With the US sending clear public signals to Israel that it is opposed to military action now against Iran, and a cacophonous debate on the matter in Israel, senior Iranian officials continue to threaten Israel with destruction..
On Wednesday it was the turn of Brig.- Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran's Passive (civil) Defense Organization and a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, who during a speech ahead of Al-Quds Day, an anti-Israel event initiated by Iran, said that in order to liberate Palestine there was no other option but to destroy Israel.
"[Al-Quds Day] is a reflection of the fact that no other way exists apart from resolve and strength to completely eliminate the aggressive nature and to destroy Israel," Jalali said, according to a report by Iran¹s ISNA news agency.
The report was also picked up by other news outlets including Mashregh News, which is affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards.
Al-Quds Day is an annual Iranian anti-Zionist event established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini and which falls this year on August 17. Iran also seeks to export the event to other Muslim countries.
Jalali said that the message of Khomeini's Al-Quds Day initiative was that the Muslim world must support the "oppressed people of Palestine" in a show of resistance against "the Zionist usurpers."
The Passive Defense Organization head added that the Islamic Revolution was a "beacon of light" and that the plight of the Palestinians was not forgotten.
Calling on Muslims to rally on Al-Quds Day, he expressed hope that the Islamic world would be "strong against the Zionist threat," adding that the "Islamic front in Syria has been strengthened," presumably a reference to Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
An Israeli government official responded to Jalali's comments by saying it was simply a "reaffirmation of what we continually hear from the Iranian leadership."
The official said that the statement was "not an aberration," and that Israel was taking the Iranian threat very seriously. "We urge others to do the same," he said. "The Iranians use unequivocal language, and their words speak for themselves."
The official said that it would be in the interest of Iran's leadership to rein in these comments in at this time to reduce international pressure, and the fact that Iran's leaders continue to utter such remarks just shows the degree to which they actually believe them.
The official, meanwhile, dismissed a report on a left-wing, anti-Netanyahu blog called Tikun Olam Wednesday purporting to have "an Israeli briefing document outlining Israel's war plans against Iran." The blogger, Richard Silverstein, said the document "feels" like it came "from the shop of national security advisor Yaakov Amidror, a former general, settler true believer and Bibi confidant. It could also have been produced by Defense Minister Barak, another pro-war booster."
According to Silverstein the document talks about a coordinated strike that will include an "unprecedented cyber-attack" that will totally paralyze the Iranian regime, as well as a barrage of ballistic missiles launched from Israel and Israeli submarines near the Persian Gulf. IAF planes, according to the "document," will be armed with electronic warfare gear previously unknown even to the US that will render the planes "invisible."
One government official said there is "a lot of press speculation out there, and everyone has their 'secret source.' It is not the government's policy to comment on any piece of speculation."