'US warns Israel against large IDF ops'

Time magazine: US asks Israel not to act on Iran, Gaza in the weeks before Obama takes office.

Olmert bus 248.88 good pic (photo credit: Channel 2)
Olmert bus 248.88 good pic
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The US has requested that Israel refrain from embarking on any large-scale operations during the last weeks of the George W. Bush administration, Time magazine reported Monday evening. The magazine quotes an unnamed Israeli source at the Defense Ministry as saying, "We have been warned off." IDF officials hinted in the past that a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear installations might be timed to take place before the inauguration of US President-elect Barack Obama. Obama is slated to take office on January 20. The request, reportedly relayed to Israeli officials by senior US counterparts, was likely to be reiterated on Monday during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's last meeting with Bush with both leaders still serving as of heads of state. The call for restraint, according to Time, also included a request to avoid a large incursion into the Gaza Strip - an option that has again been floated recently by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in light of signs that the truce between Israel and Hamas, which has held for five months, is beginning to disintegrate. US officials have even turned to Jordan's King Abdullah for help in stemming Palestinian rocket fire, the magazine quoted Palestinian and Jordanian officials as saying. Abdullah was approached to act as an intermediary between the US and Hamas, which the US mutely acknowledges as the effective ruler of Gaza but officially shuns as a designated terrorist entity. According to Time, King Abdullah dispatched a senior officer to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus and warn him that Israel might stage an expansive attack unless rocket fire into southern Israel stops immediately. Jordanian officials reportedly said Mashaal agreed to the request and had relayed it to Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. The urgent meeting between Olmert, Barak and Abdullah last week was summoned by the Jordanian monarch following Mashaal's acquiescence, and included a warning that an Israeli attack might jeopardize Israel's ties with both Egypt and Jordan, Time said. A Jordanian official told Time that Abdullah was furious to hear that Barak and Olmert told Israeli media upon returning that they agreed to avoid an incursion into Gaza because, they said, the king was afraid it might destabilize his monarchy. The Jerusalem Post could not independently verify the details of the report by Time magazine.