gaza approached 1000 Palestinians by the 26th of July; the number is increasing, according to reports from hospitals and emergency care workers and activists there. The United Nations estimated that 80% of the dead were civilians, including a lot of children of all ages.

Some say: to figure out the real reasons behind global conflicts and wars, you need to look for some or all of 3 things: money, blood, power or natural resources (usually oil or natural gas).

Looking Behind the Scenes:

What you may not know is that large amounts of oil and gas has been discovered in the Levant Basin, off the coast of the Gaza Strip in recent years. There is heavy conflict about who will reap the billions of dollars when those wells become productive.

With updates by the minute from Palestine, it’s very important to talk about some of the potential undiscussed motives behind this offensive. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, a self-proclaimed “international security journalist,” presented evidence that Protective Edge intends to prevent the Palestinians from taking advantage of their own power resources (oil and natural gas), while integrating them “into the adjacent Israeli offshore installations.” Hamas, as Ahmed said, is “the main obstacle” to the finalization of this purported “gas deal.”

Israeli Gas Talks Are Not Something New

On July 8th, the day Israel started its new attack, Israeli defense minister and former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) chief of staff, Moshe Ya’alon, declared that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a new assault on Hamas. As many look at Hamas as a terrorist organization and put all the blame on its members for this war, if you look closer, Hamas rockets don’t represent a real threat to the IDF forces (or Israel itself) when comparing the numbers of dead and wounded!

Israel claims it is involved in this war to prevent Hamas launching rockets into Israel, and to destroy tunnels used to transport weapons and supplies to militants. At this time the death toll has reached more than 1000 Palestinians; most of them are civilians and children, while the Israelis have lost fewer than 40, and almost all of them were soldiers.

The operation “won’t end in just a few days,” Ya’alon said on 8 July 2014 referring to Operation Protective Edge, “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.

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Earlier in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Ya’alon’s showed interest in the 1.4 – 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, worth about $4 billion. He indicated that the Israeli cabinet is not just concerned about Hamas – but concerned about the possibility of Palestinians developing their own gas resources! Ya’alon dismissed the idea that Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:

Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israel’s past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…

A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”

The founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, Mark Turner, reported in 2008 that the blockade of Gaza, and the war, came as an attempt to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” helpful to achieve a gas deal.

gazagasmap

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in early 2011, during new negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, about the development of the Gaza Marine reservoir, he said that “The proposal was made in view of Israel’s natural gas shortage following the cessation of gas deliveries from Egypt”.

Also, in 2012 Israeli scientists also warned in Ha’aretz that the country might exhaust its offshore reserves within 40 years.

Hamas is the Hindrance?

Jewish Press (an Israeli news source) published an article in 2013 about how the new Israeli oil find near Gaza could drive Hamas and Abbas into war. In 2014, Hamas denounced a PA (Palestinian Authority) deal to purchase $1.2 billion worth of gas from Israel Leviathan field over a 20 year period once the field starts producing.

Leaving Hamas out of the meetings (as well as the Palestinians in Gaza), the PA has held several meetings with the both British Gas Group and Russia’s Gazprom to build the Gaza marine gas field – which expect to cost an estimated $2.5 billion to develop over three years – and talks have been going on between Russia, Israel and Cyprus. There was no clarification on how the PA would exert control over Gaza, which is governed by Hamas. More information by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky can be found in War and Natural Gas.

Clearly, if Palestinians get benefits from their own gas and oil resources, the resulting economic transformation could in turn increase Palestinian power and allow them to threaten control of resources in Gaza. So, does the prospective purchase of British gas from Gaza’s coastal waters threaten Israel’s National Security?

Of course, this is not the only reason for this war:

Without a doubt, developing Palestine’s energy resources wouldn’t be in Israel’s best interest. The revenues of oil and gas would give more force to the Palestinians – and Hamas – and this is what Israel is trying to prevent. Of course, The Israel-Palestine conflict is not all about resources, but we can’t ignore the fact that we are living in the age of energy.

Here we have 2 questions:

1. Why it is difficult to find information about Palestine’s oil and gas resources on internet? Even Wikipedia doesn’t mention it nor do most encyclopaedias and other academic resources.

2. Why has most mainstream media completely ignored the Palestinian oil and gas matter?

Perhaps they don’t want us to know about it. It is geopolitically useful for people to believe this is about something as simple as an eye for an eye or about “self-defense.” The whole world is watching Israel’s unbelievably brutal offensive for about 20 days… but incredibly, the media never mentions the Palestinians’ natural resources or the fact that Israel has thwarted Palestine’s efforts to develop them. They instead show a singular focus on Hamas, “the terrorists” as they love to call them: the ones who threatening Israel – the good guys as they also love to show! But is that rational?

If Hamas is the aggressor, why have 1000 Palestinians die in less than 20 days? While the Israelis have lost less than 100 despite waging a ground offensive! Is it really because Hamas is hiding in every school, hospital, street, civilian house, every inch of coastline, every refugee camp, every U.N. building!? This argument still fails to explain several well documented massacres committed during this time.

Read more details in Dr. Nafeez Ahmed articles for The Ecologist:

1. Gaza: Israel’s $4 billion gas grab

2.Armed robbery in Gaza – Israel, US, UK carve up the spoils of Palestine’s stolen gas

Further Sources:

1.IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis

2.Israel’s gas reserves insufficient for exports

3.Israel: Now a Gas Exporter

4.Energy Security Challenges for Israel Following the Gaza War

5.Noble Energy: 3b barrels oil potential in Levant Basin

6.Can Gas Ease Eastern Mediterranean Tension?

7.Gas Finds in the Eastern Mediterranean: Gaza, Israel and Other Conflicts

8.Gaza Gas Can’t Help Palestinians

9. Russia preparing to develop Gaza gas field

10. Wikileaks Global Intelligence Files March 2007