The Mass Surrender of Hamas Terrorists Could Be a Turning Point in the War

While trouble brews in the north, fighting has continued in the area around al-Shifa hospital in central Gaza, where large supplies of weapons were hidden in the maternity ward and where numerous Hamas operatives gathered to renew combat against the IDF. Israeli forces have killed dozens of terrorists there, including some high-ranking officers; they have managed to arrest hundreds more. Eran Lerman examines the significance of the fact that these fighters are choosing surrender over martyrdom:

Achieving the surrender of large numbers of enemy fighters is advantageous, first of all, in terms of incurring fewer casualties and requiring less military effort than a “fight to the finish.” It has also been proven to be of immense value in obtaining vital intelligence, such as the location of tunnels and their entrances. Another operational consideration has to do with improving Israel’s leverage in the negotiations for the hostages’ release.

Yet in addition, the surrender of Hamas’s armed men is also of long-term value at the level of grand strategy. For decades, Islamist totalitarian terrorist groups, from Hizballah and Hamas to al-Qaeda and Islamic State, have cultivated the legend that the muqawwamah (“resistance”), rooted in a version of religious faith, will stand and fight to the last—unlike the . . . flight and surrender that marked the defeat of secular Arab nationalism, above all in the war of 1967.

Thus not only do mass arrests suggest flagging morale, but they also send “a message both to the Gazans themselves, whose life Hamas was willing to sacrifice unhesitatingly and in great numbers, and to much wider circles in the Arab and Muslim world,” a message that the myth of resistance is no more than a myth.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security