With the attacks on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Israel risks further escalation. It is foreseeable that there will be reprisals.

Iranian protesters chant slogans during an anti-Israel demonstration in Tehran's Palestine Square, but everything seems staged and quite boring.

Somewhat silly protest in Tehran against the Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, 2024 Photo: Rouzbeh Fouladi/imago

Israel's attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria is a clear provocation. Although high-ranking commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and not the ambassador were killed in the attacks, the site of the attack is not a military objective, but a diplomatic one. The attack threatens to greatly aggravate the situation.

Even if we do not want to see it as a declaration of war on Iran: with the assassination of two high-ranking commanders of the Al-Quds Brigades, Israel is greatly increasing the pressure and almost forcing a retaliatory strike. Syria and Lebanon have been theaters of war for months, in which Israel continues to raise the price of peace. There have been repeated Israeli attacks that can be read as an escalation: against the Damascus airport and with the use of white phosphorus in Lebanon.

Israel has gradually expanded its targets: to high-ranking commanders as well as inside Lebanon, for example with the targeted assassination of Hamas leader Saleh al-Aruri in Beirut in early January. Although Israel's stated goal is to force Hezbollah to come within 30 kilometers of the Lebanese border, Israeli military aircraft have attacked up to 100 kilometers inland, such as in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Israel recklessly ignores the red lines of war and international law, some of which have been defined together. Tehran's leaders have made it clear that they do not want an expanded war. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah emphasizes in his speeches that the militias want to use their attacks to force Israel to accept a ceasefire in Gaza. Although the militias have already made it clear enough that they want a permanent ceasefire, Israel continues to aggravate the situation.

Germany and the United States, as Israel's largest arms suppliers, must stop arms exports, finally exert more diplomatic pressure, and work to end the war. The West has squandered its diplomatic influence over Israel.

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