For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Define targets and restore deterrence - Restore calm and restore peace
Dr. Gabi Avital..
10 October '12..
The reality of rocket and mortar shells that the residents of southern Israel routinely face, which made headlines over the holiday weekend due to severe escalation, raises once again the question of whether Israel should launch a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip or alternately get used to this absurd reality.
Before addressing this question, one must wonder what kind of military power is unable to deter a little organization confined to a very small area. But the real question is: why do we appear, to our enemies but also to ourselves, like a bunch of doormats being trampled on by Hamas operatives, Fatah terrorists, Arab leaders, Iran, and overwhelmingly by so-called "human rights activists" (see the Goldstone report).
Let's begin with the northern front: the 2006 Second Lebanon War took a toll on Hezbollah that is rarely mentioned. Today, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah wouldn't dare even think of attacking Israel, and that is because Israel has proven its ability to annihilate Lebanon's infrastructure. Forecasts suggesting that thousands of missiles will explode in Israel will only be true if the IDF holds its fire, i.e. the IDF's firepower and retaliatory responses have established deterrence.
But the question still remains: how is it that flight squadrons armed with guided bombs partake in exorbitantly expensive exercises, accompanied by sophisticated unmanned aerial drones, tanks and well trained infantry, but ultimately the result is a few kilograms of explosives and infinite damage to Israel's image? How do you explain to hundreds of thousands of Israelis, or actually to a million citizens, that Israel is simply not up to the task of defending them?
Tactically speaking, the answer is that during its confrontations, Israel matches the intensity of its enemy's operations — using not a bit more force, therefore, there is no decisive military victory. On a strategic level, one would be pressed to find another instance in history in which a country has refused to eliminate an existential threat that has been at its gates solely because it chooses not to define it as a threat. Our moral outlook on the state of our enemies has made it impossible to bring them to our level.
In other words, ever since morality loosened and it was established that terror pays off, Israel lost its power of deterrence. Israel must reestablish its dominance over Hamas in the south just at it did in the north. Protecting the citizens of Israel, who make up and fund the IDF, is a mission of the highest moral order. Military experts need to sit down and designate targets to eliminate, and there are many. The political echelon needs to decide that the heads of Hamas are as good as dead. Israel's 2008 offensive in the Gaza Strip, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, did not achieve its objective because it stopped at the "humanitarian" point, just short of assassinating terror leaders. The fears of retaliatory bloodshed that existed before Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and Operation Cast Lead, proved to be baseless.
This psychological shift already exists among the prime minister and a large portion of his cabinet. The defense establishment, which used to be the charging horse that had to be restrained by the politicians, has changed dramatically since the Oslo Accords. But now there is a sense that the top military officials are once again becoming more decisive about a large-scale Gaza operation, and it is for the best. As long as Israel fails to restore its power of deterrence and the moral guidelines it has historically abided by — essentially a war on terror — there will be no calm, or peace.
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I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"