The Old Syria Is Back, This Time Accompanied by Hizballah, Iran, and Russia

In the final week of 2017, Hizballah, supported by Assad-regime forces and an Iranian unit, seized most of the Syrian portion of the Golan Heights from the rebel forces that had controlled it for some time. Eyal Zisser believes that the rest of southern Syria will soon follow, and that Israel will have to adjust once again to sharing a border with an Assad-ruled Syria:

The Syrian regime and its allies’ campaign to retake the [Syrian] Golan Heights is a violation of the understandings reached by the United States and Russia just a month ago. This agreement, which focuses on establishing a buffer zone (or safe zone) in southern Syria, promised relative protection and immunity for the rebel groups. Agreements and reality, however, are nothing alike, certainly in this part of the world.

Russia, as we know, honors agreements only when they align with its interests. Moscow has no compunction signing a deal and the next day violating or simply ignoring it. The Assad regime and its allies are unconcerned with such agreements, which are merely another aspect of their deceitful ploy of speaking yearningly about peace while continuing the fighting on the ground, using [such] tactics to . . . restore full control [of all of Syria].

Israel was right to refrain from establishing a military presence on Syrian soil. But the collapse of the security zone [free of pro-Assad forces] in southern Syria is not the only issue: crumbling along with it is the assumption that the war in Syria would go on for years, and that Syria would never resemble its old self. It appears, [instead], that the old Syria has returned to Israel’s border more quickly than expected—more dangerous and more imposing than before. This is due to the presence of Hizballah and Iran, which the world, and certainly Russia, views as a stabilizing and positive factor that should remain for the foreseeable future.

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More about: Bashar al-Assad, Golan Heights, Hiballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Syrian civil war

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict