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Tags: israel | hezbollah | hamas | deterrence

The Myth of Israeli 'Deterrence' in Face of Hezbollah and Hamas

The Myth of Israeli 'Deterrence' in Face of Hezbollah and Hamas
An Israeli soldier attempts to extinguish a fire in a forest field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip, on July 17 after it was caused by inflammable material attached to a balloon flown by Palestinian protesters from across the border. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Martin Sherman By Wednesday, 18 July 2018 12:44 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

For more than a decade Israel has inflicted heavy damage on the Islamist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas, ranged against it on its northern and southern borders, respectively. It has, however, never really managed to deter them in the real sense of the word — i.e. of breaking their will to continue the fight.

Forced to Regroup, Rearm and Redeploy — Not Give Up the Fight

True, it has regularly forced them into some inter-bellum ceasefire, which they have always exploited to regroup, rearm, and redeploy, but has never really eliminated their readiness to engage at some future opportunity, usually of their choosing — whenever they feel able to do so — or unable not to. Thus Israel has never succeeded in eliminating the tangible threat of continued conflict and combat.

Quite the opposite! Despite the losses they suffered, both Hamas and Hezbollah have emerged from each round of fighting ever defiant, still spoiling for a fight. Indeed, not only have they never surrendered, they have even declared victory — not entirely without justification from their perspective.

Moreover, after the end of each round of fighting, they have managed — within a relatively short space of time — to enhance their offensive military capabilities dramatically.

Thus Hezbollah, after the widespread destruction that the IDF inflicted on Lebanon during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, has increased both the quantity and the quality of its weaponry directed against Israel, its strategic infrastructure installations, and its civilian population centers. Its arsenal of rockets and missiles has grown ten-fold — now reportedly numbering 150,000 — with their accuracy and destructive capacity significantly upgraded relative to pre-war levels. This will severely strain — possibly even overwhelm — Israel’s anti-missile defenses, which now will not only be called on to contend with a far greater number of incoming projectiles but — due to their improved precision — far fewer of which could be left un-intercepted to fall harmlessly in uninhabited open spaces.

Circumventing Israeli Countermeasures

In Gaza too, Hamas has demonstrated impressive ingenuity in developing its martial prowess. Indeed, in 2005, the most formidable weapon it had at its disposal was a primitive rocket with a half-kilogram explosive charge and a range of 5 km. Today the Islamist terror group has missiles with a range of up to 100 km and warheads of up to 100 Kg. In addition, Hamas has burrowed a vast array of underground terror tunnels, developed naval capabilities, and is reportedly engaged in producing drones for use against the Jewish state.

Thus, every time Israel attempted to devise a countermeasure to neutralize terrorist aggression, new methods of attack were found to circumvent it. When Israel installed a fence to prevent suicide attacks, it found itself under salvos from rockets and missiles; when the Iron Dome was introduced to neutralize the rockets and missiles, unground attack tunnels were excavated; when a billion dollar 130 ft. deep underground barrier was constructed and new costly hi-tech detection technology was introduced, risibly low cost incendiary kites and balloons were deployed…

Implacable Enemy, Not Prospective Peace Partner

Indeed, had anyone — prior to the 2005 unilateral Israeli evacuation from Gaza — warned that this would be the situation facing Israel today — even after three punishing large scale military campaigns — he/she would have undoubtedly been dismissed as nothing more than a demagogic scaremonger…

Clearly then, if Israel cannot dissuade the Palestinian terror groups from persisting with their murderous aggression, it must cripple their ability to launch such aggression.

However, to do this, it must extricate itself from the constricting bonds of the two-state formula and the failed land-for-peace dogma on which it is based. It must cease relating to the Palestinian Arabs as prospective peace partners that can be cajoled into some enduring armistice, and treat them as implacable enemies that must be defeated in battle.

Only then will Israel be able to deal effectively with the endemic Judeocidal impulses of its sworn adversaries.

Dr. Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, dedicated to the preservation and propagation of joint values shared by the USA and Israel as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. He served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment and acted as a ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government. Sherman lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations, and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees — B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science/international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and has authored two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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For more than a decade Israel has inflicted heavy damage on the Islamist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas, ranged against it on its northern and southern borders, respectively.
israel, hezbollah, hamas, deterrence
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 12:44 PM
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