The first in line to claim payment for Israel's impressive offensive in Gaza, will be the Hamas terror group who remained on the sidelines during the fighting and left the Islamic Jihad to negotiate with the Egyptians, who mediated to end the violence.
Although no rocket during the three-day flare-up was launched by Hamas, the group encouraged smaller Gaza factions to contribute their arsenal to the fight, clearing themselves from any guilt they may experience.
Now the Gaza rulers will want their award for good behavior by having the restrictions lifted around the besieged enclave, as well as other benefits for its population.
Whether they know it or not, Hamas was a partner to Israel’s successful deception of the Islamic Jihad on Friday. After claiming fuel supplies will be allowed to enter the Strip to allow Gaza's power station to operate, Israel delivered a military blow instead, with a targeted killing of a senior PIJ commander, followed by two more a day later.
The Islamic Jihad was taken by surprise and some four hours had passed before they were able to regroup and launch their rockets at Israeli communities.
Hamas knew there was no critical need for fuel supply. The Gaza rulers also knew Israel would never leave them without electricity since such an emergency would certainly drag the terror group into the fight.
Still the Hamas sat back, and the Israeli strategy aimed at isolating the Islamic Jihad proved successful.
While the IDF targeted the Islamic Jihad’s infrastructure in Gaza, it continued to go after its members and capabilities in the West Bank.
And as the Islamist faction was taking a beating in Gaza, more than 10,000 Gazan workers were stranded in Israel, and unable to return home during the fighting, but continued to work as usual.
More than 100,000 requests for permits have been filed, and Hamas will surely request to increase the permit cap soon. The income from work in Israel is the economic lifeline for Gaza.
Operation Breaking Dawn focused on an imminent threat from Gaza, but that is only part of a larger move that has been underway for months to stop the Islamic Jihad from establishing a terror infrastructure in the West Bank with the help of Iran.
The faction leaders intended to end the wave of arrests of their operatives in Jenin, and with the guidance of Iran, threatened the security around the Gaza border. Israel needed to remove the threat.
Among the operation’s achievements was the lack of provocation that would've prompted Hamas to join in the fighting, nor were the Arab Israelis provoked to take any action in protest, in contrary to events of May 2021.
Israel's capabilities were not achieved in a day. The Shin Bet prepared detailed profiles for each of the Islamic Jihad’s commanders, and it took them months, if not years.
While the government and military were being slammed for imposing a de-facto closure on civilians near the border with Gaza, the Shin Bet, IDF’s Southern Command and the General Staff were reviewing the profiles of the commanders and preparing an operation to take them out.
The basics of the operation were planned ahead, which allowed quick and precise decisions to be made, based on developments on the ground.
The opening move of the operation was made by the Shin Bet, who was responsible for gathering intelligence on Islamic Jihad targets. Once the intelligence was ready, and the attack plans finalized, the head of the Shin Bet gave the green light to carry it out.
An even bigger success was the targeted killing of Khaled Mansour, the Islamic Jihad’s commander of Gaza's southern district on Saturday. By that point, a hunt was on for Islamic Jihad members, who behaved like wanted men. Intelligence gathered by the IDF and the Shin Bet were delivered to the Israeli Air Force in real time.
The challenges of locating Mansour, hiding in a saferoom among Gazan civilians, while avoiding large-scale collateral damage, were much more complex.
Now Hamas will claim its prize for its role in Israel's success.