Anti-Democratic Energy: Jordan’s Recent Gas Deal with Israel.

Image: “The enemy’s gas is occupation” [via Jordan BDS

Recently, Jordan’s government-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a 15 year, $10 billion deal to import Israeli-extracted liquid natural gas. In the eyes of the appointed government of the Hashemite Kingdom, the deal is a boon. Jordan is a notoriously resource poor country, having to import 96% of its energy needs from other countries. In previous decades, Saddam Hussain’s Iraq and Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt provided subsidized fuel to fill the country’s energy needs. However, according to the Jordanian government, the loss of these providers and the damage to gas pipelines due to recent unrest in the Sinai have caused NEPCO to rack up billions of dollars in debt. At the same time, energy prices have steadily risen for Jordanians. The government claims that this deal will lower energy costs and save NEPCO $600 million a year.

Despite these supposed benefits, the deal has caused widespread and unified protests of a scale unseen in Jordan since the start of the Arab Spring. Continue reading “Anti-Democratic Energy: Jordan’s Recent Gas Deal with Israel.”

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We bark, but we don’t bite. (And you better not, either)

Two very typical things regarding Palestine occurred recently. The first relates to the passage by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution to condemn companies that benefit from and facilitate the building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. It also calls on the Council to compile a list, updated yearly, of such companies. The EU and the US, at Israel’s urging, sought to blackmail the PA into removing the article about the database in return for supporting the rest of the resolution (after failing to bully the into PA withdrawing resolution in its entirety).

What this illustrates, once again, is that western powers are perfectly happy to condemn the illegal actions of Israel that they tacitly support and facilitate, but refuse to take action and seek to ban all others from taking action. Countless times, we have heard that settlements harm the peace process. Countless times, the US, UK, EU and Canada have condemned the appropriation of Palestinian land for the building of such settlements. The US even has a law stating that products made in settlements may not be labeled “Made in Israel.” Despite all this, no action is taken by the liberal, democratic, human rights defending western powers. These laws are not enforced. No pressure is put upon Israel to stop its expansionists policies. Israel known this, and the Netanyahu government seems to take special pleasure in announcing the appropriation of West Bank land and the issuing of permits for building more settlement houses on occasions of visits by Vice President Joe Biden. Continue reading “We bark, but we don’t bite. (And you better not, either)”

Rhetorical Terrorism

Terror is a name that is never assumed but always tendered. The taxonomy that transforms it from a practice into an identity is always particular. State power designates certain practices as terror and christens those who commit them as terrorists.

-Joseph Massad, The Persistence of the Palestine Question

 

We are accused of terrorism

If we defended the land

And the honor of the dust

If we revolted against the rape of our people

And our rape

If we defended the last palm tree in our desert

The last stars in our sky

The last syllabi of our names

The last milk in our mothers’ bosoms

-Nizar Qabbani, “I am with Terrorism”

 

“Semantic satiation” is the process by which the repetition of a word causes it to temporarily lose meaning, rendering it empty sounds it to ears of the speaker. This process is being performed in front of our eyes (or ears) by media, politicians and the public at large with a particular pernicious word: ‘terrorism.’ According to conventional definitions, terrorism is politically motivated violence aimed at creating terror. However, as more and more violence is being carried out across the world by states, non-state actors and individuals, the use of the word has proliferated in tandem. Whether or not these acts of violence are actually terrorism according to the definition is irrelevant; the word is used regardless. When actual acts of terrorism are carried out therefore, describing them as terrorist seems to be pointless as semantic satiation has rendered the word meaningless. Continue reading “Rhetorical Terrorism”