What Israel Accomplished in Five Days of Fighting

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].

Read more at Ynet

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza Strip, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security