Photo Credit: Fadi Amun/Flash90
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire caused by a rocket from Lebanon that hit the Israeli town of Shlomi, April 6, 2023.

After dozens of rocket barrages had been launched against Israel in the past two days, the IDF finally attacked overnight Friday in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon. New rocket barrages were fired from the Gaza Strip at the Gaza envelope settlements and Sderot at the same time as the IDF was attacking in the opposite direction.

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It was obvious that the most important goal for the Israeli security apparatus was to avoid being dragged into a war during Passover, and more importantly, in the last two weeks of the month of Ramadan. So, there was decisive punishment, no “lesson” being taught to the enemy, as many Israeli residents were hoping along the border with Lebanon, where some 60 rockets and numerous mortar shells caused extensive property damage, or near the border with Gaza, where rounds of rockets have become routine.

The Netanyahu cabinet adopted the security apparatus’s plan, consisting of three parts (because everything in the IDF is made of three parts – if you served, you know: 1. Surgical response against the specific Hamas terrorists in Lebanon who are responsible for the attacks – no widespread, “disproportionate” attacks in either front; 2. Yet another retaliation attack against Hamas targets in Gaza – please make sure not to kill anyone; and, 3. Finish the whole thing Friday morning, do not let this become a war.

The political-security cabinet convened Thursday night after two months in which it had not been convened, the decision was to avoid escalating the already difficult situation Lebanon is in as a failed country, especially after Hezbollah had sent a message through intermediaries that they want to stay out of the picture. All the decisions were made unanimously.

Residents of Shlomi in northern Israel look at their civic center that was hit by a missile fired from Lebanon, April 6, 2023. / Ayal Margolin/Flash90

Here is one crucial fact that should teach us everything about the events of the past two days: no one was killed on either side. Hamas in Lebanon targeted areas where the cost of lives would have been devastating had anyone been there – but everyone was home for the Passover holiday. Hamas in Gaza also restrained its fire and did not expand the attack to metropolitan Tel Aviv or even to Ashkelon or Beer Sheva. Hamas was responding on both fronts to the Israeli police efforts to evict terrorists from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. They had to save face, counting on the other side to do the same.

It was more kabuki theater than war, with carefully stylized moves, and a highly controlled outcome.

Lebanon’s interim prime minister, Najib Mikati, condemned the rocket attack on Israel and announced that “the Lebanese army and UNIFIL forces will increase their investigations to find and arrest those who carried it out.”

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was documented on Thursday coming out of a meeting with the Hamas leadership and the leader of the Islamic Jihad, Ziad Nakhala in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Also present at that meeting was Haniyeh’s deputy, Saleh al-Aaruri, who is considered to be behind the activities of Hamas in Lebanon.

Haniyeh warned: “We hold the occupation government fully responsible for the brutal aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the worshippers. And we stress that the resistance factions will not stand idly by in the face of this brutal aggression.”

In the next two weeks, until April 20, when the month of “Ramadam” (a combination of Ramadan and Dam=blood) is over, the situation could easily turn into a real war, as long as Israel Police insist on denying Arab terrorists the opportunity to hoard rocks and other weapons inside the mosque on the Temple Mount as part of their religious practice.

Good luck to all of us, please stay close to our bomb shelter.

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