Solving Israel’s Qatar Dilemma

Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat explain why Jerusalem has been willing to deal with Hamas’s sponsors in Doha until now:

Israel’s Qatari dilemma is thus: although the connection between Qatar and Hamas harms Israeli interests, at the same time, thanks to its ties with the organization, Qatar has served, and continues to serve, other Israeli interests.

The Qatari transfer of money to Hamas was welcomed by Israel, which was beguiled by the false quiet that it bought. . . . Israel hoped that these funds would encourage Hamas to maintain the security calm. . . . The Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, was seen by Israel as a convenient channel for relaying messages to Hamas.

Now that this approach appears to have failed, what should Israel do?

Given that the most effective way to apply pressure on Qatar is through the United States, Israel should appeal to the Biden administration to pressure the Qatari regime to change its policy. For example, Israel should ensure, in part by appealing to Washington, that the presence of Hamas leaders in Qatar becomes a burden for Doha. However, since Washington sees Qatar as an asset, Israel should lower its expectations—even when it comes to the American promise that it has agreed with Doha that the Qataris will “reexamine” their ties with Hamas after the war.

Consequently, any change in Israeli policy toward Qatar—for example, by trying to assassinate senior Hamas figures who have been given refuge in Qatar—could encounter stiff U.S. opposition, especially in the short term.

Far better than Doha’s expulsion of Hamas’s seniormost leaders, who will inevitably find refuge elsewhere, and better even than their assassination by the Mossad, would be if Qatar arrests them and hands them over to the U.S., sending a clear message that the game is up for the terrorist group.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Qatar, U.S. Foreign policy

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7