Why did the Islamic Jihad agree to a ceasefire so quickly?
On the third day of conflict between Israel and the Islamic Jihad, the militant group announced that an Egyptian-brokered truce would begin at 20:30 GMT on August 7. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid's office confirmed the ceasefire.
A senior Arab official has informed me that the ceasefire was confirmed by Islamic Jihad after a 45-minute phone call between a senior Egyptian intelligence officer and his Iranian counterpart. "The Iranian side wanted the truce to happen as fast as possible."
What the source claims does not seem to contradict what has happened on the ground in Gaza. This quick conclusion of fighting is inconsistent with previous rounds. Usually, Hamas and Islamic Jihad refuse all offers for a ceasefire until serious Israeli bombings have taken place. The reasons for this are simple: the leaders of both terror groups are rarely affected by the fighting. They and their families are either safe in bunkers underground or vacationing in Jordan, Qatar, or Turkey. The second reason is that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not free to make their own decisions. They receive orders from their masters, who call the conditions of any ceasefires that serve their interests and not those of Gazans. In the case of Islamic Jihad, the leaders of the terror group receive their orders from Iran.
Trained, financed, and promoted by Iran and her Arab friends, Islamic Jihad is a de facto offshoot of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. This means that Iran is the one who has called the ceasefire shot. But why wouldn't Iran let Gaza burn this time, as it has always done? Why did Iran agree to a ceasefire so quickly?
The answer lies in the way Israel managed the matter, which was quite different from the previous times and therefore has produced different results.
First, Israel took the initiative by arresting a senior Islamic Jihad figure in the West Bank, Bassam Al-Saadi. This helped demoralize Islamic Jihad's followers there and blocked their chances of causing unrest in support of Islamic Jihad members in Gaza.
Second, Israel took the initiative by killing the most capable military commander of Islamic Jihad, Tayseer Al-Rajabi, on August 5, then immediately proceeded with surgical and effective strikes on installations of Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Third, Hamas never joined the fight on the side of Islamic Jihad. My Arab intelligence sources have confirmed that the Egyptians and Qataris have both convinced Hamas to keep the truce they have sustained since January 2022. The sources claim that Hamas leaders were told that Qatar would go as far as freezing Hamas's monthly funds if it was to break the truce with Israel. Hence, Hamas did not join Islamic Jihad's fight and left them to fend for themselves.
Fourth, Israel was upping its Gaza operations quickly and went beyond the curve by killing Tayseer Al-Jabari's second-in-command, Khaled Mansour, commander of the Southern District in Gaza. Mansour was much less capable and nowhere near as charismatic as Al-Jabari; nonetheless, he was his potential successor.
With the Israeli strikes becoming more painful and on target, Iran had no chance but to swallow its pride and seek a quick truce to save its terrorist assets in Gaza from being annihilated by Israel.
With Islamic Jihad humiliated; its top leaders gone; and its mentor, Iran, approving a quick ceasefire, it is safe to say Operation Breaking Dawn has been successful. This success must serve as a challenge to the outdated "conventional wisdom" by several Israeli governments of "maintaining the status quo" and "keeping the current leaders because you never know whom you are going to get if they are gone."
The terror leaders ruling Gaza are a threat to the Gazans themselves, to Israelis, and to the region. Targeting the head of the snake kills it. The lesson learned from this operation could be summed up with this verse of ancient pre-Islam Arab poetry:
Do not you cut the snake's tail and let it go,
If you are a mensch, hit it on its head then follow with the tail.
It is worth noting that there was a major call by Gazans for "a million-man march to topple the Hamas regime," which was supposed to be launched on August 5, the same day the operations began.
Mudar Zahran is the secretary general of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition and an important Palestinian leader.