The IDF Is Suffering the Consequences of American Restraint

Since the IDF began its operations in and around the Gazan city of Rafah, at least five soldiers have been killed by explosive booby traps. Jonathan Schanzer examines the evidence that these deaths are the result of U.S. efforts to restrain Israel:

On the eve of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, in March, the White House warned Israel to halt its military advance on Rafah. The Israelis had removed Hamas from the vast majority of the Gaza Strip. The IDF was on the cusp of destroying the terrorist group, defying the predictions of most Middle East experts. The U.S. warned that war during Ramadan could lead to a multi-front conflict the Israelis wanted to avoid.

But when that month was over, and the Israelis readied for a renewal of the war, the White House moved the goal posts. The U.S. immediately began to warn of a potential humanitarian disaster in Gaza. The State Department went so far as to suggest that Israel could be guilty of war crimes in Rafah. The White House even threatened to halt the provision of ammunition to Israel, as a result of these purported fears. . . . Then, in mid-May, a major lawfare campaign against Israel kicked into high gear. . . .

The cumulative effect of all of this over the last three months has prompted the IDF to halt its advance in Rafah, and to move much more slowly than it originally anticipated. These three months of relative quiet afforded Hamas, and its terror masters in Tehran, the time and space to prepare the lethal booby traps and IEDs that are now killing the Israeli soldiers.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship

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