Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Netanyahu and defence minister Barak continue to erode Israel's ability to deter its enemies

Having fired around 80 missiles into Israel in the last day and critically wounded an Israeli officer along with 3 foreign workers, Hamas is letting it be known that it is prepared to allow itself be persuaded by Egyptian intermediaries to calm down and maybe stop firing.

This will be undoubtedly touted as a success by the 'moderate' Egyptian President Morsy who only the other day responded 'amen' to a call by the imam of the mosque he was praying in to 'destroy the jews'.

Others more cynical like myself might just see this as the usual arab ploy to attack Israel, and let Israel be lambasted internationally for undermining the peace when it responds, if it responds. Fearful of the international respons it usually won't.

Is there any other country in the world which allows thousands of rockets, nay tens of rockets, or even one rocket to come over the border without responding? Turkey pasted Syrian forces for a whole week recently when a Syrian mortar shell went astray. But Israel has to put up with thousands of rockets over the years fired indiscriminately with the purpose of killing Israelis. Over 12,000 have been fired at Israel since 2002.

Israel's response, is to threaten as it has been doing every time Hamas and its allied terror groups have fired large salvos of rockets into Israel. For months we've been hearing about what Israel will do, but it does nothing. Netanyahu has taken on the demeanour of his lacklustre and defense minister Ehud Barak in threatening and then doing little if anything. The same has been the case with Iran. Israel talks hard, and does little but encourage the Iranians to race for the bomb.

Netanyahu and those responsible for Israel's security are touting the 'success' of Israel's 'Iron Dome' anti-missile system having shot down 8 of the incoming missiles.  Those lethal Hamas missiles cost a few hundred dollars to make, and half a million dollars to shoot down. And even then, when Hamas fires its missiles in salvos Israel still has no answer. Hamas can still get through by firing many missiles at once.

Israel's answer to this problem is to announce the building of more defensive bunkers and shields for schools and important institutions as well as deploying even more hideously expensive anti-missile systems. A fully effective anti-missile system can not be built. A moderately effective one will bankrupt the state.

Israel has got it all wrong! It should not be investing so heavily in such systems but in deterrence. Israel's politicians should ask themselves why when Egypt and Syria both had missiles that could reach Israel's population centers from the 1950's onwards, they never used them? Because Israel had deterrence. Those countries knew that Israel would reply in kind, and then some.

Yet now Hamas can devastate Israel's towns in the south with impunity, with Netanyahu's refrain being that if this present wave of attacks doesn't stop Israel will have to act. Fool! Of course Hamas will stop, for a while before it starts up again. Now it has fired getting on for a hundred missiles, totally disrupted the lives of a million Israelis, forced those people to sleep in shelters and stopped the kids from going to school it has achieved its aim. A state of terror has been achieved at almost no cost, other than a few teenage terrorists who are not even the smallest loss to Hamas. These expendable jihadists are trained and deployed in their thousands.

Rather than deter by such statements, Netanyahu is actually encouraging future attacks. Hamas knows that to achieve maximum effect at no cost to itself all it needs to do is attack intensively for periods of no longer than a day or two. By the time Israel gets into gear Hamas 'allows' itself to be 'persuaded' to call a ceasefire. The UN and world governments then demand 'maximum restraint from both sides' and Israel has lost any justification to respond other than hit a tunnel or two, maybe.

When similarly faced by terror Ariel Sharon knew that the only effective response must be to enter the centers of terror, reach those responsible and make them pay dearly. Jordan was happy for arab terrorists to cross nightly over to Israel to kill and maim its civilians, to throw grenades into the bedrooms of sleeping infants. Sharon's Unit 101however made Jordan and the terrorists pay the price until eventually Jordan called a stop to the terror.

The British also knew well how to stop terror. When in 1936 arab terrorists killed British women and children and shot up the roads in Mandatory Palestine the villages from where the terrorists came from were blown up. Anyone found carrying a gun was summarily executed by british troops. Cruel it was, but village elders then thought very carefully before allowing terrorist bands to operate from their lands.Within three years arab terror in Mandatory Palestine had been totally crushed. Britain wasn't seen as being 'cruel' but as playing according to the rules well understood to this day in the bloodthirsty middle east. If jews want to live in the region they have to begin to understand who they are dealing with and the applicable customs. When you are attacked acting 'proportionately' means you have little chance of bringing peace to your people. And the US and Nato wonder why their campaigns in Iraq  and Afghanistan failed so miserably, why their forces had to withdraw from the former and will soon be gone from the latter. Nation building was a ridiculous concept unsuited to islamic countries. The only result was that money poured into corrupt leaders' pockets who never once have thanked their benefactors. Even that piffling potentate the so-called 'president' of Afghanistan Karzai will always condemn the allies at the drop of a hat.  He will soon be gone from Afghanistan into a well financed exile in  europe.

If Israel is to regain its deterrence it must stop threatening and act decisively, mercilessly those who attack it. It is outrageous that Israeli governments see Israel's border communities as expendable, that Netivot and Sderot can be shelled mercilessly without end, that their populations must suffer trauma from never knowing when the next attack must come.

It has got so far that Hamas and other jihadists islamists work according to the timetables of Israelis. When children are walking to or from  school they are attacked with missiles.  The sabbath morning will begin early with a rocket attack. This year as the children sat down to their first lesson on the first day of school the sirens in Sderot went off warning of a rocket attack. The children had 15 seconds to find shelter. This is intolerable. No society that cares for its fellow citizens can allow this.

All Israelis are valuable, not just those in Tel-Aviv and Herzliya. The time to act is when one rocket is fired, not whole salvos, not to wait ten years and still be discussing what to do. The enemy should know what will happen if only one rocket is fired. A new red line must be established, that any attacks over Israel's border will be met determinedly, at high cost to the aggressors, and without further deliberation.

In the middle east the price must be paid in blood not with bombed tunnels and empty security installations. Such 'reprisals' are ridiculous, only serving to encourage Israel's enemies. If Hamas is to decide to stop its attacks Israel must shed enemy blood each and every time it is attacked. Those who pay with their lives must not be only the cannon fodder, the islamists firing the missiles at Israel, but more importantly those who send them, those who train them. Anyone who serves Gazan security in any way must become a legitimate target.

That Israel does not do this sends a message that Israel is afraid, thus guaranteeing more and stronger attacks. Assassinations of terror leaders and leaders of their political branches must be brought back along with the bombing of terrorist training camps whilst in operation. The terrorists must not be allowed to train quietly but never know when they, just as the residents of Sderot will have a missile fly through the window. Why should Gazan terrorists be able to sleep soundly at night when children in Sderot can not? When gazan terrorists march along they should also be scanning the sky for a missile coming their way. Israel should no longer tolerate the training of islamist terrorists in Gaza.

Moreover, Israel should  retake Gaza bit by bit as and when needed. Each time there is an attack the Gazan enemy population must be moved that bit further away from Sderot and Netivot in a defensive measure designed to bring distance between those communities only a kilometer from the border. If this works then the border can remain as it was after the last Gazan attack. If not, then to improve Israel's security the fence must be moved ever further towards Rafah in the south. An artillery barrage should help clear the area of enemy terror apparatus once the civilian population has been informed. Israel unlike its enemy always wishes to spare the lives of civilians.

I have little belief that the above will happen any time soon. Unlike in the time of Ben-Gurion and Dayan, Israel's political echelons see the border towns as expendable. The islamist terrorists have seen that as a result of their efforts Israelis with the means have left those areas nearest Gaza. When the borders are not populated they become harder to defend thus handing a victory to the terrorists who will then move on to further targets. Islamists are patient. They see Israel as a rotten state that has no backbone, no courage to defend its interests. They take encouragement from Israel's weak response and will not stop until another Sharon or Rabin comes along.

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