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Netanyahu can profit from Iran’s attack

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The Israeli Air Force repelled the Iranian attack on Saturday evening and overnight into Sunday. Photo: Tomer Neuberg / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 15.04.2024 01:03:35

War and conflicts: – This means that attention to Gaza is decreasing, says Rouzbeh Parsi at the Institute of Foreign Policy in Sweden.

Iran fired several hundred drones and rockets at Israel on the night of Sunday. The vast majority were shot down by Israel and its allies before they could do any damage.

It is the first time ever that Iran has carried out a direct attack on Israeli territory. The attack had been announced in advance and was a response to Israel’s air strike against Iran’s embassy in Damascus on 1 April.

Many world leaders have condemned Iran’s attack and expressed support for Israel, and both the United States, Jordan, Great Britain and France participated in the shooting down of Iranian missiles and drones headed for Israel.

From Congress in the USA it is reported that there may soon be progress in the work on a new support package for Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may also personally benefit from the instability. In Israel, before the Gaza war, there were nationwide demonstrations against Netanyahu’s government, and lately there have been increasing protests against Netanyahu in Israeli streets.

– As soon as the fighting stops, some kind of truth commission will be set up in Israel to clarify exactly who is to blame for what in the Hamas attack against Israel in October. As long as there is some kind of war or conflict going on, he can postpone it, says Parsi.

– If he can drag this out until November, he is hoping for a Trump victory that can give him carte blanche to do as he wants in the region, says Clarke, who is director of research at the Soufan Group.

Alternatively, Netanyahu may choose to comply with the US’s wish to avoid escalation with Iran – but demand something in exchange.

– Politically, I think they can profit from it by saying “ok, USA, we’re not going to do anything, we’re going to be okay”. But in return you must give us free rein in Gaza, says Paul Salem, head of the Middle East Institute, to the AFP news agency.

Israel’s ability to greatly limit the damage from the extensive Iranian attack can also restore confidence in the Israeli military, writes the AP news agency. The Israeli army suffered a heavy defeat when Hamas attacked on October 7 and has since failed to defeat the militant Palestinians in Gaza.

– It is a war that Iran, by definition, cannot win, says Parsi and assumes that the US will support Israel in the event of a full-scale war.

That Iran will try to avoid such a war may be the reason why it launched this weekend’s attack with drones, which take much longer to reach their targets than, for example, ballistic missiles.

– Then it is more likely that they signal a long time in advance that this will happen, in a way to make it easier for Israel to prepare, says Parsi.

Iran responded to the embassy attack, demonstrating its military might and creating fear in Israeli society. Since the attack resulted in little real damage in Israel, Iran can hope that any response will be contained.

The United States played a decisive role in repelling the attack and showed its allies that they can be trusted.

Hamas, which is supported by Iran, can hope that the attack is the first step in a larger Iranian involvement in the Gaza war. If nothing else, Hamas can hope that the increased military pressure against Israel can possibly make the Israelis agree to the Palestinians’ demands, writes the news agency.

Parsi believes it is likely that the Damascus attack was an attempt by Israel to provoke Iran into a forceful response, at the same time as they wanted to make a mark against Iran-backed militias in the region. The Israeli government can draw several gains from this development, according to Parsi.

The declarations of full support for Israel stand in contrast to the ever-increasing criticism of Israel from the international community – including the United States – for the Gaza war’s high cost to Palestinian civilians.

Netanyahu can also use Iran’s attack to cover up “the very real gap that exists” in relations with the United States as a result of the Gaza war, Colin Clarke believes.

The clergy in Iran has ideological reasons for keeping Israel as its arch-enemy, but the country has no interest in participating in any full-scale war, the expert points out.

Iran, the US and Hamas may also have profited from the attack on Israel, writes AP.

(© NTB)

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