Israel ‘ABORTS plan to carry out retaliatory strike on Iran’ | DAILY MAIL

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Israel ‘ABORTS plan to carry out retaliatory strike on Iran’ : Netanyahu ‘decided not to proceed following discussion with Joe Biden’ | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by David Averre, Originally published in The Daily Mail.


Israel considered carrying out a strike on Iran in retaliation for last weekend’s unprecedented attack but aborted the plan following discussions with Washington, according to Israeli and US media reports.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles over the weekend in an unprecedented attack on Israel.

The strikes, which Tehran telegraphed to Western and regional officials, caused little damage with most of the projectiles being intercepted, but signalled a momentous shift in the Islamic Republic’s rules of engagement. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to respond to the attack, prompting global powers, including main ally the United States, to call for restraint to avoid any further escalation or regional spillover from the months-long war in Gaza.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported that following discussions with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu decided not to proceed with pre-arranged plans for retaliatory strikes on Iran in the event of an attack.

‘Diplomatic sensitivities came into play,’ a senior Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity told Kan, adding that there would be a response, but that it would be different from what was initially planned.

Citing three unnamed Israeli sources, ABC News reported: ‘Israel prepared for and then aborted retaliatory strikes against Iran on at least two nights this past week.’

Among the range of possible reactions considered by the Israeli war cabinet were options to attack Iranian proxies elsewhere in the region or to conduct a cyberattack, the sources told ABC.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, Israeli officials considered giving the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) permission for a strike against Iran, but ‘for operational reasons’ decided not to go ahead with it, two unnamed Israeli officials told US news outlet Axios.

Iran-backed armed groups across the region have carried out attacks since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October.

Tehran’s weekend onslaught, its first direct assault on Israeli soil, came in response to a deadly strike on Iran’s consular annex in Damascus on April 1 that was widely blamed on Israel.

Washington and Brussels have pledged to ramp up sanctions against Iran, while Iran’s president has warned of ‘a fierce and severe response’ to any retaliation.

In response to the diplomatic pressure, including from main military backer Washington, Netanyahu on Wednesday insisted Israel will make its own decisions, and ‘do what it needs to defend itself’.

The comments come after Benny Gantz, Israel’s former defence minister and a member of the War Cabinet, said cryptically that Tel-Aviv ‘will collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us’. 

Many analysts said Iran’s strike – while measured and easily managed by Israeli air defences – changed its rules of engagement in its decades long shadow war with Israel – a shift that must precipitate an Israeli response. 

RUSI associate fellow and defence analyst Samuel Cranny-Evans told MailOnline: ‘Iran has deviated from its usual strategy of using proxies to exert influence and conduct conflict in the area and moved to direct state-on-state confrontation.

‘The dynamics have changed and made the risk of conflict greater – both between Israel and Iran, and in the wider region.

‘Israel has and can act independently (of the US) – they have to do something to restore deterrence… Netanyahu is all about security, and in the context of Hamas‘ October 7 attacks is unlikely to want to be seen as weak in the face of Iranian aggression.’

Former Israeli intelligence officer Avi Melamed told MailOnline that Tel-Aviv would seek to exact some kind of cost from Iran, arguing that such a strike cannot go unpunished lest Israel be seen as more vulnerable by its foes.

‘Iran is watching to see if Israel is capable of mounting a response, and a failure to do so will result in added risk for Israel of future attacks from Iran and other enemies,’ he said.

These comments were echoed by Ari Sacher, senior policy advisor at the U.S. Israel Education Association.

‘It’s imperative for Israel to respond here. De-escalation is a suboptimal path forward so long as Iran and its proxies fail to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation… A purely defensive stance by Israel against Iran’s attacks will continue this cycle of aggression, leaving Israel strategically vulnerable and emboldening the Islamic Republic.’

One likely course of action would see Israel step up its strikes on Iran’s proxy forces.

It was an Israeli strike in Damascus that prompted Sunday’s attack from Iran – but several IRGC officers were killed, including two Quds force generals.

More intense strikes on Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and targets elsewhere that are linked to Iran could demonstrate Israel’s willingness and military capability to Tehran, without risking any more Iranian lives. 

A large-scale cyber attack might be equally effective in demonstrating Israel’s capabilities without causing casualties. 

Meanwhile, any targeted attacks by Israel on Iranian soil – particularly kinetic strikes with drones or missiles – would undoubtedly trigger another response of greater magnitude from Tehran.

However, Justin Crump, British army veteran and CEO of global risk analysis firm Sibylline, said escalation may benefit Netanyahu, arguing that the prospect of major conflict with Iran reduces the political pressure over Israel’s war in Gaza.

Prior to Iran’s attack, the Israeli Prime Minister was facing a torrent of international criticism amid a rapidly increasing Palestinian death toll in Gaza, the deaths of seven aid workers following an Israeli drone attack, and outcry over a planned military incursion into the southern Gazan city of Rafah. 

‘Permacrisis suits Netanyahu at this stage,’ Crump told MailOnline.

‘This situation has certainly helped Israel and its leadership, reversing the trend of pressure over Gaza and helping defuse some political tensions that were once again building. 

‘It is to be expected that Netanyahu will leverage this environment. The Israeli public stance from the War Cabinet will therefore remain belligerent, whatever goes on behind the scenes.’


Israel ‘ABORTS plan to carry out retaliatory strike on Iran’ : Netanyahu ‘decided not to proceed following discussion with Joe Biden’ | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by David Averre, Originally published in The Daily Mail.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamedhttps://insidethemiddle-east.com
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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