Now there is a headline I bet you thought you would never see. And I bet you can't guess who is supporting them at the UN. It is not just the USA.
The United Nations Security Council met overnight Thursday on a resolution designed to bring a speedy halt to Israel's 13-day-old offensive against Hamas in Gaza. The vote over a resolution was apparently postponed due to Israeli pressure.That is diplo speak by the Ababs for "Thump Hamas as hard as you want. We don't mind. In fact we encourage it."
Key Arab nations and Western powers reached agreement on the main elements of a resolution, the head of the Arab League said.
The resolution was supported by the United States and Arab nations that have close ties to Hamas. But it will be up to Israel and Hamas to decide to stop their military activities.
"Peace will be made in the region, not in New York, but actions in New York can support the search for peace in the region," a senior British official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The "deal" starts out with the usual boilerplate.
The latest draft "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza." It "condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism."And then it gets to the good stuff.
The draft also calls on UN member states "to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable cease-fire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the sustained re-opening" of border crossings.It is well known that the border crossings will not be permanently re-opened until the Philistines stop their attacks through the crossings. Which means Gaza needs a new government because Hamas is committed irrevocably to the destruction of Israel.
This is a sea change in Middle East politics. One that actually happened in 2006. And why are the Arabs so inclined? Rather simple really. They fear Iran more than they fear Israel. This fact has been obvious since the Hizballah war of 2006 when Saudi Arabia came out at the beginning of the war supporting Israel at the expense of Hizballah/Iran. At least at first until hastily retracted in solidarity with their Philistine "brothers". That would be the brothers Saudi Arabia kicked out of its territory when they started getting all militant and such. Bunch of trouble makers those Philistines.
And what about the strategic defeat Israel suffered in 2006 against Hizballah? It looks like Hizballah is in no hurry to defeat Israel again.
"Lebanon denounces and condemns the firing of rockets and the retaliatory action and believes that such action is in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701," Siniora said in a statement, according to Lebanese press reports.Of course the government of Lebanon wants no part of a repeat of 2006. But what about the "real winners" Hizballah?
"We have asked the competent authorities in cooperation with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to investigate," he said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the rocket firing, which lightly wounded two elderly residents of a retirement home in Nahariya.
Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri told AFP that Hizbullah had assured the cabinet that it "remains committed to stability and Resolution 1701," which brought an end to the Second Lebanon War.Followed by the usual Hizballah chest thumping.
A Damascus-based leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Ahmed Jibril, threatened Saturday to open up new military fronts against Israel if the conflict in Gaza were to escalate.What exactly does if the conflict in Gaza were to escalate mean? I'd say it was already fairly well escalated.
I think it may fairly well be assumed that the players in the Middle East think that Hamas deserved a thumping. And that includes their main supporter Iran. Now why the sea change? The oil is running out. Not soon. Maybe not for fifty or a hundred years. But the end is in sight. And if not the actual supply of oil then the demand. The world has gotten serious about getting off the oil standard. How serious? So serious that even China is producing a plug in hybrid.
BYD Auto's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the F3DM, is now on sale in China, the company announced this week at a press conference in Shenzhen, China.And who is behind BYD? Now there is an interesting story. but I will give you a hint. Who would guess that the center of the automotive world is no longer Detroit (well that is obvious) but in Omaha, Nebraska? Omaha, Nebraska? That is not so obvious.
The F3DM, which will retail for 149,800 yuan ($21,200), can travel 100 km (63 miles) on its battery before needing to be recharged, according to BYD Auto.
The car can be plugged in to any average Chinese 220-volt wall outlet to be recharged.
While there are other plug-in electric hybrid cars available for sale, BYD Auto's F3DM is the first one in China to be mass-produced and, therefore, widely available to the general public, according to both BYD and The Wall Street Journal.
BYD Auto told reporters at the press conference that it expects to sell 350,000 F3DM cars in 2009. It also plans to launch an all-electric vehicle in 2009.
In September, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet announced that MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, had bought $230 million worth of stock in BYD, giving it a 10 percent interest in the company.The plans for an American roll out in 2010 have been delayed to at least 2011. In any case the hand writing is on the wall. The dominance of oil will come to an end. Not soon. But the end is in sight.
Average Americans may also soon have a chance to buy a piece of BYD. The company also announced that it plans to begin exporting the F3DM to the U.S. in 2010.
Many automakers, including General Motors and Toyota, have been working on plug-in electric vehicles for mass production. All have said that the battery technology for this type of vehicle has been the most challenging aspect of the development process.
It should be no surprise then, that the Shenzhen, China-based company which is now a major player in the Chinese auto industry, started out in 1995 as a cell phone battery manufacturer.
And how about those geniuses in Detroit? GM has put the Chevy Volt factory on hold.
General Motors is suspending work on the $370 million factory slated to build engines for the Chevrolet Volt, but says the plug-in hybrid will appear in showrooms by the end of 2010 as promised.Idiots.
The decision comes as GM frantically slashes costs in a desperate bid to survive while the White House dithers on a bailout. GM and Chrysler have said they could be out of money by the end of the year, but Congress failed to approve $14 billion in short-term loans to the Big Three and the Bush administration appears to be in no hurry to act.
With cash dwindling fast, GM says it has no choice but to postpone work on the the factory in Flint, Michigan, where 300 people would build the 1.4-liter engines slated for the Volt hybrid and Chevrolet Cruze compact.
"It's temporarily on hold as we assess our cash situation," GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel told the Detroit Free Press. "I don't think it's any surprise that we're studying and reviewing everything, given the position we're in."
GM is doing everything short of searching for coins under the couch cushions in Rick Wagoner's office, but the Volt program has until now been sacrosanct. Rightfully so, because the range-extended electric car is the centerpiece of GM's campaign to recast itself as a company that builds fuel-efficient vehicles. It's the one thing GM can point to and say "See? We get it. We finally get it." But things have gotten so bad even the Volt is taking a hit.
In any case new car companies will step into the breech. And some old companies like Toyota are hustling their butts to get a plug in hybrid on the market. And if you can't wait there are plug in hybrid conversion kits.
Not content to be a potential supplier of lithium ion batteries for GM's plug-in hybrid programs, A123 Systems will start selling battery packs that conversion companies can use to transform current hybrid vehicles to plug-in capability. The company has already been working with Hymotion on plug-in kits and they have a contract to convert ten Prius for the California South Coast Air Quality Management District.And if not 2008 then soon.
The kits will be completely integrated and designed to be installed in under two hours. The installed price of the 5kWh kit for a Prius is $10,000 and gives a range of 14 miles on battery. A123 CEO David Vieau testified at a recent US Senate hearing in support of tax breaks for customers buying plug-in conversions. Fleet testing of the systems is ongoing and sales are expected to start in 2008.
The lithium ion batteries are the stumbling block as evidenced by comments #30, #34, and others at the link. However, the problems will get solved. There is a lot of money at stake.
Well we are kind of far afield from the Gaza 2009 war. Which just goes to show you that everything in this world is interconnected. Some obscure guy in a lab is even now working on something that will change the world for the better in a big way. Hamas should have been paying attention. Fools. Peace in the Middle East through better battery technology.
So now you know why Israel has clout among the Arabs at the UN. Batteries.
Cross Posted at Classical Values