The Fight Against Palestinian Terror

JCPA issued a new brief The Strategic Challenge of Gaza by
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, Head of the IDF Southern Command.

Here’s an extract:

Fighting terrorism is unlike a regular war when the more power you use, the better. Fighting terror that takes cover among the civilian population requires accuracy so as to hit only the terrorists. This means that Israel is not using its full potential in the fighting because this is our law and our moral system, and because it would not be in Israel ‘s best interests to do otherwise.

Hamas understands that Israel has many military advantages, and most of them are connected to technology, determination, understanding of the situation, and fighting under night conditions. Hamas, an Iranian proxy, is trying to close the gap through explosives and missiles which can penetrate tanks and armored vehicles.

Israel has a stable peace agreement with Egypt and is working with the Egyptians to find solutions to tactical problems, including infiltration from Sinai into Israel . Sooner or later Israel will create physical obstacles along the border with Egypt , but that will take a few years.

There are more armed Fatah people than armed Hamas people in Gaza , including the so-called Palestinian security organizations, but this does not mean they will defeat Hamas. Right now, the determination and the organization is found on the side of Hamas. It is not up to the West, including the American and the Israelis, to decide the result of such a struggle. If Fatah decides it wants to take over, it will succeed.

Hamas is using the current informal ceasefire as an opportunity to build up its power. Currently, Israel prefers to give the ceasefire a chance and, at the same time, to prepare for war.

Hamas has imported 30 tons of explosives into Gaza during the last year and it is not for use against Fatah, but rather against Israel . They think that Israel will be deterred by their capabilities, but Israel will be able to deal with the situation.

Since the disengagement there have been more than 2,000 rocket attacks, most of them Kassam rockets. There have been almost 300 attacks using explosives. This is the Palestinian terror answer to the Israeli disengagement, which gave over to the Palestinians the responsibility for their future. They decided against peace – and Israel is defending itself.

Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant was appointed Head of the IDF Southern Command in 2005, after serving as Military Secretary to Prime Minister Sharon. He also served as Head of the Gaza Division, and as Head of the Naval Commando Unit.

April 19, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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  1. This analysis by Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant seems fair enough as far as it goes. The focus is on the growing threat Israel faces and some attention is paid to what Israel has done and needs to do to defend itself.

    What about what Israel needs to do to take the offence, both militarily and in the war of words and ideas to capture the hearts and minds of Israeli detractors in order to eliminate the threat from Palestinians?

    Galant points out:

    Fighting terror that takes cover among the civilian population requires accuracy so as to hit only the terrorists. This means that Israel is not using its full potential in the fighting because this is our law and our moral system, and because it would not be in Israel ’s best interests to do otherwise.

    What that seems to say is that Israel must accept the world’s judgment that it in the case of Palestinian terrorists and soldiers, like Hezbollah it is not a war crime for them to fight behind human shields and that therefore the onus is on Israel to overcome this serious impediment to Israel’s ability to defeat the terrorists. By accepting the world’s imposition of this aspect of the double standard Israel strains under, not only does it compromise Israel’s ability to make war against the Palestinian terrorists, but also exposes IDF soldiers and indeed Israel’s civilian population to substantially greater risk.

    It is nice for Galant to pat Israel on the back for her being a society and culture of laws and morality, but in so doing Galant misses a critical point. Many Western nations, like Israel are societies of fundamentally the same kinds of laws and morality, yet none of those countries would give a moment’s thought to worrying about killing civilian human shields to get at the enemy that is successfully waging war against them behind those shields. No such Western nation would be condemned by any other Western nation.

    Israel stands alone in that regard and from past concerns voiced by many, Israel does far too little to ease the burden of that double standard by investing in public relations to get Israel’s side seen, understood and empathized with.

    Galant says Fatah is better armed then Hamas and could defeat Hamas if it had a mind to but Hamas is more determined and enjoys more popular support from Palestinians. So what?

    From all we have read and heard of what Abbas and his Fatah cronies have said, promised and done, there should be no comfort taken in a hope that at some point Fatah will defeat Hamas. There is little to distinguish Fatah from Hamas except when it comes to Hamas’ devotion to a radical kind of Islam and their honesty in revealing their hatred of Israel, Israelis and Jews and their goal of destroying Israel which they proclaim they will continue to make all efforts by all means to achieve, no matter how long it takes and what it takes to do that.

    The Palestinians virtually have an undeclared state which they govern themselves in a number of material respects. The majority of Palestinians support Hamas in their views and their goals. Fatah has much the same views and the same goals as Hamas though they express that in more secular terms. Neither Fatah nor Hamas have taken control of Palestinian terrorists. Not only that, they allow them to operate, fund them and tacitly, if not actively encourage their attacks on Israel. The only problem Fatah and Hamas have with the Palestinian terrorists is when they act contrary to the interests of Fatah and Hamas.

    When a Palestinian suicide bomber or other terrorist carries out an attack on Israel, including those who launch Kassam rockets into Israel from Palestinian populated positions, that is given the foregoing circumstances, tantamount to an act of war by one state against another.

    Israel must prepare to defeat the Palestinian enemy, not just by increasing training, armaments and technology, but getting the world to see that what Israelis face is not a simple territorial diagreement, dispute or conflict.

    Israel and pro-Israel advocates must open the worlds’ eyes and hearts to the fact that Israel is in a very real war for its very life with Palestinians, Iran and Iran’s proxies, Hezbollah. Israel must do all it can to gain the world’s understanding, empathy, sympathy and ergo support for Israel to destroy those who are out to destroy Israel’s very existence.

    Israel and pro-Israel advocacy must therefore do far more then they have to get the world on side to allow Israel to fight this war on the basis that no Israeli offensive action is too great that has the goal of protecting Israeli civilians, lessening the risk of harm coming to Israeli troops, to prevent Israel’s enemies from making any gains towards their goal of Israel’s annihalation and for Israel to eliminate or at least eviscerate and disable that threat for a great many years to come.

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