columnIsrael at War

Iran’s attack was a casus belli, not a ‘retaliation’

Dubbing IRGC headquarters in Syria a “diplomatic mission” is like calling Shifa a hospital.

An Israeli missile-defense system downs Iranian projectiles over Jerusalem, April 14, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
An Israeli missile-defense system downs Iranian projectiles over Jerusalem, April 14, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Ruthie Blum. Credit: Courtesy.
Ruthie Blum
Ruthie Blum, an author and award-winning columnist, is a former adviser at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following the April 1 strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, threats of retaliation against Israel—widely assumed to have been behind the attack—promptly emerged from Tehran. Seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in the bombing that reportedly destroyed the building that housed them next to the embassy compound.

Among the dead were Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and his deputy, Mohammad Haj Rahimi. Zahedi was a top commander in the IRGC’s Quds Force, designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization, who oversaw all terrorist operations against Israel from Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian-run territories.

Dubbing their headquarters in Syria a “diplomatic mission,” therefore, is like calling Shifa in Gaza a hospital. Indeed, according to international law: “Any object that serves a military purpose, even if used for both military and civilian activities, is a legitimate target.”

Despite this, or because of it, most analysts were skeptical about the likelihood of a counter-offensive from the soil of the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. After all, the ayatollah-led regime has spent decades cultivating proxies to do its dirty work around the world.

And at this very moment, some of those surrogates are actively engaged in their sponsor’s aim to wipe the Jewish state off the map, while others are sporadically contributing to the effort.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are fighting Israeli troops and holding hostage 133 mostly Israeli civilians in Gaza, while targeting Israel with rockets; Hamas and PIJ are fighting soldiers and civilians in Judea and Samaria; Hezbollah missiles have caused the evacuation of citizens in northern Israel; and the Yemen-based Houthis occasionally join in the multi-front assault through UAVs launched at Eilat.

Nor was the consulate in Syria the first hit on an Iranian target attributed to Israel. The assessments, then, that this one wouldn’t result in a direct confrontation by the head of the octopus seemed to make sense.

Western logic rarely applies in the Middle East, however. Late Saturday night, the Islamic Republic defied precedence by propelling hundreds of drones and precision missiles at Israel. By Sunday morning, after 99% of the projectiles had been intercepted, Iran announced that the attack was over.

The immediate reaction of the United States and other countries that participated in the downing of the deadly aerial weapons was to urge Israel to leave it at that. U.S. President Joe Biden advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “take the win” and move on.

Behind the ludicrous admonition is the idea that Israel successfully thwarted Iran’s “retaliatory” action and should now adopt Washington’s policy of de-escalation. In the delusional universe of the Biden administration, Israel must not let its tit-for-tat with Iran disrupt “regional stability.”

This outrageous attitude is not surprising, given the way in which the White House and State Department have been keeping Israel from winning what they see as a local battle in Gaza, rather than what it actually is: an arena in the mullahs’ war against Israel and America.

But it takes a mixture of gall and weakness to obfuscate the fact that Iran’s belligerence constituted a casus belli and allow the lies about “retaliation” for a “breach of all international conventions” to dominate the narrative. It is imperative that Jerusalem stand up to undue pressure from D.C. with as much resolve as will be required when it faces off with Iran.

The latter will be undertaken “at the time and place of our choosing,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday at Israel Hayom’s “Tomorrow’s Conference” in Ashkelon.

Let’s hope this means that a serious blow is imminent. The sovereignty and survival of the Jewish state depend on it.


 

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