Intelligence officials from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the U.S. held a meeting last week to discuss specific responses to Iranian retaliatory attacks during a potential war with Tehran, this column has learned.
A senior Egyptian intelligence official said the main talks, which took place in Amman, revolved around the possibility of Iranian-directed Palestinian and Islamic attacks against Israel, Egypt and Jordan during a possible future war with Iran. The official said scenarios discussed revolved only around Iranian retaliatory attacks and did not take into account how any future war with Iran would be initiated or the timing of such a war.
The official said the concern was that Iran would use proxies such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip to attack both Egypt and Israel, while Hizbullah in Lebanon would launch missiles at Israeli population centers, including Tel Aviv. Also, there is fear that militants inside Jordan allied with the Muslim Brotherhood could attack Jordanian interests.
Hamas in Gaza is said to have rockets capable of reaching just outside Tel Aviv, while Hizbullah possesses Iranian-supplied missiles and rockets that can reach most Israeli population centers.
Al-Quds President: Islam Always Recognized
Jewish Connection To Temple Mount
A prestigious Palestinian professor told this column that the Muslim denial of a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount is political and that historically Muslims did not dispute Jewish ties to the site.
“If you went back a couple of hundred years, before the advent of the political form of Zionism, I think you will find that many Muslims would not have disputed the connection that Jews have toward [the Mount],” said Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University in eastern Jerusalem.
“The problem began arising with the advent of Zionism, when people started connecting a kind of feeling that Jews have toward the area with the political project of Zionism,” Nusseibeh said.
According to sources inside the Palestinian Authority, Nusseibeh has come under some PA pressure for writing in a recent study that Jews historically revered the Temple Mount before the time of Muhammad and Islam.
The PA sources denied that any threats had been made against Nusseibeh but conceded that PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s office had asked the professor to issue a clarification acknowledging the Palestinian line denying Jewish ties to the Mount. The sources indicated that if Nusseibeh did not issue a clarification his position as Al-Quds’ president could be in jeopardy.
Nusseibeh, however, denied that he has received any threats over the matter. “I am surprised that people are surprised by what I wrote. There is nothing in Islam that denies the fact that Judaism is one of the religions of the book,” he said.
Hamas Slowly Setting Stage
For West Bank Takeover?
Hamas is working to establish a military wing in the strategic West Bank, according to Jordanian intelligence officials speaking to this reporter.
The Obama administration has backed a Palestinian Authority-led state in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month announced a 10-month freeze of Jewish construction in the territory in an attempt to jumpstart talks aimed at creating a West Bank PA state, a move that would first require Israel’s retreat from the area.
Following Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas seized the coastal territory, forcibly expelling the U.S.-trained security forces of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Now, Jordanian intelligence officials say, Hamas is attempting to set the stage for an eventual West Bank takeover.
The officials disclosed that the PA in recent months discovered millions of dollars in cash with Hamas militants in key Fatah-controlled cities, such as Ramallah and Nablus. Upon interrogation, the Hamas members admitted the funds were to be used to aid in the establishment of a military wing in the West Bank, the security officials said.
PA security officials previously told this column that a recent Fatah investigation discovered that Hamas attempted with some success to establish a military wing in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, a longtime Fatah stronghold, although the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terror group also has a presence there.
Fatah’s investigation also found that some members of its declared military wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, were recruited by Hamas in Jenin with higher paychecks, security officials said.
Incidences of Fatah fighters joining Hamas are significant since Hamas’s infiltration of Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip was thought to have been the Achilles heel that led to the terror group’s takeover in 2007 of the entire Gaza Strip.
Sderot Chanukah Message: We’re Here To Stay
Jewish residents of a rocket-battered city outside the Gaza Strip lit a menorah on Chanukah fashioned out of hollowed Palestinian Qassam rockets that had been shot at their town.
“This is a symbol to our enemies that despite thousands of rockets fired at Sderot, our spirit has not broken. We are here to stay,” Josh Hasten, spokesman for Yeshiva Hesder Sderot, told this column.
Sderot, a city of almost 20,000 residents, is less then a mile from the Gaza Strip. More than 10,000 rockets have been fired at Jewish population centers there during the last eight years. The rocketing increased exponentially after Hamas seized control of Gaza following Israel’s retreat from the territory in 2005.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “The Late Great State of Israel.” Follow Klein on Twitter under the name “AaronKleinWND.”