Limited Israeli deterrence

Senior officials in the Gaza Strip confirm that the IDF's "Shield and Arrow" operation achieved a temporary tactical deterrence and that calm will prevail on the border of the Gaza Strip in the coming months. The main task of the IDF is to restore deterrence against Hezbollah and Iran without this leading to a regional war, this is not an impossible task.



This week, the IDF held a large military exercise called “Iron Fist” in which the units practiced scenarios of a multi-military confrontation with the axis of resistance led by Iran.

Beyond the training of the units, the exercise is also intended to send a message to Iran and its affiliates that the IDF is very strong and ready for any confrontation, therefore it is better for the axis of resistance not to be dragged into a war with Israel.

The IDF’s “Shield and Arrow” operation against the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip achieved a temporary tactical deterrence against the Gaza Strip, senior Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip confirm.

The Islamic Jihad began to restore its military capabilities that were damaged in the last round of fighting with Iranian money and to man the top of command of its military arm after the IDF assassinated 6 of the military wing’s senior officers during the “Shield and Arrow” operation.

However, the deterrence achieved by the IDF against the Gaza Strip is not sufficient to deter the axis of resistance led by Iran which has publicly announced the adoption of the “unification of fronts” strategy against Israel, that is, attacking Israel simultaneously from several fronts using rockets, missiles and drones.

Attacking Israel with rockets during the month of Ramadan following the events at the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon and Syria further eroded Israeli deterrence, Operation Shield and Arrow rebalanced the deterrence equation.

Israel took the initiative and surprisingly attacked the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip after it launched about 100 rockets towards Sderot, the Islamic Jihad was surprised by Israel because it estimated that it would contain the rockets it launched.

The Israeli attack came after assessing the situation that the Islamic Jihad attack would not lead to a regional war, the political echelon is not interested in such a war now, but an attack on Iran or Hezbollah by Israel is much more complex and dangerous.

According to security sources, an initiated Israeli attack on Hezbollah will result in at least a round of fighting for a few days, but Hezbollah will be careful because the Lebanese state knows that Israel will destroy all of its civilian infrastructure in the event that the war lasts beyond a few days.

Conversely, an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would result in a regional war because Iran would use all of its affiliates in the Middle East against Israel.

Israel will need the support of the US, political and military, in order to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, however, in case of lack of choice, it will also go into the battle alone.

Iran has provided Hezbollah with about 150,000 rockets and missiles to use to attack Israel if it attacks the nuclear facilities in Iran, the Iranians do not want these weapons to be wasted in a war between Israel and Hezbollah only.

The Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip was a much easier target for Israel compared to Hezbollah or Iran, during all the days of fighting in the “Shield and Arrow” operation, the Islamic Jihad launched about 1100 rockets at Israel, according to IDF estimates, Hezbollah could launch at Israel About 3000 rockets a day.

Hamas sat on the fence and did not participate in the fighting, but it seems that in the next round of fighting it will already be a full partner.

The countdown to another round of fighting against the Gaza Strip has already begun, the “Shield and Arrow” operation was only the prelude to the next confrontations with the Iranian axis of resistance.

Make no mistake, Hezbollah and Iran are militarily much more dangerous to Israel than the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to Hezbollah’s large rocket arsenal, it also has a large ground force that is training to occupy the Galilee.

This force is called the “Radwan Force” and it has about 11 battalions, these are special units that plan to occupy IDF posts, Israeli settlements and kidnap civilians and soldiers, Hezbollah recently advanced this force to Lebanon’s border with Israel.

Hassan Nasrallah wants to go down in history as the “liberator of the Galilee” and not as the “defender of Lebanon”, his deputy, Sheikh Naim Kassem recently stated that the next war will be in Israeli territory and not in southern Lebanon.

The assessment in Israel is that currently Hezbollah is not interested in an all-out war against Israel, it has nothing to gain from it at the moment, but it may initiate terrorist actions against Israel as it did a few weeks ago at the Megiddo junction.

What is required is to restore the Israeli deterrence against Hezbollah and Iran in a way that does not lead to an all-out war, this is a difficult but not impossible task, it requires good intelligence and creativity and of course also making the right decision.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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