Israel & peace – a green perspective

Israel’s Prime Minister, Netanyahu, has started a 4 day tour of European cities. The first stop is London, where he will meet with George Mitchell, Obama’s adviser on the Middle East peace process.

So will the European leaders seriously pressure their guest over settlements? From the Israeli perspective, it often seems that they deal with the Palestinian counterparts with kid gloves, rarely demanding similar concessions. How about some Arab recognition of Israel’s right to exist, come the shouts form Jerusalem.

This outlook devolves into satire. As Israelis say, what would have happened if Moses had gone East at Jericho? Then, who would have had the oil?

The cleantech revolution gives Israel a chance to convert those jokes into modern political reality.

According to a new report, Israel’s oil imports in 2008 dropped significantly. In fact, “Israel could cut its oil imports by 20%, saving $1 billion a year at current prices, through energy conservation and the sophisticated use of electricity and fuel in more efficient and cheaper ways.”

Consumption of oil products by Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been falling steadily. Oil consumption was 11.4 million tons in 2008, 2% less than in 2007, and 8% less than in 2003. The report expects this downward trend to continue in the coming years, with the completion of the national natural gas infrastructure and the hook-up of power stations and major industrial plants to the natural gas pipeline.

Now, where Israel leads, what would happen if Western oil guzzlers were to follow? And how would that impact on the agenda for Netanyahu’s European chat show?

Worth a thought.

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