Over the past few weeks, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Donald Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials told Barak Ravid of Axios, according to a report published Wednesday.
According to the report, the Israeli government ordered the IDF to commence the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment indicating that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Additionally, the report detailed that the IDF’s preparedness measures relate to possible Iranian retaliation against Israel directly or through Iranian proxies in Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, the Israeli officials said.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise trip to Israel, where he visited the controversial settlements in the Israeli areas of the West Bank and Golan Heights, in an unprecedented move for a sitting U.S. secretary of state. Golan Heights in particular is disputed between Israel and neighboring Syria and the region is also bordered by Lebanon to the north. During the trip, the topic of Iran was discussed.
The Axios article mentioned that The New York Times reported last week that Trump, in a meeting with senior members of his national security team, brought up the idea of possibly striking Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.
The Times reported that Trump presented the idea after a briefing on an International Atomic Energy Agency report about Iran’s growing stockpiles of enriched uranium, but that high-ranking officials warned him about the dangers of escalating regional tensions. Those high-ranking officials were reported to include Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo. The president also reportedly seemed convinced that striking Iran directly would be too big of a risk, but has considered alternate options, per The Times.
State Department officials traveling with Pompeo last week to many Gulf countries to discuss Iran told reporters “all options are on the table.” During that Gulf tour, U.S. Central Command announced that B-52 strategic bombers had conducted a “short-notice, long-range mission into the Middle East to deter aggression and reassure U.S. partners and allies,” which Axios noted was seen as another signal to Iran.
Israeli officials also told Axios that, during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Sunday meeting in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the main topic was Iran, the Saudis’ biggest rival in the region.
Even some Iranian figures are saying that a U.S. attack against it would have explosive consequences. Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Iran’s leader and a possible candidate in Iran’s upcoming presidential elections, last week told the Associated Press that such a strike against Iran could set off a “full-fledged war” in the wider region.
Moreover, senior Israeli officials told Axios they expect the United States will notify Israel ahead of any U.S. strike against Iran. These officials, however, are reportedly concerned that such a warning from the U.S. won’t be sufficient to fully prepare. The Israeli government thus ordered the IDF to begin taking preparatory steps just in case such a scenario were to occur, Axios reported.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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PA President Abbas pushes ‘institutionalized anti-Semitism’ against Jews
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, while in Germany and standing next to German chancellor Olaf Scholz, accused Israel of committing “50 holocausts” against the Palestinians. This follows a long tradition of Abbas’ anti-Semitic statements on the Holocaust. In 2018, Abbas accused Jews of being “subjected to a massacre every 10 to 15 years…not because of their religion, but rather their social behavior related to usury and banks.” In 2015, Abbas also stated that “[i]f they [Jews] say they made sacrifices in World War II, and we respect what they say, they should not treat us the way they were treated [by the Nazis].” And in his 1984 book, The Other Side: The Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism, Abbas stated that “We find that Zionists believe in the purity of the Jewish race, as Hitler believed in the purity of the Aryan race.”
Such anti-Semitism runs rampant in the Palestinian Authority (PA). PA political figures and press have consistently defamed Israel by comparing it to Nazi Germany to brainwash the Palestinian population against reconciliation and normalization with the Jewish state. Since 2021 alone, there have been ample examples of the PA using such drivel in their propaganda machine. This is part of a much larger, institutionalized anti-Semitism embedded in Palestinian nationalism itself.
Claim #1: Israel, Israelis are Nazi Germany, Nazis
PA media and political figures liken Israel to Nazi Germany, and Israelis to Nazis. Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub called “Zionism and this racist fascist occupation” “the ugly face of Nazism,” and called Israelis “the new Nazis who are working to eliminate the Palestinian people.” The Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida has accused Israel of “carrying out the Hitleresque holocaust anew against the Palestinian Arab people and the peoples of the Arab world.” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also stated that, regarding Jewish violence against Arabs in the May 2021 riots in Israel, that “Israel has repeated Kristallnacht.” [The reality was that Jewish violence against Arabs was widely condemned in Israel and paled in comparison to Arab violence against Jews during that same time.] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also stated that “Israel is becoming a state most similar to Nazi Germany.”
Claim #2: Israel’s Leadership are Nazis
PA media and political figures also liken Israel’s leaders to Nazis. Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub calledNetanyahu “the ugly face of Mussolini and Hitler.” A political cartoon on the website of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture portrays Benjamin Netanyahu dressed as Hitler giving a Nazi-salute with a blood-drenched hand with the caption “Adolf Netanyahu.” A host on PA TV stated that “What Eichmann did to the Jews in Austria, they’re doing- [Israeli Parliament Member] Naftali Bennett is doing to us, exactly. They have copied the experience.”
Claim #3: Israel’s Prisons Are Nazi Death Camps
Lastly, PA media and political figures also liken Israel’s prison system to the Nazi death camps and crematoria. Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub called Israeli prisons “an identical copy of Auschwitz and the death camps.” PA Shari’ah Judge Nasser Al-Qirem referred to Israel’s prisons as the “Nazi occupation’s bastilles.” The Official PA dailyAl-Hayat Al-Jadida accused Israel of carrying out crimes against Palestinian civilians similar to “Hitler’s Nazi detention camps,” and earlier had stated that Israel’s “detention camps have become most similar to the Nazi crematoriums.”
Abbas’ statement that Israel has committed “50 holocausts” against the Palestinian people should not be surprising, given that Abbas has made similar anti-Semitic statements for years. The Palestinian Authority in turn, through various political figures and its press propagate similar statements. Coupled with other anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, and even jihadi comments, the Biden administration should not further accommodate the PA, nor seek to join it in the Abraham Accords.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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