“Israel plans mass evacuations if war erupts again”

The idea is to ‘remove the threat by not having civilians there,’ officer says.

By Malcolm Dash, IISS

Contingency plans, “Codenamed ‘Safe Distance,’  would see up to 250,000 civilians cleared out of border communities if they come under major attack by Hamas or Hezbollah” according to an Israeli officer.

It’s difficult to avoid cynicism when examining the latest, “contingency plans to evacuate up to a quarter-million civilians from border communities to protect them from attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah or other terror groups”. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad is a line from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1875), it seems that the IDF Chiefs of Staff have become unhinged or plain “mad”. Why they are not imbued with the rich traditions of the IDF of victory and deterrence rather than its new penchant for withdrawal and “evacuation” i.e. surrender to the initiatives of the enemy?

If Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa come under threat, (envisage a Palestinian state, tunnels and missiles etc.), will the IDF evacuate citizens from these urban centers?? To where? To yet to be built littoral islets. What would be the psychological impact on Israel’s population? How will the population respond when its leadership offers up a strategy of “evacuation”? Assuredly the national morale and will to resist will be undermined and flight become preferable to resistance …And for those Israelis with foreign passports? Will the IDF recommend that they avail themselves of those passports!!.

Not since the 1967 Six Day war has Israel’s army really known the fruits of strategic victory (Some claim that the IDF was victorious in the Yom Kippur war. But if nearly 3,000 dead, thousands wounded, territorial concessions and financial indebtedness are associated with “victory”, then we need to consult an Alice in Wonderland thesaurus).

Every subsequent encounter with Israel’s enemies, (War of Attrition 1970-73, First Intifada, Gaza War 1987–1993 (2008–09) Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense 2012), have resulted in stalemate, territorial concessions and diplomatic reversals. It is time, indeed past time, to reconsider the role and concepts the IDF has adopted and develop doctrines of warfare that will both protect Israel’s citizenry and create opportunities for victorious strategic outcomes.

Perhaps Israel should examine our adversaries’ logic and concepts of warfare rather than the Western logic of planning backward with the objective of defending the status quo ante. Arab rationale appears not to conform to a pre-defined war aim and instead is characterized by creating a dynamic that sets in motion a march towards change and then to taking advantage of the later stage opportunities this dynamic provides, which is to further Arab interests.

Regrettably it seems that Israel’s officer class has been infected by the doctrine of progressive liberal left positions, nourished by the legal establishment that restrictive rules of engagement and proportionality should comply with the “noble” objectives of “humanistic” values. It would be “splendid” if Israel’s enemies played by the same set of rules. Sadly they do not.

Moreover, the IDF has taken upon itself the task of “social engineering” by wading into controversial issues, such as gender and gay integration and the involvement in promoting commercial activity among the Arab communities of Judea and Samaria. Sadly it seems that the IDF has long ago given up on its prime mandate of winning wars and rather sees itself as a juggernaut for social change.

The IDF is long overdue for a serious dose of reforms, it is inconceivable that soldiers risk discipline or even prosecution when making life or death decisions in mere minutes, if army lawyers deem their actions outside the rules, even if the engagement was a success. If the Allies had fought World War ll with a mandate to avoid civilian casualties and adhere to proportionality and Political Correctness, plus the threat of war crimes hanging over the heads of Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Montgomery, Tedder, and Patton, I shudder to think what the final outcome of that titanic struggle would have been.

The IDF by its self-imposed restraints is fast turning itself into a glorified police force. It endeavors to be sensitive to the Arab/Moslem culture and tailor its operational responses accordingly. Such sensitivity does not win wars, no matter how much the progressive liberal left may applaud.

And as for the Arab/Moslem culture and its derivative methods and “rules” of engagement, which include, attacking from within civilian communities, horrifying beheadings, kidnapping and many other “inhumane” violations, with flagrant disregard for Geneva Conventions. All the while these Islamic forces of evil take advantage of the constrained freedom of action self-imposed by the IDF. Would the Chiefs of Staff really consider putting Israeli soldier’s lives at risk preferable, to offending some contemporary misperception and misapplication of moral humanitarian principles, or the threat of War Crimes?

When a deadly brew of politicians, lawyers, humanities brainwashed officer class and social engineers formulate the ‘rules” of engagement to meet with unattainable standards, you can be sure that victory will not be their guiding principle. By delegating increased authority to field officers and their men and relaxing the rules of engagement, the military will put the combat decision making process into the hands of well trained and experienced Israeli soldiers, rather than in those of mostly combat inexperienced legal adjuncts.

Israel’s army is a people’s army and its soldiers drawn from all walks of Israeli society, a society that strives to be just, moral and live by Jewish values. It is therefore unacceptable that Israeli “progressive” elites do not place their trust in its warriors who in the end pay the ultimate price. The IDF has become captive to legal sanction and political correctness so much so that it has forgotten that their mandate is to protect the state which cannot be done without a strategy for victory.

If the political leadership and the Israeli army do not adopt a strategy of “total war”, A war as a war “a la guerre comme a la guerre”, wherein the nation mobilizes its full resources to destroy the military capacity of its enemy and its will to wage war, then a debilitating war of “attrition” will be inflicted on the IDF for which it, and the Israeli public is ill equipped for.

This article was prompted by the headline “Israel plans mass evacuations if war erupts again”. If this concept had been the driving force during the War of Independence or on the eve of the Six Day war it’s more than likely that Israel would not have survived. Israel’s bold leaders, of yesteryear, pioneers of the return of the Jews to their homeland understood that Israel must take the war to the enemy and that nothing less than victory is the nation’s objective. It’s safe to assume that had the IDF of 1967 been faced with the dual threats of Hamas and Hezbollah, the then Chiefs of Staff’s contingency plan of action would have; in all likelihood produced the headline:

“Israel warns both Hamas and Hezbollah that they should plan mass evacuations of up to 500,000 of their border communities if war erupts again”

Now that’s a winning strategy!!!!

Malcolm Dash, Director of Operations, Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.


April 13, 2017 | Comments »

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  1. This defeatist IDF plan of mass evacuation is another ” social engineering ” spin towards ultimate surrender. The O-slo-death program is very much active . The israeli public get what he longs for , he votes for petty bourgeois leaders such as Lapid , Kahlon , Lieberman and dreams of a sundeck armchair , in some european country . Bibi is merely an impotent leader , pseudo-hawk , a poor copy of Churchill . Bennett lost his touch when he invited soccer star Ohana , and lost one third of his previous mandates . The haredim still play their shtetl ” power ” of nuisance , and the left reigns over the social mood despite being out of power .

  2. Article re IDF doctrine of mass evacuation of Israeli citizens, as per attached.
    Please share.
    Malcolm Dash,
    Israel Institute for Strategic Strategies

    This article has been posted on MIL-ED, a Department of Defense approved blog for discussion by military officers. Posting does not imply endorsement by any US government agency. We attempted to reproduce the article but had technical difficulty copying the PDF. Thus we present the original PDF as well as our attempt to reproduce it (which may be flawed).

    The concept of deterrence requires that the enemy be deterred, not encouraged as seems to be by this IDF proposed “strategy”.

    Previously’ one of our strategic writers suggested that proportionality means that the force must be massive enough to achieve its objective, which is stopping an enemy cold in its tracks.

    Quoting the writer : Anything less is not proportionate to meeting the requirement. The writer suggested that a program of massive destruction of infrastructure be announced to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Then in response to the first missile Israel should launch three missiles at high-value infrastructure targets as well as trying to take out as many Hezbollah facilities as possible. To the second the response should be six missiles at high-value infrastructure targets. To the third the response should be 18 missiles. To the fourth an intense barrage should be launched. The world will condemn Israel and call on Israel to cease operations. The amount of time Israel will have is limited and will be far less than promised by its allies. Thus. Israel must create a situation where every enemy will say: “never again”. This strong Israeli response will result in far fewer IDF, Israeli civilian, and Lebanese casualties then would a weak response as proposed by the IDF plan. The same response should occur in the case of an Hamas attack. Better to be the subject of verbal condemnation then be the victim of massive civilian and military losses.

  3. xx

    I have long ago believed that IDF policies were becoming more and more inexplicable, especially since the “knock-knock’ on the rooftop so that they can bomb an empty building… They are simple mashugga and their policies will eventually lead to massive IDF casualties and perhaps civilian also. Most of the IDF were civilians only a few short years ago anyway.. An army which is prevented from fighting is not an army at all.

    I am AGAIN reminded of the sentence I took from an otherwise unremarkable novel by a very famous early 20th century author…. “A Pacifist who approaches an enemy without a regiment of soldiers or a machine-gun company behind him, is NOT a Pacifist, he’s a PROVOCATION….. I may be paraphrasing very slightly but the message is clear and this phrase should become an oft repeated axiom.

  4. A long overdue piece. Of course the chances that the recommendations contained within will be adopted are close to nil.
    On second thought, scratch “close to”.

  5. Instead of giving up land when attacked they should be pushing the enemy back and ending every fight with more land then they had when it started. If the leaders do not start doing what is right, they will all die like their evil counterparts form the past. It’s only a matter of time.

  6. Are they among the 250 generals and officers who recommend to make further concessions to the Sunnis of Israel knowing perfectly well that there are no sufficient concessions that will satisfy the Muslims?


    Shame on you political and military leaders of Israel! You are defeated already before you go to war. Imagine this defeatist attitude prior to the 6 Day War. Wake up!
    It is already 30 minutes past 12! You must attack at once all the threats build up to destroy The Holy Nation. Forget of world opinion that is going to be always against you!
    Put your eyes in The Almighty; The One that created the Miracle that is The State of Israel Today. You are Invincible! Adonai is with you; don’t you now it?
    Here is what The Torah orders you to do, at this very moment. It is in D’varim, chapter 7, verse 1 and 2:

    Deu 7:1 And when the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land, into which thou goest to possess it, and shall remove great nations from before thee, the Chettite, and Gergesite, and Amorite, and Chananite, and Pherezite, and Evite, and Jebusite, seven nations more numerous and stronger than you,
    Deu 7:2 and the Lord thy God shall deliver them into thy hands, then thou shalt smite them: thou shalt utterly destroy them: thou shalt not make a covenant with them, neither shall ye pity them:

    Oh Isreal; your enemies are already defeated!