What Israel Should Do Next

Yesterday evening, an IDF spokesperson announced that Israel is planning to send 100,000 reservists into Gaza to free hostages and to ensure that “Hamas will no longer have any military capabilities to threaten Israeli civilians with” and also that “Hamas will not be able to govern the Gaza Strip.” Meir Ben-Shabbat, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council and 30-year veteran of the Shin Bet, explains how the IDF might go about accomplishing this:

The current circumstances not only justify but necessitate a departure from the policy of surgical strikes. While they provide precision and show Israel’s special capabilities, they require long, protracted, and complex preparations and in any event cannot constitute a sufficient price tag for the severe attack carried out by Hamas.

In place of this policy, Israel should warn the civilian population in the Gaza Strip that Israel’s intentions are to launch a massive assault. . . . Israel should destroy everything connected to Hamas: the homes of Hamas operatives, government offices, and offices belonging to the organization, institutions, banks, vehicles, generators, boats, warehouses, and workshops. The practice of “knock on the roof” (dropping low-yield devices to warn of an imminent full-scale bombing) should be suspended as it slows down the pace of operations, and the liaison office with Gaza should be closed.

The important plans concerning Saudi Arabia should not be a restraining factor when it comes to Gaza. The Saudi street won’t react positively to Israel’s operations, but they too will respect a powerful response to such a barbaric assault.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden