Natural resources, energy and environment
Natural gas deposits create hopes in Israel, which would otherwise be short of raw materials. Thanks to deposits in the Mediterranean, Israel is now exporting gas to the nearest neighboring countries.
At the beginning of 2009, a gas field, Tamar, was found, which that year was the largest find in the world. Almost two years later, in late 2010, the Leviathan gas field was discovered further east – the largest in the world in a whole decade. The two deposits, located directly in the Mediterranean from northern Israel, were estimated, along with some smaller gas fields, to cover Israel’s energy needs for 25 years to come, and in addition to sufficient exports. At Tamar, the deployment began in 2013, and some exports to Jordan began a few years later. In connection with the start of the extraction on Leviathan at New Year 2019/2020, Israel also began to export gas to Egypt. Most of the transport goes via the underwater route between Ashkelon and the northern Sinai Peninsula.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Israel with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
With Cyprus, Israel now also shares an off-shore gas field called Aphrodite and was found in 2011. Extraction on the field has not begun, but agreements with Cyprus and Greece were concluded in early 2020. It is envisaged a pipeline building connecting to Greece, and thus also facilitating future gas exports to Italy. The aphrodite field is smaller than both the Tamar and Leviathan deposits. The whole situation of energy recovery in Cyprus is a sensitive issue around the eastern Mediterranean, partly because the political divide of the island, where Turkey has an important role, has not been resolved.
Israel, to a certain extent, follows Norway’s example with the large state oil fund, which will finance welfare in the long term: Income from Israel’s natural gas will be invested abroad and the idea is that the return will serve as a buffer in times of war, economic crisis, natural disasters or other difficulties.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, IL stands for Israel. Visit itypeusa for more information about Israel.
Israel is one of the countries within the OECD partner organization that relies most on fossil fuels, which cause climate change. The discovery of natural gas means that this relationship will continue, at the same time as the state’s economy is greatly helped by the need for import fuel.
Israel is one of the world’s leading suppliers of bromine, which is used for flame retardants, and potash (potassium carbonate) that is included in fertilizers.
Sharpened diamonds provide Israel with significant export revenue, but the commodity is imported.
The large utilization of fresh water for extensive irrigation and a growing population has led to low groundwater levels and the risk of salt water penetration. In Lake Genesaret, water has been steadily declining for decades, although the situation eased as the region received heavy rainfall in early 2019. Because the water level in the Jordan River is also affected by the lake’s location, large water withdrawals create concerns in its relations with neighboring Jordan. The two countries have agreed to build a desalination plant in Jordanian Aqaba. From there it is hoped to be able to carry water to the Dead Sea, the salt lake where the water level has dropped since the measurements began in 1927.
At the end of 2019, the resort resort of Eilat, as the first Israeli municipality, decided to ban disposable packaging at the beach. The purpose is to protect the sensitive marine environment in the Red Sea from, above all, plastic waste, but the ban also applies to other materials.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,778 kilograms of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
6601 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
64 602 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
7.9 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
3.7 percent (2015)
The Security Council requires a stop for settlements
The United States casts its vote in the UN Security Council, and thus a resolution is adopteddemanding that Israel immediately cease all settlement activity on occupied Palestinian land. The resolution is adopted by 14 of the Council’s 15 members. This is the first time in over 35 years that the Security Council has adopted a resolution that strongly condemns Israel’s settlement policy. Previous attempts have fallen on the US veto. According to the resolution, Israel’s settlement policy threatens the so-called two-state solution, which requires the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. The resolution also calls on UN member states to make a distinction in their dealings with Israel on the territory covered by the State of Israel and the territory occupied by Israel in 1967. The US passing the resolution triggers anger among Israeli politicians and settlers while Palestinians applaud. Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the resolution disgraceful and says Israel has no intention of following it. Israel also states that the country intends to reduce its relations with the countries that voted for the resolution. The resolution does not recommend sanctions if Israel does not obey, but it is assumed to weigh heavily on the prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is currently considering whether to open an investigation to investigate whether Israel has committed war crimes in the occupied territories. According to an article in the Treaty of Rome (which forms the basis of the Court’s work), it is a crime of war when an occupying power moves parts of its civilian population to the occupied area. Thus, the resolution for prosecution paves the way for those responsible for housing policy. The resolution also raises the back of the countries that are considering a boycott of products from the settlements.
“Israel bombed air base in Syria”
Syrian media reports that Israel fired an air base outside Damascus with missiles. This is the second time in eight days that Israel has been accused of attacking targets outside Damascus. The Israeli government does not comment on the incident. Israel has kept a low profile during the war in Syria but has on several occasions carried out raids to prevent the advanced weapons ports of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah as Israel fought a war in 2006. Hezbollah is now fighting on the government’s side in the war in Syria.
France labels goods from settlements
France annoys the Israeli government by issuing rules on how to label goods from Israeli settlements. This is as far as it is known for the first time that a single EU country implements the guidelines adopted by the EU in November 2015, which states that goods from Israeli settlements in occupied territories must be origin-marked if they are to be sold in the EU. The Israeli government condemns French action and says it risks strengthening the radical forces fighting Israel.
Skilled settler plans are reopened
Israel revives plans to build 500 new settlement homes in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in East Jerusalem. The plans have been on ice since 2014. More similar initiatives are waiting. The incoming US President Donald Trump has signaled a settler-friendly line, and the Jerusalem Planning Committee has announced that many frozen permits will now be released.
Submarine business is being investigated
The State Prosecutor instructs the police to investigate the circumstances surrounding a planned submarine deal between Israel and Germany. The state prosecutor is acting after media have revealed that the family’s Netanyahu lawyer is also the agent for the German company that will sell the submarines to Israel.
Controversy with Unesco
Israel calls its ambassador to the UN agency Unesco and is considering breaking with the organization completely. This has happened since UNESCO adopted two resolutions that Israel believes are biased in favor of the Palestinians. A majority of UNESCO members criticize the archaeological excavations carried out by Israel in Jerusalem. The critics believe that the excavations aim to legitimize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. The resolutions refer to “occupied Palestine” and state that it is important to protect the cultural heritage of the Palestinians and the special character of East Jerusalem. The resolutions mention Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif, which is the third holiest site of Islam but does not say that it is also a holy place for Jews, which upset Israel.
Prosecution for celebration of murder
13 Jewish men charged with rioting after they celebrated the murders of an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents in a July 2015 assassination fire. on the Palestinian family. None of them were directly involved in the attack. Two Israeli men have previously been charged with murder and assisting with murder.
Occupation critics are condemned
Likud’s group leader in the kness, David Bitan, demands that human rights organization B’Tselem’s head Hagai El-Ad be deprived of his Israeli citizenship. El-Ad, before the UN Security Council, called for “resolute international intervention to stop the construction of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land”.
Firing in Jerusalem
A Palestinian drives around by car and opens fire on civilians in various places in Jerusalem. Three people are injured, of which two later die. The Palestinian is shot to death by the police. The act raises concerns about more violence in connection with the Israeli weekends approaching and the police seize dozens of Palestinians. Before the Yom Kippur weekend, which is one of the most important Jewish holidays, the borders are closed to the West Bank and Gaza and thousands of extra police are deployed in Jerusalem. The ongoing wave of violence against Palestinian attacks on Israelis started just in connection with Yom Kippur a year ago.
US criticism of settlements
Construction of 98 new settlement homes on the West Bank is approved by the military command. The 98 housing units are part of a plan to build 300 new houses, the settlement of Shilo, located in the middle of the West Bank. Some of the houses will be used as new homes for 40 families to be moved from the illegal settlement of Amona, which will be demolished before Christmas. The Shilo construction project triggers strong criticism from the EU and the US. An American Foreign Ministry spokesman uses unusually sharp words, saying that Israel has “betrayed confidence.”
Shimon Perez dies
Known politician Shimon Perez falls asleep two weeks after he suffered a brain haemorrhage. Peres was the head of government twice and served as president from 2007 to 2014. In 1994 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasir Arafat. At Pere’s funeral two days after the death, many prominent foreign politicians participate. Among the participants is also the Palestinian leader of the West Bank, Mahmud Abbas.
Renewed wave of violence
After several weeks of relatively calm, Palestinians again attack Israelis, mainly in East Jerusalem and around Hebron. Seven Palestinians are killed in connection with nine different attacks carried out with knives and in one case by car. The attacks take place over the course of five days from September 16 onwards. An Israeli police officer is seriously injured. Now, 230 Palestinians, 34 Israelis and five foreign nationals are estimated to have been killed since the wave of violence began in October 2015.
Large contribution to the defense budget
The United States and Israel sign an agreement that will give the United States $ 3.8 billion per year over a ten-year period from 2019 to 2028. Half a million dollars of the annual sum will be used to improve Israel’s defense against missiles. The new agreement represents an increase of $ 700,000 a year compared to the current agreement.
Herzog is not prosecuting
Police say they have decided to file an investigation into corruption charges against Isaac Herzog, leader of the Labor Party. Herzog was accused of receiving campaign grants that he did not report.
Criticism of new housing
A decision to build an additional 460 homes for Jewish settlers on the West Bank is causing strong criticism from the United States. According to the UN coordinator for the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel has significantly increased the rate of settlement.
More new settlements are planned
Israel announces that the process of setting up 770 new houses in Gilo settlement south of East Jerusalem will be continued.
MEPs can be kicked
Knesset adopts a controversial bill that allows members of parliament who are guilty of “racial provocation” or support armed struggle against the state of Israel to be excluded. In order for a Member to be excluded, 90 of the 120 members of the Knesset must vote in favor of the proposal. The law is adopted by a small majority, 62 votes. Netanyahu is pleased after the vote and says it is self-evident that people who support terrorism cannot sit in Parliament, but the law is criticized by activists who guard the rights of Israeli Arabs. According to them, the law is an attempt to silence the 13 members of the Arab parties sitting in the kness since the 2015 election.
New settler expansion
An official announces that the government has given the go-ahead for the continued planning of hundreds of new houses in settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. 560 of the homes will be built in the large settlement Maale Adumim. Slightly new houses are scheduled to be erected in the residence where a 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death in her bed at the end of June.
Pointers for peace
The International Quartet for the Middle East presents a report on what is needed to start the diminished peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The report warns that the ongoing Palestinian wave of violence against Israelis, as well as Israel’s expansion of settlements on occupied land, are ruining the chances for peace. In order to steer in a more constructive way, the report urges both sides to downplay their own rhetoric and to refrain or tolerate violence. The Palestinian side is urged to condemn terrorism and counter extremism, while Israel is urged to stop the expansion of settlements and prevent Palestinians from accessing what is called Area C, that is, 60 percent of the West Bank.
Hebron is isolated
After the murders of civilians in Israel on the last days of June, the army strikes an iron ring around the city of Hebron on the West Bank. A total of 214 Palestinians and 34 Israelis have been killed since October 2015. According to a military spokesman, about 80 percent of the attacks directed against civilians and the country’s security forces originate in the area around Hebron. Prime Minister Netanyahu orders that customs revenue that Israel imposes on behalf of the Palestinians and which is transferred to the Palestinian authorities each month should be reduced. Israel intends to deduct as much as the Palestinian authorities pay to the families of militant Palestinians.
Girl in residence knives cut to death in her bed
A 19-year-old Palestinian chops a 13-year-old Israeli girl to death as she lies asleep in her bed in a settlement near the city of Hebron on the West Bank. The next day, a settler is killed and three members of his family are injured when their car is shot south of Hebron.
Relations with Turkey are normalized
The Israeli government approves an agreement with Turkey to restore full diplomatic relations, six years after Israeli soldiers boarded the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara and killed nine Turkish nationals. Another Turk later died from his injuries. Under the agreement, Israel promises to pay $ 20 million in compensation to the victims’ families and to ease the blockade of Gaza by allowing Turkish aid to reach Gaza via Israeli ports.
Four Israelis killed in cafe
Two Palestinians dressed in suits settle down in a cafe in Tel Aviv, place their order and then open fire on the café guests. Four people are shot dead before fleeing the scene. They are later arrested by police. The attack in Tel Aviv is the one that has demanded the most Israeli life since the wave of violence started in October 2015. The army blocks and scans the Palestinian homeland of the West Bank and the borders between Israel and the West Bank are temporarily closed. The government also revokes the permit for 80,000 Palestinians to visit relatives in Israel during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins simultaneously.
Peace trials in Paris
France brings together the so-called international quartet for the Middle East (UN, EU, US and Russia) together with leading Arab states and other actors for a conference in Paris. The goal of the meeting is to establish an international peace conference at the end of 2016. Israel and Palestine are not invited. Prime Minister Netanyahu condemns the initiative, claiming that the only way forward is direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Representatives of the Palestinians, on the other hand, support the French idea of an international meeting, citing that years of negotiations with the Israelis have not yielded any results.
Netanyahu’s wife gets a snap
A labor court court is awarding a $ 30,000 damages to a former employee of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s residence. The court finds that Netanyahu’s wife Sara scorned the employee. Among other things, she should have called him back to the residence for bunks, once after midnight to heat a plate of soup for her and once because he was not considered to have said good night properly. (31/5)
New ministerial protest
Environment Minister Avi Gabbay announces his departure in protest against Netanyahu replacing Yaalon with Lieberman. (29/5).
The government is widening
Netanyahu and Lieberman agree and Yisrael Beitenu joins the government. Thus, the government is now controlling 66 mandates in the kness against earlier 61. The settlement not only raises concerns among center and left-wing politicians. Some Likud members are also skeptical. Lieberman, who himself is a settler, has previously promised “hard grip” on terrorists but now says that he intends to pursue a “balanced policy”. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat calls the appointment of Lieberman a real threat to regional stability and warns that it will lead to religious and political extremism. The United States says that the incorporation of Lieberman into the government raises the legitimate question of how strongly the government is actually engaged in the efforts to obtain a two-state solution. (25/5)
Netanyahu’s travels reviewed
24th of May
One of the state’s accountants states in a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu, while traveling with his family when he was Finance Minister from 2003 to 2005, did not follow normal rules for externally funded trips and that he may therefore have received improper gifts or been in a conflict of interest. Netanyahu should have failed to inform the authorities concerned about the funding of the travel. He must also have claimed reimbursement for air tickets twice and used bonus points on flights he received in the service to buy tickets for family members. Some of the information in the report has been passed on to the prosecutor. (24/5)
Minister jumps off
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon resigns on the grounds that extremists have taken over the government and that he no longer has any confidence in Prime Minister Netanyahu. Yaalon is referring to negotiations between Netanyahu and hard-fought nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, who said he would like to allow his party Yisrael Beitenu to join Netanyahu’s coalition on certain conditions, including that he himself would become defense minister. Yaalon accuses Netanyahu of political opportunism by offering Lieberman the post of defense minister to strengthen the government’s majority in the kness. Yaalon has long been in conflict with more hardline ministers on how to respond to the Palestinian wave of violence. (20/5)
For four days, fires between Israeli forces and Hamas are ongoing across the border between Israel and Gaza. It is the most serious confrontation between the parties since the Gaza war in the summer of 2014. (4/5)
230 victims of the wave of violence
Two Palestinians – a young woman and a youngster – are shot to death as they armed with knives approach a border crossing between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. A total of 203 Palestinians and 28 Israelis have been killed since the wave of violence started in October 2015.
“The Golan is Israel’s Forever”
The government is meeting for the first time at the Golan Heights which Israel conquered from Syria in 1967. Netanyahu says in connection with the meeting that Israel will never return to the Golan. According to Israeli media, the play has to do with a fear of the government that the Golan should be used as a playing chip in the international community’s attempt to bring about peace in Syria.
More underage Palestinians are arrested
Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of using excessive force in arrests and interrogating minors in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Human Rights Watch also points out that the number of juvenile arrests has risen since the ongoing wave of violence in October 2015. According to the domestic human rights organization B’Tselem, 406 young prisoners were jailed in January 2016 compared to 183 a year earlier.
Cow-turning on Ethiopian Jews
Prime Minister Netanyahu makes a complete reversal and agrees to allow a number of descendants of Jews in Ethiopia to be united with their relatives in Israel. Earlier, Netanyahu has said that the state cannot afford to receive Ethiopians who are descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity in the 18th and 19th centuries, in many cases under duress. Netanyahu is forced to change when two of his party mates threaten to vote against the government unless Ethiopians are allowed to come. With a majority in Parliament in just one term, Netanyahu cannot afford to lose those votes.
Soldier is charged with murder
24th of March
An Israeli soldier is imprisoned after a Palestinian young man was shot dead on the ground after a knife attack against another Israeli soldier. A video that draws a lot of attention online shows how the soldier arrives at the scene of the attack. While Israeli doctors help the injured colleague, the soldier raises his rifle and shoots the lying Palestinian in the head. The document is condemned by the military leadership and Prime Minister Netanyahu. A few weeks later, the soldier is charged with murder.
Laws stop Palestinians
In an attempt to quell the ongoing wave of violence, the Knesset, by a large majority, adopts a law that prohibits Israelis from using Palestinian workers who do not have permission to work in Israel. Of all the acts of violence that have taken place in Israel in recent months, almost half have been carried out by Palestinians who have been in the country illegally.
Ground fittings on the West Bank
Israel declares a 234 hectare area on the West Bank, between Jericho and the Dead Sea, as state land. The decision is condemned by the UN Secretary-General calling on Israel to reconsider the decision.
An unexpected no thanks
The strained Israeli-American relations (see March 2015) get a new twist down Netanyahu declines no to an invitation to meet Obama. An annoying moment for Washington is that the message is delivered via media and not directly to the host. Netanyahu justifies his refusal to visit the United States during the ongoing primary election campaign. At the same time, US Vice President Joe Biden makes a visit to Israel where he will meet Netnayahu to discuss defense cooperation. During Biden’s visit, the ongoing wave of violence is gaining momentum again after a certain slowdown. Only on the day of Biden’s arrival are six attacks against Jews by Palestinian perpetrators. In one of the attacks, on the beach in Tel Aviv, twelve people are injured and an American tourist is killed.
The Palestinian attacks on Israelis continue in February. On the last day of February, the number of people killed is estimated at 28 Jews, three foreigners and 177 Palestinians since the start of the unrest in October 2015.
Lifetime of attention to murder
The punishment is announced for the two young Israelis found guilty of kidnapping and burning a Palestinian teenager alive (see July 2014). They are sentenced to life and 21 years in prison respectively.
The wave of violence continues
The Palestinian attacks against Israelis continue in January, and many people are injured or killed in various forms of assault or fire at attackers. By the end of the month, 25 Jews and over 160 Palestinians are estimated to have lost their lives since the riots started in early October 2015.
Fence against terror
Israel begins to build a three-mile-long fence along part of the border with Jordan. The idea is that the fence will keep refugees and terrorists away.