Monday, November 19, 2012

Observation: Gaza and the Fundamental Flaw of "Quiet for Quiet"

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
19 November '12..

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon is a vocal advocate for the "quiet for quiet" policy.

In media appearances, the former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces rarely, if ever, raises the issue of preventing the Gazans from rearming.

Minister Ya'alon implies that, for all intents and purposes, it does not really matter what weapons that Gazans possess as long as they are deterred from using them. He points to the situation in Lebanon, where Hizbullah is armed to the teeth but hasn't attacked, to prove his point.

I have all the respect and honor in the world for all that Moshe Ya'alon has contributed to Israel's defense. But I find his position and argument nothing less than stunning.

His narrative regarding why Hizbullah hasn't attacked may provide comfort for Israeli ears, but there are equally valid – if not more valid – explanations for the current quiet.

Hizbullah and their Iranian masters/sponsors are not a loosely organized band of crazed Moslem outlaws. They have a chain of command, infrastructure, and most important of all – a planning horizon that expresses considerably more patience than the typical Israeli planning horizon measured at best in months.

Yes, Hizbullah and Iran are aware of the consequences of launching an attack against Israel and this deters them from simply opening fire fro Lebanon.

But that in no way means that they will not end the period of quiet at a time of their choosing.

And when that day comes, the quality and quantity of weapons they have deployed in Lebanon will most certainly be extremely significant.

It will be significant on two counts:

#1 The greater their ability, the greater the costs to Israel when the battle comes.

#2. The greater their ability, the greater the odds that when the day comes to decide to attack, that they will indeed attack as the quality and quantity of weapons they will have deployed in Lebanon at that time will have a profound impact on their “cost-benefit”calculation.

Turning to the situation in the Gaza Strip, we have seen how the enemy in Gaza dramatically upgraded their weapons systems and raced up the learning curve since Operation Cast Lead. The range, accuracy and payloads today are well beyond anything they had a few year ago. Their methods of operation for launching are also considerably more sophisticated.

That’s not to say that the IDF hasn’t also learned and advanced.

Just that thanks to "quiet for quiet" the Gazans advanced between Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense.

And if we only insist on "quiet for quiet", we could very well face a nightmare a few years after Pillar of Defense.

Put simply: it is time to apply a "Jewish" planning horizon – that looks many years to the future rather than an "Israeli" planning horizon.


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