Podcast: Jonathan Schanzer on Israel’s Weekend War against Islamic Jihad

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In August of 2022, Israeli forces captured the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the West Bank city of Jenin after he had been involved in planning a number of terrorist attacks. Infuriated, PIJ threatened to fire anti-tank weapons at Israeli towns from its home base in Gaza. In response, the IDF struck PIJ’s chief of operations in the northern Gaza Strip and killed his counterpart in the south. After that, the Iranian-backed terrorist group began bombarding Israel with rockets and mortars, firing nearly 1,000 rockets, of which nearly 200 fell short and landed in Gaza itself—causing the deaths of several civilians there. An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect after about three days of fighting.

To talk about the weekend war, we’ve invited analyst Jonathan Schanzer, who pays close attention to Gaza and writes about Middle East politics in Commentary and Mosaic, as well as in several books. (One just last year, Gaza Conflict 2021, carefully analyzed the previous blowup there). Here, Schanzer, in conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, looks at this conflict in that political context, explains how it was like and unlike past rounds of conflict, thinks about how its timing relates to the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and speculates about the future of Hamas in Gaza.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

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