19/03/2010 05:14

National infrastructures minister says lessening the world’s reliance on petroleum is a “strategic necessity.”

National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau on Thursday called on the United States and the rest of the international community to work with Israel to lessen the world’s reliance on petroleum, something he said would help dry out a crucial source of funding for states hostile to the West.

The Israel Beiteinu MK said investment in alternative sources of energy is a “strategic necessity” because “today, out of every shekel or dollar that we pay at the gas station, a not small portion gets into the hands of those same radical groups and terror organizations that cooperate with states like Iran. With the success of [alternative energy] programs like these, it’s possible to defeat terror without firing a single bullet.”

The West’s “addiction to oil” made the issue of alternative energy of paramount importance and “if we don’t find a substitute for Arab oil, their ability to wage extortion will rise along with the price of oil. We need to create these substitutes not by 30 years from now, not by 20 years from now; we need to create them now,” he said.

Landau’s comments came during a meeting held with reporters in Tel Aviv ahead of his trip to Washington to attend the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, which begins on Sunday.

Landau said his trip would not focus on diplomatic issues, and that the central focus would be to speak about the need for greater cooperation among Western states to find ways to lessen their reliance on foreign oil and to develop markets and infrastructure for alternative energy.

To advance this goal, Landau will meet with US government officials who deal in issues relating to alternative energy, and will speak to American Jewish leaders about Israel’s efforts in the field.

As for the row with the Obama administration over Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, Landau said “there is no crisis, we just have differences of opinion.”

Landau said he had no doubt that “the current crisis has passed and the US government sees in Israel a partner in the struggle against the Iranian nuclear program and Islamic terror.”