A New/Old Military Doctrine For Israel

By Bernard J. Shapiro

Israel in recent years has seemed to have forgotten many lessons of the past. I call those "lessons" the art of the fait accompli. Today we have the sorry example of:

1. Israel taking military action
2. Not completing the action
3. Pausing in the middle of the action allowing public opinion and US and world pressure to interfere with an ongoing action
4. Retreat from the action allowing the appearance of weakness in the face of pressure

In the past Israel's Defense Forces performed many heroic acts that cat can only be described as fait accomplis or "creating facts on the ground." Some outstanding examples:

1. Orde Wingates' night squads
2. Illegal immigration of Holocaust survivors into Israel
3. Retaliatory raids into Arab countries in response to attacks on Israel
4. The Sinai Campaign 1956
5. The Six Day War 1967
6. The rescue of Jews at Entebbe
7. The assassination of the PLO Munich murderers
8. The bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak
9. The Peace for Galilee war in Lebanon

Of course there are many more examples, but the common denominator among them is that the world and the US disapproved of them all. And if they were not carried out Israel's deterrence and security would have been greatly diminished.

One of my great disappointments in the last two years is the restraint exercised by the IDF. The effect of this restraint is to allow the Arabs to constantly adapt to Israel's strategy. They have a very high learning curve. In order to stamp out terrorism it is necessary to excise the whole institutions that support it. Just like a cancer that must be cut out completely to prevent it from metastazing, the terrorists must be destroyed completely.

I am not a military expert, yet my observations seem like common sense and I hope Israel will begin again to follow them.


Bernard J. Shapiro is the executive director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies and the editor of THE MACCABEAN ONLINE.

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