JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Everyone in Israel is waiting for the ground invasion of northern Gaza to begin.
Why hasn’t it started already?
Some in the media are speculating that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just “blinked,” and isn’t serious about eradicating the Hamas terrorist organization.
That’s not it.
One obvious reason for the delay: Israel wants all Palestinian civilians in the northern half of Gaza to move south, out of the way of the coming IDF invasion.
Another: Netanyahu has been welcoming major world leaders in recent days, including U.S. President Joe Biden, the German chancellor and the British prime minister. Time is needed to brief these and other leaders on the atrocities Hamas has committed, as well as Iran’s involvement in the attacks.
Another: The IDF is presently mobilizing more than 360,000 reservists, positioning them on the Gaza and Lebanon borders, and in the West Bank. It takes time to get all of the troops, tanks, and other materials into position and get everyone ready to fight.
But I believe there may very well be yet another reason.
The most important of all.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said something to which more people should pay attention.
“We are preparing for the next stages of war,” Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht told reporters. “We haven’t said what they will be. Everybody's talking about the ground offensive. It might be something different.”
To what might he be referring?
I believe the most likely scenario is that Netanyahu and his war cabinet are actively considering launching a massive preemptive strike on Iran.
For almost half a century, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been launching one terrorist attack after another against the United States, against Israel, against our Arab allies in the region, and against Jews and Christians all over the world.
Yet, how often has the Iranian regime ever paid a serious military price?
Now, the mullahs are feverishly racing to build fully operational nuclear weapons.
They’re already at 84% enrichment of uranium.
That is almost at 90% to 95% military-grade enrichment.
For 15 years or more, Netanyahu has been warning that the world must find a way to neutralize the Iran nuclear threat or Israel might have to launch a preemptive military strike.
I’ve written novels and non-fiction books about such a scenario.
But it’s never happened.
Now, suddenly – tragically – Israel has a pretext.
We all know that Iran funds, trains and arms Hamas.
That means that Iran is just as guilty of the slaughter of more than 1,400 Israelis as Hamas is.
That means the Supreme Leader is just as culpable for killing more Jews in 14 days than any other time since the Holocaust.
We also know that Hezbollah – Iran’s proxy terror army in Lebanon, with its 200,000 missiles all aimed at Israel – is itching to join the fight.
That’s why I’m certain that Netanyahu and his war cabinet – including current Defense Minister Yoav Gallant; Benny Gantz, Israel’s former defense minister and former IDF chief of staff; Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer; and Gadi Eisenkot, another former IDF chief of staff – are actively discussing the possibility of launching a preemptive and massive strike against Iran, and assassinating Iran’s leaders.
Possibly before the IDF goes into Gaza.
Why not cut off the head of the snake first, especially if Israel is already going to be in a two-front war with Hamas and Hezbollah in the coming days?
Put another way: What’s the point of leaving the Iranian regime and nuclear program alone when we’re already going to war with two of Iran’s terror proxies?
That’s why I also believe Netanyahu and his team are actively discussing this prospect with U.S. President Biden and his team, including the secretaries of State and Defense, along with the CENTCOM commander who was in Israel this week.
That could be why Biden moved two aircraft carrier strike groups into the Eastern Mediterranean this week.
True, Biden doesn’t want a regional war.
But I believe Biden and his inner circle were truly and viscerally horrified by the slaughter of Jews that Hamas committed.
They know that time is short.
They know that if Iran isn’t stopped soon, they will get The Bomb, and then all hell will break loose.
They also know the American people will never forgive the Democrats if they allow Tehran to build nuclear weapons that cannot only annihilate Israel but obliterate the United States, as well.
In this 21-minute YouTube video, I explain my sense of what’s happening in more detail.
But let me just add this.
I share the fears of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who said this week the region is moving “to the verge of the abyss.”
My family and I live in Jerusalem.
We know that we and our friends and neighbors could be killed in such a war.
But what choice do we have?
Israel is currently in the darkest hour since the prophetic rebirth of the country.
But the slaughter we’ve experienced is nothing compared to the nuclear holocaust we will suffer if the terror masters in Tehran build and use The Bomb.
We may have come to the point of no return.
God have mercy on us all.
NOTE: To be clear, I have no inside information as to what Netanyahu and his advisors are saying behind closed doors. This is a news analysis based on open-source reporting.
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Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.