Maz Hussain and the art of rhetoric

July 13, 2013

Murtaza “Maz” Hussain is a journalist working for Al Jazeera, whose output is typically anti-Western conspiracism. However, he is an accomplished writer.

Looking at the article linked here, he writes about the Levy Report and incorporates a link to a YNet report.

The YNet report is itself a model of brevity, not delving into the legal arguments endorsed by the Levy Commission.

From this reference, Hussain reports the following:

In contrast to mainstream legal opinion as well as the recognised position of the international community, including Israeli allies such as the US and EU, the Commission’s inquiry came back with the unprecedented finding that in fact there is no occupation of Palestinian lands and that the continued construction of settlement outposts, viewed as one of the major roadblocks to a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians, is in fact wholly legal both in the future and retroactively.

He asserts that this is an unprecedented finding, which is true but only if the journalist was unaware that this was the Israeli position from the 1967 war onwards until the early 2000s. So what this report has done is reversed the Sasson Report, which was, itself, a politically engineered opinion.

Hussain then develops his argument by arguing that the Levy Report states that the West Bank is legally a part of Israel. He then argues that incorporation of the Levy Report into Israeli government policy would result in an actual apartheid situation for the Palestinian residents (of Area C). This would further assault Israel’s international standing and its relationship with the United States. Thus the right-wing government of Israel (which is actually less right-wing in political-makeup than the previous coalition) is actually endangering Israel by not adopting the policies advocated by the European Union et al.

This is an argument which, flatly, rests upon a rhetorical slight of hand. Notice that Hussain writes this below:

his position maintains that the West Bank is thus not occupied territory but in fact today is a part of Israel proper.

However, the slight of hand, upon which he builds the whole article is a fraudulent statement by a journalist who is wilfully misrepresenting the Levy Report’s argument and recommendations.

The Levy Report states that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to the West Bank (or Gaza) as these were captured in a defensive war and were a part of the Palestine Mandate area to which Jews have a legal right, recognised under the League of Nations Mandate, to settle upon public or privately purchased land.

Consequently, settlement is legal and should not be obstructed. Hussain writes that the report incorporates all the West Bank into Israel proper but this is not the case, even on the narrow grounds of legal settlement. The report advocates the incorporation of Jewish owned lands into Israel, not the lands upon which Palestinians have settled.

Through Hussein’s slight of hand rhetoric, the whole argument of the Levy Report is based upon the continuation of the League of Nations Mandate is left out of his article. The reader is then left mystified as to how the Levy Report justifies the proposed change in policy.

Furthermore, the slight of hand enables Hussein to state the following:

Implementation of the Levy Commission’s findings would make apartheid, which today is a highly controversial and politically charged description of Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, into an undeniable and formalised part of Israeli government policy. This would be devastating for Israel’s already poor international standing as well as for its relationship with key backers abroad who would find it politically unfeasible to be seen as helping to facilitate such a system.

Thus Hussein purports to be a critical friend of Israel but through the rhetorical trick regarding the Levy Report, Hussein instead argues that incorporation of the report would create an actual apartheid state in Israel. The apartheid charge rests upon the idea that the Palestinian population would be second-class citizens in a “Greater Israel” with less or undetermined legal rights.

Thus Hussein implicitly charges Israel with unilaterally seeking to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and thus end the peace process. However, the peace process is moribund owing to Palestinian intransigence and not due to Israeli malevolence or the settlements. And so the rest of the article becomes a false lament for Israel’s supposed slide into becoming a new South Africa and ruining itself in world opinion.

Hussein’s article is deeply dishonest, misrepresenting Israeli legal opinion to pain a wholly fraudulent picture of Israeli policy and intentions. This simply identifies Hussein and Al Jazeera as an anti-Western and anti-Israeli propaganda outfit. It is also worth noting that the terminology used by Hussein is mirrored by the far-left Israeli peace groups which opposed the Levy Report, such as Yesh Din and Peace Now, who automatically describe the Mandate argument as “far right” in origin.


Incidently, if the reader is interested, the legal basis of the argument used by the Levy Report can be found at the JCPA website.

The empirical case for defensible borders (JPost)

September 5, 2011

The empirical case for defensible borders
09/05/2011 20:49

Israel will have to maintain a perimeter presence along the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Against the backdrop of a possible Palestinian bid for independence at the United Nations this September and thus far unsuccessful deliberations within the Quartet regarding terms of reference for restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the issue of defensible borders merits renewed attention.

Former foreign minister Yigal Allon was one of the clearest and most authoritative exponents of the case for Israel’s need for defensible borders. In an October 1976 article in Foreign Affairs, Allon noted that whereas Israel’s rivals seek to “isolate, strangle and erase Israel from the world’s map,” Israel’s strategic aims have been focused on its “imperative to survive.”

Thus, even if peace agreements are reached, border and security arrangements must ensure Israel’s ability to defend itself in the event that such agreements are breached. As the recent upheavals in the Middle East have clearly demonstrated, this guiding principle has not lost its salience.

Allon contended with a number of claims raised to counter Israel’s argument for defensible borders. Then, as now, technological advances such as missile technology were pointed to as obviating the need for strategic depth and topographical assets. Then, as now, international guarantees were pointed to as constituting a satisfactory substitute for physical control of defensible ground.

Then, as now, such arguments did not coincide with anecdotal experience, drawn, as noted by Allon, from historical cases such as the German air ‘blitz’ against Great Britain, or the American air-strikes against North Vietnam, which demonstrated the limitations of air-launched attacks and continuing importance of having “boots on the ground.”

Then, as now, such arguments failed to account for the resounding failure of international guarantees to ensure Israel’s security, as evidenced, for example, in UNEF’s withdrawal from Sinai in May 1967.

Yet even beyond cases such as these, today we have the benefit of quantitative research which has shed a great deal of light on numerous international relations phenomena.

Two research findings are of particular relevance in this regard: the strong correlation between extant territorial claims and violent international conflict and the positive association between conflict durability and insurgents’ access to an international boundary.

The first indicates Israel has considerable grounds to expect security threats to persist, even subsequent to an agreement, as long as substantial Palestinian territorial claims to pre-1967 Israel persist. Thus, the fundamental source of potential conflict – the willingness – will in all likelihood continue.

The second underscores the fact that access to an international border would provide Palestinian militants with the opportunity to continue – and expand – violent activities against Israel. As many scholars and observers of international relations have long understood, a conjunction of willingness and opportunity is an almost certain formula for violent international conflict.

Thus, forcing Israel into indefensible borders, such as those of June 4, 1967, is unlikely to lead to a stable regional order.

On the contrary, insofar as comparative, empirical research can serve as a guide, relinquishing an Israeli presence along some of the borders of a Palestinian state will severely diminish the chances of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will probably exacerbate it. A cursory glance at developments in Gaza since Israel relinquished control of the Gaza-Sinai border in 2005 provides a rather stark confirmation of this basic observation.

Territorial claims and conflict Over the past several decades, a very large, empirical literature has emerged which demonstrates the key role of territorial claims as a source of international conflict. Numerous studies, employing different research designs, varied spatial and temporal domains and independently conceived theoretical frameworks, have produced robust findings pointing in essentially the same direction, permitting a very decisive conclusion: territorial revisionism leads to violent international conflict.

The particular value of this body of research is that the above conclusion has retained its validity, notwithstanding the numerous controls that have been imposed in different studies over the years.

Irrespective of whether or not rivals sign treaties or commence their relations violently or peacefully, notwithstanding the variance in rivals’ cultural and historical background, or configuration of relative power, regardless of the rivals’ institutional structure (democratic or not) and level of economic development and taking into account the numerous other caveats that have been explored in the literature, the basic finding remains intact.

While different factors have been shown to exert a mitigating effect on conflict, none appears capable of entirely vitiating the basic association between territorial revisionism and war.

While it may appear trivial in some sense, the finding actually bears non-trivial policy implications. What it says, in effect, is that in instances where territorial claims cannot realistically be resolved, either through a negotiated or non-negotiated redistribution of land, violent conflict is likely to persist. This remains true, in particular, whether or not a formal treaty is signed between rivals. Indeed, empirical work on treaties has largely shown that while they are not mere “scraps of paper,” in the words of one of the prominent scholars in this field, they don’t generally appear to be capable of resolving disputed issues. At best, they may be able to manage them, primarily by affecting the incentives and degree of uncertainty facing potential rivals.

The ramifications in the Israeli- Palestinian context should be clear, with regard to what can be realistically expected from a political settlement, at least at the present time. There can be no doubt that political forces such as Hamas and numerous fundamentalist affiliates would continue to harbor territorial claims regarding the pre-1967 territory of Israel, even were a peace treaty to be signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The problem is further underscored by the positions of the Palestinian Authority.

Its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, its objections to formulas such as “two states for two peoples” and its continuing commitment to the idea of having descendants of Palestinian refugees settle in Israel with the explicit goal of gaining demographic, and eventually political, control within it, reflect an ongoing nurturing of ultimately territorial demands for pre-1967 Israel. The extent to which Palestinian schools and popular culture venerate the idea of a “right of return,” and the consistency with which Palestinian leaders affirm support of it, reflect a firm commitment within a broad Palestinian constituency to these ethnically-based territorial claims.

Might the Palestinian Authority disclaim these positions in the context of future negotiations? Perhaps, though it has revealed no indication of willingness to do so in eighteen years of talks. Recent revelations of internal, classified documents pertaining to Palestinian negotiating positions during the past decade, including on the question of refugees, have been extremely edifying in this regard, illustrating the very tangible, concrete nature of the Palestinian Authority’s ambitions with regard to the refugee question.

Commissioning classified demographic studies that explored alternative scenarios for the influx of hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of Palestinians into Israel over a number of years, while contemplating the open-ended negotiation of additional migrations, presumably into perpetuity, these documents reveal a calculated, remarkably matter-of-fact vision for using the refugee issue as a means of acquiring demographic (and ultimately political) control of Israel.

Yet, even if the Palestinian leadership were to renounce their call for “return,” would such a renunciation resonate with popular sentiments among Palestinians, sentiments that have been meticulously cultivated over decades? It seems unlikely.

Would it reflect the views of millions of Palestinians kept in “refugee” status in neighboring states since 1948? It seems rather whimsical to suppose that it might.

A sober analysis cannot but lead to the conclusion that very significant followings within Palestinian public opinion will continue to harbor territorial claims with respect to pre-1967 Israel, even subsequent to a possible Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

The empirical literature on territorial claims – particularly those with an ethnic component – presents us, in turn, with the unfortunate conclusion that such claims can be expected to continue fueling violent conflict.

Such conclusions are sometimes erroneously taken to imply a sense of determinism or inevitability as to the likely trajectory of the conflict. This is not, however, the case. Territorial claims to pre- 1967 Israel and tolerance for violence can be expected to persist in Palestinian society at least partly because they have been, and continue to be, deliberately cultivated by Palestinian elites, as has been extensively documented by organizations that monitor Palestinian society and media.

Just as such motifs have been promoted over the years, so too can others, including those which may ultimately assist in fostering a culture of tolerance, territorial compromise and rejection of violence.

The continuing salience of borders as a component of security As argued above, there is little reason to doubt that significant Palestinian territorial revisionism will persist, with its attendant potential for violence, whatever political arrangement emerges between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. A question may nevertheless be posed as to whether the location and topographical features of Israel’s borders will play a significant role in determining its security in such a context.

Here too, as in the case of territorial claims, the theoretical and empirical literature is able to shed some light. It has long been argued by globalization theorists that geographical boundaries have been losing significance in the international arena. This trend is typically noted to be related to processes of transnational economic integration, alongside tremendous advances in communication and transportation technologies.

The value of territory as a military asset has also been argued to be diminishing, inter alia, due to advances in missile and intelligence-gathering technologies. The significant decline in large-scale inter-state war in recent decades appears to corroborate this view.

Yet, as noted by some scholars, borders do not generally seem to be losing in importance so much as changing their role.

As Peter Andreas phrased it in his 2003 article in International Security: “In many cases, more intensive border law enforcement is accompanying the demilitarization and economic liberalization of borders.”

The struggle against ‘clandestine transnational actors’ (CTAs), whether they come in the guise of organized crime or terrorist organizations, is becoming a growing concern for states concerned with safeguarding their borders against the infiltration of narcotics, weapons or illegal migrants. The post-9/11 focus on homeland security is symptomatic of this general trend.

It is, therefore, not surprising that in recent empirical work on the subject of geography and rebel capability, covering civil conflict duration across the globe for much of the post-WWII period, it has been shown that “conflicts where rebels have access to an international border are twice as durable as other conflicts” (Halvard Buhaug, Scott Gates and Päivi Lujala [August 2009] “Geography, Rebel Capability, and the Duration of Civil Conflict.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 53(4): 544-569).

The reasons are clear: such access serves as a life-line for the supply of weapons, funds, personnel, training, and, if need be, a safe haven, all of which can significantly enhance the relative capabilities of the insurgents and thus underpin protracted conflict.

COUPLED WITH the inherent instability of the Middle East, vividly underscored in recent months, a realistic appraisal of Israel’s geopolitical situation behooves caution. In such circumstances, the importance of maintaining defensible borders is all the more plain, notwithstanding the general global trend towards a reduction in large-scale interstate war. Once again, empirical research is instructive in this regard: where territorial revisionism persists, so too does war.

Some have argued that international guarantees and UN peacekeeping troops can serve as a substitute for direct border control by a concerned state. While findings have been reported revealing such measures to be capable of mitigating conflict, it has yet to be shown that they can decisively end it, where significant territorial claims persist.

Tellingly, “identity” conflicts – those involving religious and ethnic aspects – prove significantly less susceptible to the irenic effects which treaties and international involvement may otherwise display. Also, multi-national troop deployments prove especially ineffective against groups determined to funnel illicit goods across a poorly secured boundary.

This general observation gains very clear, specific expression in the Israeli-Arab arena.

Hezbollah, with unhindered access to the Lebanese-Syrian border, has for years enjoyed a massive influx of missiles and other weaponry, supplied by Iran and Syria.

Notwithstanding the efforts of an enhanced UNIFIL since 2006, Hezbollah has succeeded in increasing its arsenal to over 40,000 rockets, distributed throughout some 270 south Lebanese villages. The threat thereby posed to Israel, demonstrated as recently as 2006, when over 4,000 rockets were fired on densely populated areas in Israel, can scarcely be questioned.

Hamas has similarly benefited from the fact that Israel no longer controls the border between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, transferring many thousands of rockets, mortars and other weaponry through tunnels burrowed under the border.

Whereas the IDF presence on the Philadelphi Route in the 1967-2005 period could not prevent all weapons-smuggling efforts, the sheer magnitude of the weapons-smuggling operations since 2005, in terms of both quantity and quality of the armaments, belies any notion that control of the boundary has no military significance. The more than 9000 rockets and mortars that have struck Israeli territory since 2000 similarly illustrate the very tangible security threat thereby presented.

Moreover, the pattern of rocket and mortar fire serves to illustrate the key role of border control. As documented in a March 2011 study by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center, in the five years subsequent to the Israeli withdrawal, the number of rockets and mortars that struck Israel increased by more than 150% to 6,535 compared with the 2,535 in the five year period prior to the withdrawal.

Tellingly, whereas rockets, which are relatively sophisticated and effective, made up only 26% of fired projectiles in the earlier period, they accounted for 73% in the later period, reflecting the enhanced smuggling capacity of Hamas following the Israeli withdrawal.

THUS, TO prevent the emergence of a heavily armed, hostile Palestinian state dominating Israel’s 15 kilometer wide heartland – precisely as has transpired pursuant to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and relinquishing of control over Gaza’s southern boundary – Israel will have to maintain a perimeter presence along the borders of a Palestinian state. This implies a continuing Israeli presence on the eastern boundary, that is, along the Jordan Valley.

The viability of a Palestinian state Contrary to certain claims, maintaining an Israeli presence along the Jordan Valley is entirely compatible with the establishment of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.

According to Palestinian statistics, based on a 2007 census, approximately 10,000 Palestinians reside in those parts of the Jordan Valley that were not already passed over to Palestinian civilian control under the Oslo Accords. This amounts to less than a half of a percent of the Palestinian population of Judea and Samaria, as documented by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Moreover, the area lies exclusively to the east of the main Palestinian population centers, such that its omission would not interfere with the contiguity of a Palestinian state. Thus, excluding the Jordan Valley from the territory of a Palestinian state would have negligible demographic implications. By contrast, as argued above, the security implications would be weighty indeed, and probably critical with respect to the durability of a two-state arrangement.

The stated Palestinian position is clearly incompatible with such a territorial division. Palestinian claims to the Jordan Valley form part of their claims to Judea and Samaria in its entirety, claims which compete with those of Israel to the same territory. Reflecting an appreciation for these conflicting claims, the terms of reference of the peace process, as expressed in the Oslo Accords as well as relevant United Nations resolutions, from Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) through to Security Council Resolution 1850 (2008), have consistently required that the borders, along with other disputed issues, be agreed upon between the parties. A priori rejection of the possibility that Israel will retain a presence in the Jordan Valley in a final status settlement is flatly inconsistent with the principle of mutual agreement and negotiations, which has underpinned every peace breakthrough thus far achieved between Israel and its neighbors.

Thus, Palestinian opposition to a territorial division that would leave an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley should not be confused with a claim as to its inherent infeasibility. Not only is such a division consistent with the implementation of a two-state solution, there are strong grounds, based on an analysis of the security reality which can be expected to emerge, suggesting the necessity of such a solution.

THIS ANALYSIS does not imply that a stable, two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict cannot be achieved. It simply underscores what such a solution would have to look like if it were to be genuinely stable. Contrary to views which regard the 1967 boundary as a sine-quanon for such a solution, empirical research suggests that a relinquishment by Israel of perimeter control of Judea and Samaria would be highly destabilizing.

Such findings belie the idea that the mere presence of a signed agreement, or peacekeeping deployment, would obviate the need for Israel to retain tangible strategic assets as a component of its national security. Whereas this is a conclusion many observers of the conflict have intuitively understood for some time, today we have the benefit of quantitative empirical findings which serve to corroborate it.

The writer serves as policy adviser to the minister of foreign affairs and lectures on game theory and territorial conflict at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.

Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth About the West Bank

July 21, 2011

I love Danny Ayalon. This is an excellent and succinct video.

The stupidity of Roger Cohen

July 15, 2011

What an idiot. Roger Cohen writes a piece completely divorced from reality – again.

1.”Fayyad’s state building in the West Bank — schools and roads and institutions and security forces — led the World Bank to declare last year that the Palestinian Authority was ready for a state “at any point in the near future.””

Yet, Cohen does not mention the continued existence of the terrorist groups in the PA controlled areas, the continued genocidal incitement against Jews and Israelis in particular.
Incitement was supposed to be stopped under the Oslo Accords, yet the PalArabs never ceased to indoctrinate their children in school, mosque or media to hate Jews and to preach the goal of destroying Israel.

2. “Israel snubbed a viable partner — criminal waste.”

This ignores the repeated attempts of Olmert and Livni to negotiate on an even more radical platform than Barak in 1999-2000. This was rejected by Abbas et al. Cohen does not propose to address this conceptual problem of how does one negotiate with a party that does not wish to negotiate except upon maximalist terms. As usual for the New York Times, Netanyahu is treated with a combination of contempt and rhetorical sleight of hand in an attempt to blame the Israeli government for PalArab rejectionism. The ten-month freeze in settlement building outside of Jerusalem is ignored but what is worse in Cohen’s dishonest approach is that he again reduces the PalArabs to the status of objects, ignoring the very real problem for Israeli politicians of PalArab behaviour during those ten months.
In the ten months in which Netanyahu persuaded reluctant political partners in a coalition government to suspend building outside of Jerusalem, the PalArab leadership, which Cohen calls “a viable partner” did not approach or suggest negotiations. Instead when the period was almost up, they asked for it to be extended! Netanyahu took a big gamble and the PalArabs behaved exactly as Israeli conservatives expected.
This behaviour must lead us to one of two possible conclusions: either the PalArab leadership in the PA does not want to make peace (as reflected in their own literature, political programmes and propoganda) or they cannot because they fear the reaction of a radicalised, terrorised PalArab population if the sacred goals of “Palestine from the River to the Sea” were abandoned.

3. “But Fayyad never got recognition from Israel for his achievements: Terrorist violence is down 96 percent in the West Bank in the past five years.”

Fayyad has nothing to do with the reduction of terrorist violence emanating from Judea and Samaria. The continuous presence of the IDF beyond the Green Line has been almost solely responsible for the near cessation of terrorist violence but the threat remains and reappears from time to time. The attacks upon Jewish car drivers in Jerusalem, the murder of the Fogel family and many unreported (in the Western media) attacks on Jews on either side of the Green Line are terrorist attacks, are motivated by PalArab propaganda and militant sentiment and are applauded in PalArab society and state.
How can Cohen unilaterally attribute reduction in terrorist violence without taking into account the IDF? Why has he nothing to say about the murderous propaganda emanating from mosque, school and media?

4. “The Israeli insistence on up-front recognition from the Palestinians of Israel as a “Jewish state” is absurd — a powerful indication of growing Israeli insecurities, isolation and intolerance.”

This has been the official view of the Israeli state since the founding of Israel but the reason for this insistence is to press the PalArabs to abandon the “one state solution” or to accept that Israel is a Jewish and sovereign state in the same way as a Palestinian state would be a Muslim one. It about ending the Nakba and accepting that Israel is a fact and not an obstacle to Arab honour.
Cohen does not ask why PalArab rejection of this demand is so consistent, nor does he delve into the reasons for this reluctance. If he were do so, he would have to revise his vision of a pragmatic Palestinian people and see a terrorised and radicalised people who’ve been ruled by authoritarian Arab regimes until 1967 (at least in Gaza and Judea & Samaria) and by an authoritarian, corrupt terrorist regime since 1994.
Cohen does not because his mind and eyes are closed. He treats Arab politics merely as a reaction to what he perceives as the excesses and insecurities of Israeli politics.

5. “States get recognized, not their nature, and the Palestine Liberation Organization has recognized Israel’s right to “exist in peace and security.””

Fatah has never recognised Israel. Fatah is the ruling party of the PLO and the ruling party of the PA. Cohen would do better to actually research these things before simply repeating them as common-place truths. This is not solely Cohen’s fault but is one that is shared between writers such as Friedman, Freedland and even Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch. They all persist in trying press moderate credentials on mainstream PalArab factions and individuals and persistently run into the problem that those factions and individuals hold radical, genocidal views which embrace political violence and antisemititism.

6. “So pushing it to the front of the agenda is just Netanyahu’s way of putting delaying tactics ahead of strategic thinking once again.  The waste is staggering and the looming train wreck appalling.”

Here Cohen is using the Livni tactic of ascribing catastrophic significance to the September vote in the UN. This event may not pass but the attempt to describe this as catastrophic is to place undeserved importance in this diplomatic stunt. Caroline Glick and others have pointed out that the UN General Assembly has declared Palestinian statehood on previous occasions but nothing came of this because the move is empty of the stuff of political power.
Cohen attempts to portray Netanyahu and by extension most Israelis as stupid and inviting their own destruction because they will not countenance a course of action which will not be accepted by the PalArabs and which if acted upon unilaterally will not end the war against the Jews but merely enable its continuance.

Caroline Glick

December 17, 2010

Sometimes, one has to love Caroline Glick.

Here she is on Thomas Friedman;

So on the one hand, the chief Palestinian negotiator declared eternal war. And on the other hand, Friedman condemned Netanyahu – for the gazillionth time.

Dr. Samy Cohen and Asymmetric Warfare

November 18, 2010

The real flaw in Israeli military-political thinking with regard to Operation Cast Lead was the failure to occupy the ground. Too often the regime that sponsors the attacks remains in place.

Dr Samy Cohen is very wrong here. He’s taken the COIN doctrine but he’s not fully applied it. In order for COIN strategies to work, an alternate polity has to be developed and supported in order to wean the people from the terrorists.

Here Israel has not, even in its years of military administration of Judea, Samaria and Gaza until 1993. Instead it has not faced the problem of Arab irredentism, choosing to ignore or turn away from the problem of “how does Israel choose to defuse the hatred facing it”.

In a way, this flawed response can be seen in the depths of the Oslo process, poisoning the water. We rightly point out that the PLO/PA had, and has, refused to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, refused to renounced the “right of return” and remained fully committed to terrorism and its aim of genocide.

But Israel has too often pushed the problem of Arab anti-Semitism and political terrorism onto others. It did so with the PLO, making Arafat responsible for dismantling the terrorists and making peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and was dumbfounded when Arafat proved false.

Perhaps the poison in the well is the intellectual and cultural ideology of anti-imperialism. If Israel had any sense in 1967 after the Arabs refused to make peace, it would have annexed Gaza, Judea and Samaria (as well as the Sinai) and slowly absorbed the Arabs there into the Israeli polity. Strip away the hatred that was taught to two generations of the Arab inhabitants, promote economic growth and good governance from the village upwards and the new Israeli Arabs would have forgotten their hatred and become something different today.

Israel has relied on deterrence but not in COIN warfare. That disappeared in the 1960s with the last of the reprisal raids. Deterrence is still works and is required against states like Syria and against the budding Hezbollah state in Lebanon.

The conventional wisdom tells us that the 2006 war was a failure. Yes and no. It did not destroy Hezbollah – I have covered this in a different piece – the strategy was not matched to the (declared) political aim. But from the view of deterrence, it worked. There has been no more than a handful of attacks from Hezbollah or other Islamist groups since, though war is brewing once more.

Dr Cohen is right in one respect. When a true COIN war is fought, the policy of minimum force may well prove fruitful. But Israel’s only COIN war to date (the Second Intifada) was not marked by deterrence but by a combination of counter-insurgent battles and a minimum military presence sufficient only to control the ground. The PA remained in place, teaching the same hatreds and organising the attacks against Israel, the IDF and the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as against those who might advocate a different course for the Palestinians.

The flaw is political, not military. Clauswitz remains the supreme guide to war.

Israel needs a plan B when plan A blows

October 12, 2010

Politics: Meanwhile, on the Right…
09/03/2010 16:48

Hawkish Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely is surprisingly putting the finishing touches to a plan for “one state for two peoples.”

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Washington meeting with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s summit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely was in Ariel talking to Likud central committee members about her plan to annex the West Bank and give full Israeli citizenship to all its residents, Jewish and Arab.

The fact that Hotovely is starting to make her plan public now is not coincidental. She wants Netanyahu and the world to know that there is a viable alternative to the creation of a Palestinian state, so it will be on the table when – as she and many others expect – yet another effort to reach an agreement with the Palestinians fails.

To that end, Hotovely has spent her summer vacation not relaxing on European beaches like many of her Knesset colleagues but meeting with top experts on demography and security and drafting an in-depth initiative for what she calls “one state for two peoples.”

She intends to complete the draft by the time the Knesset’s extended summer recess ends in October and publish it in hopes of having the same impact on Netanyahu from the Right that the Geneva Initiative did from the Left on former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who, some say, was pressured to withdraw from Gaza by that plan.

She first heard a presentation on the one-state option from Netanyahu’s former bureau chief and current Makor Rishon deputy editor Uri Elitzur at a conference she organized at the Knesset in May 2009 entitled “Alternatives to the two-state solution.”

Hotovely invited many thinkers on the Right to present their plans, and she at first did not like any of them but eventually decided Elitzur’s idea had the most potential, and she endorsed it at the Jerusalem Conference in February.

Former defense minister Moshe Arens, who also spoke at Hotovely’s event, was similarly persuaded by Elitzur’s argument and came out in favor of it in June.

Among current politicians other than Hotovely, only Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has been quoted as endorsing a one-state solution. But Rivlin only refers to it as the lesser of two evils when compared to dividing the land of Israel, and he does not see it as a practical solution ready to be implemented that is better than the status quo.

Hotovely, by contrast, believes the Right must have a practical plan now that can be presented to the world to alleviate international pressure at a time when Israel’s right to exist and defend itself is being questioned.

Unlike many on the Right, she agrees with Obama’s assessment that the status quo is unsustainable, but for very different reasons than his.

“The world will continue pushing us,” Hotovely said in an interview in Jerusalem. “The Goldstone report and flotilla incident proved that even though Israel left Gaza, we still must defend every step we take there. We are in the worst situation, whereby we are being delegitimized and no matter what we do, we will still be responsible for the Palestinians. Most Israelis are afraid of the demographic threat and want to be away from the Arabs. They don’t realize we can’t pretend that they are not there.”

She says she does not believe a two-state solution can succeed, because past peace processes have proven that the maximum territory that Israel can give is less than the minimum that the Palestinians would accept, and the issues of Jerusalem and refugees similarly cannot be resolved.

She also fears the Palestinian problem will continue even if there would be two states, because the Palestinians would continue provoking Israel to respond to attacks in hopes of additional investigations that could help them defeat it in the international battle for public opinion.

“David beating Goliath is no longer the exception to the rule,” Hotovely said. “The stronger army is not in the best position anymore. Our strength has become a burden. Israel cannot beat the Palestinians, because the world won’t accept inevitable pictures of dead children.

“The Left always said that if we reached an accord and they attacked us over sovereign borders, we would respond with full force, but that view doesn’t take into account Israel’s public relations failures over the past decade.”

AFTER EXPLAINING WHY both the status quo and two states are unacceptable, Hotovely said the onestate solution can be palatable because it would enable Israel to maintain control over all of Judea and Samaria, which is important to her for Jewish and Zionist reasons, and no one would have to move.

“There has been a cloud hanging over Judea and Samaria for far too long,” she said. “We need to stop thinking that they can be given up in one deal or another. Israelis oppose giving up the Golan, because they have been there. They support giving up Judea and Samaria because they haven’t been there. If we annexed it, it would bring them closer.”

Hotovely suggests annexing the West Bank in stages, starting with the settlement blocs and Jordan Valley in which there are few Palestinians. She would annex the rest after building the “infrastructure” for accepting a million and a half Palestinians.

By infrastructure, she means a constitution or bills guaranteeing Israel’s future as a Jewish state. The bills would encourage aliya in a serious way and require all citizens to perform national service, which could be done in their communities. Israel would return to policing Ramallah and Jenin and would control the Palestinian education system to ensure that it encourages coexistence.

Following discussions with demographers, Hotovely believes Israel can maintain a 70 percent to 30% Jewish majority if aliya was encouraged as a national priority.

She bases this on there currently being nearly 6 million Israeli Jews and 1.5 million Israeli Arabs. There is a debate among demographers whether there are 1.5 million or 2.5 million Arabs in the West Bank. She would not annex Gaza, which she would like to see come under Egyptian control.

Hotovely would not call the result a binational state, because that would necessitate equality in symbols, language, education and historical narratives. That’s what separates her from Israelis on the extreme left who want a one-state solution.

“I call it a Jewish state with a large Arab minority,” she said. “I know the one-state solution has problems and I am thinking about how to solve them, but in the Middle East, every solution has a price. I prefer to fight the Palestinians in parliament and not with tanks, and I would rather have speeches by Ahmed Tibi and Saeb Erekat in the Knesset than missiles on Ashkelon.”

Hotovely said her plan has three main challenges: persuading Israelis, convincing the international community and selling it to the Palestinians. She believes the first would be the hardest of the three, but she said that just as support for a Palestinian state went from the fringes of the extreme left to mainstream in a short period, the reverse can also happen quickly.

She has presented the plan to congressmen in the US and politicians in Europe and Australia. She said they were surprisingly open to it, especially those who realize the two-state solution was doomed. She predicted that the world would accept the plan if the Palestinians did.

A poll of 1,010 Palestinians published in The Jerusalem Post this week that was conducted by the Bethlehem-based Palestinian Center for Public Opinion proves that this quest would not be easy.

The poll found that 86% of Palestinians opposed the annexation of the West Bank to Israel and granting its residents Israeli citizenship, while only 10% favored the idea. Nearly 55% favored a two-state solution, while 26% said they preferred a binational state as part of a one-state solution.

But Hotovely is undeterred. She intends to present the plan to Netanyahu in the near future, despite his newly launched negotiations with the Palestinians.

“Israel must have a Plan B after Plan A blows up,” she said. “We have been through Camp David, disengagement, Olmert’s offer and we are on the way to another failure. Netanyahu is making another effort in Washington, but he knows it will fail. Israel doesn’t have a rabbit in its hat, but this could be it.”

Why Israel and not Sudan, is Singled Out

October 12, 2010

Why Israel and not Sudan, is Singled Out

by Charles Jacobs Boston Globe, October 5, 2002

Harvard President Lawrence Summers recently criticized those on his campus who speak in the name of human rights but selectively censure Israel while ignoring much greater problems in the Middle East. He described the divestment campaign against Israel on his campus as anti-Semitic “in effect if not intent.” But human rights (and media) attention is often disproportionate to the severity or urgency of human conflicts. What determines their focus is not mainly anti-Semitism. Nor is it the level of horror. It is the racial, religious, and cultural character of the perpetrators, not the victims, that determines the response of Westerners.

An instructive case is Sudan. Atrocities there exceed every other world horror. For 10 years the blacks of South Sudan have been victims of an onslaught that has taken more than 2 million lives. Colin Powell calls it “the worst human rights nightmare on the planet.” Yet with the important exception of the black Christian community here, there has been a disturbingly muted reaction from well-known American human rights champions. The media cover the deaths in Sudan only occasionally.

Do rights activists and editorialists care more for Palestinians than for blacks? Surely not. It is the nature of the conflict, I propose, not the level of horror, that determines the response of Westerners.

In Khartoum, a Taliban-like Muslim regime is waging a self-declared jihad on African Christians and followers of tribal faiths in South Sudan. Non-Arab African Muslims are also targeted for devastation. Two million people have been killed – more than in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Burundi combined. Tens of thousands have been displaced, and 100,000, according to the US Committee on Refugees, forcibly starved.

Western lack of interest is all the more stunning as Khartoum’s onslaught has rekindled the trade in black slaves, halted (mostly) a century ago by the British abolitionists. Arab militias storm African villages, kill the men, and enslave the women and children. Accounts by journalists and others depict the horror. In these pogroms, after the men are slaughtered, the women, girls, and boys are gang raped – or they have their throats slit for resisting. The terrorized survivors are marched northward and distributed to Arab masters, the women to become concubines, the girls domestics, the boys goat herders.

It is hard to explain why victims of slavery and slaughter are virtually ignored by American progressives. How can it be that there is no storm of indignation at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, which, though they rushed to Jenin to investigate false reports of Jews massacring Arabs, care so much less about Arab-occupied Juba, South Sudan’s black capital? How can it be that they have not raised the roof about Khartoum’s black slaves? Neither has there been a concerted effort by the press to pressure American administrations to intervene. Nor has the socialist left spoken of liberating the slaves or protecting black villages from pogroms, even though Wall Street helps bankroll Khartoum’s oil business, which finances the slaughter.

What is this silence about? Surely it is not because we don’t care about blacks. Progressives champion oppressed black peoples daily. My hypothesis is this: to predict what the human rights community (and the media) focus on, look not at the oppressed; look instead at the party seen as the oppressor. Imagine the media coverage and the rights groups’ reaction if it were “whites” enslaving blacks in Sudan. Having the “right” oppressor would change everything.

Alternatively, imagine the “wrong” oppressor: Suppose that Arabs, not Jews, shot Palestinians in revolt. In 1970 (“Black September”), Jordan murdered tens of thousands of Palestinians in two days, yet we saw no divestment campaigns, and we wouldn’t today. This selectivity (at least in the United States) does not come from the hatred of Jews. It is ” a human rights complex ” – and is not hard to understand. The human rights community, composed mostly of compassionate white people, feels a special duty to protest evil done by those who are like “us.”

“Not in my name” is the worthy response of moral people. South African whites could not be allowed to represent “us.” But when we see evil done by “others,” we tend to shy away. Though we claim to have a single standard for all human conduct, we don’t. We fear the charge of hypocrisy: We Westerners after all, had slaves. We napalmed Vietnam. We live on Native American land. Who are we to judge “others?” And so we don’t stand for all of humanity.

The biggest victims of this complex are not the Jews who are obsessively criticized but the victims of genocide, enslavement, religious persecution, and ethnic cleansing who are murderously ignored: the Christian slaves of Sudan, the Muslim slaves of Mauritania, the Tibetans, the Kurds, the Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt.

Seeking expiation instead of universal justice means ignoring the sufferings of these victims of non-Western aggression and making relatively more of the suffering of those caught in confrontation with people like “us.” If the Israelis are being “profiled” because they are like “us,” the slaves of Sudan are ignored because their masters’ behavior has nothing to do with us.

In the United States it is not predominantly anti-Semitism that causes the human rights community to single Israel out for criticism. It is rather our failure to apply to all nations the standards to which we hold ourselves. The effect, as Summers correctly said, is anti-Semitic. But it is also the abandonment of those around the world in the worst of circumstances whose oppressions we find beside the point.


October 10, 2010

The drums of war beat their rhythm ever louder… Having just read this (once again) very interesting piece by Caroline Glick about Ahmadinejad’s forthcoming visit to Lebanon, I will summarise her conclusions here and develop these further:
1. Ahmadinejad is publicly demonstrating Iranian dominance over the other factions in Lebanon through ownership of Hezbollah.
2. The demands made by Hezbollah and Syria demonstrate the desire to finally extinguish the March 14th revolution. These demands include arrest of the key political figures in the Hariri tribunal and anti-Syrian/Hezbollah in the Lebanese cabinet etc.
3. There is no longer any reason to invest in the myth of the independent status of Hezbollah.
4. The March 14th factions are not going to be able to survive the joint attack of Hezbollah, Syria and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who are openly operating in Lebanon.
5. The March 14th factions have appealed to other Arab states for support and arms but this is not forthcoming.
6. The lack of Arab support is directly attributable to the temporising manner of the Obama administration towards Syria, the continued arming of the Lebanese Army (heavily infiltrated by Hezbollah, where units are not openly pro-Syrian).
7. The US government cannot be counted on as the administration persists in treating Hezbollah as moderate and independent of Iran in the face of intelligence assessments indicating otherwise.
8. Iran is committed to using Lebanon and Hezbollah to provoke another full war with Israel in order to gain a strategic political victory.
9. Israel must prepare for a war with Lebanon with the strategic aims of defeating Hezbollah as a fighting force and crippling Syria.

I would disagree with none of these conclusions. My thoughts on these matters are below.

1. The Obama administration is so lost in its doctrinaire fantasies that it cannot recognise the imminent danger of both a nuclear armed Iran and the subjugation of Lebanon to the will of the two ideologically terroristic regimes in the Middle East. This is partly because the US president is intellectually committed to a leftist view of International Relations in which the prime actors are the Western powers and Israel is viewed as a colonial outpost of the old Western empires. The implications of this are as follows:
a. The US will not intervene to protect Israel in more than a neutral or “even-handed” fashion in the event of war.
b. There is a danger that the US will attempt to “restrain” Israel by withholding credits, arms or even supporting UN Security Council resolutions against Israel.
c. For Israel and the West, at present the US is, and will be, the “missing” ally.

2. For the Middle East, the implications of the unreliability of the US (amply demonstrated during the Russian invasion of Georgia) are that the Gulf Emirates are either hastening to ally with the Iranian-Syrian axis or are anxiously sitting on the sidelines and hoping not to get to get caught up with the coming conflagration. This is also in part a consequence of the failure of the regional states with regards to anti-zionist and antisemitic propaganda and exhortation. The more moderate states such as Dubai or Qatar have failed to curb or challenge the antisemitic incitement of the Arab media, while the less moderate have either ignored or more often encouraged such beliefs.
At this time when the Arab states need allies to stand up to the Iranian sponsored-movements within their borders and Iranian aggression abroad, the governments have painted themselves into a corner and have cut themselves off from any open alliance or understanding with the one state in the region able to take on the Iranian-Syrian axis – Israel. Between the Arab states and Israel, a clear coincidence of interests exists in countering the baleful influence of Iran on the region but the policies of these states in this context mean that they cannot openly approach Israel without the danger of domestic disturbances.
There is a further danger which will be explored later.

3. If the Iranian-Syrian axis gain complete control of Lebanon, then a number of outcomes are guaranteed.
a. The regimes of both countries will be emboldened by the strengthening of the joint strategic position.
b. The pseudo-independence of Lebanon (as ruled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) will extraordinarily advantageous for these regimes: Lebanon can be used as a delivery point for weapons (marked for the Lebanese Army, transferred to Iran or Syria), will act as a outlet to escape further sanctions in the expansion of Syrian trade, and it will structurally enhance the capability of Hezbollah and the IRG to export terrorist networks, training and equipment into Europe and the Arab states of the Mediterranean.
c. With regards to the strategic struggle against Israel, the position first confirmed in 2006 with the Second Lebanon War will be consolidated and formalised: Lebanon as the third front against Israel, in addition to Syria and “Palestine”.
d. The nature and structure of the Lebanese state will be overhauled, most probably by plebiscite to continue the illusion of democracy to formally incorporate Hezbollah into the state, transform Lebanon into an Islamist state like Iran and Gaza and to place pressure on the non-Muslim minorities to convert, emigrate or cooperate with the new state.
e. The UN force that is supposed to be guaranteeing the ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon (Hezbollah) will likely be retained for a short time as diplomatic hostages during the formal hijacking of the Lebanese constitution and state, then either will be ordered to leave or attacked by “rogue” terrorist elements in order to provoke the constituent governments into withdrawing their contingents to UNIFIL. Once these have withdrawn, the path will then be clear to launch terror raids into northern Israel and fully prepare a war of attrition with Israel.
f. Once this war comes, the Lebanese population will be held as hostages and human shields as the Iranian-Syrian axis does not care for human lives and will use these to bring political defeat to Israel.

4. Israel’s options are fortunately more open and less bleak than previously estimated due to the Stuxnet attack on Iran and the nuclear development programme in particular. Nonetheless as I’ve indicated in my title and opening paragraph to this piece, a war is approaching and Israel must have its game prepared.
a. This will be a much broader war than the last two in 2006 and 2008/2009.
The Palestinians:
Hamas can be expected to resume terrorist attacks from Gaza; Fatah may resume terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria and attempt together with Hamas and the other factions to export these attacks into Israel as well as East Jerusalem and the settlement blocks.
Israel will have to plan to meet these attacks. Fatah can be neutralised by the deployment of two brigades to resume day to day control of Palestinian areas. Gaza will have to be held in check rather than fully tackled in the early stages as the crisis will emerge in the north, not the south. If the war in the north goes according to the best case scenario, then a reckoning can be had with Gaza.
Syria can be expected to join or jointly lead any assault on Northern Israel. The most likely course of action will be long range bombardment of northern and central Israel by artillery, rocket and long range rocket fire; the possibility also remains that Syria may use chemical warheads, which would necessitate Israeli nuclear counter-bombardment. Less likely but within the realm of possibility is a simultaneous conventional assault on the Golan Heights, though if an assault on the heights were to transpire, it is more likely that this occur due to Israeli military pressure on Hezbollah. It is more likely in the broader scenario that Syria directly intervenes through the Bekaa Valley as in 1982 in order to provide Hezbollah forces with a safe route of retreat and sanctuary if the Israeli assault looks likely to inflict a serious defeat on Hezbollah.
Syria can be expected to shelter and continue to supply and support Hezbollah throughout any conflict, so it may be necessary for Israel to first defeat Hezbollah and then invade Syria with the aim of knocking Syria out of the war. If so, then the best direction for this attack into Syria may come though the Bekaa Valley as this will bypass the fortifications facing the Golan Heights.
In any event of war, the Lebanese Army will fall into two categories of response, neither being mutually exclusive, the first being to attempt to remain neutral and the second to actively engage in combat with Israeli forces. This will be determined on a unit by unit basis, dependent on the degree of Hezbollah infiltration, the ideology of the unit commanders, Iranian-Syrian subversion (not everything goes through Hezbollah) and to what the degree Lebanon has been wholly captured by the Islamists and their backers. Israel should disarm the Lebanese Army units encountered if these remain neutral, and defeat in combat those which engage in hostilities.
The UNIFIL force remains a problem. There is a danger that the UNIFIL forces will engage in “self-protective” combat with the IDF when the invasion comes, yet a parallel danger is the hostage status of the 15,000 strong force. Israel may well have to order UNIFIL forces to leave or remain in barracks during any military activity or be considered hostile, which in turn brings the probability of international involvement. UNIFIL forces could by their presence harm IDF chances of a surprise attack into Lebanon, once again due to the sensitive status of those units.
The combat units of Hezbollah are expected to fight from fortified positions, use ambush and booby-trapped terrain in order to create killing zones in which to trap IDF units and to overall fight from within civilian areas in order to maximise civilian casualties. Expect Hezbollah fighters to wear civilian garb in order to identified as civilian both on the battlefield and in the casualty lists. Hezbollah can be expected to utilise mass-bombardment of both northern and central Israel and also of IDF positions. The IDF operational plan should emphasise the seizing of terrain in order to force the Hezbollah units to stand and fight in order to destroy these and weaken the morale of other Hezbollah or sympathetic units. Strategic priority should be given to seizing the Bekaa Valley in order to cut off support from Syria as well as to locate, examine and destroy all Hezbollah infrastructure in the area as the valley is believed to be the heartland of the Hezbollah logistics and political support.
In the event of complete success, Israel should not be afraid of reshaping Lebanese politics by turning the March 14th factions into an anti-Syrian alliance. This will require the disbanding of the Lebanese Army and the formation of a new national armed force incorporating the militias and focused on fighting Iranian-Syrian terrorism and political aims. It is probable that if well handled, the Christian and Druze (and possibly the Sunni) factions in Lebanon can be wielded together to form an anti-Syrian constituency and prevent future attacks on Israel as well as guaranteeing Lebanese independence.
Whether or not the expected long-range air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities actually emerges, Iran will remain a player in this future conflict and is likely to attempt to disrupt Iraq and reactivate its terrorist cells in that country. Iran may attempt to fly reinforcements to Syria in the event of an Israeli assault on either Lebanon or Syria.
The Arab states:
The likelyhood of Arab military intervention in this future conflict is slight but must be considered. The most powerful Arab force remains as in the past, Egypt, which has been lavishly re-equipped by the United States. With a total force of nearly three quarters of a million soldiers, military intervention by Egypt is a dangerous prospect, especially given the lack of strategic depth for Israel. Jordan is not likely to intervene but may do so. Like Egypt, the Jordanian armed forces are well equipped and probably better trained.
A possibility remains that these states will not intervene, preferring to see the Iranian-Syrian axis defeated than suffer the consequences of an Israeli defeat. Given the possibility of civil unrest in these states during an Israeli-Iranian/Syrian conflict, the armed and security forces may be more concerned with suppression of disorder and dissent than external aggression.
Under certain circumstances, such as a near total Syrian defeat, the Turkish Islamist government may attempt to enter the war. Turkey poses a danger as its military is large, well equipped and relatively well trained. The Turkish general staff cannot be counted on with any certainty as a restraining force on the Turkish government and may commit to such a campaign to gain favour with an increasingly dictatorial government.
Israel internally:
Problems may be encountered internally in the Israeli Arab population and with left-wing “peace groups”. This may extend from civil disobedience and civil rioting, to the possibility of the initiation of terrorist activities.

In preparing for this war, Israel must include in its calculations, the possibility of a long war and consequently will require the following to prepare against such an instance.
1. Heavy logistical preparation, including the building of a very large ammunition, fuel and spare parts reserve. There is the distinct likelihood of international embargoes on military supplies as well as oil and gas. The existence of such a reserve would give the IDF and Israel more breadth and depth in military options.
2. Diplomatic preparation, especially of the US government. It should be emphasised that the war was forced on Israel by long-term trends that fundamentally threaten the state of Israel and international peace. Support should be sought for the aim of the complete destruction of Hezbollah and the extermination of the IRG support group in Lebanon. The necessity of invading Syria and if necessary, toppling the regime should be noted. The same goes for a possible reoccupation of the Gaza Strip.
3. Preparation of the Israeli government and public to withstand the inevitable international pressure on Israel to cease fighting etc.
4. Preparation of a counter-propaganda campaign against the inevitably biased international media. An option to be explored should be the embedding of journalists in IDF combat units in order to provide a counter-narrative to the Arab and independent media. As seen in both recent conflicts, the media is very prone to a: interpret events through a hostile perspective, and b: uncritically accept fraudulent narratives from third party sources. Media parties should be expelled from Israel if deemed to pose a risk to operational security or to present a risk to life of IDF personnel or Israeli citizens.
5. Within Israel, preparations should also be made to deal with the likelihood of Israeli Arab unrest. The Israeli Police will have to be expected to tackle with full force any attempts at rioting or sabotage.
6. In the event of Hezbollah facilities being overrun, maximum media attention should be focused on the kidnap centres, torture chambers and on any incriminating documents or records recovered. The extent of Hezbollah preparations should be explored and presented to the Western media after the war in order to demonstrate the nature of the enemy faced.

The overall conclusions to draw from this study are therefore:
1. War is coming.
2. The likely minimum theatre is going to be south Lebanon.
3. The IDF minimal objective must be the destruction of Hezbollah and the neutralisation of Syria.
4. Extensive preparation is necessary, both in diplomatic, military, political and civic fields.
5. Surprise is of paramount importance. The conduct of operations will be smoother if Iranian-Syrian forces are unable to respond in a timely manner.
6. A wider plan should be developed for the conduct of Lebanese politics in the context of a medium term Israeli occupation. A realignment of Lebanon towards Israel will prove to be a major strategic defeat for the Islamists in the Middle East.
7. Covert understandings should be sought with Arab states but these must remain a secret in order to avoid compromising those governments.
8. Planning should be undertaken to consider hostile Turkish intervention.

Israel’s next “war” should be pre-emptive.

August 4, 2010

As per DEBKAfile, this fits into a pattern that I’ve been observing for sometime. Israel’s politicians and General Staff should be considering launching the next “war” (they’re still in a state of war with Lebanon, which doesn’t recognise Israel – basic diplomacy!) pre-emptively in order to defeat the armed capabilities of the Hezbollah aligned forces in Lebanon.
Classic military doctrine. Fight a war on their soil!