Iran is debating about resuming the fighting in the Gaza Strip

Iran is currently grappling with a critical decision amid the looming possibility of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) resuming conflict in the Gaza Strip. The IDF's potential advancement towards the center and south of the Gaza Strip, aiming to topple the Hamas regime, presents a challenging scenario for Iran.

Despite Iran’s reluctance to engage in a regional war, it must now navigate its next steps.

It is anticipated that Iran may instruct Hezbollah to escalate attacks on Israel rather than opting for direct involvement in the conflict.

According to political officials in Jerusalem, Israel is poised to resume fighting in the Gaza Strip to exert military pressure on Hamas and pursue the release of Israeli abductees.

If the IDF’s offensive resumes, Iran faces a dilemma.

Recognizing the IDF’s superior strength over Hamas, Iran must decide whether to accept the potential defeat of the Hamas movement, which would be a significant setback for the Iran-led axis of resistance, or risk entering a broader regional conflict.

The Iranian leadership, particularly Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, may need to decide whether to instruct Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, to engage in an extensive military conflict with Israel to support Hamas.

Notably, Iran has historically advised Nasrallah to escalate confrontations with Israel cautiously, avoiding crossing certain “red lines,” such as launching strong rockets and drones attacks in the heart of Israel.

Since 2006, Iran has strategically built Hezbollah’s military power to safeguard its national security against potential Israeli or American attacks.

The reluctance to expend this military strength on supporting Hamas may stem from Iran’s broader interests in preserving Hezbollah’s capabilities.

Iran’s displeasure with Hamas, following its uncoordinated attack on Israeli settlements in October, has strained their relationship.

Despite activating proxies like the Houthis in Yemen and militias in Syria and Iraq against Israel and the U.S., these actions have not significantly aided Hamas in its conflict with the IDF.

As the IDF prepares to intensify its offensive in the coming days, Hamas faces a critical juncture.

While the group may seek external assistance when its military capabilities are strained, Iran’s response is expected to be measured.

The risk of a regional war, coupled with the presence of U.S. military assets in the region, suggests that Iran may opt to tolerate the collapse of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, potentially losing its loyal ally, the Islamic Jihad organization, in the process.

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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