Israel is preparing for the largest mass protest it has ever endured, and might also be preparing to strike Iran, whatever the world thinks.
The Global March on Jerusalem
Within a few hours at the time of posting, thousands of Arab protesters plan to swarm the borders that Israel shares with Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The Arabs plan to converge on Jerusalem, which Israel has controlled since it took the eastern half away from Jordan in the Six-Day War. UPI reports some hints at dissension in the ranks, seemingly because the Iranians have involved themselves, to the chagrin of some protesters.
The Tzahal (Defensive Armies of Israel) pledged to treat anyone trying to storm the border as “an infiltrator.” Typically that means to stop them by any means necessary, but not to use deadly force unless nothing else will avail.
Passover leaves canceled
Two Tzahal (Israel Defense Force) soldiers walk casually on the Golan Heights. File photo: CNAV
In addition, the chief of staff of the Tzahal, Rav Aluf Benny Gantz, canceled the traditional Passover leave. He has ordered all his forces to stay combat-ready through the holiday season. The report, from Trend (Azerbaijan) and Xinhua, says that Gantz’ staff denied that any strike against Iran was imminent, or that it prompted Gantz to cancel the leaves. But this is the first time in modern memory that members of the Tzahal have not had leave on Passover.
However, unconfirmed reports from Israel speak of an unusually heavy pace of military activity in all regions, including Israel proper, Judea, and Samaria.
Israel and Azerbaijan allied?
Finally, Foreign Policy has this report that Israel and Azerbaijan have signed a temporary agreement by which the Israel Air Force might use some military bases southeast of Baku. The Azeris would probably not let the IAF stage directly out of those bases to strike at targets inside Iran. But they might let Israeli F15I fighters and F16I fighter-bombers land there to re-fuel and re-arm after such a strike. The Israel Air Force can do many things, but they cannot match the skill of the US Air Force in air-to-air refueling.
Iran has long coveted Azerbaijan, and has a native Azeri population with aspirations for “reunification.” If that sounds familiar, it should: it recalls how the Sudetenland Germans aspired to re-unify with Germany. Adolf HItler exploited that fact, first to persuade Czechoslovakia to give up the Sudetenland,a and then to stage out of the Sudetenland to invade and occupy Czechoslovakia. The Iranians are playing the same game, and the Azeris know it.
Furthermore, Israel suspects that the Obama administration deliberately leaked the story that it might be arranging to use Azeri air bases in this way. Barack Obama does not want any war with Iran to break out during his campaign for re-election.
Israel, Iran to go to war?