Could Israel Have an Additional Motive for Attacking Gaza Now?

Of course, the missiles raining down on Israel from the Gaza strip provide more than ample reason and justification for Israel to attack Hamas now. But is it not also true that neutralizing Hamas’s missile capability now means not having to deal with them later, should Israel decide to attack Iran?

And has anyone noticed the lack of any response whatsoever from Hezbollah in the north?  Which, to me – and the Israelis? – would seem to send a pretty clear signal that Iran can probably rely on Hezbollah to do bupkis in response to such an attack.

Putting both of the above together, it would seem to be a pretty good guess that, thanks to Israel’s current activities in Gaza, should they decide to attack Iran, they most likely would be fighting one enemy, not three – an enemy that, incidentally, has a minimal, outdated air force, and does not have a common border from which to launch a land war.

Just sayin’.

  1. Chris Johnson

    Put another way, you are suggesting that Israel is attacking and “neutralizing” the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.  With Egypt next door, run by the MB.  And Turkey balanced, precariously between Shia Iran and Sunni….  So Hizbollah (Shia) in Lebanon sits waiting.

    I can see where this might make sense, if everyone in the neighborhood were friends, but Gaza is important to no one, including islamists of either stripe.  It is foolish to think that generations of muslims educated in western schools and dedicated to the annihilation of Israel have learned nothing since 1967.

    The Sunni and Shia will come to common cause and some non-event will be used to allow Obama to wash his hands of Israel.  Probably a video.

    Chess is an Iranian game.  The word “checkmate” is derived from the Persian word, “shakmati”.  We are playing, “Angry Birds”.

  2. Roberto

    Rather speculative but an interesting supposition nonetheless. Let us take this a bit further. Why now? Ten days ago Obama was reelected President of the United States. Might the government of Israel have received notice? Perhaps overt declarations, perhaps implied from this Administration that if reelected they will in any potential military action involving Iran leave Israel to face them alone?

    With the conviction that Israel will have no aid in dealing with Iran going forward might they not decide that there is no choice but to act now and that they can no longer wait for the feckless efforts of the Obama Administration to bear fruit? Thus these preparatory moves you describe.

    Completely speculative of course. 

  3. AIG

    I’m not so sure. Hezbollah did not respond in 2009 to a greater Israeli incursion into Gaza. There is little reason to believe it would since there is nothing for Hezbollah to gain. Hezbollah’s strength lies in having internal support in Lebanon and that support is being threatened right now due to the civil war in Syria.

    Second, any Israeli action in Gaza is unlikely to eliminate the threat from Hamas, bar a full-scale invasion and a prolonged war. It is difficult to eliminate Hamas’ rocket capability if these rockets can be produced in any garage and can be carried by any person. Nonetheless, these rockets do not pose a serious threat to Israel. 

    As for Iran, the difficulty in engaging Iran, for Israel, is not threat of Hezbollah, or Iran’s military. Rather, it is maintaining a prolonged aerial campaign against a country so far away and with no friendly airspace along the way. An elimination of Iran’s nuclear capability requires a prolonged campaign, not 2-3 strikes. That requires tankers, AWACS, ELINT aircraft etc to be positioned nearby. Unless Saudi allows this, the chances of success are very low. 

  4. Adam Koslin

    We could take it even further and speculate that Hezbollah (and by extension, Iran) don’t give two figs what Israel does, so long as it’s messing about in Gaza and the West Bank instead of bombing their country (which, while possibly effective in snuffing their nuclear ambitions, would probably cause political chaos in Iran and might well trigger a full-on war which might cause their already-teetering economy to go over the edge completely?  The Iranians aren’t fully logical, but I’ll bet apples to apricots they understand self-preservation.  They want a weapon to feel safe and powerful…anything that would threaten them, including a war with the region’s most effective, efficient, and disciplined force…well I bet they don’t want that a whole lot.

  5. ParisParamus

    What if Hezbollah is quiet because they are saving their powder for when Israel attacks Iran? I guess we need to see if Israel goes after Hezbolah with or after Gaza…

  6. Aelreth

    The Palestinians are pawns. Best if the IDF clears the cannon fodder as not to confuse them with actual units and waste the wrong munition.

    Besides if the IDF doesn’t clear the kayutusha rockets, how would the Iron Dome stop the real hardware that the Arabs are hiding.

  7. Charles Starnes

    I agree.  My first thought was: battlefield preparation.

  8. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    CJRun: Put another way, you are suggesting that Israel is attacking and “neutralizing” the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.  With Egypt next door, run by the MB.  And Turkey balanced, precariously between Shia Iran and Sunni….  So Hizbollah (Shia) in Lebanon sits waiting.

    I can see where this might make sense, if everyone in the neighborhood were friends, but Gaza is important to no one, including islamists of either stripe.  It is foolish to think that generations of muslims educated in western schools and dedicated to the annihilation of Israel have learned nothing since 1967.

    The Sunni and Shia will come to common cause and some non-event will be used to allow Obama to wash his hands of Israel.  Probably a video.

    David Goldman (a/k/a “Spengler”) has an informative post on PJ Media, based on a private conversation with a “senior Israeli official.” Do read Goldman’s post, but the bottom line is, with the sole exception of Iran – and in Iran’s case, only her burgeoning nuclear capability = Israel no longer considers the Arabs a serious military threat.

    Centuries of antagonism guarantees that the odds of Sunnis an Shiites uniting are zero.

  9. Group Captain Mandrake
    ParisParamus: I guess we need to see if Israel goes after Hezbolah with or after Gaza…

    If Hezbollah stays out of the conflict, I’m sure that Israel will not pursue them.  There would seem to me then to be no point.  With the  possibility of calling up 75,000 reservists, it sounds like Israel is preparing for a large and maybe long campaign in Gaza.

    There’s an interesting article in Israel Hayom which discusses how Hamas may not have been expecting such a strong reaction from Israel and that if, indeed, there was a link between the attacks and the forthcoming Israeli election, the connection may have been crafted by Hamas and not Israel.

  10. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    Roberto: Rather speculative but an interesting supposition nonetheless. Let us take this a bit further. Why now? Ten days ago Obama was reelected President of the United States. Might the government of Israel have received notice? Perhaps overt declarations, perhaps implied from this Administration that if reelected they will in any potential military action involving Iran leave Israel to face them alone?

    With the conviction that Israel will have no aid in dealing with Iran going forward might they not decide that there is no choice but to act now and that they can no longer wait for the feckless efforts of the Obama Administration to bear fruit? Thus these preparatory moves you describe.

    Completely speculative of course.  · 51 minutes ago

    I don’t know, but I strongly suspect that the Israeli leadership – certainly Netanyahu, probably Barak – have assumed, since the day Obama was elected, that Israel would stand alone. In that case, they would want to be able to use as many of their resources against Iran and divert minimal resources to Gaza and Hezbollah. Assuming Israel will attack in the spring, it makes sense to neutralize Gaza now.

  11. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    AIG:  Second, any Israeli action in Gaza is unlikely to eliminate the threat from Hamas, bar a full-scale invasion and a prolonged war.

    As for Iran, the difficulty in engaging Iran, for Israel, is not threat of Hezbollah, or Iran’s military. Rather, it is maintaining a prolonged aerial campaign against a country so far away and with no friendly airspace along the way.

    Unless Saudi allows this, the chances of success are very low.  · 40 minutes ago

    I anticipate a major land operation in Gaza, perhaps even including house-to-house searches for materiel. Israel is already calling up reserves.

    The Saudis have already given Israel tacit permission to overfly their airspace. Anyone envisioning aerial Israeli-Saudi dogfights is dreaming. Maybe the Saudis will lodge a pro forma protest at the U.N. for appearances, but they won’t mean it. Also, post Obama’s retreat from Iraq, there is no USAF anymore to prevent Israel overflying Iraq.

  12. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    Adam Koslin: We could take it even further and speculate that Hezbollah (and by extension, Iran) don’t give two figs what Israel does, so long as it’s messing about in Gaza and the West Bank instead of bombing their country (which, while possibly effective in snuffing their nuclear ambitions, would probably cause political chaos in Iran and might well trigger a full-on war which might cause their already-teetering economy to go over the edge completely?  The Iranians aren’t fully logical, but I’ll bet apples to apricots they understand self-preservation.  They want a weapon to feel safe and powerful…anything that would threaten them, including a war with the region’s most effective, efficient, and disciplined force…well I bet they don’t want that a whole lot. · 35 minutes ago

    Also, for all the appearances of concern, the non-Palestinian Arabs hate the Palestinians.  To the Arab monarchists and dictators, they are only pawns to draw attention from their own failed regimes.  Arabs may have a desire to hurt Israel, but no one wants to die for the Palestinians.  Again, note Hezbollah’s non-response, at least so far.

  13. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    ParisParamus: What if Hezbollah is quiet because they are saving their powder for when Israel attacks Iran? I guess we need to see if Israel goes after Hezbolah with or after Gaza… · 40 minutes ago

    Nasrallah was famously quoted as saying that, had he known how the Israelis would react to their kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers, he would never have done it. Hezbollah did nothing during Operation Cast Lead. I believe (but could be wrong; I can’t find the quote) that Nasrallah said that Hezbollah would act in its own interest and would not necessarily be drawn into a war between Israel and Iran.

  14. Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor
    C
    Group Captain Mandrake

    ParisParamus: I guess we need to see if Israel goes after Hezbolah with or after Gaza…

    If Hezbollah stays out of the conflict, I’m sure that Israel will not pursue them.  There would seem to me then to be no point.  With the  possibility of calling up 75,000 reservists, it sounds like Israel is preparing for a large and maybe long campaign in Gaza.

    There’s an interesting article in Israel Hayom which discusses how Hamas may not have been expecting such a strong reaction from Israel and that if, indeed, there was a link between the attacks and the forthcoming Israeli election, the connection may have been crafted by Hamas and not Israel. · 24 minutes ago

    Israel’s policy, since the day of her re-founding, has been to leave alone anyone who did not bother them.  They’re a tiny country with limited resources and more than enough domestic problems to keep them occupied.  For all the outward displays of efficiency and effectiveness, I’m sure warfare is a tremendous drain on them. Plus, given our relative population sizes, one Israeli combat death has the impact there that 60 deaths would have here.

  15. Group Captain Mandrake
    Gene Schwimmer, Guest Contributor

    Israel’s policy, since the day of her re-founding, has been to leave alone anyone who did not bother them.

    Yes, and I often wonder how different things might have been in the region had Jordan not taken part against Israel during the Six-Day War.

  16. AIG

    The Saudis have already given Israel tacit permission to overfly their airspace

    Well, according to one journalist. Sure Israel could overfly Iraq or Saudi once, or twice. But that won’t be enough. This would have to be a multi-month operation. Israel just doesn’t have that sort of capability, and I can’t imagine Saudi really allowing their airbases to be used. Overflying Iraq for a long period of time will have very bad consequences for everything the US has achieved there. 

    I think a much more workable scenario is being overlooked here: a Saudi attack on Iran. 

  17. Roberto
    AIG

    The Saudis have already given Israel tacit permission to overfly their airspace

    Well, according to one journalist. Sure Israel could overfly Iraq or Saudi once, or twice. But that won’t be enough. This would have to be a multi-month operation. Israel just doesn’t have that sort of capability, and I can’t imagine Saudi really allowing their airbases to be used. Overflying Iraq for a long period of time will have very bad consequences for everything the US has achieved there. 

    I think a much more workable scenario is being overlooked here: a Saudi attack on Iran.  · 5 minutes ago

    You lost me right at the end. Israel lacks the capability for a sufficiently effective strike yet you imagine Saudi Arabia has such? There is something to be said for the first yet as to the second that is a significant error. The Saudis are fortunate to perform touch-and-go’s without wrecking their aircraft, a strike such as this is far outside of their capabilities. 

  18. ParisParamus

    If Hezbollah is an Iranian surrogate, it will obviously attack Israel if Israel goes after Iran.

  19. Robert E. Lee

    I’m wondering where that small amount of chemical weapons the intelligence services lost track of in Syria ended up.  It was said they were moved for safety reasons.  Could they have been moved to southern Lebanon?  Could Hezbollah be waiting for a more strategic moment?

  20. AIG

    The distance between Dhahran and Bushehr is about 180 miles. The distance between Israel and Bushehr is about 1,000 miles. My point is that Israel cannot carry out a prolonged air campaign against Iran, without access to airbases closer to Iran, or friendly airspace which would allow them to refuel. Saudi, however, doesn’t have that problem. Their air force isn’t to be taken lightly. Of course, they wouldn’t go it alone but as the GCC. 

    Without a prolonged air campaign, nothing can be achieved with Iran. And the only way to have the conditions for a prolonged campaign is to have a coalition of countries surrounding it. 

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