During its latest duel with Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Jerusalem demonstrated the accuracy of its intelligence and the precision of its air force, writes Ron Ben-Yishai, explaining why he considers Operation Shield and Arrow a success:
The operatives of Hizballah and Hamas have now witnessed how Israel’s intelligence directorate identifies and targets senior operatives, striking them one after another, even during combat, despite their attempts to remain hidden. All of this was accomplished while Israel maintained international and public legitimacy to continue its operation, as it demonstrated that it does everything possible to avoid harming uninvolved civilians.
Evidently, the U.S. government refrained from demanding Israel cease the operation for about three days. Even when the U.S. did raise its head, it was in the form of a polite request rather than a forceful ultimatum, which was the go-to tactic during the days of the former president Barack Obama. It is not that the Democratic administration led by President Joe Biden softened its humanitarian approach, but rather Israel has demonstrated that it acts out of self-defense and is thus forced to act aggressively against a terrorist organization operating deliberately from within a civilian population.
The Israeli achievements were felt not only in Gaza but also in Iran, Beirut, and even in Yemen. Both Israel’s adversaries and allies have learned an important lesson from the civilian resilience and domestic cohesion they witnessed in Israel, even during the period of unprecedented social and political division.
Ben-Yishai does, however, add a cautionary note:
This was merely a mini-operation. The IDF, Shin Bet, and Mossad must be capable of dealing with Iran with the same operational and intelligence efficiency—and holding the fort when attacked from all directions. This [capability] has yet to be proven, and it must also be remembered that the IDF still does not manage to suppress offensive rocket and mortar fire [during the fighting itself].