Israeli official broaches nuclear strike on Gaza

Gaza

A member of the Israeli cabinet broached a nuclear strike on the Gaza Strip Nov. 5, making outraged headlines in the Arab world. Jerusalem Affairs & Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu of the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party said in a radio interview that there are “no non-combatants in Gaza,” and using a nuclear weapon on the Palestinian enclave is “one of the possibilities.” The comment was immediately repudiated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who issued a statement saying that Eliyahu has been suspended from cabinet meetings “until further notice.” Eliyahu is not a member of the special “war cabinet” formed for the Gaza campaign, Netanyahu’s office emphasized, adding: “Eliyahu’s statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory.” (The Guardian, Haaretz, Politico)

Nonetheless,Ā this comes as the death toll in nearly a month of Gaza bombardmentĀ hits 9,770, according to the Strip’s health ministryā€”at leastĀ 4,008 of them children. (Al Jazeera) Increasingly genocidal rhetoric has been repeatedly voiced by Israeli officials up to and including Netanyahu over the course of the campaign.

After Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s highly anticipated Nov. 3 speech was less bellicose than expected (merely expressing support for Hamas but including no threat to escalate the conflict),Ā Pentagon representative BrigĀ Gen.Ā Patrick Ryder told the BBC that “a broader regional conflict has been deterred…. Right now, we see this conflict as contained between Israel and Hamas.” (ToI)

But even as he spoke, the nuclear-powered (and presumably nuclear-armed) submarine USS Florida arrived in the Middle East, to operateĀ under the command of the USĀ Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which polices the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Arabian Seaā€”a clear signalĀ to Iran and its regional allies. The Ohio-classĀ submarine passed through the Suez Canal Nov. 3 into the Red Sea, asĀ the Fifth Fleet issuedĀ a warningĀ for all vessels in the waters it patrols to proceed with caution due to elevated tensions. (FDD)

Additionally, the Israel Defense Forces on Nov. 2 released a video showing one of its fighter jets intercepting a missile said to have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. (ToI)Ā This was theĀ secondĀ interception of a Houthi missileĀ presumaby launched toward Israel from Yemen since the start of the Gaza campaign.

Photo: Maan News Agency

  1. Not the first threat to nuke Gaza

    Eliyahu is not the first Israeli politician to suggest using nuclear weapons against in Gaza. “Jericho missile! Jericho missile! A strategic alert, before we consider introducing our forces. A doomsday weapon!” Likud MK Revital Gotliv wrote in a post on X (Twitter) two days after the attacks. “This is my opinion. May God preserve all our strength.” (news.com.au)

  2. Israel continues to bomb refugee camps

    Israel’s military on Nov. 6 bombed al-Maghazi refugeeĀ camp, killing some 50 people. Al-Maghazi camp, in central Gaza, is located in the evacuation zone where Israel had urged Palestinians to seek refuge. Recent days have also seen attacks onĀ on the Jabalia and Bureij refugee camps that Palestinian officials say killed more than 200 people. (Al Jazeera)

  3. Is USS Florida nuclear-armed?

    Presumably not. CNN writes that “the US Navy has four Ohio-class guided missile submarines, or SSGNs, which are former ballistic missile subs converted to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles rather than nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.”

  4. Houthi rebels seize cargo ship in Red Sea

    Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea on Nov. 19, taking 25 crew members hostage. The rebels claimed the hijacking was in response to the ship’s connection to Israel, and declared an intention to target ships linked to or owned by Israelis in international waters until the end of Israel’s campaign in theĀ Gaza Strip, stating that such vessels will be considered “legitimate targets,”Ā the AP reported.

    According to TankerTracker, a company that tracks large cargo tankers in real time, the ship flys a Bahamian flag is insured in the UK, owned in the UK, managed by a Greek company and chartered by the Japanese company NYK. TankerTracker also stated that the ship was leaving the port of Korfez, Turkey and traveling to Pipavav, India at the time of seizure. It is difficult to confirm or deny whether the ship has any association with Israel due to itā€™s multi-national connections; however, some reports have claimed the ship is associated with Ray Shipping Ltd. which is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Jurist)