To Make Peace with Saudi Arabia Possible, Israel Needs a Decisive Victory against Hamas

The Iran problem is also at the heart of whether the Israel-Hamas war will torpedo normalization between Jerusalem and Riyadh. While there is reason to believe that the terrorists launched their assault with that goal in mind, John Hannah and Blaise Misztal don’t believe it is an inevitable outcome. The Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman (known as MBS) has indeed halted the normalization process, but he might also resume it after the fighting ends:

Prior to October 7, MBS thought he was moving into alignment with an Israel whose deterrent power was overwhelming and whose military was the most competent in the Middle East. Hamas’s slaughter blasted a hole in that assumption. Instead, it’s the kingdom’s most dangerous foe, Iran and its terrorist allies, that appear ascendant and capable of inflicting massive harm on all those who defy them.

Whether MBS’s pause turns into long-term postponement now depends critically on . . . Israel’s success in reestablishing its deterrent power by crushing Hamas’s military capabilities in Gaza while limiting, to the extent possible, the impact on Palestinian civilians. When the dust finally settles, what needs to be clear is that Hamas’s so-called victory of October 7 was at best short-lived and Pyrrhic, ultimately resulting in a devastating defeat for both the terror group and its Iranian sponsors.

Specifically, MBS must come away reassured that his original thesis for normalization—one based on a combination of overwhelming Israeli power and American security guarantees—remains the best bet for securing the kingdom’s future stability and prosperity. Achieving that outcome depends first and foremost on Israel, of course. But it won’t happen without the kind of unequivocal U.S. backing that Biden has superbly provided since the crisis erupted.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Gaza War 2023, Israel-Arab relations, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security