How Israel Is Thinking about Its Response to the Iranian Assault

Ron Ben-Yishai examines the two “vectors” that will determine how Israel will retaliate:

One vector is the need to deter Iran. The ayatollahs did what they’ve never done before: deliberately attacked Israel, aiming to cause significant damage and undermine its citizens’ security. If Israel fails to respond to this attack aggressively, the ayatollahs and their allies in [what they call] the Axis of Resistance—as well as regional countries willing to normalize their relations with Israel—may see it as a weakness.

Israel also has an interest in threatening the survival of Tehran’s regime by exposing its weakness. But this is where the influence of the second vector comes into play, which is no less important and is perhaps even more so: the aggressive demand by the United States, the UK, France, Germany, and Canada that Israel refrain from a disproportionate response that could endanger the region’s stability. Such a regional war would also serve Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in Gaza.

Therefore, Israel has an interest in responding to the Western demand and returning to focus on the wars in Gaza and the northern border, leaving the schooling of Iran for another opportunity. In any case, response and revenge are dishes best served cold. It’s better to plan them well to ensure their effectiveness, even if it takes time and is done covertly.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict