11th Mar 2024

Hamas Did NOT Attack Israel on Oct. 7th, Hamas Was Defending the Al-Aqsa mosque

By C. Rice, PPEmpire

NOTE: This is a totally free article, no subscriptions or pay walls, no ads or pop ups, no donation buttons or anything to join or buy. No spam! I do not profit from any of this. I am not running for any political office, nor do I endorse any candidates or political parties.

Make no mistakes about it, Israel has plans to kill 5.79 million Palestinians, to steal their land and their oil. Yes, my friends this is all about oil. Blood for oil.

The Israelis want Gaza, the West Bank and other areas to be totally destroyed in an effort to force the Palestinians into exile.

This new war will lead into something catastrophic for the world in the foreseeable future, it’s inevitable. I hate to be pessimistic, but the reality is that war is already here, and it will be brutal. The world needs to speak out against this injustice and stop this escalating war in Gaza from becoming a world war that can spin out of control.

The first casualty in war is always the truth, or so I'm told. So much propaganda because there's so much money to be made. The military industrial complex is having a stellar year, so I hope that you have invested bigly like the members of the U.S. Congress has. War is a racket, or so I'm told. A rich man's war and profits but poor man's blood, right? Man, we've really come a long way, wouldn't you say? 

I'm going to show you what the powers that be do not want you to know. Below you will find snippets of articles from the corporate media with links back to the full, original article(s), which will give you new pieces of the puzzle and allow you to see what is really happening and why.

"Trading on Terror?" 

Days before the October 7th Hamas attacks, there was a notable increase in bets against the value of Israeli companies. This suggests that some traders might have possessed advanced knowledge of the impending terror attack and capitalize on it, according to newly released research .

Reuters: Research by law professors Robert Jackson Jr from New York University and Joshua Mitts of Columbia University found significant short-selling of shares leading up to the attacks, which triggered this war.

"Days before the attack, traders appeared to anticipate the events to come," they wrote, citing short interest in the MSCI Israel Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that "suddenly, and significantly, spiked" on Oct. 2 based on data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

"And just before the attack, short selling of Israeli securities on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) increased dramatically," they wrote in their 66-page report.

A spokeswoman for the securities regulator did not elaborate, and Israeli police did not immediately comment.

The researchers said short-selling, in which investors expect the share price to fall, allowing it to be bought back at a lower price at a profit, prior to Oct. 7 "exceeded the short- selling that occurred during numerous other periods of crisis."

They wrote that for Leumi, Israel's largest bank, 4.43 million new shares sold short over the Sept. 14 to Oct. 5 period yielded profits of 3.2 billion shekels ($862 million) on that additional short-selling.

"Although we see no aggregate increase in shorting of Israeli companies on U.S. exchanges, we do identify a sharp and unusual increase, just before the attacks, in trading in risky short-dated options on these companies expiring just after the attacks," they said.

"Our findings suggest that traders informed about the coming attacks profited from these tragic events, and consistent with prior literature we show that trading of this kind occurs in gaps in U.S. and international enforcement of legal prohibitions on informed trading."

The research paper reveals that the bets against the MSCI Israel Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) in the days leading up to the October 7 attack were significantly higher than the levels of short selling observed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, and the 2008 global financial crisis, CNN reported.

One of the authors, Mitts, told CNN that due to the limited nature of public trading data, he believes it is "highly likely" there is more trading that went on behind the scenes. "We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg," Mitts said.

Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said that the claims are inaccurate, as there were no unusual trading ahead of the attack. 

Israel Knew Hamas’s Attack Plan More Than a Year Ago

ABCNews: In the wake of blockbuster new reporting that Israel was aware Hamas was planning a major terror attack more than a year in advance, American officials are continuing to assess that information while Israel plans to conduct its own investigation after fighting ends with Hamas, officials said.

"All of these questions, we're going to have to get to the bottom of it after the war," Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer told ABC "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos

The Times cited a 40-page document, which Israel reportedly obtained, predicting many of the steps taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 terror attack that sparked the current war.

So there are two possibilities:

(1) Netanyahu intentionally sat on the information in the hopes that Hamas attacks, as an excuse to wage war (either to seize more land and/or help his election campaign)

(2) no conspiracy, it was just normal incompetence

Both options are bad.

Based on Netanyahu's legal matters, his history hating the Palestinians, the fact that Israel has one of the most advanced militaries in the world, and also the fact that Israel has more surveillance over its citizens/region than China - it’s obvious he knew. They wanted to be attacked in order to erase the millions of Palestinians in Gaza. This is not a conspiracy. This is also nothing new.

They were warned, they did not listen. Or just ignored it. for the fanatics, it was the opportunity to flatten Gaza and accelerate settlements in the West Bank. In other terms, bye bye two state solution!

Even now, eradicating Hamas isn't the real goal, instead Israel's operation appears aimed at permanently displacing Palestinians in Gaza, with its focus being on killing Palestinians and leaving nothing standing for them to return to.

Which may explain why Israel ignored the Hamas plan it had in its possession a year ago, and all the intelligence suggesting preparations were being made for their implantation. Why else would - knowing all that - Israel allow its defensive posture in the south to lapse so badly?

And why wouldn't they have beefed up security in response to that intelligence? There's a specific goal being accomplished in Gaza, having nothing to do with eradicating Hamas. One that Netanyahu and his cronies felt was worth sacrificing Israeli lives to accomplish.

It was intentional. Not a conspiracy. Netanyahu is the target of multiple investigations and is very unpopular. It's common knowledge that acts of war tend to accrue support behind the leader. Netanyahu is a sponsor of Hamas and always has been. That's why there hasn't been elections for 15 years in Israel controlled Gaza. Like many worldwide right wingers, Netanyahu desires ethnic cleansing and supports genocide. People with views like his are most interested in attaining means to an end. His goals are aligned with Hamas. If they both want genocide, they can both use that as an excuse to commit genocide.

Washington’s political establishment who are all in the pockets of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) allows Israel to continue its aggressive behavior towards their Arab neighbors.

Admiral Thomas Moorer said: "I've never seen a president — I don't care who he is — stand up to them [the Israelis]. It just boggles your mind. ... If the American people understood what a grip those people have on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens don't have any idea what goes on." — Admiral Thomas Moorer former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In our own country, the GOP does not want the immigration problem to be resolved because it is their bread and butter issue. They have for decades voted down sensible immigration reform laws and actually defunded border security. And they have decreased aid to Central American countries, further exacerbating the problem. And everyone knows that Trumps wall idea is the dumbest, most wasteful immigration proposal of all time. Trump had four years to build the wall but didn't.

The President you should look at is Bush Jr. because there was plenty of intelligence before and after he was inaugurated that certain terrorist groups were going to harm America. And did in horrific fashion on 9/11/2001. Bush got a pass-like Netanyahu has-by turning an intelligence failure into the most radical change in our security measures since WW2. Quelling internal dissent while encouraging anger and revenge towards Bin Lauden and El Quida. He was shielded from claims of mistreatment at Guantanamo and other secret locations. Where terrorists and prisoners were treated in blatant disregard of established norms and the Geneva Convention. Demonize someone enough-and all civilized norms go out the window. Bush got us into two wars-one lasting two decades-for what? Nonexistent WMD in Iraq? Netanyahu is cynically using the fear of terrorism and the long-lasting enmity between Palestinians and Jews to quell internal dissent and the opposition party in Israel. And to "eliminate" Hamas. Netanyahu knew. The Pentagon Papers released in 1971 showed the outright lies and deception LBJ used during the Vietnam War. LBJ campaigned as a "peace" candidate and escalated the involvement drastically after the 1964 election. Nixon said he had a "secret plan"- it involved removing nearly all-American troops by 1972 and letting the Vietnamese take over. His own tapes showed his lies about Watergate and the racist war-on-drugs designed to arrest and harass anti-war protesters. And the "peace treaty" was as useless as the words of several Presidents.

In Israel’s northern neighbor, worries grow that Netanyahu won’t stop with Gaza

NBCNews: Anxiety in Lebanon is focused on one wild card: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s political insecurity brought on by the crisis in Gaza and deepening unpopularity at home have many fearing that he could fire up the cross-border war to a full boil, spilling it into Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and even scalding American naval assets in the Mediterranean Sea.

Many among Lebanon’s officialdom — NBC News spoke to a dozen diplomats, military chiefs and leaders of militant organizations for this article — fear that Netanyahu may turn his personal troubles into a regional nightmare.

“Rationality has nothing to do with it,” said one Western diplomat based in Lebanon, referring to Israel’s reactions to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Netanyahu and other top Israeli security officials have threatened Iran and Hezbollah, a southern Lebanon-based militant group and political party, with war. Only last week, Netanyahu warned once again that “if Hezbollah makes a mistake and enters into a broad war it will have destroyed Lebanon with its own hands,” according to the Times of Israel.

Netanyahu faces pressure from all sides, squeezed between a public furious over his handling of the crisis and fraud charges that could see him thrown in jail if he’s pushed out of office.

“Netanyahu, on a personal level, he needs to do something. If this war stops tomorrow, he could be held accountable,” said Abbas Ibrahim, a hostage negotiator who directed Lebanon’s intelligence agency for more than a decade until March. “If he defeats Hamas and Hezbollah, he could be a hero at the end of this year — to protect himself, not his people.”

Netanyahu has an incentive to possibly prolong the Israeli military offensive in Gaza to try to safeguard his political survival, according to one person familiar with U.S. intelligence on Israel.

Almost a year before the latest round of fighting, Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul bill, which many Israelis saw as an effort to kneecap the country’s legal system, had sparked unprecedented protests and set the country against itself.

Many of Netanyahu’s opponents had openly suggested that his proposals were themselves a bid to limit the power of a legal system that had charged him with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Blood for Oil

IAC: In 1999, British Gas (BG) discovered the existence of natural gas in the Gaza Marine fields, 20 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza, at a depth of 375 miles. Further exploration by BG through two successful wells — Gaza Marine 1 and Gaza Marine 2 — determined the field could contain up to 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. (EgyptOil-Gas.com, April 5, 2018)

The Palestinian Authority was “granted” the right to exercise sovereignty over its own maritime territory by the Oslo Accords in 1995. Four years later, following the findings of the offshore natural gas, the PA gave the international consortium BG a 25-year, 90% stake in a license to explore, develop any discovered fields, and install the required infrastructure. Since that time Israel has consistently blocked this development.

When Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in Gaza in 2007, Israel established a militarized naval blockade, prohibiting further offshore development. Around the same time, Yam Thetis, an Israeli gas consortium, challenged the awarding of the contract to BG, further delaying the process.

In December 2008, in total contravention of international laws, Israel declared sovereignty over the Gaza Marine area, and BG closed its offices in Tel Aviv.

A 2019 study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) identified existing and potential Palestinian oil and natural gas reserves in the West Bank and Gaza that could be developed for the benefit of the Palestinian people.

The report cited the Levant Basin Province, comprising 83,000 square kilometers of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as one of the most important natural gas resources in the world. Despite the fact that this reserve lies under waters bordering occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt, Israel has claimed sole access and profits from this find. (tinyurl.com/2r2mh5ts)

Israel continued to prevent Palestinians from developing and benefiting from their natural resources, in clear violation of international law that governs who has rights to these resources when a country is occupied.

Gaza Marine importance to global energy

Renewed interest in pursuing development of the Gaza Marine field surfaced in early 2022 following the war between Russia and Ukraine, the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipeline, and the sanctions placed on Russia that caused a global energy crisis. Joint meetings were held between Israeli, U.S., Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian Authority officials to discuss the project, which was given the go-ahead by Netanyahu following his reelection. In particular, President Joe Biden and Egyptian government officials pressured Israel to pursue the project. (al-monitor.com, June 19)

On June 18, Israel gave preliminary approval for the development of a gas field off the coast of Gaza, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming progress would hinge on “preserving the State of Israel’s security and diplomatic needs” and coordination with the Palestinian Authority and neighboring Egypt. At the same time, Hamas official Ismail Rudwan told Reuters: “We reaffirm that our people in Gaza have the rights to their natural resources.” (June 18)

Two months before Oct. 7, the Pentagon began building a $35.8 million troop facility in Israel’s Negev desert, 20 miles from Gaza, allegedly as a radar site to monitor for missile attacks on Israel. The base is part of a “secret” U.S. military presence in Israel. (The Intercept, Oct. 27)

Since Oct. 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel intends to kill as many Palestinians as possible in order to pressure others to leave the Gaza Strip and move to the Sinai in Egypt. Netanyahu has been adamant in refusing to order a cease-fire to let in aid to stop the horrific genocide being carried out in Gaza.

The people of Gaza are well aware, as their grandparents experienced with the 1948 Nakba, that once Israelis forcefully remove Palestinians from Palestinian land, returning is a near impossibility.

Israel’s genocidal war on Palestinians has not stopped the Israeli regime’s plans for further oil and gas exploration. On Oct. 29, Israel announced that it awarded 12 licenses for exploring additional offshore natural gas fields to six companies, including British Petroleum and Italian energy giant Eni. These awards show that Israel has no intention of letting the genocide it is carrying out against Gaza’s people interfere with its ongoing theft of Palestinian resources.

Indigenous lands are stolen by European colonialists. Indigenous people are either killed or pushed off their land and forced to relocate to reservations believed to be on worthless land, often considerable distances from their original homes. Later, when these reservations turn out to be located atop vast reserves of valuable minerals, the land theft starts all over again.

MiddleEastMonitor: The European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson delivered the opening speech at the Egypt Petroleum Show 2023 Strategic Conference, the largest oil, gas and energy conference and exhibition across Egypt, North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Simson highlighted the EU’s need to diversify its energy sources, pointing out that this became a necessity after the Russian-Ukrainian war. In an attempt to decrease the bloc’s energy imports from Russia, Simson said, it had started to look for new energy sources. Fortunately, the EU found Israel and Egypt.

“The EU is serious about investing in trusted, reliable energy partnerships,” Simson told attendants. “That describes Egypt perfectly.” Referring to the base of their partnership, she said: “In the immediate wake of the crisis a year ago, the very first energy agreement the EU concluded was the Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt and Israel on trade, transport and natural gas cooperation.”

Simson referred to that MoU as a “remarkable political milestone for energy,” stressing that it was “something we are very proud of,” reiterating “how grateful” she is “to both Egypt and Israel, for their cooperation to turn the political vision of mutual cooperation into a reality.”

The European commissioner for energy also made it very clear that “the EU could count on the partnership” with Israel and Egypt due to the “landmark” agreement, which came “at the height of the energy crisis,” stressing “it was central to our efforts to diversify and stabilise the supplies for our citizens.”

But has Simson thought about the source of this energy? How much blood was shed, how many people were forced out of their homes, or how many villages and cities were destroyed in order to get this energy? Has she questioned the human rights situation of the countries which are selling this energy?

Numerous international rights groups, even Israeli rights groups, have investigated Israeli aggression on the Palestinians and found that the Israeli occupation state has committed war crimes against the Palestinians. In February last year, Human Rights Watch issued a report that proved Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

Gerry Simpson, associated crisis and conflict director at HRW, said: “Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May [2021] that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby.” The UN and many other official bodies have condemned the Israeli occupation and its continuous aggression against Palestinians.

In a statement issued in 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967 said: “The Israeli occupation continues to deepen. The number of announced new Israeli settlement units has risen dramatically. Gaza remains besieged and beleaguered.”

Throughout its occupation, Israel has prevented Palestinians from accessing their natural resources, water, land and the offshore gas fields.

The UN Special Rapporteur said in his statement: “Israel has maintained a comprehensive land, air and sea blockade on Gaza … and it controls virtually everything and everybody that enters or leaves the Strip. The blockade has contributed mightily to the civilian suffering in Gaza, which has a collapsed health care system, an aquifer with almost completely undrinkable water, enormous rates of unemployment and poverty, intermittent electrical power and densely packed housing.”

While Simson is praising Israel for selling stolen Palestinian gas to the EU to help it through its energy crisis, Palestinians are languishing under a brutal occupation and suffering in the cold without access to electricity and gas.

Leaked document fuels concern Israel plans to push Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt

BusinessInsider: Israel's intelligence minister has argued that Palestinians who wish to leave Gaza should be resettled in other countries, a move that would further erode Palestinian claims for a state of their own. For these reasons, Palestinians who flee the Israeli onslaught into Egypt fear they won't be able to return.

CBC: An Israeli government document suggesting the mass relocation of Gaza's 2.3 million people to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula is fuelling concerns about the possible ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Israeli officials and other political figures have openly expressed similar sentiments, according to an article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The ultimate goal will not only be ethnic cleansing of Gaza, but also of the West Bank," said Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian physician and politician.  

TheGuardian: The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has accused Israel of laying the groundwork for the mass expulsion of Gazans across the territory's border into Egypt.

In an opinion piece published on Saturday in the Los Angeles Times, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini pointed to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the increasing concentration near the border of displaced civilians who fled the fighting, first in the north and then further south.

"The United Nations and several member states, including the US, have firmly rejected forcibly displacing Gazans out of the Gaza Strip," Lazzarini said.

"But the developments we are witnessing point to attempts to move Palestinians into Egypt, regardless of whether they stay there or are resettled elsewhere."

The widespread destruction in the Palestinian territory's north and the resulting displacements were "the first stage of such a scenario", he added, while forcing civilians from the southern city of Khan Yunis closer to the border was the next.

"If this path continues, leading to what many are already calling a second Nakba, Gaza will not be a land for Palestinians anymore," Lazzarini said, using the Arabic term for the exodus or forced displacement of 760,000 Palestinians during the war that coincided with Israel's creation in 1948.

Aid groups have sounded the alarm on the "apocalyptic" humanitarian situation in the narrow territory, warning it is close to being overwhelmed by disease and starvation.

With the territory's estimated 1.9 million displaced people, out of a population of 2.4 million, has turned the border town of Rafah into a vast camp.

Israeli offensive in Gaza's Rafah 'must not be allowed to happen', UN says

Reuters: Most of the displaced have sought shelter in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, but after fruitless ceasefire talks, Netanyahu this week said Israeli forces would fight on until "total victory."

A possible assault on Rafah prompted international concern, including posts on social media from British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot. "Deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah – over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area. The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire," Cameron said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Hard to see how large-scale military operations in such a densely populated area would not lead to many civilian casualties and a bigger humanitarian catastrophe. This is unjustifiable," Bruins Slot said.

CNN: The Israeli soldier looks directly into the camera, then turns around and sets a pile of food supplies on fire.

“We turn on the light against this dark place and burn it until there is no trace of this whole place,” he says as another soldier fuels the flame.

The soldiers say they are in Shejaiya, a neighborhood in Gaza City, deep in the besieged enclave. They are filming themselves burning food in a place where the humanitarian situation is now so bad that international organizations are warning people are at risk of dying of starvation.

This video is only one of several circulating online and reviewed by CNN that show Israeli soldiers in Gaza behaving in offensive and disrespectful ways toward the civilian population. Other videos show soldiers ransacking private homes, destroying civilian property and using racist and hateful language.

In one video, a soldier is seen going through a woman’s wardrobe, including her underwear, making derogatory, sexist remarks about Arab women.

Another clip shows an IDF soldier vandalizing a shop in what he says is Jabalya, a city in northern Gaza.

One by one, he takes store’s items, smashing them against the floor and the counter. At one point, he takes two dolls from the shelf and shatters their heads.

In other videos, smiling soldiers are seen destroying civilian cars with a military vehicle, riding children’s bicycles through the rubble of a destroyed building, and making fun of the lack of water supply in a private home.

“I was (told) that the brigade commander will punish the ones who did that once they stop fighting,” Retired IDF General Israel Ziv told CNN.

Why did Israel attack worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque?

In May 2021, Israeli forces stormed the compound using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades against worshippers during Ramadan. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured, drawing international condemnation.

The developments coincided with a rise in violent incidents against Palestinians by Israeli settlers and forces in East Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah as Palestinian families faced the threat of forced eviction from their homes.

Confrontations in Jerusalem and the wider West Bank culminated in an 11-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip on May 10, which killed at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza. Thirteen people were killed in Israel, including two children, one Indian woman and two Thai men.

“Netanyahu didn’t invent the tensions between Jews and Arabs,” said Anshel Pfeffer, a political commentator and biographer of the prime minister. “They’ve been here since before Israel was founded. But over his long years in power, he’s stoked and exploited these tensions for political gain time and again and has now miserably failed as a leader to put out the fires when it boiled over.”

On May 4, the head of the Hamas military, Muhammed Deif, issued a rare public statement. “This is our final warning,” Mr. Deif said. “If the aggression against our people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood does not stop immediately, we will not stand idly by.”

Then came the most dramatic escalation of all: a police raid on the Aqsa Mosque on Friday, May 7. Police officers armed with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-tipped bullets burst into the mosque compound shortly after 8 p.m., setting off hours of clashes with stone-throwing protesters in which hundreds were injured, medics said.

Israeli troops beat worshippers with batons and riot guns, injuring dozens, before arresting several hundred. 

The police said the stone throwers started it; several worshipers said the opposite.

Whoever struck first, the sight of stun grenades and bullets inside the prayer hall of one of the holiest sites in Islam — on the last Friday of Ramadan, one of its holiest nights — was seen as a grievous insult to all Muslims.

The police raided the Aqsa Mosque again, early on Monday morning, after Palestinians stockpiled stones in anticipation of clashes with the police and far-right Jews. For the second time in three days, stun grenades and rubber-tipped bullets were fired across the compound, in scenes that were broadcast across the world.

It was the outgrowth of years of blockades and restrictions in Gaza, decades of occupation in the West Bank, and decades more of discrimination against Arabs within the state of Israel, said Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Israeli Parliament and former chairman of the World Zionist Organization.

“All the enriched uranium was already in place,” he said. “But you needed a trigger. And the trigger was the Aqsa Mosque.”

“Israel does not want to learn from history, that al-Aqsa is for the Palestinians and for all Arabs and Muslims, and that storming it sparked a revolution against the occupation,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said following Tuesday’s raids.

Temple Movement groups, which advocate for the destruction of Al-Aqsa, have called for mass stormings throughout the week-long Passover holiday. 

Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic site where unsolicited visits, prayers and rituals by non-Muslims are forbidden, according to decades-long international agreements.

Israeli groups, in coordination with authorities, have long violated the delicate arrangement and facilitated raids of the site and performed prayers and religious rituals.

Jewish ultranationalist groups have this week offered cash rewards to anyone who sacrifices a goat inside Al-Aqsa - a prohibited and highly provocative act. 

Israel-Hamas war tipped to spark 'nuclear showdown' as Iran on 'crash course' to bomb

All this volatility is raising the spectre of "nuclear war", former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Matt Shoemaker has warned.

He explained: "The threat of nuclear war currently remains unlikely but has become a plausible threat in this crisis.

"Not only because of Iran’s nuclear weapons program but because Israel is a nuclear power."

As Mr Shoemaker points out, Iran’s foreign minister has ominously warned Israel will suffer “a huge earthquake" if it invades Gaza.

"Iran would not remain an observer in the conflict," the DIA expert predicted, adding: "As a former intelligence officer, and based on news reports I’ve seen over the past year, some estimate that if Iran initiated a nuclear weapons 'crash course', it could develop a working bomb within six weeks."

He added: "That’s an extraordinarily short amount of time and gives the West a small window if Iran chooses to do that."

Iran's nuclear capabilities have been a source of grave concern in Washington ever since then-President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018, restoring crippling sanctions on the autocratic country.

Iran began breaking the terms a year later, including by enriching uranium to higher levels.

In Mr Shoemaker's estimation, the Israel-Hamas conflict may just tip Iran over the edge.

However, the threat of nuclear war is not just coming from Iran, he warns.

"Not far off in Tartus, Syria, Russia has a well-established naval presence and has the largest nuclear stockpile in the world," he said.

Mr Shoemaker makes the point that Russia has backed pro-Palestinian and Iranian causes.

"To make matters even more complicated, China, another nuclear power, has extensive economic and financial interests in the region," he added.

"Fifty percent of China’s oil and gas comes from the Middle East so if this became a regional war, China would certainly have an incentive to get involved to protect its energy resources." READ MORE: Air Force general predicts war with China in 2025

In 2018, under the supervision of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the US declared in its national security strategy that “Great power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of US national security.”

The document codified what had in fact for years been the dominant concept in Pentagon planning: that the US military should focus on preparations to fight a war with Russia and China. To this end, the Obama administration had already initiated a more than one trillion-dollar expansion of the US nuclear arsenal, a plan continued and intensified under Trump and now Biden.

Clearly, what is being prepared is a level of mass killing far beyond the bloodbaths carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Do yourself a favor. Think for yourself. Be your own person. Question everything. Stand for principle. Champion individual liberty and self-ownership where you can. Develop a strong moral code. Be kind to others. Do no harm, unless that harm is warranted. Pretty obvious stuff...but people who hold these things in their hearts seem to be disappearing from the earth at an accelerated rate. Stay safe, my friends. Thanks for being here.


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