Those monitoring the Israeli media as well as Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian politicians cannot escape the grim impression that we are on the eve of war. However, do note the following: Both the Lebanese and Syrians are scared that Israel will strike them, while here officials fear that Hezbollah, Syria, or Hamas – which are all building up their power – may attack Israel.
Each side accuses the other one of intending to strike, and the explanation for this is as follows: Nobody has an interest in a new regional war. The opposite is true – the status quo is convenient for all sides involved, while the results of a war may be terrible. Hence, a war is not expected to break out this summer.
A month ago people wondered whether the Qassam attacks are back in the south. The answer was clear back then already: Israel’s deterrence vis-à-vis Gaza is too powerful, and Hamas will do everything to stop the rocket fire. This is indeed what happened.
We scared Hamas so much in Operation Cast Lead that they have no interest whatsoever in prompting a new war. They got the message. We also scared Hezbollah so much that Nasrallah has been in hiding for almost four years now, fearing Israel’s long arm. He too got it.
Israel’s enemies got used to seeing the IDF getting entangled in Arab territory, amidst hostile civilians. For that reason, the IDF was also being hit with roadside bombs and traps laid in the dark. Yet now, when the army strikes out of Israeli territory with immense power, the Arab shock is great. They now saw a real military, tanks, and mostly fighter jets, rather than a policing force which they got used to seeing in the past two decades.
Convenient status quo
Syria’s, Hamas’, and Hezbollah’s fear is so great that we, without even noticing it, took over their minds. We prompt paralyzing fear among them.
This is attested to by Hamas’ effort to control the terrorists in the Gaza Strip, in order to ensure they won’t fire any more Qassams. Foreign Minister Lieberman already made it clear what would happen to the Syrian regime should Damascus strike, and Hezbollah is currently a partner in the Lebanese government.
Even France, Lebanese PM Hariri’s patron, made it clear to Beirut that as opposed to the Second Lebanon War, next time the entire Lebanese Administration would be involved and Paris would have trouble offering its help.
Currently we’re seeing the most powerful deterrence enjoyed by Israel in decades.
So would Israel be the one to launch a war this summer? No chance. The deterrence that was created and the stability it prompted satisfy our defense and political leaderships. The status quo on all fronts is convenient for Israel.
What’s even more encouraging is the ability to read our enemies’ mind, after it has been proven that they don’t understand the Israeli mind. They were surprised twice – in 2006 and in 2009 – when they believed that the “weak” Israel won’t strike. Today, they understand that monitoring the Israeli media through English-language websites is not the same as understanding Israel.
After a decade of wars, Israel regained its deterrence; moreover, it has no interest in embarking on war. The IDF is well trained, equipped with a new generation of advanced arms, and ready for any development in a way that we haven’t seen for dozens of years. All of this is a solid guarantee for a relaxed Mideastern summer.