The War Hypothesis In Light of Netanyahu’s Indictment
By Jihad Haidar
Since “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, deliberations have begun, both within and outside the Zionist entity. These deliberations are taking into account the hypothesis that Netanyahu might initiate military action which will lead to a broad confrontation. Netanyahu’s assumed military endeavor is aimed at causing confusion throughout the process of his dismissal or trial by trying by presenting him as a leader defending the security of “Israel” while others are trying to sack him and try him.
Before discussing this hypothesis, it should be noted that it reveals, along with previous internal “Israeli” stages, the extent of the overlap between the Zionist entity’s internal and regional situations. Whereas an internal development, including other factors, becomes a motive to question the extent of its impact on the regional security situation. A regional development may also affect “Israel's” internal situation in one way or another. If this applies to the enemy entity despite all the elements of self-power and international support it enjoys, how will it be when it comes to the Lebanese situation?
A distinction should be made between two questions: first, the possibility that the official indictment of the enemy’s Prime Minister would be a sufficient reason to push for a military confrontation; and second, whether the dynamics of the developments could push for a military confrontation, in conjunction with the internal situation in the Zionist entity. Our priority here is to answer the first question only.
It is important to recall that the process of deciding a military aggression in the entity is not a task performed by the prime minister alone, despite his important position in the political-security decision-making system. Legally, the kitchen, cabinet in consultations with the military establishment, has the power to decide on war or military confrontations. At specific points, it may have the final say – practically speaking. The military establishment can also exert pressure on the political leadership, in one way or another, through the content of the estimates it provides. Thus, it can have an affect politically, or vice versa. In doing so, it contributes strongly to curbing or pushing for operational military options. But at the political level, the final say remains with the kitchen cabinet.
Since Netanyahu has been indicted, it can be estimated that he has become under the microscope more than ever. This will make his motives questionable, regardless of the options and justifications that led him to make a costly decision such as launching an aggression. For many reasons, he cannot push for a military confrontation openly and without some justification and objective motives, especially since the position of the military establishment will be present at this stage and will be publicly known.
Due to all these restrictions, Netanyahu will not be able to initiate such an action from his position and without professional justification.
On the other hand, this hypothesis involves a misconception that is the regional arena, including Lebanon, is open to the enemy’s violations, and whenever it sees an interest for itself or for its leader, it wages a war or a military operation. However, past experiences and equations confirm the opposite. The equations that Hezbollah imposed on “Israel” confirm that often the entity had interests in initiating military strikes or retaliations but refrained from doing so due to the calculations of cost and feasibility. Yes, if the enemy is likely not to pay a painful price as a result of these options, then we could expect and assume that the enemy’s leaders will try to distract public opinion and add achievements to their records by taking war decisions. But the equations have changed, and this option is no longer available.
What if there were, however, regional developments that require “Israel” to study its operational choices, one of which is to initiate a military action, or if "Israel" came under attack due to hostilities it carried out under the title of the battle between wars? In that case, Netanyahu's margin would then expand to push for an aggression, supported by justifications considered "objective and professional" within the entity. Of course, it will then be decided since the army is the one proposing such option or at least supporting it. In such a case, Netanyahu will be able to politically employ this operational option in the domestically, which is legitimate in the “Israeli” arena and has many precedents.
One central question remains. How far can this scenario benefit Netanyahu judicially, especially as his trial still has a long way to go? Yes, Netanyahu can maneuver through aggressive options in order to maintain his premiership or at least to ensure immunity granted to him for the role he played. But the issue remains conditional to many elements. It is not automatic. In the end, there is no guaranteed outcome for any course of action taken by Netanyahu.
It remains to be said that Netanyahu did not resort to this option before he was indictment which was supposed to be more beneficial to him. Another issue remains. Might the current regional circumstances push the enemy to embark on a military adventure, knowing there will be prices to pay? This is a separate research.