ISRAEL'S SECURITY AND THE PEACE PROCESS

By Shawn M. Pine

The core strategic hypothesis underlying the previous Israeli government's decision to engage in the current peace process was the belief that the advent of modern weaponry had created a unique set of security challenges in which Israel lacked an appropriate response. Specifically, supporters of the Oslo process contend that the advent of ballistic missiles, both conventional and non-conventional, have negated the importance of traditional measures of security, such as territorial strategic depth, balance of power, and buffer zones.

Shimon Peres, the main architect of Israeli support for the Oslo Accords, has repeatedly argued that Israel, lacking an appropriate strategic military response, needed to respond to this potentially existential dangerous threat with an daring, imaginative, political initiative. His hypothesis is predicated on the theory that expected reductions in tensions between Israel and its neighbors will lead to improved Arab - Israeli relations and a concomitant reduction in conventional and unconventional forces in the region.1 The net result, posits Peres, and other supporters of the peace process, is that Israel's security will be enhanced in two ways.

First, resolution of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict will remove the fundamental source of friction that has precluded rapprochement between Israel and its neighbors and reduce the ideological motivations underlying Arab hostility towards Israel. Second, the tangible threat to Israel's security will be reduced by actual reductions in military inventories of regional states in both conventional and non-conventional weaponry. Under this premise, returning the territories will resolve the Arab - Israeli conflict and all states will enjoy a "peace dividend" that will be manifested in regional economic cooperation and prosperity. A basic tenet of this theory is the belief that the prospect of mutual beneficial economic prosperity will unite Israel and the status quo Arab states to confront the proliferation of Islamic extremism and the threat that it presents to many of the existing Arab regimes in the region.2

Unfortunately, the theory rests upon a number of contentious assumptions that are not validated by the empirical evidence. These assumptions include: the belief that the influx of conventional and non-conventional weapons into the region is a by-product of the Arab - Israeli conflict; that the promise of mutual economic prosperity can supplant the deep-rooted, religious, and cultural hatred that has been inculcated and consistently reinforced throughout the region; and that the status quo Arab states view Islamic extremism as more threatening than Zionism, and are willing to cooperate with Israel and the Western powers in confronting this threat.

This paper reviews what effect Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War will have in ameliorating, or exacerbating, the major threats confronting Israel. The areas examined cover the spectrum ranging from existential threats posed by non-conventional weapons to the peripheral threat of terrorism.

ISLAMIC EXTREMISM

While the proliferation and threat of Islamic extremism is the greatest danger challenging the regional status quo, there is no evidence to support contentions that resolution of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict will ameliorate the strategic threat this phenomena poses to Israel.3 This is primarily due to the fact that Islamic extremism is a manifestation of deeply imbued religious, cultural, and historical norms which transcends the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

Islamic Extremists reject modernity (Westernization), as the negation of God's sovereignty. They blame modernity and nationalism for having cast the Islamic world into its present state of jahiliyya (barbarity). This jahiliyya, an extreme Hobbesian view of a state of nature, is believed to be similar to the time before Mohammed. For Islamic extremists, the panacea from this state of barbarity is the immediate overthrow of corrupt regimes and a return to the Sharia.4 Extremists believe that the modern state and Islam are incompatible and cannot coexist and tend to view their struggles in existential terms. Consequently, while this existential struggle may be temporarily suspended by treaties, it can only be ended with the ultimate conversion or subjugation of unbelievers.5 While economic hardships heighten the appeal of Islamic extremism, it is by no means the sole reason for the proliferation of Islamic extremism throughout the region. Despite its economic prosperity, Islamic extremists won 40 percent of the Kuwaiti parliamentary elections in 1992. Additionally, Islamic extremism has increased in many countries that have prospered economically such as Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco, while having met with limited success in the poverty stricken nations of Bangladesh, Niger, and Yemen.6 This anomaly suggests that it is the quest for power rather than economic prosperity that makes Islamic extremism appealing to many of its followers.

Since 1979, spurred by the success of Iranian extremists, the region has experienced an unprecedented proliferation of Islamic extremism. Islamic extremism manifests itself in two forms: a nonviolent, moderate sounding, form which works within the existing political system to achieve its goals; and the more violent, militant form which views confrontation as the preferred strategy.7

In both its forms, Islamic extremist groups have proven tenacious and have scored numerous successes in many of the states in the region. Examples include:

Turkey - The 1995, election victory of the Turkish Islamic Party (RP) stunned the Western world. The RP won 158 seats in the 500-seat parliament and won the right to form a coalition government. While it is highly improbable that the Turkish military would allow any government to follow the path of Iran or Sudan, the success of Islamic parties will have a chilling effect on Turkish - Israeli relations if they continue to experience success in future elections.

Jordan - Islamic organizations won a stunning 31 out 80 seats in the 1989 parliamentary elections thereby prompting King Hussein to support the proliferation of leftist parties to diffuse the Islamic vote. While this tactic was successful, the Islamic bloc captured only 16 seats in the elections of 1993, the popularity of Islamic organizations was exemplified by its November 1995, sweep of the elections of the Jordan Engineer's Association.

Algeria - In that country's regional elections of June 1990, the Algerian Islamic extremist group, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), won 55 percent of the popular vote and won control of 55 percent of the municipalities. The following year, FIS won 188 seats of the 231 seat parliament leading the military to initiate a "white coup" and suspension of elections. The net result was future movement towards democracy was held in abeyance and FIS returned to armed struggle and terrorism in an effort to overthrow the existing regime. To counter the FIS insurgency, the Algerian regime has adopted a multifaceted approach that has included military crackdowns, economic reforms, and political enfranchisement. However, these efforts have, thus far, proven futile in ending the Islamic insurgency, and over 60,000 Algerians have been killed since 1992.

Egypt - Since 1992, when Islamic extremists announced their intention to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state, over 900 people have been killed. Indeed, Islamic violence reached such perilous levels that many western intelligence communities began to question the medium and long-term stability of the Mubarak regime. The relative success of Islamic groups in disrupting Egyptian society and in threatening to destabilize Mubarak's legitimacy has led to an intensification on the part of the Mubarak government to intensify its campaign against Islamic extremists.8

Israel - The Islamic movement's first political breakthrough occurred in 1989, when it won the mayoral elections in Umm Al-Farhm. The major organs of the Islamic movement in Israel is the Al-Sirat (The Path) and Sawt al-Haqq wal-Huriyya (The Voice of Truth and Freedom). While initially refraining from calling for the destruction of Israel, the movement had gradually inculcated Hamas ideology. Today, the movement routinely denies Israel's right to exist and is gaining support so quickly that it is considered a long-term existential threat by Israel's General Security Services.9

The appeal and proliferation of Islamic extremism will increase independent of resolution of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict. The factors that breed discontent, and allow Islamic extremism to prosper, are the result of domestic and regional dynamics that have little to do with the Arab - Israeli conflict. Indeed, many of the status quo regimes have found Israel a convenient scapegoat having discovered that their vociferous opposition against the Jewish State a useful tool both in enhancing domestic legitimacy and detracting attention away from internal problems.

NON-CONVENTIONAL THREATS

As in the case with Islamic extremism, Israeli withdrawal from the territories captured in the 1967 Six-day War will have no impact in reducing the proliferation of non-conventional weapons in the region. Nor will such a withdrawal reduce the threat that the relatively unfettered proliferation of this technology poses to Israel. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, regional pursuit of these weapons are occurring independent of the Arab - Israeli conflict and are primarily a function of inter-Arab rivalries for hegemonic supremacy in the region. Second, those regional countries dedicating the most resources towards non-conventional weapons, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, are the most ardently opposed to Israel, and tend to view their struggle with the Jewish State in existential terms. Among the most concerted efforts to enhance their non-conventional inventories include:

IRAN

In 1989, Iran embarked on intensive efforts to obtain nuclear technology. As of Spring 1992, Iran had acquired: one operating nuclear reactor in Teheran; three nuclear research centers located in Isfahan, Teheran, and Kharug; and one uranium enrichment facility in Kazuin. Moreover, Iran is devoting a substantial amount of resources to modernize and develop its chemical and biological programs. Iran is also believed to be manufacturing two types of chemical weapons, mustard gas and Sarin.10 Iran has also acquired a number of ballistic delivery systems capable of delivering chemical weapons including mines, bombs and 155mm artillery shells. Iran currently possesses North Korean Scud missiles with a 300 Km range and Chinese Silkworm missiles with a range of 800 Km. and has ordered 150 Nodong-1 missiles (range of 1,300 Km. with a 1,000 pound payload), as part of a technology transfer agreement with China.11 In addition to its imports, Iran is developing its own missiles production capability from technology purchases from China. Iran is producing several missiles such as: the Ujab with a range of 40 Km; the Thandar with a range of 48 Km; the Nazarith with a range of 90 Km; the Shaheen and Iran with ranges of 130 Km; and the Mushakh with the range of 160 Km.

LIBYA

Libya has been harboring nuclear ambitions since the early 1970's. Libya has attempted to circumvent traditional nuclear development by buying nuclear weapons outright. Offers to purchase a nuclear bomb were reportedly made to India, and attempts were made to bribe Russian admirals into selling their nuclear submarines.12 Libya is also expanding its chemical capability and reportedly has stockpiled as much as 100 tons of chemical agents.13 In 1993, Libya reportedly began construction on an underground chemical weapons plant near Tarhuna (65 Km. southeast of Tripoli).

SYRIA

In 1988, notwithstanding the cost and economic burden Syria embarked on $3.6 billion program to construct six nuclear reactors, and Jane's Defense Weekly reported, in 1994, that Syria had "joined the drive to acquire nuclear weapons."14 Syria has made up for its modest nuclear program by obtaining a chemical capability that is estimated to be greater than that of pre-Gulf war Iraq and currently produces several hundreds of tons of mustard gas and nerve gas Sarin each year.15 The primary conduit for Syria's non-conventional weapons is the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche Scientifique (CERS). CERS is purportedly a civilian research center that has official ties with a myriad of research centers throughout the world and was instrumental in facilitating the import of Chinese missile components to Syrian factories. Syria has succeeded in obtaining an impressive array of ballistic delivery systems for its chemical and biological weapons. In addition to the 150 Korean SCUD-C missiles, with a range of 600 Km., the Syrians have 100-200 SCUD-B missiles and has reportedly begun self-production, having obtained assistance in constructing the plants from North Korea, China, and Iran, of the SCUD-C missiles.16

EGYPT

It appears that Egypt has made the strategic decision to concentrate its resources on increasing its conventional forces and non-conventional chemical and biological capabilities, rather than incurring the requisite economic burden to acquire nuclear weapons in the short-term. However Egypt, as with the other regional states has been developing, producing and stockpiling chemical weapons. While the exact size of its arsenal is not known it is probably similar to that of Iraq prior to the Gulf War. Chemical weapons are part of the Egyptian army's "standard issue" and Egypt operates a chemical plant at Abu Za'abal. Egypt has an advanced ballistic weapons production capacity, trailing only Israel in the Middle East and it's indigenous missile production includes: the al-Zafar, with a range of 350 km; al-Kahir, with a range of 650 km; and the al-Riad, with a range of 1,000 km.17 Cairo is working with the North Koreans to upgrade the Scud's range and accuracy.

CONVENTIONAL THREATS

As with the non-conventional threat, the empirical record suggests that Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War will have no impact on ameliorating the conventional threat against Israel and reducing the influx of conventional weapons in the region. The regional build-up and maintenance of large conventional forces is primarily a product inter-Arab regional hegemonic rivalry, rather than a direct function of the Arab - Israeli conflict.

Paradoxically, the current peace process has had a deleterious effect on Israel's qualitative advantage vis-a-vis the Arab states in the region by facilitating the transfer of vast amounts of technologically advanced weaponry from the United States and Western Europe to the region. The willingness of the US to provide its Arab allies with advanced weapons, coupled with a need for hard currency by states from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, has led to a proliferation of conventional weapons in the region.

The most poignant example of the deterioration of Israeli conventional military strength vis-a-vis its neighbors is the example of Egypt. Egypt, relying on $2.1 billion of annual aid from the US, $1.3 billion in military assistance, is currently modernizing and building its military forces to such an extent that it is approaching the quantitative and qualitative levels of the Israeli Defense Forces. In 1994, Egypt surpassed the United States to become the second largest arms importer, behind only Saudi Arabia, in the world and is the only country in the region to have increased its arms purchases yearly since 1990.18

Notable additions to the Egyptian armored forces includes: doubling the number of main battle tanks from 1,750 to 3,500; more than doubling its number of armored infantry fighting vehicles from 450 to 1,080; and increasing the number of its armored personnel carriers from 2,500 to 3,834.19 However, more impressive than its quantitative change, has beenthe qualitative transformation of the Egyptian military. In the 1970's, the Egyptian armored corps was comprised almost exclusively of Soviet tanks, the best of which was the T-62. Today, over 85 percent of Egypt's armored corps is comprised of the most modern tanks in the US inventory including M1A1's. Egypt currently has 1,700 M-60's (1,100 M-60A3's), and plans to upgrade all of its M60A1 tanks to A3 standards.20 Additionally Egypt, in order to modernize its infantry ground forces, has contracted for the delivery of 611 Dutch YPR-765 armored infantry fighting vehicles which will replace its aging BMP forces.21

Equally impressive, has been the Egyptian drive to modernize its Air Force. Egypt, as with its armored forces, is in the later stages of the process of transforming its air force from a Soviet to a western-based force. Currently, over 80 percent of the Egyptian Air Force is comprised of western aircraft including some 190 F-16's. The Egyptians are also acquiring a modern helicopter fleet. Egypt has already received delivery of 24 Apaches (AH-64A), and is expected to take delivery of twelve more.22 The improvement of the Egyptian air force is not limited to combat aviation. The Egyptian air force, according to Israeli military analysts, have adopted Western command and control, attack techniques, support and aerial combat roles as well as training, most of it at US facilities. Egypt is also upgrading its aging Soviet aircraft by installing its MiG-21 fighter aircraft with night vision capabilities.23

While Egypt is the most poignant example it is by no means an aberration of regional trends. Between 1992 - 1994, the Middle East imported over $34 billion worth of military armaments, accounting for 43 percent of the world market. Saudi Arabia imported $20 billion (60 percent of the regions total imports), followed by Egypt which imported $4 billion (12 percent of the regions total imports).24 Comparatively, Israeli imports during this period was just under $3 billion (9 percent of the regions total imports), thereby creating a spending ratio of 11 to 1 in favor of the Arab countries.

The deterioration of the balance of power is compelling when comparing the current qualitative and quantitative differences to the 1973 Arab - Israeli War. In that war, Israel was at a roughly 2:1 quantitative disadvantage in

both main battle tanks and aircraft against its enemies. However, Israel was able to overcome this quantitative disadvantage due to its unequivocal qualitative superiority. Today, the quantitative gap in both tanks and aircraft has grown to over 3:1, while Israel holds a negligible, 1.17:1 qualitative advantage in combat aircraft and is at a 2.78:1 disadvantage in qualitative tanks. This massive influx of weaponry has prompted senior Israeli officers to express their concerns that the balance of power is shifting in favor of the Arabs.25

TERRORISM

Of the major security threats confronting Israel, the peace process has the greatest potential for reducing the threat of terrorism. This is due to the fact that Israel has made any peace agreement contingent upon it's peace partners obligating themselves to control terrorism. Unfortunately, as Israel as discovered from its 1993 agreement with Yassir Arafat, any agreements to control terrorism may be ephemeral and are often contingent upon perceptions that the quid pro quo for controlling terrorism continues to be worth the effort. The following is an overview of the primary state sponsors of regional terrorist groups and the major groups currently posing the greatest security threat to Israel. State Sponsors:

IRAN

Iran views terrorism as a tactic to be used to strike at Western presence and as a tool to be used to ferment the Islamic revolution.26 Iran, despite reports of economic hardships continues to provide enormous amounts of financial aid to Islamic extremist groups operating outside the country. Currently, Iran provides military, financial, and spiritual support to a myriad of Islamic extremists groups including the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan; the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria; and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza. However, Iran's connection to Islamic extremism is most notably associated by its support for the Lebanese Hizb Allah.

SUDAN

Sudan, under a military dictatorship led by Lt. Gen. Omar al Bashir, is increasingly supplanting Iran as the operational center for Islamic terrorism. Since gaining control of the country, on June 20, 1989, Bashir has accelerated the process of Islamization started by his predecessor Ja'afar Mohammad Nimeiri in 1983. Sudan is increasing its participation in assisting in the proliferation of Islamic extremism by hosting conferences and providing logistical and training support to a myriad of Islamic groups throughout North Africa, and is suspected of supporting three Islamic groups operating within Egypt.27

LIBYA

As early as 1972, Libya was identified as supporting terrorism when Qadhafi held a funeral in support of the Palestinian terrorists killed at the Munich Olympic games in September of that year. Libya maintains over twenty training bases for terrorists from numerous countries including South America and Europe. Libyan has also provided terrorist organizations, spanning the spectrum from Northern Ireland to New Caledonia, with logistical and financial support. However, Qadhafi's main efforts have been directed in supporting the Palestinians in their struggle for "national liberation" against Israel. To this end, Libya has provided the PLO with enormous amounts of weaponry and material, and has supported some of the most notable terrorist groups including Abu Nidal.28

SYRIA

Unlike Libya, Syria has been much more effective in sponsoring terrorism to further its political objectives, as well as maintaining a modicum of plausible denial. Syria's prosperity in employing terrorism as an efficient tool can be attributed to the regimes discipline in its employment and successful assimilation of terrorism as an adjunct to its foreign policy implementation.29 Syria, in support of its regional strategic objectives has consistently provided support, both political and material, for the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel. Additionally, Syria has rendered similar support to Hizb Allah in their struggle to force an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon.30 Syria's support for terrorism against Israel serves a useful purpose in that it fulfills Assad's desire to be perceived as the leading state in the anti-Zionist struggle while precluding Syria from being embroiled in a direct military confrontation.31 Syria has set up an intricate infrastructure which includes a number of training camps in Syria and in Lebanon's Beka'a valley to oversee regional operations, as well as operational facilities in most major European capitals and frequently uses its diplomatic missions, and the security provided by diplomatic decorum and immunity, to facilitate terrorist operations abroad.32 Syria has supported a myriad of groups throughout the last thirty years including, the PLO, Abu Nidal, PFLP-GC, PFLP, DFLP-DF, and Hizb Allah. Moreover, Syrian involvement has been linked to some of the most notable terrorist attacks in the last two decades including:

-The bombing of Pan Am flight 103 on December 21, 1988.

-The December 12, 1983, bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kuwait.

-The October 23, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon.

-The assassination of Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel on September 13, 1983.

GROUPS:

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)

Hamas is a militant wing of the Moslem Brotherhood and operates primarily in the territories captured by Israel in the June 1967 War. The ideology and strategic goals of Hamas were articulated in a memorandum published by the movement on April 6, 1989. The memorandum outlined 10 conditions for Hamas participation with the PNC. The first, and most important, of these stipulated that the PLO issue a statement stressing that "the land of Palestine, from the sea to the river and from the Negev to Ras el-Naqura (Rosh Hanikra), is one indivisible unit and belongs to the Palestinian people." It also demanded that the PLO revoke the resolutions it had adopted in Algiers, in which "it recognized the legality of the Zionist usurpation of a dear part of Palestine amounting to 78 percent of its overall area."33 Hamas adamantly opposes Israel's existence viewing Israel as an illegitimate entity which was created by military force, usurpation, and terror, and promotes the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean with the ultimate goal being the creation of one unified Islamic state that would comprise the whole region.34

ISLAMIC JIHAD

Islamic Jihad (al-Jihad al-Islami) became active in the Gaza Strip in 1979. As with other Islamic extremist groups, Jihad's goal is to completely overhaul Islamic society through political violence and differs from most other Moslem groups in that its transcends the rhetoric of Jihad and readily seeks violent confrontation with Israel, as well as nationalistic Palestinian groups which are perceived as only marginally less debased than Israel.35 Fundamental tenets of the organization include the notion that Arab society cannot be cured by gradual, reformist action, and rejection of the possibility of a slow evolutionist approach in allowing traditional Islamic thought and practice to permeate into all aspects of daily life. Islamic Jihad believes that immediate forceful action, imposed by a small elite of vanguard forces (tali'a) capable of imposing an Islamic regime through the impact of all-out war against Israel, is the best solution.36

HIZBALLAH

Hizb Allah (Party of God) was officially founded in 1982, as a result of the merger of Husan Musawi's Amal and the Lebanese branch of the Da'wa Party. It is an umbrella organization of several Shi'ite extremist groups that aspire to spread the Islamic revolution with the ultimate goal of creating a world-wide Islamic republic headed by Shi'ite clerics. The short-term objective of the movement is to force Israeli withdraw from Lebanon in order to facilitate the forming of "an Islamic society which in the final analysis will produce an Islamic state."37 However, Hizb Allah shares the medium-term objective of its sister organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad in achieving Israel's "obliteration from existence."38 Iran is Hizb Allah's spiritual inspiration and primary supporter, while Syria provides logistical support in facilitating the transfer of Iranian aid to the group. Hizb Allah tactics against Israel, and its Lebanese allies, have developed and expanded to such an extent that they can no longer be considered merely a terrorist organization. They now posses a potent military capabilities including heavy machine guns and 240 MM Katyusha rockets that have a 40 km-range enabling Hizb Allah to reach the Haifa suburbs.39

AMAL

The Amal (Movement of the Disinherited), is a shi'ite group founded in 1975 by Imam Moussa al-Sadr. It appealed to the poor and impoverished among Lebanon's religious shi'ite community. The charter of the Amal movement is a mixture of Islamic fundamentalism, pan-Arabism, and Marxism, and reflects the same attitudes toward Israel as do those of other extremist groups. The charter basically describes Israel as an alien entity ursurping the rights of Palestinians and all the Arab nation. In its preface, the charter outlines the liberation of Palestine as the movement's prime duty.40

The appeal of Islamic Jihad, as well as other religious movements, illustrates the growing overall influence of Islamic fundamentalism on Palestinian society and politics. Islam is the most authentic identification symbol as well as the most powerful historical, cultural and socio-political framework which lends cohesion to Moslem society in the region.

CONCLUSIONS

The empirical evidence strongly suggests that resolution of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict will have a negligible impact on ameliorating any of Israel's strategic security concerns emanating from the threats posed by the regional proliferation of conventional and non-conventional weapons and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Deterrence of a future Arab - Israeli war is a function of Arab perceptions that the balance of forces greatly favors Israel. Should this perception change, then the prospect of a future Arab - Israeli war will be high regardless of continued Israeli presence on territories captured in the 1967 Arab -Israeli war.

The influx of conventional and non-conventional weapons in the region is motivated by regional hegemonic ambitions by the major states, and fear of those ambitions by the smaller regional powers, and is facilitated by the decisions by Western powers and Eastern European countries to accrue the economic benefits from these sales at the expense of their long-term strategic interests. Contemporaneous with the influx of these weapons into the region is the shadow of Islamic extremism which challenges the legitimacy of most of the regional states and threatens the stability of many of the existing regimes. The proliferation of Islamic extremism will also have a chilling effect on Arab - Israeli rapprochement as many existing regimes fear closer operation with Israel will exacerbate questions concerning their legitimacy.

In addition to historical, cultural, and religious animosities, the majority of Arab states still view Israel as a hegemonic economic and military threat in inter-Arab competition for regional supremacy. The major states in the region have vested economic and political interests in not allowing Israel to become a fully integrated regional actor. Consequently, Israeli withdrawal from the territories will not diminish Arab perceptions of Israel as an alien and unwelcomed regional interloper and will not resolve any of the fundamental core problems of the conflict. While the underlying conceptual principle that has formed the basis for Arab - Israeli peace negotiations has been the formula "land for peace," the empirical record strongly suggests that the time is not yet propitious for a final settlement and that, under the prevailing environment, Israeli withdrawal from the territories will increase it's security threats without bringing it closer to peace. The September 1996 outbreak of violence and the subsequent April 1997 rioting throughout the territories, in response to the Israeli decision to build a housing complex on Har Homa, underscores the point that the Palestinians, contrary to its commitments undertaken under the Oslo Accords, have not eschewed the use of violence as a viable alternative to their negotiations with Israel.

Political decisions, such as territorial compromise, are never made solely for security reasons. Domestic, regional, and international pressures frequently lead political leaders to make decisions exclusive of security concerns. The expectation of immediate social, economic, or political benefits often motivate leaders to take potential security risks. However, leaders that take such risks by depreciating, or ignoring, legitimate security concerns, or by accepting data that supports preconceived notions of preferred political decisions, are abrogating their responsibility as leaders. The hopes of former Prime Minister Shimon Peres of creating a Middle East "much like Scandinavia," is still a distant vision. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of superpower rivalries, regional alliances have become more problematic. Moreover, Moslem countries in the region are only know approaching the crossroads in which they will have to choose between the West or return to its historical religious past. Under these conditions, and until Israel's neighbors prove capable of resolving their core social and economic problems that has provided the momentum for Islamic extremism, Israel has no choice other than to give precedence to its security concerns.

NOTES

1. Shimon Peres outlined details of this vision in his book, "The New Middle East", (New York: Henry Holt and Co, 1993).

2. The notion that Israel and the status quo Moslem states would unite against the common threat posed by Islamic extremism has been consistently articulated by members of the Labor government. For example, see remarks by then Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin at the Fifth International Conference of the Jewish Media, Jerusalem, February 27, 1994, and remarks made by then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at a Foreign Ministry seminar marking the first signing of of the Declaration of Principles, Jerusalem, September 11, 1994.

3. The growing challenge of Islamic extremism to western interests in the region was articulated by Samuel Huntington in "Clash of Civilizations?," Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, Vol., 72, No. 3.

4.Emmanuel Sivan.," Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics," (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), p. 9.

5. Bernard Lewis, "Islamic Terrorism," in "Terrorism: How The West Can Win", p. 67.

6. The Jerusalem Post, July 28, 1995.

7. For a review of Islamic extremism see chapter 14 of the National Defense University's, Strategic Assessment, (Fort McNair: Washington D.C., 1997).

8. For a review the problems of the Mubarak government in dealing with Islamic extremism See Economist Intelligence Unit Country Report, Egypt, 1st Quarter, 1996.

9.See Raphael Israel's, Muslim Fundamentalism In Israel, (London: Brasseys, 1993).

10. Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. The Jerusalem Post, May 23, 1993.

11. US Congressional Research Office. The Jerusalem Post, September 9, 1995.

12. The Military Balance 1995-1996, p. 233.

13. This assertion was made by then CIA Director Robert Gates before the Senate Arms Services Committee and reported by The Jerusalem Post, January 23, 1992.

14. The Jerusalem Post, August 7, 1994.

15. Center for Defense and International Strategic Studies, 1996 country report of Syria.

16. Reported by Israeli Channel 2 news on August 19, 1996

17. Federation of American Scientists report of September 12, 1996 and Center for Defense and International Studies, 1996 country study of Egypt.

18. US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), 95/13, November 1, 1995. Egypt's 1994 arms imports were approximately 70 percent higher than its 1990 totals.

19. The source for these figures was taken from IISS Military balance and JCSS Middle East Military Balance for the years 1985 and 1995.

20. Jane's Defence Weekly, February 28, 1996. p. 23.

21. Jane's Defence Weekly, March 6, 1996, p. 23.

22. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 1996 Yearbook.

23. Arms Transfer News, No. 94/8, May 20, 1994.

24. ACDA, 95/13, November 1, 1995

25. These concerns were raised by OC Air Force Mal.-Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliahu while addressing a conference on avionics in Tel Aviv. See The Jerusalem Post, March 19, 1997.

26. Terrorist Group Profiles 1988, (Wash D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Press), p. 3

27. Yonah Alexander, The Jerusalem Post, July 5, 1995.

28. Walter Laquer, The Age of Terrorism, (Boston, Little, Brown, & CO: 1987), p. 283.

29. Unlike Qadhafi, the Syrian regime's use of terrorism is based upon several basic rules. These include: employing terrorism for limited well-defined goals; avoiding publicity; and deploying terrorism in conjunction with foreign policy initiatives. See Barry Rubin's "Dictators", pp. 224-225.

30. Confirmation of Syrian support for Hizb Allah was acknowledged by HizbAllah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah confirmed that Syria had provided Hizb Allah with political support and operational facilities since 1982. See The Jerusalem Post, March 12, 1996.

31. Rubin, p. 228.

32. Yonah Alexander, The Jerusalem Post, December 28, 1990.

33. The Jerusalem Post, December 19, 1990.

34. FBIS-Daily Report, April 4, 1993.

35. Robert Satloff, "Islam in the Palestinian Uprising," Orbis, Vol. 33, No. 3, 1989, p. 393.

36. The Jerusalem Post, January 11, 1991.

37. Hussein Musawi, quoted in Sacred Rage, p. 83.

38. This objective was taken from the text of an open letter on February 16, 1985, from Hizb Allah to the downtrodden. Taken from Augustus Norton's, Amal and Shi'ia, p. 179.

39. The Jerusalem Post, August 16, 1996.

40. Norton, pp. 49-58.

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Shawn M. Pine is a former US military strategic intelligence officer and is currently a research student in international relations at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


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