Israel should play offense not defense

DEFENSE SHMEFENSE :How NOT to combat Palestinian terrorism,

Yoram Ettinger, Makor Rishon Daily, May 27, 2007

The more entrenched is the defensive state of Israeli mind – as has been the case since the 1993 Oslo Accord – the more intensified is Palestinian terrorism.

The defensive world view on one hand and the “No Military Solution to Terrorism” on the other hand, have eroded Israel’s steadfastness, have revolutionized the potential of Palestinian terrorism and have advanced its step-by-step strategy to annihilate the Jewish State:

    1. To weaken Israelis’ confidence in their government’s capability to safeguard personal/national security;

    2. To transform terrorism into a routine cost-of-living in Israel;

    3. To establish war of attrition as an acceptable mode of Israeli-Palestinian relations – terrorists’ “wet dream” and western democracies’ nightmare;

    4. To undermine Israel’s conviction in its cause;

    5. To entice Israelis to accept the concepts of “moral equivalence” and shared-responsibility for the “cycle of violence”;

    6. To exacerbate Israeli battle fatigue, resulting in sweeping Israeli concessions and rewarding/fueling Palestinian terrorism, which is driven by hope for further concessions;

    7. The collapse and the abandonment of the Jewish State.

The “Oslo Legacy” and its derivatives – from the Hebron Accord through Wye Accord, the flight from South Lebanon, Camp David II, “Disengagement”, Lebanon War II and “Convergence” – have transformed “fortifications and defense”, “Separation”, “Containment”, “Low Intensity Warfare”, “Back to 1949 Lines” and the recruitment of counter-terrorism subcontractors (Egypt, Jordan, Arafat/Abu Mazen, international forces) into key battle tactics against Palestinian terrorism. Such tactics dismiss the option of bringing the enemy to submission, and therefore add fuel – not water – to the fire of terrorism.

Instead of defending Israeli citizens, the “defense-fortification-separation” tactic has been employed, in order to rescue the “Oslo-Separation” theory from an extremely costly collapse: Over 2,000 Israelis murdered since 1993, compared with 250 murdered during 15 years preceding Oslo; a multi-billion dollar cost of homeland security measures; severe erosion of Israel’s confidence in its cause and in its capability to confront its enemies; undermining Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East and in the US.

The sealing of windows with sand sacks and the erection of a series of protective walls, did not stop the 2000-1 Palestinian sniping at Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. In fact, it energized Palestinian terrorists and enabled them to improve their terrorist capabilities. The sniping was totally aborted – and overall Palestinian terrorism was curtailed by 90% – when Israel’s military took over the Palestinian breeding ground of terrorism in Beit Jallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and other major towns in Judea & Samaria. Israeli military re-engagement with these areas – rather than the Fence or the Wall – reasserted Israel’s initiative in the battle against Palestinian terrorism.

Upgrading the defensive/security features of bus stops, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogues, kindergartens, schools and residential areas in the Kassam-plagued Sderot, Ashqelon and the West Negev Kibbutzim – and tomorrow probably in Ashdod, Kfar Saba, Hadera and Ben Gurion Airport – provides a short term false sense of security, but plays into the hands of terrorists.

The focus on defense, fortifications and retreat has signaled Israel’s abandonment of the victory option. Rather than destroying the infrastructure and capabilities of Palestinian terrorism, the focus on defense has reflected co-existence with terrorism. The addiction to defense, the belief that “Restrain Is Strength”, and the subordination of the war on terrorism to international public opinion, have been by-products of the false assumptions that “we’ve tried everything” and that “There’s no military solution to terrorism”. Such false assumptions mirror battle fatigue, which is non-existent among other countries fighting terrorism: India, Turkey, Thailand, Australia, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, etc.

Fourteen years of unprecedented terrorism – since Oslo – have made it clear that there is no political solution to Palestinian terrorism, that the Palestinian Authority is a non-compromising enemy and not a partner for peace, that “Disengagement/Separation” upgrades terrorist capabilities, that an effective military action must be comprehensive, decisive and disproportionate and that international public opinion is never saturated with Israeli concessions. Instead of relying on defense, deterrence, retaliation and on surgical, sporadic and limited offensive initiatives, Israel should adopt the tactics of pre-emption, prevention and comprehensive/sustained offense, aimed at uprooting terrorist infrastructure and capabilities (ideologically, educationally, politically, logistically and operationally). Rather than retreating toward the 1949 Green Lines, Israel should take charge of the breeding ground and the home-base of terrorism, which would enhance Israel’s power of deterrence, human-intelligence and interception capabilities. It would reduce Palestinian capabilities to conduct hate-education, to incite, to recruit, to train, to manufacture and smuggle terrorist and military hardware, to plan, to maneuver and to perpetrate terrorist activities. Thus, it would chop Palestinian terrorism by 90%!

Rather than defend against Palestinian terrorists, Israel should decimate the potential and actual capabilities of Palestinian terrorists.

Will Israel’s military operations in Gaza constitute another derivative of the suicidal Oslo State Of Mind, or will it be a milestone on the road to reclaim the pre-Oslo Israeli posture as the role-model of deterrence, defiance of odds, determination, gumption and counter-terrorism, which paved the road to the 1948 Declaration of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, the 1976 Entebbe Jonathan Operation and the 1981 bombing of Saddam’s nuclear reactor?

May 25, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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1 Comment / 1 Comment

  1. This is a brilliant article!

    I spent some time in Israel interviewing business leaders for a new book, and I noted a troubling philosophical resignation and acceptance of terrorism as a way of life.

    It was not my place, as a visitor, to comment on the reactions of native Israelis, but I thought it was kind of sad. Terror should not be accepted as a fact of life; it should be obliterated by justifiable offensive military force. If there are civilian casualties, the blame lies at the feet of the terrorists who hide among the population. Enough civilian casualties and the population will, in its own defense, point the terrorists out.

    Great article Yoram Ettinger!

    Big Dan

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