Beyond Seif Al-Quds: “Israel’s” Upcoming War

Karim ShararaIf a wider war breaks out, Israel’s strategy will be an offensive one that will feature the use of ground forces.If a wider war breaks out, “Israel’s” strategy will be an offensive one that will feature the use of ground forces.

The battle of Seif Al-Quds introduced a shift in the Resistance’s operations and the future of the Axis of Resistance. What changed during the battle, and how does “Israel” plan on tackling the next war?

Much has been said in the aftermath of the Battle of Seif Al-Quds, what the Israelis termed “Guardian of the Walls” (the name did not age well). Seif Al-Quds, or Al-Quds Sword, was no less than a game-changer in terms of developments in the region, which introduced another chink into Israeli armor, an introduction to a paradigm shift in regional and international relations.

As the events of Sheikh Jarrah were unfolding, and anger mounting against “Israel’s” inhumane, illegal, and shameless colonial practices, so were Israeli attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and with them, popular resistance and confrontations against Israeli occupation forces picked up. For the first time, with the beginning of the Resistance’s ultimatum for Israeli forces to withdraw from Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyard, ending with the Resistance launching rockets after the occupation failed to comply and leave the occupied territories, there was a complete unity between the Resistance and the people.

While Palestine’s Resistance factions operated in complete unison, so did the people of Palestine take to the streets and riot against their oppression by the IOF.

The significance of these happenings wasn’t just limited to Palestinian unity, which was translated into a renewed hope for liberation. For the first time, we also saw statements by Resistance leaders signaling unison among regional Resistance factions as well.

In simple terms, a prolonged war on Gaza and continued violation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque may end with “Israel” having to contend with more than one front.

This wasn’t a simple development that Israeli decision-makers had to contend with, because the very pillars to which “Israel” owns its continuity as a political entity were at stake: Migration, settlement, and security. In order to prepare for the upcoming, inevitable battle, Israeli pundits and decision-makers had to formulate strategies in order to remedy the weaknesses revealed by the battle of Seif Al-Quds.

The Narrative

The battle over narratives is a very important one in fostering support or criticism for a certain event. In this instance, pro-Palestinian youth around the world made use of their social media presence to raise awareness regarding “Israel’s” oppression of the Palestinian people and their forced displacement of the people of Sheikh Jarrah.

Despite the very obvious attempts by Western social media to limit pro-Palestinian accounts from spreading their narrative, with Instagram and Facebook reducing the reach of pro-Palestinian content, the consensus around Israeli brutality during the battle, and “Israel’s” targeting of foreign media reporting on the battle shifted the balance toward Palestine.

This success was also in part due to the fact that people around the world had begun using TikTok, a Chinese platform that the West had no control over, and thus could not use to shape an anti-Resistance consensus. Thus, video and photographic content of the IOF’s targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure could no longer be ignored and shifted world popular opinion against the Israeli war machine.

As a result of this shift in world public opinion, recommendations were made to Israeli decision-makers to further enhance “Israel’s” presence on social media and organize it as a “force multiplier”.

Security strategy

One of “Israel’s” main concerns is the perpetuation of security, and for Israelis living on the occupied territories to sense this security. Without said security, there would be no migration toward the occupied territories, “Israel” could neither build settlements on occupied territories and expand its colonial presence, nor could it afford to maintain its existence.

One of the main pillars of Israeli strength is for it to give off the impression of it being an impregnable fortress, either by way of building walls, or surrounding itself with the figurative Iron dome, so that any targeting is rendered futile, thereby allowing it to perpetuate its existence by sheer awe factor.

The Resistance’s main takeaway from the Seif Al-Quds Battle was that the myth of the Iron Dome, and the sense of security felt by Israeli settlers, especially those living in the Gaza envelope, were both dissipated. The Resistance’s use of rocket volleys in order to land actual hits on Israeli settlements and cities located deep in the occupied heartland meant that settlers had to contend with something new: rockets landing near them, and the possibility of dying or facing gravy injury at any moment; the Iron Dome could no longer protect them, and in their eyes, their government and military had failed them.

A second threat that Israeli decision-makers had to contend with was two-fold:

–          Prolonging the battle amid depleting Iron Dome reserves and an unwillingness to launch a ground incursion because of the risk of suffering heavy losses.

–          The possibility of developments ensuing on the northern front with Lebanon and Hezbollah joining the battle.

Multiple fronts

Faced with the prospect of “Israel” having to contend with multiple fronts, the IOF has decided to launch its largest-ever military drills, which were supposed to take place last May, but were delayed on account of the battle of Seif Al-Quds.

Put simply, even according to Israeli military minds, the occupation cannot withstand a multiple front approach and has had a hard enough time dealing with either the Lebanese or the Gaza front alone. One main problem faced by Israeli decision-makers is that the occupation cannot sustain a battle for an extended amount of time, not to mention the prospect of having to contend with multiple fronts.

If a wider war breaks out, “Israel’s” strategy will be an offensive one that will feature the use of ground forces, making high casualty rates in the IOF inevitable. In the words of the IOF’s Chief of General Staff, Aviv Kochavi, the strategy “Tel Aviv” will employ will be one of “widely expose, widely strike, and widely destroy.” This means Israeli occupation forces will be seeking high-intensity, simultaneous attacks on multiple fronts in order to inflict maximum civilian losses using air superiority so as to establish deterrence.

Non-military strategy

Other than “Israel’s” military strategy, its immediate concern is the Resistance factions in Gaza, who can mobilize the occupied territories. As such, one of its aims is to use the tools and influence at its disposal in order to weaken Resistance factions operating in Gaza by using a three-pronged approach:

1-     Halting the transfer of funds from Qatar to Gaza: Since it cannot use any of its influence against Iran, “Israel” is seeking to use its influence with Qatar in order to restrain the Gaza front, limit Hamas’ influence outside of Gaza, and stop using its media arm to fan the flames.

2-  Enlisting the help of Egypt to place pressure against Resistance factions by obstructing reconstruction in Gaza and closing crossings into the Sinai Peninsula.

3-     Preventing people from Gaza from being allowed to work in other parts of the occupied territories.

Aside from Gaza, its other main concern is the Lebanese Resistance. One strategy that Israeli pundits have been adopting over the past few months rests in applying internal pressure on the Resistance in order to weaken its popular foothold, or as one Israeli Reserve Forces Major put it: the “solution” to Hezbollah’s possession of precision missiles no longer lies in military threats, but “in the ability of the international community and ‘Israel’ to take advantage of the unprecedented internal crisis in Lebanon in order to succeed in fatally damaging the organization’s status (or force it to take over Lebanon and pay a very high price).”

As things are headed, with the promise of a unified answer to the violation of Palestine and Al-Aqsa by the leaders of the Axis of Resistance, there is a probability that the upcoming war will not be only limited to the Palestinian theater. An end to the illusion of Israeli and settler security is one that can prompt a reverse migration from Palestine, and an end to the misery suffered by its people for the past seven decades.

There is an old adage that says, the land’s owner is the one who defends it. Perhaps the coming battle will reveal to the world who the land’s true owners are: those rooted in it and are prepared to give their lives defending it, however possible.