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Sabra Express | Israel vs. Iran

Jerusalem Post, April 19, 2024

 

Recap:

Israel struck the defense systems at Iran's Natanz nuclear site today in response to Iran's April 13th launch of 300 missiles and drones at Israel.

 

The Context:

·      On October 7th, Hamas initiated a large-scale assault on Israel, resulting in 1,200 deaths, mainly civilians, and the taking of 253 hostages into Gaza. Despite Israel's counter-offensive to dismantle Hamas and rescue the hostages, 129 remain captive, and many are presumed dead. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Houthi terrorist groups quickly joined the war and have been attacking Israel ever since [1].

·      Iran attacked Israel with over 300 drones and missiles on Saturday night, marking a serious escalation in the ongoing conflict by departing from its strategy of indirect attacks via proxies. Despite the large-scale assault, Israel and its allies intercepted 99% of the projectiles, resulting in only one injury.

·      Global leaders, including President Joe Biden, have urged Israel to show restraint to avoid a broader conflict [2], especially given Iran's proximity to acquiring nuclear capabilities. Tehran maintains that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful ends, a stance not believed by Israel and much of the international community [3].

·      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel reserves “the right to protect itself” following the Iranian attack [4]. President Biden told Netanyahu that the US would not participate in offensive action against Iran [5] although “the United States is committed to Israel’s security.” Several Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, provided vital information that was key to Israel’s defense [6]. The United States announced new sanctions on Iran targeting its drone production and European Union leaders followed suit [7].

·      Israelis were split over an appropriate response to Iran's attack. 52% believe Israel shouldn’t respond, while 48% favor Israel responding even if it means escalating tensions [8]. 

 

Conversation Points:

·      Why did Hezbollah not join Iran’s attack on Israel?

·      Would other countries heed international appeals for restraint following such an attack?

·      Is defensive action enough to ensure Israel's security?

·      Are targeted sanctions on specific industries and people enough to deter Iran’s hostile ambitions?

 

Notes:

1.     Report: Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, provided intelligence on Iran attack, STUART WINER, Times of Israel, 15 April 2024

2.     Israel considers response to weekend attack, Kevin Liptak, CNN, April 18, 2024

4.     Ibid.

5.     Israel considers response to weekend attack, Kevin Liptak, CNN, April 18, 2024

6.     Report: Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, provided intelligence on Iran attack, STUART WINER, Times of Israel, 15 April 2024

7.     US and Britain announce new Iran sanctions after missile and drone strike on Israel, David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu, Reuters, April 18, 2024

8.     Iran warns it may change nuclear weapons stance in face of Israel, US announces sanctions, Kim Hjelmgaard Francesca Chambers, USA TODAY, April 18th, 2024.

 

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