On May 2nd, the person who was the spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (YIP), khader adnandied in a prison in Israel after more than 80 days on hunger strike and having refused to receive medical assistance.
From that moment the whole world knew that there was going to be a new escalation between the Jewish State and the terrorist organizationthe usual cycle of attacks and reprisals with which Hamas and other Palestinian groups condemn their young people to die from time to time, the last time, for example, in June of last year.
More than a hundred rockets before the Israeli retaliation
And indeed, just as the terrorists themselves assured that they would do, during the past week fired more than 100 projectiles from Gaza into Israelmost of them to the southern areas of the country that tend to suffer these waves of bombing.
The Israeli response was made to wait a little longer than usual on this occasion, but in the end it also arrived: at dawn on the eighth the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for its acronym in English) launched the operation shield and arrow in which selective bombings eliminated three senior officials of the YIP: the commander of the northern region in the Gaza Strip, Khalil Bahitini, the top operational officer in charge of the attacks in areas of Israel such as Judea and Samaria, Tarek Ezz al-Din, and the secretary of the organization’s military council, Jahad A ‘nam.
In fact, in a virtual meeting with European journalists organized by the association Europe Israel Public Affairs (EIPA) the international spokesman for the IDF, Lt. Col. Richard Hechtexplained that the operation was scheduled for Saturday the 6th instead of Monday the 8th, but it was suspended at the last minute because it could cause many innocent victims: “Each target on which we launch a bombardment is the result of a complex process in which that we verified that it is indeed a military objective and we try to reduce the risks”, explained the military.
Even so, the operation caused several civilian casualties, including four childrensomething that unfortunately usually happens because the different Palestinian terrorist organizations mix their military infrastructures in the civilian space, precisely to make things more difficult for Israel.
And now… more than 500 rockets in one day
In the same aforementioned meeting, Richard Hecht explained almost live what was happening at that very moment, early in the afternoon: “So far this day alone, they have launched 270 rocketsbut 65 have fallen in Gaza itself,” he commented, “of those who have reached Israel, 120 have been in the vicinity of the Strip, 22 in Ashkelon, six in Ashdod and one has reached Tel Aviv.” Finally, they were more than 500 projectiles launched only this Wednesday.
According to the Israeli military, what is happening is practically the exclusive responsibility of the YIP: “So far it is very difficult to know exactly everything that is happening, there may be things that we do not know, but what we see is that this is a YIP operation“.
The expert analyst koby michaelInstead, he stood out in the same meeting as in the Gaza Strip “nothing can be done without the permission of Hamas” and he was convinced that the terrorist group that controls the area with an iron fist “is participating” in the YIP attacks, “even indirectly”, pointing out, for example, that “they are giving them rockets”.
However, it stands out that this episode is part of an operation that began in March 2022 and that has given the YIP a strength – or at least a visibility – that until now they did not have.
What is Palestinian Islamic Jihad?
Michael has also explained who the YIP is and what makes it different from other Palestinian terrorist organizations and, especially, from Hamas. To begin with, it is a much smaller and less complex gang, first of all because they have no aspirations for political control: “They are a pure terrorist organizationThey do not aspire to replace the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), they just want to destroy Israel, whereas Hamas is more complicated, it is not just a terrorist organization, there is a political and also a religious and wants to take all the power in the Palestinian sphere”.
Besides, the YIP is “a mere instrument of Iran”, while Hamas has a close relationship with the ayatollahs, but is independent. The YIP”cannot operate without the support of Iran: they receive money, they offer their leaders a safe place and they are given weapons through a route that goes from Lebanon to the West Bank through Syria and Jordan”.
This has been highlighted by another prominent participant in the meeting organized by EIPA, the Minister of Diaspora and Social Equality, Amichai Chikliwhich called for “to be tougher” on organizations like the YIP at the service of Iranian totalitarians.
In addition, he recalled that it is “the same regime that hangs people in the streets just for demonstrating and that sends drones to kill civilians in Ukraine”, for which he has asked that Europe “truly understands” what “these organizations and the true nature of Iran’s tyrannical regime” are, because “It’s not just Israel’s war, it’s Europe’s and it would be nice to hear a European voice backing Israel as it is backing Ukraine.”
What about the division in Israel?
An important aspect of this crisis is that it is the first confrontation of any level that Israel has faced in the current situation of deep social division in which the country finds itself after the government’s attempt to change the judicial system that is receiving a very strong confrontation from many areas, including some military.
The IDF spokesman clarifies that the situation has not been noticed in the army, despite the fact that members of some units even threatened not to respond to calls from reservists: “Everyone we’ve called has come forward“, he assured, expanding on the issue: “We try to keep the IDF out of politics, it is a national consensus, it has been and must continue to be so.”
On the more purely political plane, the situation has not been noticed either: “There is full opposition support for the operation“, said Minister Chikli, who also added that “in the public sphere I do not see significant disagreements” and only “radical left organizations that are usually closer to the Palestinians than to Israel oppose the operations, but that is not new “.
¿What will happen now?
The last question to be asked is what will happen from now on. Amichai Chikli was convinced that Israel could do a lot of damage to the YIP: “We are sure that they will stop attacking and they will do it for a long time“.
For this, it seems that Israel estimates that the operation will continue and the Benjamin Netanyahu has affirmed in a message to the country that “it has not finished”, despite some rumors during the day they talked about a possible truce which, as always happens, would come thanks to the mediation of Egypt.
Kobi Michael does see a fairly close end to the escalation for a number of reasons: “The YIP is reaching the limit of its capabilities and I think they will want to finish before their defeat is more evident.” In addition, he considers that a short-term end “is in the interest of both Egypt and Israel.”
Even so, he warns that something else could also happen, “that the Palestinian response grows in intensity and this forces Israel to retaliate even more harshly, which in turn forces Hamas to intervene, which would take us to a completely different scenario“.
Of course, for the moment, and always according to the expert, what is happening to those who could be doing very well is precisely Hamas: “They are very happy with the attack on the YIP, for them they are a pain in the neck.” continued, obviously they won’t say it but from now on the YIP will be weaker militarily” and that will make things easier for the great terrorist organization.