Topic:

IDF

The Two Major Strategic Turning Points of 2018

| December 25, 2018

Last summer’s events in the Gaza Strip cast serious doubt on the feasibility of a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, as the proximity of that area to Israel’s main population centers and economic/strategic assets ensures its transformation into the main combat zone should it undergo a militarization process similar to that experienced by Gaza and Lebanon. The question is whether the IDF has an effective response to the advent of parallel major threats on several fronts.

The Danger of a Widening Iranian Corridor Through Syria

| December 24, 2018

The surprise announcement by US President Donald Trump to pull American forces out of Syria has led to concern that Iran can now complete its “land bridge” from Tehran to Beirut.

Deterrence Is Not Everything

Israel’s decisions a) to contain Hamas’s continuous provocations rather than use them as a casus belli and b) to refrain from an immediate military response to the discovery of Hezbollah tunnels into Israeli sovereign territory in the northern Galilee highlight the issue of deterrence as a core factor affecting the Israeli image in the region. Assuming the current Israeli modus operandi is the product of rational and thoughtful staff work, it can be inferred that deterrence is no longer either a decisive factor or even a strategic goal in the asymmetric conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah.

Another Round, not More Extortion, Is Needed in Gaza

| November 27, 2018

Only a fourth massive round of fighting against Hamas can possibly bring the group to the conclusion the Arab states reached after four wars with the Jewish state in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 – that the pain to be suffered is so great, and the chance of eliminating the Jewish state so slim, as to render violence pointless.

Between Rabin’s Legacy and the INSS Plan

| November 23, 2018

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, recently issued “A Political-Security Framework Strategic Action Plan for the Israeli-Palestinian Arena.” The gap between the INSS initiative and the basic principles expressed by PM Yitzhak Rabin is such that one might assume Rabin would have been fundamentally opposed to the initiative.

The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze

| November 15, 2018

The recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas was seemingly sparked by the exposure of an Israeli special forces team during a covert operation in Khan Yunis. The Hamas leadership, which apparently is not interested in war, nevertheless chose to respond by escalating to the very brink. Why has the Israeli government refrained (yet again) from instructing the IDF to settle the Hamas threat?

Israel Must Make a Decision on Gaza

| November 9, 2018

For over a decade, Israel has avoided deciding whether its interests are better served by maintaining the current “two Palestinian states” status quo, or by seeing Gaza rejoin the Palestinian Authority. The result is an untenable, chronic-crisis situation that empowers Mahmoud Abbas and is a lose-lose situation for Israel.

The Russian Perspective on the Downing of the IL-20

| October 22, 2018

The downing of a Russian air force plane by Syrian government forces was a predictable consequence of the overcrowding of the Syrian battleground. The Russians might genuinely be angry at what happened, but from a geopolitical perspective, they understand that Israel will not abstain from further military interventions in Syria when needed. Israel’s national interest is at stake, and Jerusalem will not allow Iran to increase its already substantial presence.

Khan Ahmar: Israel’s Opportunity

While there is little doubt that the Bedouin settlement of Khan Ahmar (on the Jerusalem-Dead Sea road) was illegally built, the decision to move its residents to an alternative site needs to be reassessed despite its approval by the Supreme Court. It involves much broader strategic questions than the necessity to enforce the rule of law in one particular case.

Israel, Don’t Sacrifice Deterrence for Revenge

| October 16, 2018

Israel claims its policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes is a justified security measure. Destroying the family home of terrorist Khalil Yussef Ali Jabarin despite the fact that his family tried to prevent his attack on Ari Fuld seems more an act of revenge than deterrence, and could generate serious blowback with major ramifications.