Breaking dawn - All you need to know about Israel's latest operation in Gaza

   07.08.2022 | Yishai Gelb
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Breaking dawn, Israel's latest operation in Gaza began on the 5th of August, 16:16 Israeli time when the Israeli airforce took out the second highest in command in the Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Gaza. Why did Israel initiate this operation? Who is the Islamic Jihad? Will this operation last much longer? What are the ramifications of this operation politicly, militarily, economically, and diplomatically? All you need to know about operation Breaking Dawn.

This special operation began after several days of activity within the Gaza strip. Due to the arrest of Bassem al-Saadi, the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine leader in the West Bank. Taysir Jabari, the commander of the northern region of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the successor of Baha Abu al-Ata, who was killed in the "Black Belt" operation in November 2019, was planning several hits on Israel in retaliation. The Israeli government decided to initiate the first attack and take out Jabari in a preemptive strike. 

The IDF prepared for this operation a few days prior to the initial attack; iron dome batteries were fully stocked with missiles and spread all over Israel. And the Israeli airforce prepared a list of targets for a few intensive days of fighting to minimize the opportunity. Thus far, the Israeli airforce has destroyed ammunition facilities, rocket launchers, and rocket manufacturing sites, and taken out several leading officials in the terrorist group. 

It's essential to emphasize that all the attacks in Gaza are on Islamic Jihad targets, not Hamas. Hamas currently governs the Gaza strip, while the Islamic Jihad is an opposition group to Hamas. Until now, Hamas hasn't joined the fighting, and the missiles fired into Israel are all Islamic Jihad missiles.

Given that Israel's specific target list consists only of Islamic jihad infrastructure and hits only Islamic Jihad officials, It is safe to assume that this attack was coordinated with Hamas officials, who benefited from a weakened opposition. Hamas is significantly more organized and robust than the Islamic Jihad, and its capabilities are better than those of Islamic Jihad. This operation will likely end in the coming days with a significant victory for Israel on several levels.

First, economically. The Israeli market has grown accustomed to operations in the Gaza strip every couple of years. The Iron dome has a 97% interception rate, and the terror tunnels are no longer a significant threat. The Iron dome's cost is high but not crippling in any way. Until now, most people are going to work, and life in Israel hasn't been affected. Israelis living on the Gaza border do suffer from this operation; however, economically, the suffering is manageable so long as there are no deaths on the Israeli side.

Second, politicly. Yair Lapid, currently prime minister and new at the job, is facing an election at the end of October. Providing strong leadership against Gaza, even during times of peace, is necessary for providing an image of the capability to stand firm against Israel's enemies, especially when his most significant opponent, Netanyahu, is running on his strong leadership image.

Third, diplomatically. The world is focused on the war in Ukraine and the growing tensions in the south China sea between the US and China. Additionally, the growing economic pressures on the industrialized nations are focusing policy and government attention inward. For Israel, this is a great time to strike enemy posts and weaken terrorist infrastructure so long the international community isn't paying attention and is focused on more significant and immediate matters. 

This operation could be a tremendous Israeli success if it ends quickly without any crucial mistakes. By keeping it short, Hammas will stay out of the conflict; the local Arab population won't organize and riot as they did in the previous operation, and the state of Israel won't suffer a combination from the international community. For Lapid, this could be a significant political win and a boost to his image as a strong and capable leader leading into the elections. 

Stay tuned, and don't miss future Geo reports on Israeli geopolitics, and the escalating Cold War between the US and China