It is rare that a high official in a government will admit that his country has been killing foreigners without any declaration of war or being subjected to an imminent threat, but that is exactly what Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi has done recently, boasting on a Sunday morning talk radio show that “Israel is the only country in the world that has been killing Iranians for two years now.”
Hanegbi’s candid admission of a policy that is a war crime included his description of how Israel “strikes the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria, sometimes admits it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it. Sometimes the chief of staff [reveals it], sometimes the outgoing air force chief [reveals it], but it’s all coordinated policy.”
The interviewer then asked “what would happen should Israel get in trouble with Iran?” and Hanegbi responded that
“You can see that the Iranians are very limited in their responses [to Britain’s seizure of their tanker], and it’s not because they don’t have abilities, it’s because they understand that Israel means business.”
Hangebi went on to add that Israel is “very aggressive when it comes to our national security… We still didn’t see the Iranians backing off from their intention to entrench themselves militarily in Syria, and this campaign isn’t over. But they know exactly who to mess with, and who can be annoyed. We can’t.”
The minister’s comments inevitably were not reported in the western media, which is reluctant to air anything that demonstrates just how irresponsible Israeli policies actually are. In the United States, in particular, the Jewish state is consistently portrayed as some kind of perpetual victim in spite of the fact that it is the only nuclear armed power in its neighborhood as well as having the most powerful conventional military arsenal.
The Iranian government did not respond directly to the report of the Israeli minister’s comments, but there was some mention on Tehran’s Press TV local broadcast, which noted that “This is how Israelis are freely and proudly talking about killing Iranians! Just imagine what would happen if it was the other way around!” Indeed. A boast by Iran that it had been very successful at killing Israelis would have produced shocked headlines in every European and American newspaper.
The Israeli admission that it is attacking targets in Syria should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following developments in the region. That there have been hundreds of attacks may be an exaggeration to impress the Israeli listeners regarding their country’s military prowess, but it is certainly true that numerous incidents have been recorded both by the Syrian government and by foreign observers. In one notorious incident on Christmas Day 2018, Israeli warplanes masked their approach to targets inside Syria by flying closely behind civilian airliners transiting the region. It has been speculated that they hoped that Syrian air defenses would respond by shooting down a civilian plane, creating a major crisis for the Bashar al-Assad government. In the event, the Syrians held their fire and the Israeli warplanes launched their missiles against targets near Damascus, killing Syrian military personnel and civilians on the ground.
What is astonishing is that Minister Hangebi does not perceive the implications of the Israeli government’s apparent willingness to kill Syrians on the ground by intent and also as collateral damage even though it is not at war with Damascus. It does so with the stated objective of killing Iranians even though it is also not at war with Iran. It is, to state it succinctly, several war crimes tied up in one package and it would make the Jewish state uniquely a rogue among nations but for the fact that the United States has done the same sort of thing with cruise missile strikes in Syria, though not in as sustained a fashion as have the Israelis.
Israel’s willingness to use its armed forces in what might be described as non-traditional roles creates some very specific problems for the region. One particular concern is that the Israelis might stage a false flag attack, possibly in cooperation with its temporary friend Saudi Arabia, to draw outside powers into a war with Iran. The recent incidents involving mining two tankers, attributed to Iran but much more likely a false flag, nearly succeeded in doing just that. Subsequent incidents involving the seizures of a tanker carrying Iranian oil by the British and a retaliatory move against two British tankers by the Iranians have threatened to escalate into a shooting war. There should be little doubt that any ambiguous armed exchange involving Iran and Israel would see the American Jewish dominated media immediately laying the blame on the Iranians, producing demands by the Israel Lobby, Christian Zionists and Congress to get involved in the conflict.
There should also be particular concern over developments in neighboring Iraq, even though the country is not yet under attack by the Israelis. Shi’te militias in the country, linked to Iran, have long demanded that American military bases be closed down. Recent rocket attacks on the bases have been blamed on the militias, with Washington placing particular emphasis on the militia links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, which has now been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department. The Israelis are well aware of the dynamics of what is going on in Iraq and might be inclined to stage an incident in that country that will kill Americans and be blamed on the Iranians. The comments by Minister Hangebi that Israel is “very aggressive when it comes to our national security” would strongly suggest that his country is prepared to do anything – even something quite stupid – to eliminate what it sees as the Iranian threat.
The tragedy in all this for Americans is that Washington is being led into war by an Israeli propaganda and influence machine that is second to none. In May four hundred Congressmen signed on to a generic bill that was intended as a blanket endorsement of Israeli behavior and a blank check for the ruthless Netanyahu government to do whatever it sees fit in “self-defense,” with Washington willing to be dragged into a conflict in which it has no real interest just to show its loyalty to the Zionist enterprise. More recently, by last Tuesday’s vote of 398 to 176, another Congressional bill condemned and established penalties against the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has become a bête noire for all of Israel’s friends. If America is ever to regain its independence from foreign entanglements the time to start is now and the process should begin by disengaging from Israel.
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This article was originally published on American Herald Tribune.
Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image: Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi. Credit: Facebook