U.S. sends warships near Israel in case evacuation needed
File photo of USS Iwo Jima
November 19th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

U.S. sends warships near Israel in case evacuation needed

By Barbara Starr

Three U.S. Navy amphibious warships are returning to the eastern Mediterranean to remain on standby in the event they are needed to assist Americans leaving Israel in the coming days, according to two U.S. officials.

The officials stressed an evacuation remains an extremely remote possibility and the Obama administration is not currently planning for one. Americans who wish to leave the region now are able to do so using commercial airlines.

But the decision to send the ships even if the event is such a remote contingency underscores the growing concern about where the Israel-Gaza conflict could be headed.

"This is due diligence. It is better to be prepared should there be a need," one official said Monday. Both officials said the ships would be used only for assisting Americans and not for any combat role.

Why Israel might hesitate to start a ground invasion

The most immediate impact will be on the ships' crews and the estimated 2,500 Marines on board. They had been scheduled to return to Norfolk, Virginia, just after Thanksgiving; their homecoming will now be delayed several days depending on events, the officials said.

The ships involved are the USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall. At the end of last week the ships were west of Gibraltar, before the decision was made to turn them around and send them back to the eastern Mediterranean, where they will remain for now.

The U.S. military also maintains three to four ships off the coast of Israel that are capable of shooting down ballistic missiles. That deployment has stretch for some months in the face of a potential ballistic threat from Iran.

Clinton heads to Middle East

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Navy • Palestine • Security Brief
soundoff (1,719 Responses)
  1. ZACHI JHON WILK

    ISRAEL IS THE HOME OF THE JEWS.THE WORLD AGREED TO LET THE JEWS HAVE A JEWISH STATE-RES.181. 11.29.1947
    THE ARABS WERE AGAINST AND STARTED A BLOODY WAR.THE LOST.THE WAR WAR WAS LOST BECAUSE THE ARABS FACED 600.000 ISRAELIS AND THE FLAMES OF AUSCHWITZ UN THEIR EYES.6.000.000 JOINT THE ISRAELIS AND THE WORLD WAS SILENCE LIKE IN 1939-1945.

    February 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  2. ProudAmerican

    The real enemies of America are Israel and the corrupt politicians who support that terrorist country.

    November 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  3. lizzytalorburton

    Thank you Obama and Clinton for the Arab Spring. Now Obama is happy that the Jews are getting it. He warned them this would happen, how come he knew? He knew what he did in the Middle East would hurt Israel. He's getting his rocks off now and soon will have Rice as Secy of State, just to prove how power crazy he is. And Clinton loves the enemy the Muslim Brotherhood also. This is what we have running our country now, running America and Israel into the ground. Real sickies, these democrats. I say get rid of Hamas and why worry about anyone in Gaza? The citizens and Hamas want all Israelis to die. Why are the Israelis always making excuses for them that they are being careful - wipe them off the earth! Why should the Israelis have to suffer all the time from the Palestinians? Hamas doesn't want peace or a nice state for its people. They don't even build shelters for the protect them from the missiles. THEY DON'T WANT A STATE, THEY JUST WANT TO MURDER THE JEWS. When are people going to wise up. Isn't it obvious, are people that dumb?

    November 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
    • wizadun4

      Are people that dumb? Are you for real? Israel is occupying land owned by Palestine and they are not giving it back anytime soon. You have Ireland and England only this is in the Gaza Strip area. The Irish who do not have the wealth of Britain are doing terrorist acts to bring attention to their cause. I am not condoning terrorism but how does one fight against tyranny of a superior aggressor? How badly do you have to have it in the world where your children are blowing themselves up to bring awareness to their cause?

      ! I wonder because its Jews killing Muslims with modern military equipment is this so much less of a crime then when Momar Kadafi did it? Or for that matter what Bashar al-Assad is doing in Syria?

      Your comment wipe them off the face of the Earth? Wow, you and Hitler would get along swell.

      November 21, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • MORONS

      wow you are just evil
      they say history repeats itself and now the zionist are nazis and the muslims are the jews in the holocaust

      November 22, 2012 at 6:35 am | Reply
    • lizzy borden

      hey lizzy, 50 million people died in WWII 23 million were Russian......why do we never hear a peep about the other 44 million? i'm not an anti-Semite, but I am sick of hearing of how hard the JEWS have it. The Brits, in their endless wisdom replanted them initially in a STOLEN ship, smack dab in the middle of 350,000,000 arabs. The JEWS have 200 nuke sea and land based missiles, nuclear technology STOLEN from the united states. I don't wish them bad will, but it's time for us to let them fend for themselves. I hope Barack and Susan cut all military aid, and repeal America's promises to assist if they get their asses in a bind. They are not an ally. Allies give and receive.....they give us nothing but a headache.

      November 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • EarlGrayHot

      Not a word of what you said is true.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
  4. Toma Joel

    Thus says The Lord God: I will defend My people, Israel, and take vengeance upon My enemies. For My own name’s sake will I do it, and for My servant David’s sake shall it be done... And thereafter shall My witnesses be sent into battle...

    For behold, I have only just begun to speak! Says The Lord of Hosts. I have only just begun to reveal the power of The Lord! I have only just begun to reveal My anger! Yet if it were not for the sake of a remnant among those yet to be called, and for the sake of My name in Israel, that it may be glorified, I would have destroyed the enemies of Israel already, blotting them from the face of the whole earth. Thus I have withheld My hand, and have not yet taken vengeance upon My enemies. Yet I shall not withhold My hand for much longer, neither shall My wrath tarry.
    For I shall surely stretch out My hand and strike the nations, and the slaughter shall be very great! Many ten thousands shall fall in one day!... A great destruction, even of all their devices! For The Lord God shall come out against them mightily!... Very dreadful in battle! With a terrible destruction shall I be glorified in My strength, and the slaughter shall be great!... A slaughter which has never been seen in Israel, slaughter of such a kind, causing ALL in the earth to tremble!
    And those who hear of it, even their ears will tingle, with their hearts skipping a beat within their chests. Then they will know, I AM THE LORD, when I have magnified Myself in the land of Israel, when I have shaken the mountains of Israel, with My presence!... Yea, in the hearts of many shall My name be hallowed, on that day.

    THE LORD GOD of Heaven and earth is speaking to THIS modern generation...
    THE TIME HAS COME!... History has an end...

    TrumpetCallofGodOnline . com

    November 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
    • CharlieSeattle

      There is no God, Allah, Budda, santa Claus or Tooth Fairy.

      Its is all BS!

      The only heaven and hell mankind will ever see, is what we make for each other, on this Earth.

      November 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  5. Charles E Green

    Let us just pray for those MEU-24 marines and sailors that have been sent back to assist in the removal of Americans from Israel . Those men and women had hopes to be home for a belated Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas.

    Let's us hope, and pray, that they do come home, unharmed, as soon as possible.

    This issue between Israel and its neighbors has gone on, far too long.

    The last thing that this world needs is a major eruption in the mid-east.

    It could become the holocaust that destroys the world.

    .

    November 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  6. Bob Lidd

    http://pragmaticwitness.com/a-jewish-defector-warns-america/

    November 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  7. Russ

    These Ships have enough conventional firepower to level ALL of Gaza, so that Israeli's can Bulldoze ALL Animalstinians into the sea. USE THEM! We're tired of hearing about this uber-liberal rocket problem!!

    November 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • tea isstronger

      OBAMA's NEW US NAVY WHITE FLEET WILL HELP JEWS LEAVE THEIR HOMELAND

      Obama will order all US ships be painted white and fly white flags so Palistinian raiders in rubber boats will not sink US Ships. The new White US Navy will help Jews leave Israel in a new EXODUS. Jews will sail the Earth's oceans for 40 years looking for a new Homeland and will not find one.

      November 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • ProudAmerican

      You are late for your Klan meeting.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  8. larry

    Israel needs no help, what they need is for everyone to stop holding Israel back ,and let them finish the job.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • CharlieSeattle

      Amen!

      November 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  9. Remembering 1986

    My father was apart of the USS Stark which was blown up during the Persian Gulf war.My father was one of the five people who survived the missile. My prayers are for the people on the ship, their protection, because we ended up going back to the gulf in the 90's it won't ever end. I just pray for their safety. I think its forgotten that people's lives are at stake...but they don't care I guess...http://youtu.be/V4jEsdWRsNA

    November 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
    • Remembering 1986

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4jEsdWRsNA&w=640&h=390]

      November 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • Remembering 1986

      I hated one thing though. When I was little he used to touch me in a certain place. I used to tell him to stop but one day I realized it was fun. So now I like being touched by men.

      November 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  10. rbblum

    Given Ambassador Stevens past situation, exactly which Americans might be in need of safe departure or evacuation by US military personnel and hardware ?

    November 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  11. John

    We're sending ships in case of evacuation? What? I mean, that's prudent I suppose. But where are the ships in case of escalation against our Ally? How about parking a couple Nimitz Class Carriers off Israels coast and sending a note. Give us hollar if you need anything. CC Egypt.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  12. joker

    That's it, muslims vs the world, let's get it on and over with, we'll woop the hell out of them and that punk mohamud

    November 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  13. Jared

    And Obama said ships were outdated....

    November 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  14. Brian

    Hope Israel doesn't bomb these "warships" like she did the Liberty. They attacked the Liberty all day even thought it was flying the American flag. The Liberty was an intelligence ship and Time Magazine reported at the time that it intercepted messages to the effect that Israel was executing Egyptian POW's.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  15. WW3endtimesNOW

    WW3 is coming SOON.Tensions ARE STEADY RISING IN THE MIDDLE EAST, BAD
    ECONOMY, CLIMATE CHANGE... HOW CAN ANYONE HAVE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE RIGHT NOW?

    November 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Lt Scrounge

      Except for your inclusion of the fraudulent climate change issue, I have to agree with everything else you said.

      November 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Reply
    • Erika

      Jesus Christ

      November 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • pam nenes

      WE are waiting for the man with the answer to peace.

      November 21, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
  16. 1westcoastphinfan

    This collection of comments is getting way off the subject. This is not about differences in religion, or who did what to whom and when. The basic problem in the Middle East for the past 64 years + is the Arab/Islamic peoples intolerance for any state or country to exist there which is not of the Islamic faith. Israel was created by the United Nations after WWII based on principles agreed to by the League of Nations and treaties dating back into the 1920s. Modern Israel sits on land that nobody wanted for hundreds of years prior to 1947/48 much of it was swamp/desert and uninhabitable. The Jews lived there along with Arabs prior to the creation of the State of Israel, but Arabs attacked Jews in several areas during the British Mandate, and the UN decided to make it two lands: one for Jews and one for Arabs. The Jews agreed, the Arabs rejected the plan, then 5 Arab armies attacked the Jews and tried to drive them into the sea. They lost. Israel was born. Almost all the land either belonged to Jews or was purchased by them. This idea that "Jews stole this land" is a complete lie. Jews developed the land, and now others want it. A complete and comprehensive peace treaty could still be worked out today if the Arabs/Islamists gave up the idea of wiping out Israel. Intolerance is the BIG ISSUE. The words of Golda Meir still are true, "when the Arabs decide they love their children more than they hate us, peace will come" . I just wish they would give that a try instead of strapping bombs to them and sending them to die by killing Israelis and other Westerners.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • Kent Bowen

      Amen.

      November 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • Bob Lidd

      The problem is the Balfour Declaration.

      November 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  17. Bonnie

    Your Bible claims the entire "holy" land is mostly Muslim presence? That's not what Almighty God's word says; you must be reading the captions under pictures written by opportunists. Jerusalem and the land of the Nation of Israel belong to the Jews as per the promises God made to Abraham, Moses an Joshua. Deuteronomy 7:1-2, "When your Almighty God at last brings you into the land to which you are going so as to take possession of it, He must also clear away populous nations from before you.......SEVEN nations more populous and mighty than you are. And your Almighty God will certainly abandon them to you and you must defeat them. You must conclude no covenant with them nor show them any favor." This is the promise of Almighty God that came to be true in 1948-49. Those nations were Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lybia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen. Check into the actual history, Tony, and then ask yourself who belongs in that land.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  18. teamroper

    Hillary is our battleship

    November 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  19. St Xavier

    The world is all ways in flux an changing, at times for the good an times for the bad only time will determond the out come. An whos to say I'm right or you are right, picking a side is the choices we make.

    November 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  20. Sensible human

    Hate to say it, but, you dont go down the block and kick the kid that is meaner than you in the shin constantly, (Hamas, extremists) and not expect to get your butt kicked, lucky for the people on the palastinian side, the UN keeps the defender in check, because if they didnt there wouldnt be much left.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • ProudAmerican

      Get a clue; Israel is the occupier and land thief. If the Israelis don't want missiles shoved up their butts, they should not steal Palestinian land and should not murder Palestinians.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  21. George

    Not to help Israel, but to evacuate and run should Obama feel the need to do so.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • Lt Scrounge

      I just have to wonder how many taxpayer dollars are going to be used to relocate even more Hamas terrorists to the US under the guise of them being refugees.

      November 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
      • ProudAmerican

        The real terrorists you should be worrying about are the Zionists and their supporters.

        December 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  22. lisaspups

    You could say the same about the Native American tragedy in our country. The problem is that it is history and there is not much anyone can do about that now. Leaders on both sides need to grow up and stop the killing of innocent people and the finger pointing.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • John

      I wonder if anyone realizes that building code in parts of Israel require the inclusion of bomb shelters. Schools, hospitals, houses, etc. Does anyone know why that is?

      November 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  23. Sensible human

    Once again i do not have a problem with religion, but why do we have to continue to hear that EVERYBODY's god has the answer? Come down and fix everything! NOW! what is the wait?

    November 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  24. xyz

    What interest is this of the U.S. military, and why are we getting involved at all? If U.S. citizens are over there of their own volition, then they need to get out the same way they got in. If these two nations want to destroy themselves, so be it but the U.S. should not be involved either way.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  25. Deb

    I suppose liberals think this is Bush's fault too?

    November 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Johnnyru

      It is

      November 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • routt66

      Thanks to Bush's leadership and example of how to get into another worthless war that America has no business in...

      November 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
      • Lt Scrounge

        You're absolutely right. We absolutely should've allowed Saddam Hussein to continue funding terrorists and when some of them happened to blow up a truck bomb containing a couple barrels of that 55 TONS OF YELLOW CAKE URANIUM or 2 tons of enriched uranium that was removed from Iraq, thereby turning a major US city into a radioactively contaminated waste land , that would've been Bush's fault too I bet. CNN did a story on how the Iraqi Uranium was moved to northern Canada for safe keeping.

        November 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • susan

      They probably will.....You already know..Bush gets blamed for EVERYTHING.......It doesn't stop....Denial is a horrible thing

      November 21, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
  26. tony

    Palestine should have been properly defended against the illegal European immigration back in the late 30's and 40's. Then there never would have been a Middle East Crisis. My bible from back then shows the entire Holy Land as "Palestine", with the population majority as Muslim, with Christians second and Jewish as poor third minority. Most of the IDF troops busy fighting never had any Israeli-born grandparents, or great grandparents.

    November 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • lisaspups

      You could say the same about the Native American tragedy in our country. The problem is that it is history and there is not much anyone can do about that now. Leaders on both sides need to grow up and stop the killing of innocent people and the finger pointing.

      November 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
    • vincent

      i dont know what bible you are reading but the land was given to the twelve tribes of israel and because they were disobedient to God they were driven out of the land in 70 ad and had not seen there land in over 2000 after world war 2 the land was given back to them. prophecy through the bible fortold thousand of years earlier that israel would return back to there land

      November 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
      • Sheila

        I'm Christian, but I believe if God wants the Israelites to have that land, he'll step in to guarantee it. The Bible teaches that He made the walls of Jericho fall, he made countries and leaders fall away in the path of the Jews as they took over the "promised land." He made the stone of David fly straight to kill Goliath. He made manna fall from heaven to keep his people alive as promised. Let him step in and figure this out – we really should believe in Him and stay out of His way.

        November 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • COLLIN

      Um yea but no, Palestine was the only country in the world accepting Jews during the Holocaust, then Hitler teamed up with some like minded Arabs who started a propaganda war in Palestine and started a whole new confilct which still wages today. and your map was probably drawn after the crusades, which drastically changed the region. not to mention that most writings and maps from that time were destroyed by the Roman Cathlic church so they could push their own agenda and image onto their lemmings. and remember that three religions were born in this area at about the same time period so its all he said she said BS. any evidence of exactly what happened during this time period was either destroyed or is sitting in a Vatican Vault. s o while you say their grandparents are not Israli or Palestinian you need to look further much further try 6-10 maybe even 20 generations deeper.

      November 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
      • Lt Scrounge

        Until after WWII Palestine wasn't a country as much as a British protectorate. Look up the Balfour resolution.

        November 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
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