If the Israeli army had been able to win its battles against the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, it would not have delayed launching a second "Operation Guardian of the Walls" against the territory, even for a moment. It would have launched a sweeping attack as soon as possible and would have taken no notice of the international community and the reaction of Arab regimes. The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, would not have been content with merely issuing threats and promises of a second such offensive.
Apartheid Israel is accustomed to quick, easy victories, and this is what Gaza has not allowed the Israel "Defence" Forces to have, not least because the IDF does not possess intelligence information about the men in the Palestinian resistance. Without this information, the Israeli enemy will continue to avoid confrontation with Gaza and the chief of staff will continue to issue threats about "Operation Guardian of the Walls 2" while he sits safe and sound with his soldiers in Tel Aviv. Military logic and honour — if it can be called that when discussing Israeli occupation forces, among the most immoral in the world — dictate that a general should only issue threats when he stands with his forces facing the enemy; in this case, on the nominal border of the Gaza Strip.
Kochavi's threats are intended to reassure the residents of Tel Aviv, and to warn the resistance groups that are still wielding the "Sword of Jerusalem" and insisting that Gaza will not stand by idly in the face of Israeli attacks on Islamic sanctities. The chief of staff also felt the need to speak out after the statement by former mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat MK, who provoked fear in the hearts of Israelis when he said that the usurper state is not ready for the next war. This fact was also pointed out by several generals within the Israeli military establishment.
Aside from this posturing by Kochavi, his threats against Gaza reflect Israel's intentions to continue its attacks and aggression in the occupied West Bank against Islamic sites and vulnerable citizens. Hence the ongoing attacks by extremist settlers and army raids on Palestinian cities. We have even seen Foreign Minister Yair Lapid storming through the Damascus Gate in occupied Jerusalem and mimicking extreme right-wingers such as Itamar Ben Gvir. Lapid's message is that a united Jerusalem is the meeting point of all Israeli political parties.
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The threats against Gaza, therefore, have to be seen in the context of Israel's desire to neutralise the besieged enclave in respect of the events in the West Bank and Jerusalem, but this will not happen. Operation Sword of Jerusalem was only mentioned in defence of the sanctities, and it succeeded in undermining Israel's Operation Guardian of the Walls in May last year.
Those wielding the Sword of Jerusalem are ready to clash with the forces behind Operation Guardian of the Walls 2 at any time, especially when over a quarter of a million Jewish extremists are preparing to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque during a week of Jewish holidays in the middle of Ramadan. This genuine threat will force the resistance fighters in Gaza and the West Bank to mobilise and prepare for a comprehensive confrontation to deter the extremists in Israel and its illegal settlements.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 5 April 2022
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.