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New York Times

As Annexation Looms, Israeli Experts Warn of Security Risks

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JERUSALEM — To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s a “historic opportunity”: the chance to annex large stretches of the occupied West Bank that right-wing Israelis have long coveted, possibly giving the country a permanent eastern border for the first time.

Annexation would also cement his place in history, carving out a permanent legacy for Israel’s longest-serving leader. And although he has not disclosed the scope of his plan, he has promised to move forward with it as soon as July 1.

But as that date nears, a growing chorus of respected former Israeli military, intelligence and diplomatic officials is denouncing any unilateral annexation as a grave risk to Israel’s security.

Imposing Israeli sovereignty on territory the Palestinians have counted on for a future state could ignite a new uprising on the West Bank, these experts warn. Neighboring Jordan could be destabilized. Israel’s move would be broadly denounced as illegal, potentially leading to international isolation.

And the resulting furor, they say, could distract from efforts to intensify pressure on the country Mr. Netanyahu has long portrayed as the greatest threat facing Israel and the world: Iran.

“In the military, you learn at the lowest level to focus on the main effort,” said Amos Gilead, a retired major general in military intelligence who was also an envoy to the Arab world. “To be united with the Arabs against Iran is an unbelievable advantage,” he said. Instead, he said, “We will unite the whole world against us.”

Image
Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

Already, Arab leaders have warned that annexation would threaten Israel’s progress in forging ties with their countries, in part over their common adversary in Tehran — progress that Mr. Netanyahu has brandished as proof of his statesmanship.

The Trump administration supports annexation in principle, and several Americans, including Ambassador David Friedman, are part of the joint Israeli-American committee that is working in secret to map Israel’s new borders.

But annexation is fueling consternation among Democrats in Congress and is opposed by the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., all of whom favor a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr. Netanyahu has not responded publicly to the criticism, saying recently, “The less I say about this now, the greater our chances of achieving the best result.”

And the few officials in a position to explain and defend his thinking have refused to do so publicly. His office refused to comment for this article, as did Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador in Washington and a key figure in the annexation push.

Mr. Netanyahu promised last fall to annex the strategically important Jordan Valley, a move that would create an eastern border abutting Jordan. In January, he said he would annex even more: about 30 percent of the West Bank, including dozens of existing Jewish settlements, in keeping with a conceptual map in the Trump administration’s peace plan.

But the administration has since called upon Mr. Netanyahu to reach a consensus with his centrist coalition partner, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who has opposed unilateral moves. Their private talks have produced trial balloons — from a modest, largely symbolic annexation to taking the whole 30 percent, or moving in phases — but little clarity.

The Palestinians have rejected any unilateral move as a violation of Israel’s commitments to mutually negotiated borders under the Oslo accords. They have withdrawn from the agreement and the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, has suspended security cooperation with Israel in protest.

The fear most unnerving Israelis is that their sons and daughters could be sent into combat. If the Palestinian Authority collapses or Palestinians respond with an uprising, Israel could be forced to militarily reoccupy a restive West Bank.

“Look us in the eyes,” demands a new ad campaign by a prominent group of opponents, Commanders for Israel’s Security, over a photo of a young Israeli infantryman. “Admit that you have no idea how unilateral annexation will end.”

Image

Credit…Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Backers of annexation downplay the odds of a resurgence of violence on the West Bank, noting that similar predictions after President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his decision to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv never materialized.

But security experts say that annexation would be far more provocative, tantamount to saying that the state that Palestinians thought they were building was no longer in the cards.

“The moment there is unilateral annexation, the Palestinian Authority will lose its legitimacy,” Mr. Gilead said. “If they do, sooner or later they will not be able to show their faces in the Palestinian street. And who will pay the price? Our soldiers.”

Israeli taxpayers could pay, too: Resuming a full-blown military occupation would cost billions, experts say. In addition to ending security cooperation, Palestinian officials started the financial equivalent of a hunger strike to show they are willing to let the authority collapse if Israel annexes territory.

Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired general in military intelligence who is among the most outspoken supporters of annexation, dismissed the idea that Israel would have to take full control even in Palestinian cities.

“It’s nonsense,” he said. “We are not going to annex Nablus. The Palestinians will take care of themselves.”

But relegating the Palestinians to self-government in confined areas — places Israeli critics have likened to “bantustans” — could close the door to a viable state, forcing Israel to choose between granting Palestinians citizenship and leaving them in an apartheidlike second-class status indefinitely.

“If we take steps that make separation from the Palestinians impossible, we may undermine or destroy the very root of the entire Zionist enterprise,” said Sallai Meridor, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Repercussions could be felt in Jordan, a key security partner for Israel, where a majority of the population has Palestinian roots.

The Palestinian majority will put pressure on King Abdullah II to take bold action against Israel in response to any annexation, experts say. And annexation would reinforce fears in Jordan that the Palestinians, denied a state on the West Bank, would try to make Jordan their new homeland instead.

Image

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Abdullah, who appealed to the U.S. Senate by video conference this week, has warned of a “massive conflict.”

Israeli analysts say he could close Jordan’s embassy in Israel, possibly scrap a new deal to import natural gas from Israel, or even curtail security cooperation that includes intelligence sharing and allowing overflights by Israeli jets attacking Iranian targets in Syria.

Mr. Kuperwasser discounted the impact of any Jordanian reaction.

“There are limits in how far they can go,” he said, speculating that the kingdom’s heavy dependence on aid from Washington would limit its response.

Mr. Netanyahu has wowed Israelis by making diplomatic inroads in the Arab and Muslim worlds. He has crusaded against Iran’s nuclear project and its ambitions in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. And he has relegated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the international back burner.

But annexation could undo much of that diplomatic progress in an instant, critics warn.

A senior United Arab Emirates diplomat warned Israelis that annexation would reverse Israel’s efforts to forge deeper ties with his country and the wider Arab world. A host of countries have issued statements opposing annexation, and the German foreign minister flew to Jerusalem last week to urge Israel to stand down.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Thursday that annexation “would inevitably have significant consequences” for the bloc’s relationship with Israel.

Mr. Meridor, the former ambassador, warned in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot of damage to Israel’s ties “with the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries,” adding: “True, the relationship with President Trump is important and good, but should we put all our eggs in one basket?”

At a minimum, he said in an interview, annexation would pose an immediate problem for Israel’s envoys by depriving them of their strongest response to questions about the protracted subjugation of Palestinians.

“This was the easiest and most compelling answer that any Israeli diplomat could give throughout the years,” he said. “‘We’re willing to negotiate, to compromise, but the other side turned us down.’ That’s an asset we’ve had. And we may lose it if we annex unilaterally.”

To Mr. Kuperwasser, the goal is not just to expand Israel’s territory but to show the Palestinians that they will lose something for refusing to engage with Israel on the basis of the Trump administration’s plan.

Image

Credit…Ahmad Gharabli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Before, we needed the consent of the Palestinians for any move,” he said. “This new paradigm says, from now on, you don’t have veto power.”

Mr. Kuperwasser said annexing the Jordan Valley was the best way to drive that point home, because the Palestinians want it as a gateway to the Arab world, while Israelis consider controlling it nonnegotiable for security reasons.

He acknowledged some of the diplomatic risks and expressed hope that they could be mitigated beforehand. But he said it was more important not to miss a “golden opportunity” that could evaporate with a Trump defeat in November.

Even an opponent of annexation, Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan, acknowledged what he called a rare “alignment of the stars” in favor of it: a president with a “messianic mission” to support Israel, and the pandemic and economic turmoil diverting regional attention to local matters rather than geopolitics.

“It’s a Rolls-Royce, but the price fell by half,” Mr. Eran said. “It’s red, electric, and you have to recharge it only once a week. Who wouldn’t want that deal?”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/world/middleeast/isael-annexation-west-bank-risks.html

Cleantech

The Myth That EVs Aren’t Cost Competitive Is Highly Misleading, & Harmful

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The New York Times has published an article stating that EVs aren’t for everyone unless they get cheaper. I agree with this. However, the outlet seems to be missing the story. They are already much, much cheaper than they were five years ago, and they keep getting cheaper. The article neglected to mention this and […]
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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/08/10/the-myth-that-evs-arent-cost-competitive-is-highly-misleading-harmful/

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CNN

Ranked: America’s Most Searched and Visited News Sites by State

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America's Most Searched News Sites

Ranked: America’s Most Searched News Sites by State

America is known to have significant distinctions at the state-by-state level, and data suggests this trend extends to popular news sources. To learn more, this infographic from SEMRush ranks U.S. news websites by search volume and popularity across U.S. states.

Here’s how the top 15 news sites compare when ranked by monthly visitors, as well as the number of states the news source is most searched for in:

  News Site Monthly Visitors State Search Popularity Top Metro Area
1 Yahoo! News 175 million 12 Eureka, California (CA)
2 Google News 150 million 3 Eureka, California (CA)
3 Huff Post 110 million 1 Eureka, California (CA)
4 CNN 95 million 7 Bend, Oregon (OR)
5 The New York Times 70 million 1 Charlottesville, Virginia (VA)
6 Fox News 65 million 11 Glendive, Montana (MT)
7 NBC News 63 million 3 Charlottesville, Virginia (VA)
8 MailOnline 53 million 1 West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce, Florida (FL)
9 The Washington Post 47 million 1 Washington, DC and Hagerstown, Maryland (MD)
10 The Guardian 42 million 1 Juneau, Alaska (AK)
11 The Wall Street Journal 40 million 1 Charlottesville, Virginia (VA)
12 ABC News 36 million 5 Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri (MO)
13 BBC News 35 million 2 Eureka, California (CA)
14 USA Today 34 million 10 Wausau and Rhinelander, Wisconsin (WI)
15 Los Angeles Times 32 million 1 Palm Springs, California (CA)

Political affiliation plays a large role in determining each state’s favored news sites. Blue states lean towards Google News and CNN, while red states overwhelmingly choose Fox News.

The Most Popular News Sites

Yahoo News is the most popular news website in America, bringing in a massive 175 million monthly visitors. In addition, they’re the most searched for news site in 12 states—the highest of any website. The company’s history has been a roller coaster ride and at different times Yahoo intended to acquire Google and Facebook. Both companies went on to be worth over $1 trillion each, while Yahoo shrank some 90% from when it was once worth $125 billion.

The New York Times has 60 million monthly visitors, but in recent years, has pivoted towards the coveted and trending paid subscription model. This decision is paying off well, as the site now has 6.1 million paid subscribers—more than any of its competitors. Consequently, the New York Times’ share price hit a record high in December 2020.

HuffPost, and their audience of 110 million, were bought by BuzzFeed from Verizon in November of 2020. The two organizations have some history together, as BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti was also one of the early founders of HuffPost.

CNN is seeing a fall in ratings ever since Donald Trump left office. By some measures has witnessed a 36% decline in primetime viewers in the new year.

Google News experiences 125 million visitors a month, ranking second overall. That said, they stand tall relative to their competitors by overall visits to their main site. Here, Google hits 92.5 billion monthly visits, while Yahoo experiences a more modest 3.8 billion. Unlike legacy media news companies, Google has managed to increase their market share of U.S. advertising revenues, due to more ads going digital.

The Modern News Landscape

Overall, the modern news industry has been a tough landscape to operate in. Here are some of the reasons why:

First, the internet has removed barriers to where people obtain information, and revenue streams have been disrupted in the process. The advertising business model of news organizations is cutthroat to compete in, and there has been plenty of consolidation and layoffs.

Lastly, trust in traditional news and media organizations has been declining amongst Americans, from nearly 60% to 46% since 2019.

Year A lot of Trust (%) Some Trust (%) Very Little/ No Trust (%)
1994 35 37 27
1996 36 39 24
1998 34 40 25
2000 36 40 23
2002 35 43 21
2004 30 40 29
2006 31 40 28
2008 24 43 31
2010 22 41 36
2012 21 39 38
2014 18 42 39
2016 21 38 40
2018 20 34 45
2020 18 33 49

To add to this, on a global basis, the U.S. ranks well below most major countries based on trust in news media.

Some organizations like The Washington Post and The New York Times have opted out of the advertising model, moving towards the direction of premium subscriptions. But only 20% of the Americans pay for their news, which could lead to stiff competition down the road.

The Future Of News

There are serious concerns about the future of news in the era of spreading misinformation. Up to 43% of Americans say the media are doing a very “poor/poor job” in supporting democracy. But despite this waning trust, 84% of Americans view news media as “critical” or “very important”.

What will the future of media look like throughout the 21st century and how will this impact the most popular news sites of today?

The post Ranked: America’s Most Searched and Visited News Sites by State appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/americas-most-searched-and-visited-news-sites-by-state/

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Blockchain

The New York Times just turned one of its columns into an NFT

The buyer will have the chance to be featured in the major newspaper and all proceeds of the sale will go to an NYT charity fund.

The post The New York Times just turned one of its columns into an NFT appeared first on The Block.

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The New York Times has turned one of its columns into a non-fungible token (NFT) and it’s up for grabs.

“Why can’t a journalist join the NFT party, too?” wrote NYT tech columnist Kevin Roose in a tweet thread explaining the initiative. 

According to the column, the proceeds of the 24-hour sale will go to the publication’s Neediest Cases Fund, which supports social causes in New York and elsewhere. In addition to this, the buyer will be featured in a follow-up article about the sale, along with their name, affiliation, and an image of their choosing. Buyers also have the option to remain anonymous. 

At press time, the NFT was bidding at 4.65 ETH (about $7,600) on NFT marketplace Foundation, which hosted the sale of the “Nyan Cat” graphic for $600,000. 

The Times is the latest publication to explore the use of NFTs, which are akin to digital certificates or tags connected to a piece of art or creative work. The data is held in the form of a token on a blockchain network, with the idea being that said tokens are unique and scarce.

TIME Magazine has minted and is in the process of selling three of its issue covers, currently bidding at 31 ETH (nearly $53,000). Quartz sold its first NFT news article for 1 ETH (about $1,800).

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Source: https://www.theblockcrypto.com/linked/99255/new-york-times-column-nft?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

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Blockchain

New York Times Writer Turns Latest Column Into NFT

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You should never make an investment decision on an ICO, IEO, or other investment based on the information on this website, and you should never interpret or otherwise rely on any of the information on this website as investment advice. We strongly recommend that you consult a licensed investment advisor or other qualified financial professional if you are seeking investment advice on an ICO, IEO, or other investment. We do not accept compensation in any form for analyzing or reporting on any ICO, IEO, cryptocurrency, currency, tokenized sales, securities, or commodities.

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Source: https://cryptobriefing.com/new-york-times-writer-turns-column-nft/

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