Golan Heights Full-Page Ads

Sponsored By The Ariel Center For Policy Research

Commentary by Yoram Ettinger <yoramtex@netvision.net.il>

Below you'll find the English translation of the 5th full-page Golan Ad, published by The Ariel Center For Policy Research in Ha'aretz daily. The 6th ad was published today (Tuesday, Feb. 29): "Are The 1967/1949 Lines Defensible?" The opening item in this week's ad is a quote from the 1998 book written by the late Motta Gur, a former dovish C-O-S and a senior member of the Labor Party: "Israel cannot defend itself against an eastern Arab offensive without the Golan Heights. Israel cannot defend the Golan Heights without the central mountain ridge, which is the current boundary...A military force which stares (from the bottom) upward toward its adversary, is not a military force..." The late Motta (who was a dovish member of Rabin's Cabinet), and the rest of the Ad, are consistent with the conduct of every single country in the world: No country would give up the high-ground! No country would exchange topographical edge for promises, top technology, early-warning systems and advanced military systems. In fact, no country trades its own territory for peace (unless defeated on the battle field)!!! Most importantly, it is the Eastern Golan (overlooking Damascus), rather than the Western Golan (overlooking the Lake of Galilee), which is IRREPLACEABLE for Israel's security!

The Golan Heights and the Facts

Are Technology and Sophisticated Weaponry an Adequate Substitute for the Golan?

Sophisticated Early-Warning Systems Have Their Limitations

The United States possesses, in the Persian Gulf, the most advanced early-warning systems in the world. Surveillance aircraft and ships, spy satellites, and land-based early-warning facilities operate there 24 hours a day. Still, the US was surprised by Iraq's invasion of Iran (1980) and Kuwait (1990), in spite of its impressive presence in the Gulf, but due to climatic (fog, clouds, rain, sandstorms), topographical, technical, and human limitations. Iraq's invasions led to over a million fatalities, the devastation of Kuwait, and scores of billions of dollars in other damages.

Sophisticated Warning Systems vs. a Topographical Edge In 1973, the IDF's early-warning facilities detected Egypt's and Syria's preparations for war. Yet the IDF failed in its interpretations of the threat assessment, as had happened before in the IDF and in the best military forces in the world. It was the strategic depth of Sinai and the mountain ridge on the eastern Golan (which overlooks Damascus and not the Kinneret!) that made up for this human and intelligence failure. Critical territorial features -- and not advanced technology -- enabled the fending off of the Arab tanks, the mobilization of Israel's reservists, and the snatching a victory out of the jaws of in the Yom Kippur War.

Sophisticated Technology and Weaponry Possess a Limited Effectiveness

The most sophisticated weaponry in the world was used by the U.S., Britain, and France against Iraq in 1991. Despite the fact that they were acting against an inferior adversary, they were unable to destroy Iraq's ballistic missile launchers. On June 12, 1999, Newsweek reported that China, Syria's ally, had developed a technology that can probably neutralize the U.S. air force, including the "Stealth" (F-117) and the plane of the future (F-22). The Chinese technology could jam US missile launchers and radar systems and paralyze Taiwan's defense.

AP reported on November 11, 1999 that China's ballistic technology is probably capable of neutralizing anti-ballistic defense systems developed by the U.S. The development of a Czech technology ("Tamara") enabled the downing in Yugoslavia of the, supposedly invulnerable, US "Stealth."

Sophisticated Technology and Weaponry Increase the Dependency on Foreign Suppliers

Advanced technology and sophisticated weaponry do not constitute an adequate substitute for critical territorial features. They constitute a temporary and tenuous support, which depends on factors that are uncontrollable by Israel. Syria can import superior technology from China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, France, and others. But Syria cannot import a topographical edge over the Golan Heights. The acquisition of sophisticated technology and weaponry increases dependency on foreign suppliers and on changing and unpredictable political, security, and economic realities in the U.S. and the world. For example, up to 1967 the U.S. refused to supply advanced weaponry to Israel. On the eve of the Six Day War, the U.S. warned Israel against initiating a preemptive war. In 1981 the U.S. delayed Israel's acquisition of critically needed weaponry as a sanction for the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq. During the Gulf War (1991), the U.S. withheld vital intelligence information and certain military systems from Israel.

On the other hand, territorial features are permanent, fixed factors that are exclusively under Israel control, strengthening Israel's independence of action. A topographical edge compensates for temporary (and eventual) technological inferiority.

Technological Superiority - A Temporary Edge

In 1967, Israel achieved victory due to the element of surprise and the technological superiority of its air force. Yet, within six years the trounced military forces of Syria and Egypt were reconstructed In 1973 they almost defeated Israel with the help of surface-to-air and antitank missiles, whose effectiveness surprised Israel and the U.S.

The Hacker Phenomenon and the Limitations of Technology Microsoft and other technological giants were unable to stop the hacker attacks, which revealed the vulnerability of the most sophisticated commercial and military systems in the U.S., while causing billions of dollars in damages.

The book Unrestricted War, which was published in 1999 by the Chinese PLA, claims that the U.S. and its allies will be defeated on the technological battlefield with sophisticated "virus" attacks that will jam radar, missiles communications, banking, and logistic systems. The more sophisticated the technology, the more vulnerable it is to injection of false data and to military hackers.

The U.S., Too, Recognizes the Superiority of Territory Over Technology.

The U.S. is the technological superpower of the world. The US does not face an existential or territorial threat and it stretches over a continent. Still, the US has chosen to control some hundred overseas military bases and installations situated at vital geographical and topographical locations. Indeed, the U.S. does not depend on technology as an adequate substitute for a geographical or topographical edge.

*Early-warning facilities, advanced technology, sophisticated weaponry, and the human factor are fallible. Topographical advantages provide the security margin that enables one to make up for that fallibility.

*Defense, just like commercial, technology is an obsolescent product with a short shelf-life. The High-Tech of today will be the Low-Tech of tomorrow, but the High-Ground of today will be the High-Ground of tomorrow!

*Even the most sophisticated technology and weaponry can be jammed. But there is no way to jam Golan Height!

*There is no precedent for any country agreeing to exchange a topographical edge for sophisticated early-warning devices and technologies.

In the next full-page ad we will discuss: "The Centrality of Territory in the National Security Equation."


ACPR - Ariel Center for Policy Research, Arieh Stav, Director, POB 830, Shaarei Tikva 44810

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