Missile strikes are a political weapon so powerful that even your adversaries are forced to publicly praise you when they’re used. In the wake of Israel’s missile strike against Hezbollah even Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni stood up and bowed before the might of the Prime minister they are working to topple.
When Yoav Gallant, a man who knows a thing or two about the IDF, called into question the timing of this missile attack he was attacked by parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. They were fighting amongst themselves to see who could attack him the most. This of course is the trap. They are hoping that if they all stand up and praise Bibi for this operation then they will be able to shrug it off as quickly as possible, allowing him the minimum possible political plaudits. By criticising the timing Gallant allows the Likud to take the high road and look more like the only party capable of government.
But Gallant’s right to question the timing of this attack on Hezbollah and shouldn’t be taking flack for what everyone else in the Knesset is thinking.
Now journalists are devoting column inches to what the Hezbollah response might be. They are ignoring the fact that this attack was in itself a response to Hezbollah. In an interview filmed five days ago and screened a couple of days later Hassan Nasrallah bragged about the capability to attack Israel Hezbollah holds in its hands. Now he knows not to threaten Israel. This strike was political in nature.
Of course Nasrallah has said the same thing many times, except this time he said it during a Bibi Netanyahu election campaign.
There are several differences between the recent strike (for which Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility) and several others that have been launched. Previous strikes against Hezbollah have targeted weapons convoys moving from Syria into Lebanon. Israel has declared that it will not allow so called game changing weapons into the hands of the Shi’ite terror group.
This latest attack doesn’t fall into that pattern. The attack made the headlines mainly because the son of Imad Mughniyeh, the number two of Hezbollah until himself being assassinated in 2008, was among the dead. The 25 year old is said to have been in charge of Hezbollah forces in the Syrian Golan. Since there aren’t very many Hezbollah forces in the Syrian Golan one has to wonder how much of a threat the 25 year old posed. There are many other 25 year olds in Hezbollah, will we be attacking them too any time soon?
The strike killed between 6 and 12 men (depending on which media report you listen to). Latest news reports that among were two high ranking figures in the Iranian/Hezbollah world. But why did we kill them in particular? Their replacements will soon fill their shoes (if they haven’t already). No one is claiming this is the start of a new Israeli assassination tactic, a new chapter in the war between Israel and Hezbollah whereby the IDF targets their leadership wherever it finds them.
So why now? We already know don’t we.
Because Netanyahu’s campaigning for re-election and there are limits to what viral election videos can do for you whereas a good military strike can blow the opposition out of the water.