How Israel Got the Most Recent Gaza War Right

In the West, discussion of Operation Guardian of the Walls—Jerusalem’s official term for the latest round of fighting—has centered on the morality and legality of the IDF’s use of force. Since Israel struck over 1,000 targets, killing 160 Hamas fighters and fewer than 50 civilians—proportions unprecedented in the history of modern warfare—this question need not be particularly fraught. Israelis, by contrast, must ask themselves more complex and vital questions about the operation’s efficacy. Here, Akiva Bigman offers a useful comparison to 2014’s Operation Protective Edge:

During the 2014 military campaign, the IDF rarely bombed targets deep in the coastal enclave, focusing mainly on neighborhoods near the border. . . . The Israeli air force had to provide cover for ground forces destroying Hamas’s grid of terror tunnels, but Hamas’s home front—the towers housing its offices and the lavish homes in which top operatives live—was mostly untouched.

It was only as the conflict was waning, 50 days into the fighting and as a truce deal was being formulated, that several high-rises in Gaza were leveled.

Fast-forward seven years and Operation Guardian of the Walls was completely different. Almost immediately once hostilities erupted on May 10, massive airstrikes targeted significant Hamas assets: towers fell, luxury estates were demolished, vacation homes and hideouts were reduced to rubble and, most dramatically, Hamas’s flagship project—the strategic tunnel grid—was destroyed.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza, Guardian of the Walls, Hamas, IDF, Israeli Security

 

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria