The Cold War of Israel and Iran

When 190 Rockets hit Israel yesterday, few citizens had the time to think about who is launching them now, and why. A cold war wan’t probably the first explanation for the sudden escalation, especially when people were wounded and alarms were buzzing.

The story supposedly began when Israel assassinated Baha Abu Al-Ata, a senior terrorist in the Islamic Jihad of Palestine. While Israelis are still waiting for a solution for the post-election political entanglement, The Islamic Jihad retaliated Al At’s death by  paralyzing Israel with intense rocket launching on civilian targets throughout the country.

Yet in this point of time, it is time to acknowledge the incontinent truth. we can swallow the blue pill, and believe this is a regular chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or swallow the red pill and see the reality for what it is-

There is a cold war between Israel and Iran, the two superpowers of the region.

-Follow The Money-

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A full description of Iran’s network of terror. the picture was made by The Israel Project, and is free to use and share under the Creative commons license.

from a certain point of view, The Islamic Jihad (and partially, The Hamas) are the military Junta of Iran in the region. look beyond Israel and you’ll notice a consent trend:  Iran is pulling the strings, and its puppets are The Hezbollah in Lebanon, The Assad Regime in Syria and the Houthi movement in Yemen.

In other words: Iran fights indirectly with Israel by using pawns on the middle eastern chess board, in a striking resemblance to how the soviet Union used its own pawns in the middle east, to fight The United States in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The assassination of Al-Ata was merely an excuse for The Islamic Jihad and Iran to ignite  a possible war, an excuse Iran long waited for.

When it comes to the Islamic Jihad, the Iran endorsement is striking: in 2012, the Islamic Jihad moved its headquarters to Tehran, and enjoyed the supply of 4 Fajr rockets which have a range of 50 miles. furthermore, despite  earlier disputes between the Islamic Republic and the PIJ (short for Palestinian Islamic Jihad) in 2016 Iran resumed its financial support, and according to former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, “In recent months, investment in the Palestinian arena has also been growing out of a desire to influence it – with an increase in the (annual) funding in the Gaza Strip for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to $100 million,”

-A Fight over the Palestinian Hegemony- 

Don’t be deluded: even though Hamas didn’t initiate the recent attacks, it condemned Israel for the assassination and backed the terrorists. While Israel perceives the Hamas as the sovereign entity in Gaza and hold them accountable, It has been first revealed that the Hamas stance in Gaza has shaken.

In the eyes of many Israelis, Hamas became the symbol of The Gaza turmoil. yet in reality, Hamas stance as the proclaimed sovereign of Gaza positioned them as the least extreme player in the Gaza arena. while the Hamas as a long history of Rocket Launching, suicide bombing and war crimes against Israelis, the alternatives to its regime are either ISIS, the communist PFLP and the Iran backed Islamic Jihad.

Each of these organizations has its own way to struggle against Israel, and The Hamas finds itself absurdly monitoring its counterparts actions, to prevent them from overlapping and seizing power from them. Ego, dirty politics and a fight for Hegemony are the name of the game, and Iran wisely identifies a weakness they can manipulate for their own benefits.

-How Israel can win its cold war- 

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Israel and Iran on The Middle Eastern map. the picture has been designed by Torsten and is free to use and share under the GNU Free documentation License.

If Iran has its own arms in the middle eastern cold war, Israel should also mobilize its partners in the region. While the Sunni gulf states like Saudi Arabia might be the most natural fit for the struggle against Iran, the most crucial partners are actually the Kurds.

Traumatized by the US Withdrawal from the region, and suffering from a political split, The kurds stand in a dangerous vacuum, desperately looking for an ally in their fight for survival. In order to create a counterbalance to the emerging Iranian threat by investing efforts in forming a Kurdish State in Syria and Iraq.

The current situation sends the Kurds, unwillingly to the bear hug of The Syrian government (a subordinate of Russia and Iran). Israel should take advantage of its former collaboration with the kurds to step in as the main ally of the kurds, weakening the Putin-Iran-Assad pact in the process.

Meanwhile, regardless of the elections final outcome, the next Israeli prime minister should continue to build trust with Saudi Arabia, as well as Jordan and Egypt.

Yet Beyond all these suggestions, History tells us how the cold war has been won due to a wise combination of diplomacy and warfare. while Israel should strike the Islamic Jihad with uncompromising, harsh force it should also negotiate with Iran.

Ironically, as bad as the former Iran deal may been, the very existence of a tiring negotiations and regulations over Iran, including sanctions will suffocate Iran’s nuclear plot. with the combined efforts of Kurdish and Israeli fighters, Saudi support and a formalized diplomatic coalition, Israel can stop the Iranian endeavors.

We are all entitled to criticize the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and it is legitimate to describe The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way each of us sees fit, including the usage of the “O” word (occupation).

Yet beyond these nuances, it is important to realize: Iran is cynically manipulating the middle east for the sake of their own power, risking everyone in the process. If the middle east has any hope for a brighter future, it will begin with Israel winning its cold war.

About the Author
From Jerusalem and now lives in New York, Ophir Tal is a Community Shaliach of The 14th Street Y (sent by the Jewish Agency and UJA Federation of New York). In Israel he served in the Military as a journalist in the IDF Newsletter Bamahane , worked in the supreme court of Israel in Educational workshops about democracy, in YMCA and Seeds of peace (facilitation of conflict based dialogues) and as a Journalist in Xnet. Ophir loves Creative Writing, crossfit and cooking Shakshuka.
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