The deterrence worked: Hamas refused to join the fighting

Security expert weighs in: Is Israel winning the wars against Gaza, or keeping a stalemate?

Nitzan Kedar ,

Rockets launched by Gazan terrorists against Israeli civilians
Rockets launched by Gazan terrorists against Israeli civilians
Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Dr. Eran Lerman, former Deputy Head of the National Security Council and the Vice President of the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy, told Arutz Sheva that Israel not only won the recent round of fighting, but also significantly strengthened the deterrence felt by terror organizations.

"The most significant thing - and it itself is proof that there is deterrence - is the fact that Hamas did not join the fighting," Dr. Lerman said. "We have a situation in which Israel carried out widescale activities in Gaza's territory, with dozens of people killed on the other side, and the main force in Gaza - Hamas - did not join the fighting. They made it clear to Islamic Jihad that they are completely on their own in this."

'Hamas understood the price that they are liable to pay, and that's the best proof that Israel's deterrence exists. It even grew, because we crossed a certain line when we hit someone who actively tried to ignite the area as an emissary of the Iranians, and his elimination made it clear that we will not tolerate that."

However, Lerman explained, nothing in the current round of fighting proves that the rules of the game have changed.

"The path to calming the situation via agreement with Egypt will continue as agreed. Israel did not involve itself in eliminations before the [Islamic] Jihad senior official involved himself with rockets. If Islamic Jihad understood that it needs to remove itself from involvement with rockets, we have no reason to involve ourselves in more targeted eliminations," he explained.

According to Lerman, Israel's main message was intended not just for Gaza but also for Tehran's leaders.

"The elimination of a senior [Islamic] Jihad official was a response to the growing trend of 'bloodhounds for the Iranian regime' who are sent by Tehran to incite one area or another, as part of the Iranians' response system to a great and growing distress, which the regime no longer bothers to hide," he said.

"Iran's situation hasn't been so horrible since the days of the Revolution. This pushes the Iranians to do things, and if we've managed to neutralize this desire of Iran's - that in itself is an accomplishment."