Israel’s Great Strategic Failure

It wasn’t October 7. It’s the continuing avoidance of military action against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

By Michael Makovsky, TABLET  MAY 30, 2024

Supporters of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group cheer as they listen to a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hezbollah, Feb. 13, 2024MARWAN NAAMANI/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

It has become conventional wisdom after Oct. 7 that Israel for years had the wrong policy toward Gaza. While the unfathomable catastrophe of that day has rightly forced a critical examination of all the factors that led to it, it’s arguable that Israel’s broad pre-Oct. 7 policy toward Gaza, in contrast to its strategic conception and military preparation, was at least understandable, if not correct. In contrast, there has been less criticism of Israel’s policy toward Hezbollah in Lebanon over the past two decades. Not only does the policy toward the northern front raise even more troubling questions than Gaza, but also, now more than ever, it looks like a major strategic failure.

Ever since Hamas took control of Gaza by force in 2007, Israel has fought several small wars with the genocidal terrorist organization, in response to rocket attacks from the Strip: in 2008-09, 2012, 2014, and 2021. There were also shorter Israeli military campaigns against the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in 2022 and 2023. In each of these conflicts, Israel would have been justified to enter Gaza and destroy Hamas in self-defense, but never felt so compelled—until Oct. 7.

It has been frequently reported that Israel, or at least its military intelligence agency, had a faulty strategic conception, the so-called “konceptzia,” that Hamas was deterred for now and more focused on governing Gaza than on attacking Israel. Many pundits in the Israeli and American media, who are overwhelmingly hostile to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, contend he was driven to prop up Hamas over the years with the help of Qatari money in order to divide the Palestinians and reduce pressure for a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Netanyahu, who has waged several wars against Hamas, has repeatedly denied this claim. While there have been plenty of leaks in the media already, Israeli military and government probes are expected to reveal what the military intelligence’s konceptzia was, what was motivating Netanyahu and other Israeli political and military leaders, and what contributed to the IDF inadequately preparing for, and/or ignoring signals of, a major Hamas attack.

In the meantime, it’s worth exploring why Israel did not invade Gaza and uproot Hamas from power years ago, based on the premise that Oct. 7 was not inevitable.

The threat from Gaza, however challenging, appeared increasingly manageable to most Israeli military and civilian leaders, despite the short wars with Hamas and PIJ. This misplaced confidence appears to have been partly driven by an overreliance on technology and missile defense. The 2011 deployment of Iron Dome, Israel’s 90%-plus-effective, short-range air defense system, seemingly minimized the rocket threat. With Iron Beam—a laser version that will be at the very least a powerful supplement to Iron Dome—soon to be deployed, Israel believed it was poised to have an even better counter to rockets fired from Gaza. One Israeli military expert told me a few years ago that once Iron Beam was deployed Israel won’t care what happens inside Gaza.


May 30, 2024 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. @Adam new elections. We’re the ones with No elections.

    People also ask
    What is no theater in Japan?

    Noh Theater is a form of Japanese drama performed in masks and costumes. Noh performances are traditionally all day and feature a play from each of the five categories; God, Warrior, Woman, Deranged, and Demon. Each category has a specific mask and costume. The shite performs the main role. › …
    Noh Theater – PBS LearningMedia

    which is the origin of the expression, “no shite, Sherlock.”

    Bit of a stretch but I’m reminded of a terrific Japanese drama “Mona Lisa’s Smile” ((2000.)11 episodes) About a genius Sherlock Holmes like art expert whom the villains woo, at first, and then gaslight into doubting her own judgement. That’s their plan because nobody else can stop them. See the metaphorical parallel? Spoiler alert: Happy Ending.

  2. As far as I am concerned, the people who are dnot only demanding new elections, but “civil disobedience,” and some going to far as to urge reservists to refuse to serve when called up, are miserable traitors who have forfeited any right to live. If I had the power, which I don’t and never will, and maybe that’s a good thing, I would either a) have them all shot, or b) have them all deported to Birodidjan in Siberia, just north of the Manchurian border. This was the “autonous Jewish region: that Stalin had designated for the Jews in 1929. In the month prior to his death, he told this Politburo that he planned to deport all Jews in the Soviet Union, beginning with those living i n Moscow, to this remote “Autonomous Region,” where only a few thousand Jews livedat the time. (Even fewer now). But this is a longstoryfor another time. For now, I wish I had the power to send all of the Israeli traitors, all o0f the judges, government lawyers, :legalo advisors, seniorcivil servants, and all the treasonous politicians like Gandz and the leader of the :New Labor Party” (what’s his name) to Birobidgan) and maybe bribe Putin to imprison them there. Not even letting them go to Moscow, get rich and become oligarchs. , That;s just my fantasy. But it makes me feel a little better about Israel’s miserable situation, with at least half of its ruling elite on the side of Hamas and betraying the Israeli soldiers and reservists who are risking their lives and all to many of them giving their lives for their country every day.

  3. An article in today’s Arutz Sheva demonstrates that Ganz bears the heaviest responsibility for Oct. 7, even within the constraints of the Concepzia. And now, his party has put forward a bill to dissolve the Knesset, have no elections and find who to blame. Well, look no further. Shocking.

    “A hard look at Benny Gantz’s military tenure”
    War Cabinet member Benny Gantz’s past decisions as CoS and Defense Minister have had lasting impacts on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel’s strategic military posture. What were some of them?”