April 9, 2024
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April 9, 2024
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Iran’s Conjoined Twins: Hezbollah And Hamas’ Massacre Strategy

The Iran-backed Hamas war with Israel in Gaza, now in its third month, continues to dominate international attention. However, there has been a simultaneous lack of strategic understanding that Hamas’s invasion, massacre, kidnapping, and deception strategy mirrors the Iranian regime’s Hezbollah strategy in the North. The only difference is timing and execution.

In fact, Israeli military planners assess that Hezbollah was to have undertaken the same invasion, mass murder, and kidnapping operation that Hamas ended up carrying out alone, under Iranian supervision. Hezbollah’s major invasion plan through its hundreds of kilometers long tunnel system in Northern Israel, similar to Hamas’ underground terror “metro,” would have resulted in thousands killed in and kidnapped from Israel’s northern communities. Hezbollah’s Radwan forces prepared a similar ground invasion and takeover plan of Israel’s northern towns and cities, including Kiryat Shmona, Metula and Nahariya.

Hamas and Hezbollah’s twin plans are no coincidence. Since the 2006 Hezbollah war in Southern Lebanon against Israel, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been preparing for a far larger strategic, coordinated invasion that today has become far more evident–a massive Hezbollah buildup over Israel’s northern border, in violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1701, which required a Hezbollah pullback 20 kilometers north of Israel’s border. Unfortunately, UNIFIL (United Nations International Forces in Lebanon) failed to enforce the internationally guaranteed UNSC resolution.

Yet, Israel, for its part, has neglected to treat the Hamas-Hezbollah threat as one integrated IRGC strategic campaign, which today includes Yemen’s Houthi strategic threat on Red Sea shipping and rocket and drone assaults against Israel.

Israel’s October 2022 gas deal with Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon is a case in point. Negotiated by former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, it was part of a misconception that led Israel to believe that Lebanon under Hezbollah had become more concerned with its international legitimacy and its energy supply, rather than fueling terror against Israel.

Israel committed similar conceptual mistakes since the signing of the failed and strategically catastrophic Oslo peace accords between 1993 and 2004. Similar to Lebanon, Israel had thought the PLO had become a more moderate diplomatic player. However, Israel came to learn that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority had financed, incited, and incentivized terror against Israelis, providing between 35 and 50 % of the PA’s annual budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The Iranian regime also diverted Israel’s focus from Hamas in Gaza to its actions in Yehuda and Shomron with Iranian-backed groups such as the Lions’ Den, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. At the same time, Iran’s hidden hand prepared its proxies in meetings in Beirut and Tehran to attack Israel from the North and the South.

Lt.-Col. (res.) Sarit Zehavi, founder and president of the Alma Research and Education Center, in a strategic discussion in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ War Room Diplomacy webinar, noted that the fact that more than 100,000 Israelis have been displaced from Israel’s northern cities and towns, only partially reflects fears that Hezbollah is still planning to execute an operation similar to Hamas’ “al Aqsa Flood” which included the mass murder of 1,300 Israelis, torture and kidnapping of 240 Israelis on October 7 in the Western Negev of Israel’s South.

The Iranian regime’s proxy strategy, utilizing Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, intends to put Israel in a no-win position of all-out war, while benefiting from the West’s mistaken conviction that the Middle East’s regional instability is driven by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The reality is different. Iranian regime deception and disinformation, illustrated by Dr. Harold Rhode in his book “Modern Islamic Warfare,” feeds Western misunderstanding of the nature of Iran’s intentions of regional supremacy under a nuclear umbrella.

For the West, it is much more comfortable to seek a territorial compromise between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority’s leadership in Ramallah, which the Biden administration now insists should return and govern Gaza, despite Hamas’ violent overthrow of Fatah in 2007.

Yet, the PA finds itself competing with Hamas’ Islamic extremism in order to retain the PLO’s revolutionary status, while the West Bank population views the PA as corrupt and weak, with over 75 % of the population now supporting Hamas, according to recent polls.

The mistaken Oslo paradigm adopted by Israel and the West lent the PA and Hamas diplomatic legitimacy, while Israel’s territorial retreat from Yehuda and Shomron in 2004 and Gaza in 2005 led to countless acts of terror, including rocket, tunnel terror and other direct actions, and has culminated in the atrocities of October 7. More than 220,000 Israelis are now refugees from the North to the South. Yet, in the Western discourse, Hamas’s “freedom fighting” atrocities have ironically put it on par with legitimacy in the West with the Palestinian Authority in some circles.

The Iranian regime’s messianic determination to eliminate Israel as the “Little Satan” as part of its decades-long plan to eliminate the United States, the “Big Satan,” can only be overcome and defeated by eliminating the source of the threat, whose hidden hand continues to threaten Israel’s existence and the stability of the entire region.

Dr. Dan Diker is the president of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs. He previously served as the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

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