The Iron Dome and David’s Sling defense systems were on display again last week and largely carried the day against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Operation Shield and Arrow, but it appears that a particular tactic is making a notable impact (and eliciting interesting results) in the current conflict.
Israel’s action against the PIJ involved the assassination of six of their most senior commanders – the entity’s top military leadership – within a period of five days. This effort was not the product of an ad hoc decision. It was preceded by several months of intense planning involving military, security and intelligence officials who became experts on the comings and goings of the PIJ leaders.
Significantly, prior episodes of targeted killings by Israeli forces evoked worldwide condemnation of “extra-judicial killings” and war crimes. Palestinian terrorist groups also typically reacted with ferocious rocket attacks. But it seems there may now be a different calculus in play.
Not only was the international community strangely restrained in its reaction, but PIJ did not allow the targeted killings to get in the way of a ceasefire last week. When one rocket actually fell on Israeli land after the cease-fire went into effect, PIJ hastened to announce that it was not intentional but rather the result of a mechanical failure.
Has it possibly become silly, even in terrorist and other anti-Israel circles, to criticize the Israelis for eliminating those who are admittedly directing efforts to destroy them?
In any event, Hamas stood on the sidelines during Operation Shield and Arrow and left PIJ to their own devices. Even as PIJ quickly disavowed any connection to the post- ceasefire rocket, Hamas was a close second in declaring: It wasn’t us.