For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column
Cracks in the Dome?
(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag #IntoFray)
The huge investments made in defensive systems are slowly emerging as an exorbitant and costly failure—or at best a very partial and temporary success. The time has come to rethink Israel’s strategic paradigm.
It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):
ISRAEL HAYOM: https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/05/26/cracks-in-the-iron-dome/
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/23914
ISRAEL UNWIRED: (To be posted)
JERUSALEM HERALD: https://www.jerusalem-herald.com/single-post/2019/05/29/Cracks-In-The-Dome
JEWISH PRESS: https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-cracks-in-the-dome/2019/05/28/
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2019/05/23/into-the-fray-cracks-in-the-dome/
TORONTO ZIONIST COUNCIL: http://strategic-israel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/TZC-Newsletter-2019-05-25.pdf
Tags: #IntoFray #Gaza #Sovereignty #Abbas #Palestinian #Israel
Several short excerpts:
…the ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength— Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”, circa 400 BC.
…Although it has been barely two weeks since the violence in the South subsided, public recollection of what transpired has faded rapidly—with the intervening Independence Day celebrations and the Eurovision hullaballoo helping to dull collective memory.
A brief—but necessary—reminder
This is unfortunate—and disturbing.
For it is vital to recall that the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip raised troubling questions as to the soundness of the strategic rationale underpinning Israel’s missile defense system—particularly the much vaunted “Iron Dome”.
Has the “Iron Dome” become the “Iron Sieve”?
One of the reasons advanced for the Iron Dome’s ostensibly diminished capacity was the intensity of the barrages fired at Israel concentrated within a short time period. Seemingly affirming that this was a purposeful tactic, a spokesman for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades proclaimed: “The Qassam Brigades, thanks to God, succeeded in overcoming the so-called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of missiles in one single burst.”
These results prompted expressions of skepticism—even unfounded derision—as to the true ability of the Iron Dome system to effectively protect Israel’s civilian population—even prompting once source to claim—somewhat unfairly—“It’s not Iron Dome. It’s Iron Sieve.”…
Flawed strategic rationale
Indeed, the adoption of this kind of strategic passivity was confirmed—and endorsed—in a recent paper published by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), entitled Long-Range Rocket Fire on Israel’s Depth: Lessons for Homefront Defense,
But in the context of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian-Arabs, there is a grave strategic flaw in this kind of reasoning.
Defensive vs Offensive
The perverse situation is the result of the Iron Dome (and other missile defense systems) being perceived as solely defensive. Indeed, it is precisely this defense oriented strategy that has led to hostilities with Gaza continuing—with no end in sight…The combination of these two elements—the one allowing Hamas and its terror affiliates to choose the time and scope of any attack; the other, allowing Hamas et al. to determine the limits of the damage wrought on them—provide in large measure the reason why the hostilities in Gaza persist.
Change of strategy imperative
The pattern of violence in Gaza is almost monotonously repetitive. Time and again, the Gazan terrorists have developed some offensive tactic to assault Israel. In response, Israel devised some countermeasure to contend with it. However, all these counter measures were designed to thwart the attacks, rather than prevent them being launched in the first place…Significantly, after each round of fighting, despite the damage inflicted by the IDF, the Gazan-based terror groups have typically emerged with vastly enhanced military capabilities and political standing.
Soon drones with biological/chemical payload?
This is clearly a recipe for unending and escalating violence — and must be abandoned before it culminates in inevitable tragedy.
Indeed, it is hardly beyond the limits of plausibility that Israel might soon have to face incoming missiles with multiple warheads, which disperse just before being intercepted, greatly challenging its missile defense capabilities. …Or worse, will Israel have to contend with the specter of a swarm of drones, possibly armed with biological or chemical payloads, directed at nearby Israeli communities — rendering the billion dollar anti-tunnel barrier entirely moot? For those who might dismiss this as implausible scaremongering– see here, and here.
The offensive imperative: Arabs in Gaza or Jews in Negev
Clearly then, there will be no end to the recurring rounds of violence and the escalating enhancement of the enemies’ aggressive capabilities unless Israel undertakes a dramatic change in strategy. Accordingly, instead of focusing on thwarting attacks and limited reprisals for them, Israel must strive to eliminate the ability to launch them.
Rather than employ systems such as the Iron Dome as a purely defensive measure, it should be incorporated as an auxiliary in offensive action –i.e. by minimizing danger and damage to the civilian sector while a large offensive is launched in order to take—and hold—the areas from which attacks were launched—preventing them from being used for future attacks…
Perhaps the greatest Zionist challenge
Accordingly, then, to prevent the Jewish population being denuded by unabated Arab aggression—whether overhead missiles targeting kindergartens or underground tunnels targeting border communities; whether incendiary balloons or explosive kites or anti-tank rockets on cars buses and trains—the only policy is the evacuation of the Gazan population to third-party countries by means of a large scale initiative of incentivized emigration…Marshaling the ideological commitment, the political legitimacy and international acceptance for such an initiative is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for Zionism today.
As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,