Photo Credit: IDF
Israeli warplane being armed with surface-to-surface missiles, April 23, 2024.

Kan 11 News reported Sunday night that during the meetings of PM Netanyahu’s war cabinet, the majority, including ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, was in favor of an immediate retaliatory attack on Iran, but the decision to attack was averted at the last minute, following a conversation between President Joe Netanyahu, suggesting that in addition to US pressure, Netanyahu decided to halt the attack because the damage caused by the Iranian attack was not significant.

As a rule, Kan 11’s political reporter Michael Shemesh’s sources in the war cabinet are Gantz and Eisenkot. The prime minister’s office responded quickly, insisting “The report as if Gantz and Eisenkot demanded an immediate response against Iran and were not heeded is completely false and exactly the opposite of reality.”


There’s another reason why it doesn’t make sense that Gantz of all people would support a rogue Israeli action against Iran without consultations with the US and regional powers.

As defense minister, Benny Gantz was involved in putting together what he called MEAD, as he told a Knesset committee in 2022, “I have been leading for the past year together with my colleagues at the Pentagon and the administration an extensive program to strengthen cooperation between Israel and the countries of the region, under American leadership and CENTCOM.”

“Part of that vision is what I call MEAD, Middle East Air Defense, which we are building amid Iran’s attempts to hit the region’s countries with rockets, cruise missiles, and UAVs,” Gantz continued. “This plan is already in action and has already thwarted Iranian attempts to challenge Israel and other countries in the Middle East.”

Even though MEAD is yet to be ratified by the signatories of the Abraham Accords as the Mid-East NATO alliance, the collaboration between CENTCOM, Israel, and regional powers on Saturday night might as well have been in line with such a treaty.

The US Central Command described it in a Monday morning tweet:

Defense of Israel Activities Update. On April 13 and the morning of April 14, US Central Command (CENTCOM) forces, supported by US European Command destroyers, successfully engaged and destroyed more than 80 one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA UAV) and at least six ballistic missiles intended to strike Israel from Iran and Yemen.
This includes a ballistic missile on its launcher vehicle and seven UAVs destroyed on the ground in Iranian-backed, Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen prior to their launch. Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behavior endangers regional stability and the safety of US and coalition forces.
CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security.


On the Iranian side, things are projected to be very clear: it was Israel that started it, by attacking an IRCG compound next door to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, and killing the No. 1 Iranian military official in Syria, Quds Force Commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi, which was retaliated by Iran.

Hezbollah issued a statement on Sunday hailing the Iranian attack, saying the Islamic Republic “upheld its natural and legal right and courageously fulfilled its promise to respond based on an excellent understanding of the situation in the region and the world.”

Iran’s UN envoy, Amir Saeed Iravani, wrote the UNSC: “In response to the Israeli regime’s recurring military aggressions, particularly its armed attacks on 1st April 2024 against Iranian diplomatic premises, in defiance of Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations, the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran carried out a series of military strikes on Israeli military objectives with dozens of missiles and drones.”

For the record, it wasn’t an Iranian diplomatic premises, and it wasn’t dozens of missiles and drones. According to IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the attack included 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 110 ballistic missiles. There was nothing legitimate about employing this kind of force unless the aggressor was looking to start a war or upgrade the current war which Iran has been fighting through proxies.


On Sunday, Kan11 reported that Saudi Arabia and Jordan responded to Iranian criticism of their helping Israel shoot down drones under the American umbrella, saying the Iranian “sponsors of terrorism should have been stopped a long time ago.”

A senior official in Amman told Kan11 that “What stands before Jordan’s eyes first and foremost is the protection of its citizens, the security of its borders, and its sovereignty. This is above all other considerations. Escalation from any side in the region will only bring destruction, death, and extremism,” meaning the Iranians.

Indeed, despite Iran’s claims to great success in attacking Israel, the attack was its biggest failure. With cruise missiles carrying 750 kgs of explosives each, the worst they could manage was to injure a 7-year-old Bedouin girl, and some peripheral damage to an air force base. It appears that it wasn’t Israel losing its deterrence, it was Iran. Now its Suni foes in the region understand that an Iranian attack can be stopped with relative ease – and they also know they won’t be alone under such an attack.

Roi Kais, Kan11’s Arab affairs correspondent, reported a conversation with a high-ranking member of the Saudi royal family, who admitted to aiding the effort to thwart the Iranian attack Saturday night.

The source added that Iran “engineered the war in Gaza to destroy progress in relations between us and Israel. Iran’s behavior is irresponsible. We all know that Iran is a country that sponsors terrorism. It should have been stopped a long time ago.”


In several statements last week, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed that Israel would give as good as it gets should the Iranians attack. So, where is the counterattack? Israel could hit some or all of Iran’s nine known nuclear research plants, or ignite some or all of its oil fields. Such actions would certainly restore Israeli deterrence in the region, once and for all. If the Ayatollahs believed Israel was weak, torn by internal conflicts and on a tear with the US, and was ripe for attacking – let Israel show them how wrong they have been.

White House NSC spokesperson John Kirby on Sunday praised Israel’s “extraordinary success” in thwarting the Iranian attack, as barely one percent of the Iranian hardware had succeeded in entering Israeli airspace. Kirby told ABC News “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos, that Israel and its allies proved their “unprecedented sense of resolve and determination and military capability.”

“It should tell everybody else that Israel is not alone, that this was a coalition put together to help Israel defend itself. Iran is just increasingly further isolated in the region,” Kirby said.

But the extraordinary coalition was cobbled together to help Israel defend itself, not join it in raining hellfire on the aggressor. President Biden made this point to Netanyahu during their Saturday night phone call, when he warned him the US would not join an attack on Iran. He tried to persuade the Israeli PM that blocking the attack was enough of a victory, and while he reportedly stopped short of vetoing an Israeli attack, he made clear that Israel would be on its own.

Barak Ravid, one of Biden’s chief mouthpieces, wrote late Sunday night, citing a senior US official, that “the US assessment is Iran would retaliate against any significant, overt Israeli strike on Iranian soil with a new round of missile and drone attacks, which would likely lead to a regional escalation.” And this time, Ravid warns, citing his master’s voice, Israel and its allies might not be as lucky.

And then there’s the presidential election and the obvious reality that becoming entangled in a new war in the Middle East is not the stuff that gets presidents reelected.

The NY Times suggested on Monday that Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, and Egypt, are afraid of the conflict spreading to their own territories. This may not necessarily tell the whole story. What those Arab states need to see is Israel subduing Iran with a counter-blow that would be harsh enough to inflict pain but measured enough so the regime does not feel obligated to react.

I suggest one oil field and one nuclear facility.


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