Gilad Katz, former Consul General of Israel to the Southwest and former advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explains that Israel taking action in Gaza against Islamic Jihad is the first time in over a decade that the government has been proactive instead of reactive in fighting Palestinian Arab terrorism.
“This is something very important because the Palestinians from their point of view, in their minds they know that they can do whatever they want to do because only if they cross the red lines, only then will Israel somehow have to react,” Katz tells Israel National News. “All of a sudden the game has changed, the rules have changed, and this is something important first of all for the Palestinians to understand the policy has changed… But I don’t think we’re at a solution. Nothing really has changed in a fundamental manner.”
Reacting to MKs from the further right-wing parties who took credit for the Prime Minister taking action against terrorists from Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Katz says that it’s the actual policy that is crucial, not who is behind it or takes credit.
“It’s a sort of a game, who will take the credit. I don't think that this is where we're supposed to be,” he says. “ We're talking about the government, we're talking about policy. It's not important who gets the credit. It's not important for the average Israeli… It’s more politics.”
When asked whether Operation Shield and Arrow is a game changer, he remarks that it may be in the long term, but we will have to wait and see.
He believes the fact that there was not too much pressure from the United States is a sign of continuing good relations with Washington.
“Today, the Israeli [government’s] interests are very close to the American ones,” Katz says. “Just a month ago there was one of the the larges military joint exercises between the IDF and the US Army. We have a lot of issues that we see eye to eye with. I'm talking about fighting against terror, Iran, and of course the stability of the Middle East.”
Commenting on the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been invited to meet at the White House with President Joe Biden, he believes that it’s a fact of US politics and the Democratic primary season that is approaching.
“We have our political issues here. The same applies to Biden,” he says. “He has his politics with his own party. Up until now at least, Biden says that he is intending to run for 2024, so he has to do, according to what he thinks, [to beat] all his potential rivals within the Democratic Party [in the primaries]. But tomorrow, he’ll invite him and we’ll forget about it all.”
In terms of the Republican Party, he believes whether it’s Donald Trump or another candidate, it will be positive for Israel.
“It’s going to be exciting. Seeing Trump leading all the polls by far and we have Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. And I think we’ll have others. It’s still very early, I don't want to predict who will be their candidate. Whoever it will be, I think from our point of view, will be a very good ally for us.”