"So what does Israel's impending war on defenseless Gaza have to do with Iran diplomacy? Here's a tweet from the Tehran bureau chief for the New York Times, Thomas Erdbrink:
"And here:- Advertisement -
"I suspect this point was not lost on the Israeli leadership, either. So, is Netanyahu knowingly escalating military tensions in order to avoid a successful diplomatic overture? I'm speculating, but it isn't far-fetched. We know from extensive reporting, mainly in Israeli media, that in 2010 -- just as President Obama requested a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank with the aim of resuming peace talks -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to provoke Iran into a war with Israel that would eventually drag in the United States.- Advertisement -
"It reminds me of what former CIA Middle East analyst Paul Pillar referred to this week as 'Netanyahu's tension-stoking brinksmanship: to divert attention from continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and inaction on the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.' '[T]he Iran issue,' Pillar has previously written, provides a 'distraction' from international 'attention to the Palestinians' lack of popular sovereignty.' Now the situation seems reversed: Israel is escalating war with Gaza to maintain deadlock with their favorite scapegoat, Iran.
"Israel, lest we forget, instigated this resumption of missile exchanges last week when two Palestinian civilians were shot and killed and Israeli tanks intruded into Gaza, prompting Gaza militants to respond by targeting Israeli soldiers, which then gave Israel an excuse to unleash successive airstrikes. And Israel had numerous chances to pacify the situation, considering Hamas publicly offered to establish a total ceasefire and Egypt appeared about to broker a truce between the two. Israel has intentionally inched towards escalation from the beginning. Are we to believe this isn't strategic?"
A second theory is that this is a prelude to an Israeli attack on Iran. Specifically, some theorize that Israel is trying to assassinate top Hamas militants before hitting Iran ... so that Iran's proxy Hamas cannot retaliate.
A third theory is that Israel is trying to drag Iran into a war. Given that Israeli treatment of Palestinians is perhaps the key source of hostility towards the current Israeli administration in the Arab world, starting a war in Gaza may be an attempt by Israel to drag Iran into war.
After all, Iran backs Hamas, and Israel just assassinated a top Hamas leader after making an overture of peace to him. So some believe that Israel is attempting to poke the hornet's nest in an attempt to justify wider war.
By provoking Hamas into attacking, Israel might point to Hamas-backer Iran. Specifically, Israel may claim that pre-emptive strikes on Iran are "necessary" to undermine Hamas and make sure it doesn't obtain "weapons of mass destruction."