Four days ago I suggested that the reason Israel assassinated the Popular Resistance Committee leader Zuhair Qaisi in Gaza may have had less to do with foiling an attack and much more to do with testing Iron Dome. Yousef at The Jerusalem Fund agrees, saying that a successful test of the missile defense system could go a long way to assuage the Israeli public’s fears about retaliation from Iran following an Israeli attack.
The greatest obstacle to Israeli public support for a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran is the belief that the consequences of the attack from Iran, Hezbollah and other factions like Islamic Jihad, would be too high a cost to bear.
What could the Israeli government do to change this perception? Well, a successful large scale live action test of the US funded Iron Dome would probably help, and assassinating a PRC militant would provoke the projectiles to trigger one.
In the glow of the test’s successful outcome, Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak didn’t even seem to think it was worth the effort to perpetuate the narrative that Qaisi had ever posed an imminent threat. After the militant leader’s assassination, Barak said: “it is not completely clear what the plan was and where, or if it had been foiled.”