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On Saturday, Iran launched an unprecedented barrage of missiles and drones at Israel. The attack was thwarted by Israel, with help from the United States, United Kingdom, and Jordan.

The attack was a response to a strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, which killed a top Iranian general and seven other officers. Israeli officials denied responsibility for the strike, but Iran blamed Israel.

The attack sparked fears of a wider war in the Middle East. These fears extended up to the Oval Office, where President Joe Biden sought to diffuse the escalating conflict while on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday following the attack. Biden reportedly commended Israel for demonstrating “a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks.” But a senior White House official said that Biden also dissuaded Netanyahu from retaliating against Iran, stating, “You got a win. Take the win.” Biden said the U.S. would not participate in offensive operations against Iran.

Should Israel retaliate against Iran without the help of the U.S.? Should the U.S. change course and engage in a direct confrontation with Iran?

A writer in Bloomberg (Lean Left bias) stated that Iran “poses a potentially existential threat to Israel,” but that a U.S. military response aimed at destroying Iran’s potential nuclear capabilities would fall short. The writer stated, “the damage caused would likely delay the program but not eradicate it, while ensuring a regional war.” It could also encourage Iran to speed up its production of a “credible nuclear deterrent.”

A writer in Fox News Opinion (Right bias) stated that Biden’s decision “could also be interpreted as yet another sign that the president, desperate to win in November, will do almost anything to prevent higher oil prices, another political tripwire.” The writer predicted that Biden will “continue his appeasement of the Islamic state, hoping that their oil exports will continue uninterrupted as he campaigns for reelection – even as Iran continues its malevolent activities in the region which now include, for the first time, directly attacking Israel.”

In the New York Times Opinion (Left bias), Thomas L. Friedman (Lean Left bias) called for a "massive, sustained, global initiative to isolate Iran" in order to discourage both another Iranian attack and an Israeli retaliation. Without a "global initiative to impose sanctions on Iran and further isolate it on the world stage, Iran’s behavior would be tacitly normalized, in which case Israel will most likely retaliate in kind and we’re on our way to a major Middle East war and $250-a-barrel oil."

A writer in The Dispatch (Lean Right bias) determined Biden's decision to discourage Israel from retaliating is motivated by his fears of angering his base heading toward the general election. The writer stated, "Domestic politics have severely undermined the perception that America is a reliable ally. The war in Gaza is unpopular with the base of the president’s party, prompting his near-constant rhetorical undermining of Israel. And even as Ukraine’s front with Russia is buckling, the administration has told Kyiv that it shouldn’t attack Russian oil installations for fear of inflated oil prices in an election year."

Writing in Fox News (Right bias), Howard Kurtz (Center bias) labeled Iran's attack a "victory for the Jewish state" and a "humiliation for Tehran." While Israel's next step remains to be determined, the attack was a "gift to Israel by showing the world that the Mideast’s only democracy has come under sustained assault by one of its Arab enemies. And it has brought America and Israel closer together, despite previous tensions, as the administration has delivered on its promise to race to the Jewish state’s defense with warplanes and ships."

Speaking at a cabinet meeting Wednesday, Netanyahu stated, "I thank our friends for their support for the defense of Israel… They also have all kinds of suggestions and advice, I appreciate it, but I want to make it clear: We will make our own decisions, and the state of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself."

Top words about Iran's attack on Israel used more on each side of the media.
Analysis from Partisan Playground; Media Bias Ratings from AllSides

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More from the Center

More from the Left

Why has Iran attacked Israel?
BBC News (analysis)

"The two countries were allies until the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, which brought in a regime that has used opposing Israel as a key part of its ideology. Iran does not recognise Israel's right to exist and seeks its eradication. The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has previously called Israel a 'cancerous tumour' that 'will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.'"

What does Iran really want?
CNN (opinion)

"Like other regimes driven by a revolutionary ideology, Iran’s ayatollahs chose to be a cause, exporting their influence and ideas to other countries and to an array of militant groups. The goals of the ayatollahs are threefold: to evict the United States from the Middle East, to replace Israel with Palestine and to bring down the US-led world order."

More from the Right

They Said They Didn't Want War With Iran. Now They're Cheering on War With Iran.
Reason (opinion)

"We are now in boiling water. After years of tension with Iran, war looks to be on the horizon. Iranian-backed militias have been clashing with U.S.-led forces across the region for the past several months. This weekend, the U.S. military stepped in directly to defend Israel from a direct Iranian missile attack for the first time ever."

See more big stories from the past week.