A Secure Israel
Security: A Condition for Peace
Eli E. Hertz

"If you have a country that's a sliver and you can see three sides of it from a high hotel building, you've got to be careful what you give away and to whom you give it."
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Town Hall Meeting, Pentagon, August 6, 2002.1

A strong Israel is a vital asset to the free world and America. To be a strong and dependable friend in a ‘rough neighborhood,’ Israel must have defensible borders and military prowess capable of addressing multiple challenges which can materialize suddenly in this unstable region.

The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is not the only adversary Israel faces. Historically, anti-Zionism has been the glue behind Arab nationalism. It has provided a convenient scapegoat for deflecting Arab states’ frustration over unsolved domestic problems, but it also stems from a deep innate intolerance that exists throughout the Muslim world to any non-Muslim presence. Israel has no alternative but to remain strong enough to fend off the combined capabilities of all Arab states2 – a reality that leaves little room for risk-taking or margin for error.

Scope of the threat: Regional – not local

There are observers who point to Israel’s sophisticated armed forces and strong economy and cast Israel in the role of Goliath against a Palestinian David. This portrayal is sometimes motivated by the desire to demonize Israel; at other times it is adopted by well-meaning supporters of Israel who believe Israel can be more generous and can afford to take more risks with its security in hammering out an accord with the Palestinians.

In both cases, the reversal of the ‘David and Goliath’ motif is grossly myopic in scale, and reflects an inability to grasp the crux of the conflict. While indeed peace with the Palestinians is a core issue for both Israel and the Arab states, the scope of the conflict cannot be artificially minimized by ignoring that the Arab world as a whole continues to view Israel as a foreign irritant, an artificial, illegitimate and ultimately transitory entity which by hook or by crook, must ultimately be destroyed or disappear. The conflict is still between an Israeli David and an Arab Goliath, and the gross asymmetry between the sides bears this out:

  • 300 million Arabs vs. 5.5 million Jews – that is, the Arabs’ combined population is nearly 55 times Israel’s.
  • One tiny Jewish state occupies less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the Middle East landmass with no natural resources vs. 21 Arab states that are 649 times larger and hold a partial monopoly on the world’s oil supply.
  • One Israeli democracy vs. 21 countries, most with autocratic governments that do not respect human rights and seething with social unrest and ethnic tensions - discontent that often channeled into hatred of Jews and Zionism.

Israel’s security concerns are further exacerbated by its objectively small size, both geographically and demographically. Its tiny size makes Israel more vulnerable than a large country like the United States. This situation is further complicated by Israel’s geopolitical proximity to the crucible of Arab terrorism.

The crux of its neighbors’ hostility goes beyond conflicting claims to territory and recognized borders, rivalry or regional hegemony. The object of Israel’s enemies is neither to dominate nor reach parity with Israel; it is to weaken Israel and at first opportunity eliminate Israel as a Jewish state. No other nation is the target of such a potentially genocidal threat.

One must keep in mind that Israel is located in a region of the world where the strong prey on the weak. Even weak Arab states such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait are victimized by their neighbors. The Middle East, with its patterns of despots, coups, assassinations, civil wars, revolutions and lack of respect for human life, resembles Europe during its own bloody centuries of nation building. Realistically, for the foreseeable future, little positive substantial change can be expected in this regard. The late Anwar Sadat, keenly aware of just how capricious the Middle East can be, laughed during an October 1980 interview with The New York Times remarking dryly: “Poor Menachem [Begin] ... I got back ... the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachem got? A piece of paper.”

When Hamas leaders met in mid-March 2006 to state their policy after winning two-thirds of the seats in the Palestinian National Council, they underscored that they would not be bound by the Oslo Accords or Arafat’s ‘recognition of Israel,’ half-mouthed as it was.

Political upheaval in Arab lands will continue to threaten Israel’s security. The magnitude and multiplicity of strategic threats it faces mean Israel must make its security assessments realistically based on a host of possibilities – to hope for the best but be prepared for worse case scenarios as well, and tie a secure future to far more than promises or ‘pieces of paper.’

Size and ‘defensive depth’

Objectively, how vulnerable is Israel? In fact, it is almost impossible for non-Israelis to fathom Israel’s size. To say that Israel is a tiny nation does not begin to describe the state’s predicament. Slightly larger than the Canary Islands, more or less the size of the state of New Jersey, Israel fits into Lake Michigan with room to spare.

Israel’s pre-1967 borders – the borders Palestinians want Israel to pull back to (in the ‘first phase’3 ) - lacked rhyme or reason and reflect the deployment of Israeli and Arab forces when the 1948 armistice agreement was signed. This pre-1967 frontier with the West Bank is known as the Green Line simply because a green pencil was used to draw the map showing the armistice line in 1948, a demarcation that is neither ‘sanctified’ nor a border.

At one of the narrowest points in central Israel, the entire width of the state from the Mediterranean coastal town of Netanya to the Green Line is a mere nine miles – just about three times the length of John F. Kennedy Airport’s runway (14,570 feet or 4,441 meters). Not surprisingly, proximity has made Netanya, nearby Hadera and other Israeli communities along the narrow Sharon coastal plain just north of Tel Aviv, popular targets where Palestinian handlers drop off suicide bombers. If Israel would relinquish the foothills on the east side of the Green Line to Palestinian control,4 Ben- Gurion International Airport would be within range of shoulder-fired ground-to-air missiles, Katyusha rockets and mortars. The heart of Tel Aviv, Israel’s New York City, is merely 11 miles from the West Bank ‘as the crow flies.’

The West Bank – no larger than Long Island Sound – juts into Israel like two clenched fists. No major Israeli city is more than 22 miles from a former Arab border. Until the Six-Day War, the Golan Heights escarpment – once bristling with Syrian gun emplacements and minefields – towered above Israelis living in the upper Galilee. In an interview with the German news paper Der Spiegel in November 1969, the late Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, a lifelong dove, described Israel’s pre-Six-Day War borders as “‘Auschwitz’ lines’” that threaten Israel’s survivability. IDF Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror puts Eban’s ‘Auschwitz’ metaphor in operational terms in regard to the West Bank. In a 2005 analysis of what ‘defensible borders for a lasting peace’ entail, Amidror explained that even from a technical standpoint, the Green Line lacks minimum ‘defensive depth’ – an overarching principle of military doctrine for all armies: There is insufficient battle space for a defensive force to redeploy after being attacked; there is no room for reserves to enter or counterattack; and there is no minimal distance between the battle front and the strategic interior necessary for any army to function.5

American military experts have recognized the importance of shoring up Israel’s borders to provide some territorial depth. In a study published immediately after the 1967 Six Day War, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Earl Wheeler said that “the minimum required for Israel’s defense includes most of the West Bank and the whole of Gaza and the Golan Heights.”6 The need for territorial depth has not decreased over time. Lt. General (ret.) Tom Kelly, who served as Chief of Operations during the 1991 Gulf War, said in the wake of the Gulf War:

“I cannot defend this land (Israel) without that terrain (West Bank) … The West Bank Mountains, and especially their five approaches, are the critical terrain. If an enemy secures those passes, Jerusalem and Israel become uncovered. Without the West Bank, Israel is only eight miles wide at its narrowest point. That makes it indefensible.”7

This sentiment was echoed in the assessment of the late Admiral James Wilson “Bud” Nance, who told Congress in 1991 that there was:

“ …no logical reason for Israel to give up one inch of the disputed areas. Quite to the contrary, I believe if Israel were to move out of the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, it would increase instability and the possibility of war, increase the necessity for Israel to preempt in war and the possibility that nuclear weapons would be used to prevent an Israel loss, and increase the possibility that the U.S. would have to become involved in a war.”8

The prospects of a new Arab state, a Palestinian state, on Israel’s border have raised concern by U.S. policy makers, as well. Writing in Commentary in 1997, Douglas Feith, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said such a state would give the Arab world “a much greater capacity than they now have to facilitate terrorism against Israel, conduct anti-Israel diplomacy, assist or join enemy armed forces in the event of war, and destabilize local states (such as Jordan) that cooperate with Israel.”9

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was even more candid, remarking in a talk with Pentagon employees in August 2002:

“If you have a country that's a sliver and you can see three sides of it from a high hotel building, you've got to be careful what you give away and to whom you give it.”10

In the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, after three Arab armies converged on Israel’s nightmarish borders, even the United Nations was forced to recognize that Israel’s pre-Six-Day War borders invite repeated aggression. Thus, UN Resolution 242 – which formed the conceptual foundation for a peace settlement — declares that all states in the region should be guaranteed “safe and secure borders.”

Czech author Milan Kundera once defined a small nation as “one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear, and it knows it.”11 Israel is even smaller than Czechoslovakia was in 1939 before it was gobbled up by Germany.

Despite this, Israel has been willing to take great risks to make peace with the Palestinians and is prepared to reach a territorial compromise that settles for far less than what these leading American military experts view as the minimum. In the wake of Hamas’ victory in January 2006 elections, however, Douglas Fieth’s words about “a greater capacity to facilitate terrorism” and Admiral Nance’s warning of the “destabilizing effect” a Palestinian state could wrought and the ramifications of pressuring Israel to take ‘one risk too many’ seem almost prophetic.

Topography: A critical factor

Topography plays a crucial role in Israel’s security assessment.12 A map of geographical contours and elevations demonstrates the importance of control of strategic heights for the security of Israel, particularly since topographical superiority that has been used repeatedly to attack Israel in the past. Most of Israel’s population would be at risk if Israel relinquished control of these elevated areas – located on the West Bank. These built-in conditions shaped by the ‘lay of the land’ have been further aggravated by improvements in Arab offensive capabilities, and then compounded by Palestinians’ broken promises since Oslo.

In the 1967 Six Day War, against incredible odds, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) defeated the combined armies of three neighboring countries on three fronts, capturing the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan. Despite popular misconceptions that Israel still controls most of the land captured in 1967, in fact, Israel has already withdrawn from over 89.5 percent of the ‘occupied territories’ by giving back 100 percent of Sinai to Egypt in the early 1980s as part of a peace treaty, and 100 percent of Gaza following the 2005 disengagement that uprooted all Jewish settlements there and withdrew all IDF forces. The West Bank represents only 8.8 percent of all the territories captured.13 Yet, the West Bank sits literally five minutes from Israel’s heartland. Topographically, it dominates the Tel Aviv metropolitan area where 70 percent of Israel’s Jewish population resides and 80 percent of Israel’s industrial base is located.14

The West Bank is mountainous. It not only overlooks the Mediterranean coast where most Israelis live, it also offers a clear view eastward across Jordan. The West Bank can be crossed in three minutes by jet; the Negev desert city of Eilat, at Israel’s southern tip of the state, is just a six-minute flight from Saudi Arabian air bases, with Jerusalem and Tel Aviv only 10-12 minutes away.15 Early-warning radar from Israel’s flat, low-lying coastal plain cannot detect an enemy approaching from Saudi Arabia or from or across Jordan. (The same is true of threats from Damascus, where early-warning depends on Israeli control of Mt. Hermon on the Golan Heights.) Loss of these areas would leave Israel’s capital and its population centers vulnerable to surprise air attacks.16 Neither Israel’s spy satellite Ofek 5 nor Israel’s Phalcon airborne early-warning & command system can serve as an alternative platform for early-warning radar systems on the West Bank at Baal Hatzor.17

Some would argue that Israel faces no threat to its eastern flank, except the Iranian missile threat. This attitude is shortsighted. The future of Iraq remains obscure, particularly if the United States and Great Britain withdraw their troops in 2008. Moreover, should there be a regime change in Jordan similar to the Hamas’ takeover of the Palestinian Authority, Jordan itself could be transformed into a possible staging area for Arab armies, with Israel’s capital less than a half hour drive from the Jordanian border. Fortunately, the West Bank mountain ridge (3,000 feet above sea level) and the narrow Jordan Rift Valley (1,200 feet below sea level) form a 4,200-foot natural barrier, just east of Jerusalem. Because national security planning must be long-term – for decades into the future, it takes into account a host of contingencies and does not rest solely on prevailing conditions or current trends. Consequently, in any peace settlement Israel must continue to control the high ground overlooking this ‘trough’ to protect its eastern flank and its capital.

Lastly, one cannot ignore that if Palestinians were to hold unrestricted control of the West Bank there are ecological perils, as well that impact on a precious strategic resource in short supply in the Middle East: Water. One of the two aquifers from which Israel draws a third of its water – the western and northern ‘Mountain Aquifer’ – extends under the West Bank.18 Given the Palestinians’ history of breaking agreements, the prospect of uncontrolled water drilling in the West Bank could easily dry up this important strategic resource. The damage of such abuse of the aquifer is irreversible.

Missiles, rockets and mortars

Conventional wisdom holds that in this global age, traditional security measures such as territorial strategic depth, balance of power and buffer zones are unimportant, given the advent of modern ballistic missiles. But this theory ignores Israel’s small size. A retired IDF colonel and former Israeli Air Force chief of planning revealed:19

“[Israel faces] the largest volume of firepower per kilometer/mile of frontier the world has ever known … and is threatened by the highest number of ballistic missiles per square kilometer/mile of territory the world has ever seen.”

This situation is not accidental. In essence, such arsenals seek to avoid the IAF’s legendary dominance in the skies and to neutralize the role of the IDF’s armored corps; to circumvent the anti-terrorism fence with a terror weapon that flies over the barrier, taking advantage of Israel’s small size to reach strategic targets – be they sensitive industrial infrastructure or civilian residential neighborhoods. A massive missile, rocket and mortar attack could not only disrupt Israel’s ability to mobilize its reserves in time of war and its ability to defend itself in a full-scale war. The growing ‘encirclement of Israel’ by such a massive arsenal is capable of inflicting tremendous damage to the economy and the social fabric through deliberate but sporadic salvos into Israel’s cities and bedroom suburbs.

Palestinian aspirations; if given a strategic platform, Palestinians have little compunction about shelling Israeli civilians. Examine their track record:

  • In the late 1960s – before there was an ‘occupation’ – Palestinians used Jordan to shell the town of Beit She’an and nearby Israeli settlements, until the PLO was expelled from Jordan by the late King Hussein in September 1970 (‘Black September’).
  • In the 1970s, the PLO turned Lebanon into a base for shelling Israeli towns, including Nahariya and Kiryat Shmona in the Galilee, until Israeli forces expelled the PLO from Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon (‘Peace in the Galilee’) War.20
  • Since 2000, following the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s decision to launch a terror war against Israeli civilians instead of agreeing to a negotiated peace settlement at Camp David, Palestinians in Gaza attacked (and continue to attack) the only densely populated civilian target within range of their homemade missiles at the time, the once-tranquil town of Sderot (Population 19,900).
  • In September 2005, emboldened by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and armed with improved locally-made Qassam rockets and control of launching areas closer to Israel’s border on the site where Israeli settlements in northern Gaza once stood, Palestinians expanded their shelling to other western Negev settlements, and to the city of Ashkelon (Population 104,700).
Palestinians have progressively and systematically sought to target the homes of as many Israeli civilians as they can reach. Since September 2005, however, their rockets jeopardize sensitive infrastructure, as well. This includes a major power plant (that not only provides 25 percent of Israel’s power, but also 100 percent of the electricity needs of Gaza!), a desalinization plant (the largest in the world of its kind), and massive storage facilities of the Eilat-Ashkelon Oil Pipeline terminal in the city of Ashkelon. During the first six months after the august 2005 pullout a total of 400 rockets were launched at Israel – 268 reaching Israel21 including direct hits to the power plant compound and the desalinization plant. The Government considers a “large-scale disaster” only a matter of time. Missile makers have vowed that as their technological expertise improves, they will be able to hit Ashdod – Israel’s fifth largest city.

Palestinian have systematically sought to bring into Gaza and self-manufacture more and more powerful and longer-range mortars, rockets and missiles to put the lives of more and more Israeli citizens within their reach.

  • For the first time, on January 3, 2006, Palestinians fired a 122mm Katyusha rocket, a much longer-range projectile than the Qassam, from the Gaza Strip into Israel.22

Water craft from fishing boats to large freighters such as the 4,000 ton Karine A seek to secretly off-load tons of weaponry opposite Gaza.23 Gun-runners smuggle contraband weapons into Gaza from Sinai. Quantities were limited during Israel’s control of the border; but since the Gaza withdrawal, quantity and quality have grown exponentially. For example, in the first three quarters of 2005 (prior to the withdrawal) Palestinians were able to smuggle in 50 anti-tank weapons; under Egyptian-Palestinian ‘surveillance’ and European ‘monitors’ the numbers rose to 350. Likewise, the number of attack rifles smuggled into Gaza skyrocketed from 1,800 to 5,000 in the corresponding period.24 Palestinians have smuggled in tons of high explosives such as TNT to replace less-effective and less-reliable homemade explosives. The influx includes thousands of mortars; Russian-made 8.5- and 20-km. (5.3-12.5 mile) range Katyusha rockets; and at the close of 2005 even 30-km. (19 mile) range Grad missiles capable of reaching Ashdod. Ashdod has close to a quarter of a million residents, port facilities, oil storage depots and heavy industry. Parallel to this, Palestinians seek to transfer Qassam rocketry technology to Nablus on the West Bank. A West Bank rocket capability could turn all the bedroom suburbs in the Sharon coastal plain such as Netanya and Hadera and east of Tel Aviv such as Kfar Saba and Petach Tikva into a war zone. In January 2006, a missile was fired from the West Bank towards the city of Afula in the Jezreel Valley, and in February mortars deployed to target a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem were discovered in time.

Palestinians also seek to fill their arsenals with ground-to-air missiles. In 2001 SA-7 Strella infrared missiles with a 4 kilometer (2.5 mile) range were intercepted on the way to Palestinians.25 According to the French Press Agency, the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles26 were sent by terrorist leader Ahmed Jibril to establish “a sort of balance of terror” with Israel.27 In its 2005 summery report, the Shin Bet cited28 that Palestinians had succeeded in smuggling in some twenty shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons through Rafiah tunnels while Gaza was still under Israeli control, and another 200 in the last three months of 2005 after Israel relinquished control of the Gaza-Egyptian border. The missiles are similar to those deployed in two abortive attempts to down Israeli civilian aircraft. The first took place in Prague in November 2001, targeting an El-Al airliner carrying then foreign minister Shimon Peres. The second attack occurred a little over a year later, when two missiles narrowly missed an Israeli Arkia plane on takeoff from Kenya. In early 2003, London’s Heathrow Airport went on alert following an intelligence warning that a third attempt was afoot.29 Israel has been forced, at great expense, to design and equip its civilian planes with an anti-missile system.30

The danger to air traffic is not confined to foreign airports and airspace. Ben-Gurion International Airport’s easternmost runways is only 5 miles from the West Bank – within shelling range of the Green Line. Indeed, the international airport was shelled by Jordan at the beginning of the Six-Day War. Since September 2000, authorities regularly modify flight paths of all civilian aircraft approaching Ben-Gurion International Airport to put them out of range of missiles and light arms fire possibly in the hand of Palestinians on the West Bank.31

If the foothills of the West Bank which overlook the entire coastal plain would be ceded to Palestinians, it would be feasible for Palestinians armed with longer-range low-tech ‘low signature’ weaponry such as 12.7 mile range Katyusha rockets which are launched from a truck using a car battery to disrupt Israel’s entire cultural and business center – the cafes, malls, museums, hi-tech R&D centers, universities, key military facilities and surrounding bedroom communities. Moreover, the same missiles would put major IDF air bases within range and are capable of compromising Israel’s air superiority and create havoc in mobilization of the reserves upon which Israel’s military depends in the event of a large-scale war.32

Palestinians assume they can continue to shell Israelis with impunity and that Israel will continue to respond with ‘warning signals’ – dropping leaflets on civilians near launch sites, creating sonic booms over Gaza City and shelling empty stretches of turf and seeking technology to shoot rockets out of the sky. One should keep in mind that the War of Attrition with Egypt was, in part, due to the failure of Israel’s power of deterrent – Egypt gambling that “constraints on escalation placed on Israel by virtue of the new circumstances that resulted from the 1967 war and the new balance of interests” would tie Israel’s hands.33 The Palestinians, like the Egyptians, think they can inflict heavy casualties on Israel without paying a heavy price; the Egyptians were forced to evacuate their citizens from cities along the canal in order to pursuer their ‘bloodletting’ strategy; Palestinians seem to ignore that rocket-launchers using populated areas as collective ‘human shields’ will come at a painful price.

Palestinians’ intent is clear. Third-generation Katyusha rockets (with a 37.5-mile range) and hundreds of Iranian Fajr missiles with at least a 25-30 mile range, are reported to be in Hezbollah’s arsenal in Lebanon. In the hands of a Palestinian state, such weapons would put virtually the entire State of Israel within range.34

This prospect is parallel to the already existing threat on Israel’s northern border from Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has confirmed reports that it has stockpiled some ten or thirteen thousand rockets35 – most airlifted from Iran to Damascus and shipped overland to southern Lebanon.36 The United States and Israel have been developing a High Energy Laser System (“Nautilus”) capable of shooting Katyusha rockers, mortars, and most other missiles out of the sky with a laser beam.37 In January 2006, however, there were media reports38 that the project was being scraped due to high cost of development and operation and questionable effectiveness, and that the United States has decided to develop a lighter and mobile alternative based on a simpler laser technology that is solid-state, not a chemical laser. In other words, an operational defense system capable of dealing with Katyushas is still years away, leaving the north of Israel largely unprotected. In any case, the IDF has questioned whether even the most sophisticated laser system will be effective in the event of a large-scale attack with a barrage of dozens of rockets at once.39

Currently, the Hezbollah arsenal includes some 12,000 Katyushas, and at least several hundred Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets with a range capable of reaching a third of Israel’s population, half of its industry,40 one of its two Mediterranean ports and its main oil refinery and other petrochemical infrastructure.41 Unleashing this arsenal is not merely a theoretical or far-off threat. Iran has already threatened to ‘retaliate against Israel’ if anyone – the United States, a UN coalition or Israel – attacks its nuclear facilities (as Iraq retaliated during the 1991 Gulf War – shelling Israel with SCUD missiles.) Iran may very well consider Hezbollah its best avenue to deter or retaliate use of force against its nuclear weapons development facilities: It is not out of the question that Iran’s Hezbollah proxy, located literally on Israel’s border, armed to the teeth and already working closely with on-site Iranian advisers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, will be ordered to ‘exact the price’ with a devastating infrastructure assault on Haifa Bay’s industrial complex or Haifa’s civilian population. While some observers doubt that Hezbollah would risk its own interests in Lebanon to serve Iran’s needs, the range and quantity of Hezbollah’s present arsenal have transformed Hezbollah from “a manageable border menace to a strategic threat” in-and-of-itself.42

The Syrian and Iranian missile capabilities are discussed separately, as part of broader discussion of the eastern front.

A strong deterrent to aggression

According to Hans Morgenthau’s seminal work Politics Among Nations – The Struggle for Power and Peace, deterrence combines several factors: the ability to inflict an intolerable cost on a potential enemy; the willingness to use such military force; an economy able to sustain levels of force necessary; leadership and the will to act; and the ability for a potential enemy to properly interpret the deterring party’s message.43

Israel must maintain a strong deterrent, to make it clear that it cannot be attacked with impunity. For the present, Israel’s deterrent in conventional full-scale war seems firm; regular Arab armies are not prepared to do battle with the IDF. Unfortunately, Israel’s power of deterrent against ‘low signature’ guerrilla warfare that uses Palestinian civilians as shelter and terrorism as a political weapon has been diminished by a host of factors, external and internal: Israel’s isolation in the international arena (and apologists for Arab terrorism abroad and at home) are interpreted as an ‘insurance policy’ that Israel’s hands will be tied or partially tied in its response. In addition, despotic leaders’ misunderstand democratic debate and Israeli society’s genuine strengths and weaknesses and they misread limitations on the use of force stemming from Israel’s Jewish and democratic ethos. Well-intentioned policy decisions Israel has taken to defuse conflict and avoid friction have ‘boomeranged’ – perceived as cowering feeble-heartedness, undermining Israel’s power of deterrent.

It is insightful to examine some of Israel’s past ‘deterrence failures.’

The 1967 Six-Day War was a failure in deterrence. This is because Arabs misread Israel’s deterrence level and perceived that Israel was weak.44 Some have argued that September 2000 (Arafat’s decision to launch a Terror War on Israel’s civilian population) and September 11, 2001 (Osama bin-Laden’s decision to launch a major terrorist attack on the United States) both emanated from a similar misreading of Israeli and American resolve, respectively.

The Palestinians interpreted Israel’s restraint in using force during the 1987-1991 Intifada as lack of resolve, while in fact it hinged primarily on the IDF’s code of ethics and debate over what constitutes legitimate use of force, though one cannot discount the effect of international pressure on Israel to ‘exercise restraint’ and how this was read in Arab eyes. Passive protective measures designed to lower Jewish casualties such as wire mesh-covered windshields and steps to lower friction with Palestinians such as bypass roads, away from Arab communities, were viewed as a sign of cowardliness, a retreat in the face of their rocks and Molotov cocktails.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Israel sustained 39 Iraqi Scud missile hits on Tel Aviv and Haifa, damaging some 3,300 apartments. Israel’s response was passive and defensive (i.e. the Israeli population was ordered to enter sealed rooms and don gas masks in the event that Saddam would use chemical warheads); nevertheless, Israel’s deterrent – the threat of massive retaliation and assured destruction if Iraq dared use chemical warheads – dissuaded Saddam Hussein from doing so. Nevertheless, Israel’s behavior in 1991 left the impression amongst Arabs that Israel can be shelled from the air with conventional weapons – mortars, rockets or missiles, without any painful Israelis response.

Israel’s May 25, 2000 withdrawal from its self-declared Security Zone in southern Lebanon was viewed as another sign of weakness – capitulation due to battle fatigue and external pressure.45 Indicative of this assessment which united Islamists and secularists throughout the Arab world, in June 2000 at a “Hezbollah Victory Festival” in the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm, Arab Knesset Member Azmi Bishara declared:

“For the first time since 1967, we have tasted victory. Hezbollah has every right to be proud of its achievement and to humiliate Israel….Lebanon, the weakest of the Arab states, has presented a miniature model, and if we examine it closely we will be able to draw the conclusions necessary for success and victory.”

Indeed, the withdrawal was largely the outcome of growing domestic pressure to withdraw, led by a grass-root protest group, Four Mothers46 whose lobbying convinced Labor Party heads and influential sectors of the public that nothing could be worse than the casualties Israel was suffering among its troops in the buffer zone – an average of 25 fatalities a year since the 1982 Lebanon War. Seventy-five percent of the Israeli public ultimately favored a unilateral pullout.47 Since the withdrawal, the situation on Israel’s northern border has, indeed, been transformed. On one hand, there have been few casualties to date; on the other hand, the former Security Zone has become a strategic threat. Whatever the future holds, the withdrawal was perceived as a huge Hezbollah victory that undermined Israel’s power of deterrent elsewhere, encouraging Palestinians to reject negotiation and ‘Lebanonize’ the conflict assuming that they could wear-down Israelis and gain their own unilateral withdrawal.

Likewise, the Arab world interprets Israel’s August 2005 withdrawal from Gaza in the same manner – as the product of Israeli fatigue after five years of the Terror War. Even if the withdrawal resulted from Ariel Sharon’s ‘reading of the conflict’ – how Israel should best deploy for ‘conflict management’ in the absence of a peace partner and in the face of a growing demographic threat – this does not change Palestinian perceptions that the Israeli pullout proves that ‘terror works.’ In late December 2005 on the eve of the Hamas landside victory in parliamentary elections, 83% of the Palestinians said the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip was “a victory for armed resistance.”48 The number of supporters of suicide bombings – which had dropped briefly during the so-called 2005 ‘calm,’ – again began to climb after the Hamas victory.49 Response to the victory was across-the-board radicalization, not moderation, including ‘competition’ by Fatah and other groups to ‘surpass’ Hamas in anti-Israel rhetoric and terrorist attacks to regain the support of the masses.50

Similarly, bin-Laden and other Islamic extremists interpreted the measured and localized response of the United States to a series of Arab-led assaults on American institutions and citizens over previous decades prior to 9/11, as a sign of cowardice and lack of resolve. Those assaults, often viewed in the United States as unrelated events, included the murder of diplomats, bombings, skyjackings, and hostage taking. As a result, both Israel and the United States are now actively engaged in trying to regain some semblance of deterrence in the Arab world – that attacks on their nationals will be very costly for the perpetrators and their allies.

The ‘peace is security’ doctrine is no panacea. Sovereignty and security for any country are based on a host of power coefficients: economic strength, natural and human resources, geography and a military deterrent, not just diplomatic relations with one’s neighbors. As Morgenthau noted, in many cases nations at loggerheads stop short of war because the consequences are too unbearable, as the 2002 standoff between Pakistan and India illustrated.51

After Oslo: No More Room for ‘Leaps-of-Faith’

Peace must be perceived as a valued commodity by both Arabs and Jews, and it must be based on more than signatures on a piece of paper – assumptions of good faith and peaceful intentions.

That is why Israel and the United States demand democratic reforms within the Palestinian Authority (i.e. democracies rarely go to war against each other), and why both the United States and Israel have insisted on zero tolerance for Palestinian incitement. The assumption that democracy at the ballot box was enough has proved illusionary however. The overwhelming support for Hamas in January 2006 parliamentary elections – winning 74 of the Palestinian legislature’s 132 seats (56%) – have made it clear there are no shortcuts here. Democratic elections are no panacea. For democracy to take root and succeed, fundamental and genuine societal change – the development of a civic society and ‘rule of law’ and western-style political parties, not ‘political wings’ of terrorist organizations – be they Fatah or Hamas, is needed. Until these conditions are met, and given the Palestinians’ predisposition to resort to political violence, peace - however one defines it - must be based on a strong Israeli deterrent that will make war too costly an option for any aggressor.

Hopes of a ‘peace process’ exacted a terrible toll on Israeli society that led to more violence, not less. The number of persons killed in Israel by Palestinian terrorists in the five years following signing of the first Oslo Accord – Declaration of Principles (256, between September 24, 1993-1998), was greater than the number killed in the 15 years preceding the agreement (216, of which 120 were during the 1988-1993 Intifada).52 Or to put it another way: During the 10 years that preceded the Intifada terrorists were killing Israelis at a rate of less than one per month. During the first three years, of the Oslo Accords (1993 to 1996) terrorism deaths rose to 5.8 per month. At the height of the Terror War – the year 2002 – 453 Israelis, an average of 37.8 a month, lost their lives.53

In the period of the Terror War (1993-2005), the ‘Oslo experiment’ cost the lives of 1,340 persons, half victims of suicide bombings.54 On a per capita basis,55 1,340 Israeli fatalities is equivalent to almost 60,000 Americans losing their lives to terrorism. It is as if the 9/11 attack occurred not once, but twenty times. Just as the United States has taken steps to tighten homeland security, Israel cannot afford to again become the victim of its own optimism.56

The Counter-Terrorism Institute (CTI), a think tank at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, analyzed the Oslo process based on historian Barbara Tuchman’s three yardsticks of Marches of Folly.57 Its conclusion:

“To the detriment of Israel and its people, the debacle of Oslo was not fate, but rather a tragic folly that could have been avoided. ... Only when the Palestinian people adopt and practice democracy will true peace be realistically possible. ... Until such an occasion presents itself, Israel must continue to be considerably stronger and tenacious than its neighbors for any interim agreements to be sustainable.”58

Ironically, the rise to power of Hamas – an event that ultimately will be as disastrous for Palestinians as it will be destabilizing for the region – has one ‘positive’ result: Objectively, there’s no room for more folly, or for more illusions. Following the Hamas landslide, senior Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit wrote a scathing article entitled “Onward, ship of fools,”59 that warned that the Palestinian election was a defining event that reframed the conflict as a “cultural-religious conflict of the darkest kind.” This event behooves architects of Israeli policy to ask existential questions, rather than embracing assumptions that are no longer valid, he said. He called for “new thinking, new strategy, new discourse,” charging that those at the helm of the ship of state were charging blindly on – “fools who prefer not to know, who choose not to understand the kind of storm into which they are sailing.” There is no intrinsic difference between Shavit’s ‘ship of fools’ and CTI’s ‘march of folly.’

In the same spirit but from a different perspective, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote that “the Hamas victory…was deeply clarifying and ultimately cleansing.”60 Even the most optimistic unbridled peace advocates reasoned Krauthammer, could no longer hide from the truth:

“After 60 years, the Palestinian people continue to reject the right of a Jewish state to exist side by side with them. Fatah – secular, worldly and wise – learned to lie to the West and pretend otherwise. Hamas – less sophisticated, more literal and more bound by religious obligation to expel the Jews – is simply more honest.”

Krauthammer concluded:

“The world must impress upon the Palestinians that there are consequences for their choices. So long as they choose rejectionism – the source of a 60-year conflict the Israelis have long been ready to resolve – the world will not continue to support and subsidize them.”

Lamentably, the Palestinians are not alone in their rejectionism.

An Overarching Arab Objective: No Jewish state

The United States has discovered it can no longer ignore the threat of Islamic extremists and mega-terrorism. For Israel, that same threat is magnified by Israel’s small size and the Islamists’ proximity.

Israeli society – like America, is freewheeling, Western-oriented and prosperous - facts that generate hatred among Islamic radicals like a matador who waves a red cape before a bull. Yet, the primarily source of their hatred of Israel is much deeper and far more ominous: In the Middle East, nationhood and religion are entwined. Arab’s shared identity as part of the ‘Great Arab Nation’ combines secular concepts of statehood with Islamic concepts of nationhood. Israel’s existence as a non-Muslim political entity on what is considered Islamic land, is perceived as an intolerable affront that ultimately must be ‘rectified’ – whether through the Right of Return that would ‘bury’ Israel demographically as a Jewish state or by destroying Israel physically and sending any surviving Jews ‘back to where they came from.’

Islamic terrorist groups clearly articulated this mission. These groups include:

  • Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) operates primarily in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas does not seek an Israeli withdrawal from the Territories; it opposes Israel’s existence entirely. The Hamas Charter unequivocally states in Article 11 that “the land of Palestine is a religious Islamic endowment [waqf] for all Muslims until Resurrection Day. It is forbidden to relinquish it or any part of it or give it up or any part of it.” Article 13 clarifies: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except jihad. Regarding the international initiatives, proposals and conferences, they are an empty waste of time and complete nonsense. The Palestinian people are far too noble to have their future, rights and destiny toyed with.”61 In January 2005, this terrorist organization won a clear mandate from the Palestinian electorate to take the reins of the Palestinian Autonomy with an absolute majority in their parliament to form a Hamas Government.
  • Islamic Jihad, which became active in the Gaza Strip in 1979, was founded on the belief that “Israel by its very existence is a source of moral and spiritual corruption that prevents Muslims from remedying the malaise of their society.”62 It calls for the immediate “liberation” of all Palestine through an armed Jihad against “Jewish existence in Palestine” to bring about the extinction of “the Zionist entity” and establishment of an Islamic state in its place.63 Despite its relatively small size, Islamic Jihad has been responsible for some of the most deadly suicide attacks in 1995-1997 (‘early Oslo’) and some of the most memorable attacks in the first five years of the Terror War (2000-2005).64 It was responsible for five out of the seven suicide bombing attacks in 200565 and is behind numerous shelling of Israeli civilians from Gaza.
  • Hezbollah (the Party of God), founded in 1982 under the ideological and financial aegis of Iran and the approval of Syria, is based in southern Lebanon. It seeks the “obliteration [of Israel] from existence.” Its web site states clearly: “Hezbollah’s ideological ideals sees no legitimacy for the existence of ‘Israel’ … and that is why we also find the slogan of the liberation of Jerusalem rooted deeply in the ideals of Hezbollah … [and] the establishment of an Islamic Government.”66 Hezbollah now enjoys de facto autonomy on Israel’s northern border. The Israeli withdrawal to the international border with Lebanon in May 2000 has had no moderating effect and has, in fact, only emboldened Hezbollah in both word and deed. Hezbollah periodically shells and fires on military and civilian positions inside Israel. In late 2005, Hezbollah built a line of forward positions and observation posts that ominously sit mere meters inside Lebanese territory – a threat to rural settlements and traffic along Israel’s Northern Highway.67 Hezbollah, in essence, operates as a ‘mini-state-within-a-state, without any intervention from Lebanese authorities and in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 that calls for the disarmament of all armed militias in Lebanon.

Israel clearly has the right and the duty to protect its citizens from Islamic extremist groups that operate freely, literally next door. Destruction of Israel, however, is a ‘popular’ cause not only among Islamists but also secular entities such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command which operates from Damascus. The PLO which established and headed the Palestinian Authority, first under Arafat and afterwards under Abbas, continues to seek Israel’s destruction although they pretend to have amended clauses in their Charter that call for Israel’s extinction.

The ‘necessity’ of Israel’s demise is not only the province of members of Islamic and secular terrorist groups; it is endemic to Muslim society in general. Despite a formal peace with Egypt and Jordan, there has been little change in ‘willingness to live at peace with Israel’ in these countries or in the Arab world as a whole. The June 2003 report of the Pew Global Attitudes project – Views of a Changing World,68 published annually by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, found little change in attitudes toward Israel among the public-at-large:

“By wide margins, most Muslim populations doubt that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights and needs of the Palestinian people are met … . Outside of the Muslim world, there is general agreement that there is a way to ensure Israel’s existence and meet the needs of Palestinians. This view is widely shared in North America, and Western Europe.”

To be more specific, 90 percent of Moroccans, 85 percent of Jordanians, 80 percent of Palestinians, 72 percent of Kuwaitis, 65 percent of Lebanese … and even 57 percent of the Pakistanis and 58 percent of the Indonesians who have no objective interest or role in the conflict other than being Muslims, see Israel’s existence as inconsistent with Palestinian rights. References to “Palestinian rights,” it should be kept in mind, refer to Palestinian rights from 1948 (the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, and righting of the wrongdoing of Israel’s ‘illegitimate’ existence as a Jewish state), not ‘righting’ the outcome of the 1967 Six Day War (‘an end to the Occupation’). Clearly the 65-76 percent of Westerners in Germany, Great Britain, the U.S., France, Canada and Australia who believe there is ‘a way for an Israeli state and Palestinian rights to coexist’ are blissfully unaware of the depth and breadth of hostility toward Israel in the Middle East and where it comes from. Israel’s security assessment cannot ignore this fact and must be based on ‘what is’ – not what ‘ought to be.’

Perpetuation of anti-Israel sentiment has taken a quantum leap forward thanks to the communications revolution. The Internet is not only used to secretly communicate and share technology; terrorist groups use the power of the Internet both to terrorize others with gruesome video clips of beheadings and so forth69 and to attract supporters. Ironically, advanced telecommunications technologies, envisioned as a mean to share and spread knowledge, now serves as an effective conduit70 for delivering hate literature and spreading lies that keep Arab masses focused on hating Israel and the West as ‘the source of all evil.’ Academic research71 found there are now 4,800 terrorist web sites – websites of organizations recognized by the U.S. as ‘terrorist organizations’ and followers who support and disseminate their messages. Eight years ago there were just 12 such web sites. This includes ideological material, press releases, videos of attacks, chat rooms and forums, and even video war games designed to attract children to their ranks.

Stopping Suicide Bombers

Suicide bombers (and other forms of mass-casualty terrorism) are not just a crime against humanity; they are a strategic threat to any modern, western nation – all the more so, to a small country such as Israel. To stop suicide bombers, one must first understand how this form of terrorism works.72

Palestinians ‘produce’ and use low-tech suicide bombers because of their effectiveness; maximizing casualties and terrorizing people far beyond the immediate victims.

The RAND database shows the average number of killed and injured from terrorist attacks in Israel over the past thirty years has been 3.3 casualties. For suicide bombings the number jumps to 28.5 persons. If the perpetrator manages to detonate his or her explosive belt in a closed space – inside a crowded restaurant or a packed public bus, numbers rise to 80, even 100 or more causalities per attack.73

Suicide bombers among crowds of civilians in buses and eateries and other mass casualty events of the same magnitude constitute a strategic threat. They have the potential to transform the lives of members of any democratic society into tyranny – where citizens become victims chosen at random, almost arbitrarily for ‘treatment’ – a way of life that marks dictatorial regimes, not democracies, such as Israel. This is why suicide bombers pose a strategic threat to Israel.

Palestinian strategists expected that Israeli society would quickly collapse under the impact of wave-after-wave of suicide bombers. Initially, Israelis were stunned and even free-wheeling Tel Aviv (dubbed the ‘City that Never Stops’) grounded to a halt. The number of telephone calls to the emotional first aid call center (ERAN) increased significantly. Israel is a small country personified by its close-knit extended families and long-term social relationships from childhood peers to army buddies, from neighborhood to workplace networks. The scope of the bombings touched over half (!) of the population: In an April-May 2002 telephone survey, 16.4 percent said they had been directly exposed to a terrorist event, and 37.3 percent said they had experienced one second-hand (affected friends or kin).74 Despite this, a May 2001 poll found 79 percent of the Jewish population expressed confidence that Israeli society had the inner strength to prevail and this ‘wherewithal’ remained steady throughout the Terror War. The number who Israelis who described themselves as despondent dropped from 58.6 percent in 2002, to 29.5 percent in 200475 as the security establishment developed a strategy and multi-prong battle plan that allowed Israel to gain the upper hand and foil most of the suicide bombers (detailed in discussion of Israel’s counter-terrorism doctrine in this chapter).

In its security doctrine, Israel cannot assume that Palestinian statehood can be limited by written provisos requiring demilitarization.

First of all, terrorism has been one of the most enduring features of Palestinian political culture for over a hundred years. Secondly, assumptions that conditionals will stand the test of time are at best naïve and shortsighted. There are stronger and weaker states in the world with different strength militaries. Yet, there is no precedent for successfully imposing ‘limited sovereignty’ of this kind in the history of human politics, nor is there any legal foundation to expect demilitarization would last.76 Palestinian leadership and rank-and-file of all shades77 have consistently rejected anything short of complete sovereignty. Just prior to December 2005 parliamentary elections, only 20% of the Palestinian public said they would accept a demilitarized state.78 Furthermore, armed militias have been a key element of Palestinian power matrix since establishment of the Palestinian Authority; consequently, western demands to dismantle them have come to naught. Following its election, Hamas speaks openly of building an army, by integrating the armed wings of terrorist organizations under one roof. An army is in complete violation of the Oslo Accords that speak solely of a strong police force designed to maintain law and order and prevent terrorist acts. Even Hamas’ predecessors, Fatah leaders Yasser Arafat and his deputy Mahmoud Abbas failed to fulfill this commitment (23 percent of all suicide attacks between the years 2000 and 2005 were perpetrated by Fatah’s own ‘military wing,’ the Tanzim.79 )

Secondly, Palestinians have no compunctions about escalating the quality and quantity of the mass-casualty terror weapons they use to target Israeli civilians, should they are given the privileges of sovereignty: diplomatic mail, an armed forces, financing free of international scrutiny, enhanced immunity from incursions under the UN ‘umbrella,’ control of their own borders including a harbor and airport, and other privileges of statehood. Palestinians already aspire to outdo the horrific casualties a bomber on a bus or inside a restaurant can wrought. There have been attempts at a number of mega-terrorism operations in the past that could have caused hundreds, even thousands of deaths in one attack, and Palestinians continue to strive to achieve this objective.80 There is widespread support for escalation among the Palestinian public. In the course of the first five years of the Terror War, public opinion polls show a solid two-thirds majority of the Palestinian public consistently express confidence that ‘terror works.’ A December 2001 poll taken near the beginning of the Terror War found 61 percent of the Palestinian population believed attacks against Israeli civilians helped achieve Palestinian rights in a way that negotiations could not have.81 In August 2002, 70 percent felt this way.82 In November 2002, support remained steady at 66 percent and remained the same six months later in April 2003.83 In September 2004, 66 percent of Palestinian society continued to believe violence pays off.84 In December 2006 this assessment remained rock solid, even rising slightly: 68 percent said they “believe that armed confrontations have so far helped Palestinians achieve national rights in ways that negotiations could not.”85 In January 2006, the Palestinian electorate gave escalation a ‘vote of confidence’ at the polls by bringing Hamas – the organization responsible for 40 percent of the suicide bombings in the preceding five years86 – to power.

A profile of perpetrators.

Suicide bombers, contrary to popular belief, are not the product of desperate or unstable people. Suicide bombers are not a handful of extremists. Suicide bombings come from all levels of Palestinian society. Furthermore, Palestinian suicide bombings are unique as they represent the first case in history where both perpetrators and victims are civilians. According to Hebrew University philosophy professor Avishai Margalit, who wrote about the phenomenon in the New York Review of Books87 in January 2003:

“There have been suicide missions by soldiers against other combatants – from Japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II to Hezbollah in Lebanon against security personnel (targeting Israelis, American and French forces). Civilians in Sri Lanka have died in suicide bombings aimed at military targets …”

with little regard for civilian collateral damage, but

“ … the Palestinians are the first and only case where civilians of one society regularly volunteer to become suicide bombers who [specifically and consciously] target civilians of another society.”

Other profiles of the phenomenon by investigative journalists and other academics88 stress that while most suicide bombers are young unmarried men, they come from all levels of Palestinian society – from villages, towns, and refugee camps. They even come from universities and from well-to-do families. And some are women. Nachman Tal, a scholar at Tel Aviv University’s Center for Strategic Studies, found that a disproportionately higher number of suicide bombers are well-educated persons – with more than a third having achieved at least some university education and another third having received high school diplomas.89

Two groups are conspicuously absent. Because this is an exclusively Muslim phenomenon, Christian Arabs do not participate. The other missing group includes the sons of prominent Muslim leaders who subscribe to the tactic, but urge others to sacrifice their lives or their children’s lives.

Palestinians seek to justify suicide bombing as a response to Israeli cruelty, claiming that their terrorist acts are a reaction to Palestinian victimization by Israelis. They blame Israel for those who have been injured or killed; for personal trauma or humiliation; for missing father figures; for a sense of ‘hopelessness’ arising from Israeli ‘intransigence.’ Yet objective studies of perpetrators who blew themselves up, and those caught before hand, tell a different story. A profile of Palestinian suicide bombers by Tel Aviv University psychologist, Ariel Merari90 shows Palestinian suicide terrorists span a normal population distribution in terms of education, socioeconomic status and personality types (extroverts/introverts). Overall, they exhibit no socially dysfunctional attributes (fatherless, friendless or jobless) or suicidal symptoms. They are not ‘crazies’ or anti-social types, and most are no more religious than the average population, although their handlers may originate from Islamic terrorist organizations. According to University of Michigan anthropologist, Scott Atran, from the Institute for Social Research,91 “ …religiously motivated self-sacrifice is neither psychopathic nor sociopath … show[s] no suicidal or depressive symptoms… [is not] motivated by sudden bouts of stress or anxiety.”

Most suicide bombers are well-adjusted individuals who have chosen this path as a deliberate, cold-blooded, political act - although Merari stresses that their membership in small closely knit cells plays a key role in their preparation and training as volunteers.

Support for suicide bombing is not economically based. In fact, among Palestinians, education tends to increase support for such atrocities. Research by Cambridge scholars Krueger and Maleckova92 found education was a negative factor in support of a dialogue with Israel, and a positive factor in support of suicide bombings. Most perpetrators are middle class by local standards – not driven by desperation. “Rational-choice” theories93 based on economic opportunities do not reliably account for suicide terrorism; and improving the lot of Palestinians economically (assuming this is possible with their run-away birth rate) is no panacea.

Suicide bombing – a communal endeavor.

Suicide bombers enjoy broad social approval. Claim that the Palestinians’ main problems are poor leadership and a fanatic fringe ring hollow, when a whopping 59 percent of all Palestinians told the Ramallah pollster Dr. Khalil Shikaki in June 2004 that they support “continued suicide bombings inside Israel if an opportunity arises.”94 Another opinion poll found 92 percent of Palestinians did not consider the suicide bomb attack at the Dolphinarium disco that killed 21 teenagers and wounded 120, to be terrorism.95

Media interviews show that the overwhelming majority of suicide bombers’ families identify fully with the heinous crimes perpetrated by their sons or daughters against Israelis. Perhaps the most shocking is a newly-elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from Hamas, Mariam Farhat (Umm Nidal), who praised three of her sons who were killed engaging in terrorism –one after killing five teenagers and wounding 20. In a post-election speech, she urged all her other offspring to follow suit.96 Merari, the Tel Aviv University psychologist, labels suicide bombings “a highly communitarian enterprise” because the bombers depend on a strong institutional dimension and are initiated by tightly run organizations that recruit, indoctrinate, train and promise to reward perpetrators and their families. At the same time, perpetrators are rewarded with fame and admired in Palestinian society as a whole. They are lionized, their pictures plastered to walls in the public domain, and hung framed in private houses as ‘cultural heroes.’ The personage of Mariam Farhat was prominently displayed in Hamas’ election campaign and was viewed as a powerful vote-getter. During the bloody summer of 2002, so-called ‘martyr operations’ were embraced by an astounding 80 percent of Palestinians. That would explain why an exhibition at the beginning of the 2002 fall semester at Al Najah University in the West Bank was so well received: University students re-enacted the carnage at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem with ‘blood’ splattered everywhere and mock body parts hanging with slices of pizza from the ceiling.97

Israel often is portrayed in the media by Western leaders and human rights activists as inflicting disproportionate and collective punishment on many Palestinians for the deeds of a few terrorists. Such a portrayal is a denial of reality. It is hard to argue that only a small group of terrorists could be involved in 25,770 attacks on Jews98 – large and small, documented by security forces in the course of the first five years of the Terror War (plus countless others between 1993 – September 2000). In addition to the actual perpetrators, suicide attacks require financial supporters, intelligence-gatherers, handlers, bomb-makers, curriers, guides and drivers, and an approving social milieu among parents, neighbors and the public-at-large. All told, attacks on Jews – the bombings, the knifings, the use of vehicles to kill passengers or run down pedestrians or other motorists, the shooting sprees, ambushes and drive-by killings and the shelling span Palestinians from all walks of life. Some of these acts of terror are isolated undertaking prompted by a milieu of incitement created by PA leadership that encourages and endorses such behavior. Some entail the direct involvement of the PA leadership (strategic planning, financing, even execution of terrorist acts by PA police.) Most are the ‘work’ of key social institutions with a broad network of supporters such as Hamas, and the Fatah’s military wing that both served as proxies for the PA when Fatah leaders (Arafat, Abu Ala, and Abu Mazen) were in charge.

Krueger and Maleckova, research associates at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER Digest,), warned: “If the Palestinian public believes the attacks are efficacious, they are unlikely to cease supporting additional attacks unless their demands are met.” Palestinians do not feel they have lost ground by opting for violence. The opposite is true. On June 1, 2003, Abu Ala (Ahmed Qurei), then speaker of the PA legislative council, one of the architects of Oslo and Arafat’s second Palestinian prime minister, told ‘Al-Hayat al Jadida:

“I personally am in favor of stopping these actions [i.e., suicide bombers] and in favor of letting the peace process return to its natural course because I believe the present Intifada has brought great achievements and we now have to take the benefits.”99

The role of the international community.

The perception among Palestinians - that politically-motivated violence is legitimate and effective in achieving their objectives - is nothing new. Yet, Hamas’ rise to power is equally the product of domestic and international forces that need to be understood. From a broader perspective, during the first five years (2000-2005) of the Terror War, Palestinians were rewarded with political gains – massive economic assistance, demonstrations of political solidarity100 and an almost no-strings-attached promise of statehood,101 following repeated acts of aggression.

It is not all that surprising that other radical groups have begun using the suicide bomber model and that today, Israel is no longer alone as a target of such tactics. Such methods are already witnessed in Iraq and Turkey, Russia and Bosnia, and even Madrid and London. The international community gave terrorism a tacit ‘green light’ by patiently allowed Palestinians to set the pace and dictate the terms for an end to violence. Calls for Israel to stop work on a physical barrier designed to protect its citizens from state-sponsored terrorism merely fuels the belief among Palestinians that terrorism carries no price tag. This was magnified by the Quartet allowing the American road map to be overlaid with Palestinian-designed ‘time outs’ that left the terrorist infrastructure intact. In essence, Israelis were asked to take a leap of faith after suffering more than a thousand casualties during the decade of Palestinian self-rule, and sit idly by while terrorists regroup, to resume Palestinian violence when it become ‘expedient.’

In any case, these ‘time outs’ – the self-proclaimed Palestinian hudna (temporary Islamic cease-fire) in 2003 and the self-proclaimed tahdi’a (calm or lull) in January 2005 – were more bluff than substance. The effectiveness of Israeli security forces who continued to apprehend would-be suicide bombers and arrest or ‘take out’ their handlers, led to a news blackout because foiled attacks are not reported in the news media.

In fact, in the first five years of the Terror War there were 147 suicide bombing attacks while some 450 other suicide bombings at various stages of execution, were foiled by Israeli security forces by apprehending potential bombers, their comrades and handlers!102 A third of the 450 operations foiled were during the so-called ‘calm’ leaving the impression that the 2005 tahdi’a declared on January 22, 2005, was being honored. Statistics show that in 2005 there were 2,990 terrorist acts against Israeli targets, including 377 rockets – more than in 2004. ‘Only’ 54 Israelis were killed by terrorists in 2005 – half of them in seven suicide bombings – two which killed IDF personnel at checkpoints on their way to civilian targets. One hundred and sixty other potential suicide bombers were arrested during the ‘calm’ – including plans for a double suicide in Jerusalem and a triple suicide in Tel Aviv103 If there were genuine lulls here and there in the course of 2005, they were tactical – to regroup and establish a rocket capability on the West Bank unfettered by Israeli incursions; to meet domestic Palestinian exigencies such as orderly Palestinian municipal and parliamentary elections; or to ensure Israel would have no excuse to cancel or delay consummation of the Gaza Disengagement.

Following the August-September 2005 Disengagement and the Hamas victory at the polls in January 2006, Israel finds itself face to face with a “new and worrisome” wave of terrorist attempts104 – some 50 forewarnings of plots per week at the opening of 2006, including 12 potential suicide bombers apprehended in the course of ten days. This is hardly a sign that Hamas is being moderated by political power.
It was expected that under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) one would witness some form of redirecting the population from a ‘death culture’ towards renewed appreciation of life, peace and coexistence. Beyond toning down incitement from state-supported media to a certain degree, the post-Arafat Palestinian Government preferred to co-op terrorists into the political machinery rather than rein them in. Now that Hamas is in charge, even these meager and ineffectual gains won’t last.

Demands that Hamas renounce terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist were heard in a host of quarters immediately after the Hamas victory. But within a week, world leaders were already back stepping – agreeing to meet Hamas rather than isolate it, agreeing to continue ‘humanitarian aid’ ignoring that such monies, even if channeled to neutral bodies, ‘bankroll’ Hamas’ pursuit of its genocidal agenda since international donors’ take responsibility for ‘minding the store.’ The Palestinian Authority has received $10 billion in aid since its establishment. This sum far exceeds the post-World War II Marshall Plan to all of Western Europe, and aid to Serbia in reconstruction after the civil war.105 International aid in fact provides ‘backing’ for corruption, violence and intransigence, just as UNRWA’s support to generations of ‘1948 refugees’ encourages Palestinians to demand the Right of Return, rather than rebuilding their lives.

In the long run, a Hamas-run Palestinian Authority or Palestinian state will be a threat to others, not just Israel. Palestinians have a penchant for using violent tactics against Jews that come back to haunt the rest of the world. Skyjackings and blowing up airplanes in midair and on the ground as political statements are two cases in point.

In the eyes of Palestinians as well as surrounding Arab states, terrorism is believed to ‘level the playing field.’ Middle East expert Daniel Pipes explains that “[Israel] has built so great a lead in conventional arms, including planes and tanks, that several Arab states have basically conceded they cannot compete with it on that level. Instead, they have directed their attention higher (to weapons of mass destruction) and lower (to terrorism).”106 The West’s Islamist adversaries, be they rogue states or world Jihad organizations, have reached the same conclusion. ‘Making terrorism too costly to contemplate’– by withdrawing aid and political support to offenders and exacting an unbearable price when they strike – is the world’s responsibly. It is vitally important for everyone’s sake, not just for Israel’s sake.

As columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote in April 2002 at the height of the Terror War, in a landmark column in The New York Times:

“The world must understand that the Palestinians have not chosen suicide bombing out of ‘desperation’ stemming from the Israeli occupation. ... To begin with, a lot of other people in the world are desperate, yet they have not gone around strapping dynamite to themselves. Let’s be very clear: Palestinians have adopted suicide bombing as a strategic choice, not out of desperation. This threatens all civilization because if suicide bombing is allowed to work in Israel, then, like hijacking and airplane bombing, it will be copied and will eventually lead to a bomber strapped with a nuclear device threatening entire nations. That is why the whole world must see this Palestinian suicide strategy defeated.”107

Israel’s counter-terrorism doctrine

Israel was caught by surprise by the first waves of Palestinian terrorist bombers that attacked crowds of civilian in early 2001. The attacks left society reeling – empty cafes, half-empty buses, deserted malls, and a widespread sense of despondence and vulnerability. It also left Israel’s security establishment without a ‘ready’ or effective response. Slowly Israelis began to respond and apply their coping skills: In the wake of the attacks, there were no riots, no hate crimes nor even violent demonstrations that would make Jewish cities ‘out of bounds’ for Israeli Arabs or Palestinian day workers. At most, anonymous graffiti appeared saying – Ain Aravim – Ain pigu’im (“No Arabs – No Terrorist Attacks’). There were no vigilante counter-attacks on crowds of Arabs to exact a painful ‘eye-for-an-eye’ price from Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. Rather, counter-terrorist action concentrated on preventing the bombers from reaching Israeli cities and eliminating those who sent them.

After almost four decades of porous borders with the West Bank,108 Israel began building a physical barrier – the security fence – to impede easy access to its cities. In addition to the security barrier, Israel’s counter-terrorism response included temporary suspension of all traffic by Palestinians into Israel (closures), a network of regular and surprise roadblocks in the Territories and in Israel; intensive intelligence work and incursions into self-ruled Palestinian towns that served as preparation and staging areas, to apprehend operatives and destroy terrorist infrastructure; selective preemptive targeted killings of key members (organizational heads, strategic planners, operations chiefs and regional commanders) to cripple terrorist organizations’ capabilities;109 and guards in public places in Israeli cities who serve as a last-ditch defense. Such guards (and public bus drivers) were trained to ‘spot’ and physically engage suicide bombers meters from the crowds the terrorists seek to target. They often sustain grievous injury or paying with their lives to block the path of the bombers ‘in the open’ when bombers, indeed, succeed in getting within yards of their targets. Parallel to these measures, private cars and public buses serving Jews in the Territories were equipped with bulletproof glass, and Palestinian traffic restricted in response to drive-by shootings and the sides of the roads cleared of foliage after a series of lethal ambushes—including an attack on a school bus.

Israel’s anti-terrorist separation barrier: No counter-terrorism measure has been criticized more than Israel’s security fence.

The barrier’s size, its impact and its very purpose have been distorted and twisted by Palestinian spin doctors and those sympathetic to their cause, to deflect attention away from the acts that Palestinians commit that sparked this step. Thus, a defensive measure designed to protect civilians has been turned into a tool for demonizing Israel and paralyzing Israel’s ability to protect its citizens. Parallel to this, controversy over the path of the barrier is used as a subterfuge to try and force Israel back to pre-Six Day War ‘borders’ without peace, by claiming that Israel can only build a barrier behind the Green Line. In 2004 the International Court of Justice was enlisted, along side a long line of ‘veteran’ anti-Israel UN bodies, to de-legitimize the separation barrier, brand it ‘illegal’ and call for its dismantling in a highly partisan, factually- and legally-flawed ‘advisory ruling’ that was requested by the General Assembly for propaganda purposes. (The International Court of Justice’s role in Israel bashing is discussed in a book-length critique of the ICJ ruling, published separately by Myths & Facts, Inc. – Reply, by Eli E. Hertz.110)

Few people are aware that there are many security fences and separation barriers around the world. In building the barrier, Israel has hardly ‘invented the wheel.’ Some, like Israel’s are a vehicle for ‘crises management’ – to separate warring communities and prevent bloodshed when ‘crises resolution’ is unattainable. These include the Peace Walls in Northern Ireland that separate Catholics and Protestants; the Green Line in Cyprus that separates Greeks and Turks in Cyprus; and the Zone of Separation and Muslim enclaves in Bosnia – which all twist and wind according to ethic composition. There are other anti-terrorist barriers designed to stop Islamist terrorists. They include a barrier along the Line of Control built unilaterally by India in the disputed territory of Kashmir to prevent cross-border attacks from the Pakistan-held part of Kashmir; a barrier along Thailand’s southern provinces with Malaysia also built unilaterally to keep Islamist terrorists out; and the Green Zone that envelops the heart of Baghdad Iraq. Perhaps the most ironic is Saudi Arabia’s Security Screen, designed to prevent explosives and Islamist terrorists from infiltrating Saudi Arabia from Yemen – a decision taken after two terrorist attacks in Riyad took 50 lives.111 The Security Screen was also erected unilaterally in disputed territory, within a 20 kilometer-wide ‘neutral zone’ that is out-of-bounds for both nations, according to the 2000 Jeddah Border Treaty.112 There are also barriers of similar design that bar unauthorized immigrants and job seekers from entering scores of countries. This range from the United States’ border with Mexico, to Spain’s twin barricade to keep Moroccan and sub-Sahara Black African job and asylum-seekers from entering the EU via the ‘back door’ through the Spanish enclaves Melilla and Ceuta in North Africa. Like Israel’s separation fence, most barriers are non-lethal, but Morocco’s – six 300-620 kilometer-long berms located deep inside the disputed territory of West Sahara, designed to prevent Polisario guerrilla attacks, are studded with up to a million anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines. None of these barriers have been branded illegal by the international community.

The decision of the Israeli government to build a fence came in June 2002 after 20 months of carnage. The separation barrier was made necessary by a combination of three factors:

  1. There had been 122 successful bombings that originated in the West Bank, while only one came from Gaza where a security fence had existed since 1995.
  2. Palestinian terrorist leaders have cynically used Palestinian civilians seeking work, medical care and a like as ‘covers’ for attacking Israelis.
  3. The Palestinian public has expressed, in word and in deed, overwhelming support for terrorist attacks making Palestinians as a whole suspect and therefore subject to screening.

Objectively, Israel’s separation barrier is an incredibly passive, non-lethal response to a sustained and brutal assault on a civic society: It consists of an anti-vehicle ditch, a patrol road, a chain-link fence, concertina wire and an anti-vehicle ditch with a dust track and electronic sensors for detecting infiltrators – components used by countless countries.

The much-photographed ‘walled sections’ constitute a mere 3 percent of the barrier. They were erected where a solid wall is necessary as a shield against snipers and drive-by killings and in densely-populated areas where the thin modular concrete slabs minimize collateral damage (demolition of buildings, loss of valuable land, etc.) that a multiple-obstacle fence design would require. The route itself is a balancing act between geographical realities, operational exigencies and humanitarian considerations that requires the planners to protect as many Jewish civilians as possible (‘the right to life’) and minimize humanitarian and environmental hardships to Palestinians (‘property and economic rights’ and ‘freedom of movement’). Its legality – based on the principle of proportionality, has been upheld by the Israel Supreme Court. In some cases the court has ordered the route altered to reduce damage to Palestinians, based on the ‘proportionality’ principle.114 To mitigate the negative impact on Palestinians, the original design includes 41 agricultural gates, 9 crossing points for pedestrians and vehicles and 4 check points for transfer of goods along the entire route.115 It should be noted for comparison’s sake that along the U.S.-Mexican border the distance between gates is every 50 miles, in Israel every 2.25 miles.116

The security fence, along with the other counter-terrorism tactics cited above (none, not even the security fence, is a ‘stand-alone’ solution) have been very effective. After the most critical section in the northern West Bank (from Salem to Elkana) was completed in July 2003 there was a sharp drop in the scale and number of terrorist attacks in this sensitive sector facing Netanya, Hadera and other towns ‘within minutes of staging areas’ in West Bank cities and towns. From the beginning of the Terror War in September 2000 to July 2003 there were 73 mass-murder terrorist attacks in Israel proper, in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1,500 injured. Following completion of the Salem-Elkana section, the number of attacks in this sector dropped by 90 percent; the number of fatalities dropped by 70 percent and the number of injured dropped by 85 percent.117 In 2003 the Palestinians redoubled their efforts to reach Israel’ cities. The number of attempts (209!) rose significantly, but the number of successes (25) were half those at the peak of their successes, 2002 (59).

As work on the fence progresses the number of successful suicide bombing attacks in absolute numbers has dropped from 60 in 2000 (24 of them in the first three months of the year) which had prompted the decision to build the fence), to 25 in 2003, to 15 in 2004 and to 7 in 2005. At the peak of their successes, in March 2002 Palestinians succeeded in carrying out 17 successful suicide operations in one month; in June 2004 all 22 attempts failed to reach their targets.118

At the close of 2005, 275 km. of the security fence were operational – including an unbroken 200 km. U-shaped section that envelops Samaria, including access to most of the Sharon coastal plain.119 Another 150 km. are in the advanced stage of completion. Even though not finished, the security fence has prevented most suicide bombers from reaching Israel’s major cities: According to GSS security chief Avi Dichter, 90 percent of the terrorist cells are headquartered in Samaria, but because of the fence the focus of their activity has been forced to move to unfinished sectors such as Kfar Kassem (east of Ben-Gurion Airport) and Jerusalem.120 Other sources close to IDF intelligence add that the security fence, in essence, “‘channels’ terrorists to areas where it is easier to neutralize them”121 – including from densely-settled Samaria to sparsely-settled Judea.

Putting Security and Humiliation in Context

Palestinians say they feel humiliated and harassed when Israeli authorities search them and their belongings; when they are prevented from traveling freely because of checkpoints, roadblocks, closures and curfews. They say they feel ‘corralled’ behind security fences and ugly concrete walls.

To put security and humiliation into context, one must keep in mind that restrictive measures are in response to cynical use of the movement of innocent Palestinians, including people in need of urgent medical treatment and Palestinian day laborers crossing over, with or without permits, to work in Israel,122 as a convenient cover for perpetrating Israel’s defenses. Women have been mobilized as curriers and even live bombs – knowing that searches will probably be less thorough in deference to Arab standards of ‘female modesty’ – sometimes with lethal consequences.123 The result has been increased hardship for innocent Palestinians who must now be carefully screened – including children, after school bags have been repeatedly used to hide weapons and explosives; Palestinians lamely charge that such steps are designed to humiliate them.124

Yet, Palestinians are not the only ones being searched. In Israel, every Israeli is searched numerous times during the course of a day – ordered to open their bags and purses for inspection and subjected to body searches with a metal detector every time they enter a bank or a post office, pick up a bottle of milk at the supermarket, enter a mall or train station, or visit a hospital or medical clinic. Young Israeli men and women are physically frisked in search of suicide belts before they enter crowded nightclubs. Routinely, car trunks are searched every time an Israeli enters a well-trafficked parking lot. Daily, cars pass through roadblocks that cause massive traffic jams when security forces are in hot pursuit of suicide bombers believed to have entered Israel, some lasting hours.

Israelis are searched when they go to the movies, the theater or a concert as well. These ‘ordinary daily intrusions’ had to be extended to include searches when Israelis go to weddings or bar mitzvahs, after such gatherings were targeted. Adding insult to injury, Jews are forced to write at the bottom of even the most exquisite wedding invitation or announcement of other life cycle event, “The site will be secured [by armed guards]” to ensure relatives and friends will attend and share their joyous occasion.

These massive intrusion into the rights of privacy and person imposed on Israeli Jews due to the security situation, do not exist in Arab cities and towns in Israel (or, for that matter, in West Bank and Gaza communities) because those places are not and never have been targets of Palestinian terrorism. In fact, the average Israeli is ‘humiliated and harassed’ by being searched far more times a day than the average Palestinian.

Critics brand the security fence a form of ghettoization. They label it an ‘apartheid wall.’ In fact, fences are nothing new. Since the 1970s, Jewish schoolchildren in Israel have been surrounded by perimeter fences, with armed guards at the schoolyard gates, as if their schools were the domiciles of Mafiosi. This measure was taken after Arabs purposefully murdered junior high school students on overnight trips, Jewish youngsters at boarding schools, and teens on a nature hike, attacked Jewish school buses carrying elementary school children (twice), murdered two children playing in a cave near their homes, shot a toddler in a stroller and another in a nursery and murdered small children hiding under their beds - all in addition to random terrorist acts where children were among the casualties.

By contrast, guards are not required at Arab shops, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, wedding halls or schools – neither in Israel nor in the Territories. Palestinians also do not need armed guards to accompany every school trip, youth movement hike or campout. Not one Arab village in Israel or the Territories has a perimeter fence around it, yet, countless Israelis in sensitive areas inside the Green Line – not only in the Territories, but also in Jewish towns, villages and bedroom suburbs - are ‘ghettoized’ behind high fences crowned with concertina wire. In 2000, Jewish residents of the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem were closed-in by an ugly high concrete wall (to block bullets of Palestinian gunmen from the Arab neighborhood of Beit Jallah.) A similar wall was erected in Bat Hefer, an upscale bedroom suburb of villas hear Hadera. In fact, for 19 years, between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was scarred by countless ugly walls and walled-up windows that protected Jewish Jerusalemites from Jordanian snipers.

At the height of the Terror War, Israelis’ freedom of movement was compromised daily as countless citizens sought to avoid crowded areas or events, changed their daily routines by sticking to side streets, avoided traveling close to public buses, curtailed or refrained from going out or simply stayed out of the heart of their own capital entirely. A study conducted during the worst year of the Terror War – 2002 found one out of four Israeli children, ages 11 to 15, feared for his or her life; one out of three feared for the lives of their family members; and more than a third report they changed their patterns of travel and social lives due to security concerns. Most school trips were cancelled or curtailed year-after-year.125
Israelis are told by their Government, in effect, to disguise themselves when traveling abroad: not to speak Hebrew in public and not to wear garments that reveal their Jewish/Israeli origins. Even Israel’s national airline – El Al – has been forced to remove its logo from the tails of its aircraft at certain airports, out of concern for the safety of its passengers. By contrast, Arab citizens and Palestinians from the Territories continue to enter Jewish cities and go about their business without peril, wearing traditional Arab headgear without fear of being attacked or harassed.

Not only Palestinians have suffered economically since September 2000. The Israeli economy plunged into a recession as a result of the Terror War. An article in Forbes,126 “Cold Calculation of Terror,” estimates that in the first 20 months of the Terror War Israel’s economic losses due to continuous terrorism was 3 percent of the country’s $110 billion GDP. Government statistics on economic growth show the GDP plummeted at the height of the Terror War from plus 7.7 percent in 2000 (prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 2000) to minus 0.3 percent 2001 and minus 0.2 in 2002; the economy only began to recover in 2003 (plus 1.7 percent) and 2004 ( plus 4.4 percent).127 The Terror War added to the existing defense burden: Israel had successfully cut its defense expenditures from 8-10 percent down to 6.4 percent in 1999, but the Terror War pushed the defense burden back to 9-10 percent of the GDP at the height of the Terror War.128 Tourism alone fell 50 percent, resulting in an annual loss of $2 billion [yearly] and thousands were left without livelihoods in tourist industry; tourism only recovered in the summer of 2005. This sum does not even begin to reflect the human and economic cost of caring for thousands of injured persons – both in terms of hospitalization, rehabilitation and lifelong financial support and medical attention for permanently disabled casualties, and the impact of terrorism on entire families affected by loss and injury of love ones, not just the individual injured.

Despite all this, Israeli society has demonstrated tremendous resiliency. After the first two years of the Terror War – which were marked by shock and disruption of normal life (empty cafes and eateries, economic paralysis, a rise in depression and anxiety) most Israelis gradually returned, almost defiantly, to more-or-less routine life patterns129 despite the dangers. Academic studies130 found that Israelis have special coping mechanisms that include “a high capacity for adaptation” – accepting the searches, the traffic jams and the guards at every turn as a necessity; aided by a system for rapid evacuation of casualties and restoration of infrastructure at attack sites; and supported by a strong sense of solidarity and common purpose paralleled by acquisition of “‘repressive’ psychological filters” that allow them to recover from repeated assaults and ‘get on with it.’ Although the public’s sense of vulnerability skyrocketed (60.4 percent in 2002 had “a low sense of safety with respect to themselves,” and 67.9 percent “with respect to their relatives”131) statistics showed that Israelis continued to travel abroad, returned to vacation at local hotels and go to work, to go out to the movies and to family celebrations, and remain remarkably well balanced and optimistic about their lives and the future, and confident in their institutions.

Maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge in a major war

Israel’s enemies are engaged in a zero-sum game where the objective of Israel’s adversaries is nothing short of policide. Israel cannot ‘afford’ to lose a round with this kind of enemy. Its defense planning must be based on the combined capabilities of most Arab states, since one cannot discount the possibility of a new Arab coalition - albeit temporary - that might seek another round of ‘conventional’ armed conflict with Israel, should Israel be perceived as weak.

In absolute numbers, the balance of power in terms of troop strength clearly favors the Arab world over Israel. According to the 2003-2004 Middle East Military Balance132, Israel’s standing army includes an estimated 184,500 personnel in uniform and 445,000 reserves; 3,630 tanks and 470 combat aircraft. By contrast, Syria’s standing army alone totals 289,000 personnel with 132,500 reserves, 3,700 tanks and 350 combat aircraft. Egypt’s standing army totals 450,000 uniformed personnel and another 254,000 reserves, 3,100 tanks and 505 combat aircraft. As a result, Israel’s survival hinges on a qualitative edge. Arab capabilities, however, have been revolutionized by purchases of sophisticated Western armaments by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan – narrowing the technological gap.

On the whole,133 Arab nations are a leading global arms market. According to a UN official, the Arabs are “particularly exceptional in being the highest spenders in the world on military purposes.” Despite pressing needs that have stagnated their societies and economies, they devote 8.8 percent of their GDP to the military, versus 2.4 percent for the world as a whole. Syria, whose economy is in a shambles, dedicated 7.2 percent of its GDP in 2003-2004 to defense expenditures; Saudi Arabia spent 8.9 percent of its $241.7 b GDP on defense expenditures.134

Although Egypt has no genuine enemies, it has reconfigured and rearmed itself with the latest American weapons systems. Half of Egypt’s air force is comprised of American warplanes.135 Even if this drive for armaments is fueled primarily by competition for leadership of the Arab world, Israel cannot ignore the presence of Egypt’s military potential. Egypt has constructed expensive tunnels under the Suez Canal engineered to accommodate traffic volume that simply doesn’t exist – even on paper.136 Egyptian military exercises don’t mention Israel…only that they simulate a war with “a little country northeast of Egypt”137 – leaving little to the imagination.

Concern that some time in the future, Egyptian might retreat from its peace treaty with Israel is also fueled by Egypt’s retreat into a ‘cold peace.’ – underscored by the recalled of the Egyptian ambassador from Israel in December 2000, after the outbreak of the Terror War.138 Full diplomatic ties were only resumed more than four years later.139 Boycott of Israel in Egypt is widespread, including expulsion of pro-peace advocates within Egyptian intellectual circles140; unbridled incitement, vitriolic antisemitism and anti-Zionism in state-controlled media; boycotts of Israel at cultural events…and more recently, domestic pressures from Islamic circles to annul the peace with Israel, as they gain more and more political clout in the Egyptian parliament.

The Uncertainty of Possible Regime Change in Egypt and Jordan

According to the World Bank, one of every five persons in the Middle East and North Africa lives on less than $2 per day141 Israel’s western economy with a $114.8 billion GDP ($18,222 per capita) in 2000 – just prior to the outbreak of the Terror War, is a source of envy and an ‘affront’ to the political and economic state of regimes in the area. Many Jordanians and Egyptians feel ‘cheated,’ having expected that peace with Israel would produce a peace dividend142 that would bring similar prosperity to their doorsteps, although the continued stagnation of their societies and economies has nothing to do with Israel.143

Although Israel has peace treaties with two significant neighbors – Egypt and Jordan - it is hard to assess what influence and impact social forces such as Islamic fundamentalism will have on currently stable governments in the volatile Middle East. In the Middle East, where the status of friend and foe is constantly in flux, Israel must take into account the possibility of reversals due to changes that have nothing to do with the Jewish State.

John Alterman, a scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace, wrote in 2000 that “the current power configuration … [of] Mubarak’s Egypt … would hamper the regime’s ability to respond to unrest” and it would “be dangerous … to assume that the regime’s present, narrower base is viable in the long term, for it is unlikely to be.”144 In September 2006 ‘democratic’ parliamentary elections Islamic candidates associated with the legally-banned Muslim Brotherhood, campaigned under the slogan “Islam is the Solution”; they won two-thirds of the seats where their ‘independent’ candidates were on the ballot. Thus, the Islamists doubled their strength, capturing 20 percent of the seats in the 444-seat People’s Assembly, despite the fact that 75 percent of the population chose not to participate due to widespread corruption and intimidation that critics branded a “thugocracy.”145 Some observers believe that had there been genuine free and fair elections and a greater turnout, the Muslim Brotherhood would have won more than 50 percent of the votes. Even optimists such as Khairi Abaza of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy believe that with the Muslim Brotherhood serving as the largest political opposition in the Egyptian parliament, one can expect “increasing radicalization and serious concerns for Egypt’s future stability.”

The rising tide of political Islam – domestic and regional, may degrade Egypt’s relations with Israel even farther. A 1987 study of the first decade of peace with Egypt by Middle East analyst Ehud Ya’ari noted Egypt’s military buildup and “containment policy” designed to restrict normalization at all levels. Ya’ari expressed concern that these and other moves “appear to be aimed at creating an Egyptian option to revert to a relationship of non-aggression should circumstances permit or require it” – degrading a “‘cold peace’ into a ‘cold war,’” in his words.146 A fresher examination of Egyptian behavior, published in Middle East Quarterly in the fall of 2003 did not rule out the possibility of “a reversible peace” either.147 No less troubling, Egypt has failed to fulfill its promises after taking over the Philadelphia Corridor at the Egyptian-Gaza border, following Israel’s disengagement in August 2005. Egypt has allows Sinai to become a base for Al-Qaeda,148 and stood idle while massive quantities of quality weaponry and top-grade TNT are ferried into Gaza from sovereign Egyptian territory. Since the outbreak of the 2000 Terror War, anti-Israel and rabidly antisemitic incitement has intensified in Egypt. All these are hardly positive signs in terms of Israel’s security concerns, but in the meantime, Egypt continues to abide by a cold peace, not a cold war…or worse.

Jordan’s geopolitical situation is unique: It is viewed by the Arab states as the ‘gateway’ to the heart of western Palestine in any future confrontation with Israel, and by Israel as a buffer state between Israel and more bellicose Arab regimes of the Levant (Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia). For a host of reasons, Jordan has remained remarkably stable even after the death of King Hussein in February 1999, and the transfer of the crown to his son Abdullah II, despite a host of disruptive forces – domestic and other, that objectively should have destabilized the regime149 and might have spelled the end of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. So far, Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel has survived the test of time. Attempts to use the so-called ‘al-Aqsa Intifada’ (the Terror War) to ‘export’ violence to Jordan and undermine Jordan’s commitment to peace with Israel, were vigorously countered by Jordanian authorities, although relations remain ‘cold.’ Ironically, animosity is led by Jordan’s intellectuals and professional organizations – journalists, doctors, dentists, educators, artists and business leaders – who oppose any form of normalization with Israel and ‘blacklist’ members who fail to toe the line.

There are disturbing signs of radicalization in Jordan as a whole: When the Pew Global Attitudes Project examined Islamic extremism150 the only nation among the Muslim countries surveyed where there was sharp increase in support for terrorism against civilians was Jordan. “A majority (57 percent) now say suicide bombings and other violent actions are justifiable in defense of Islam.” In 2002, 73 percent felt Islam was planning a larger role in politics in their country.151 In the 2005 survey, only 10 percent believe “Islamic extremism poses a threat in their country” (compared to half to three-quarters of the public elsewhere in the countries surveyed). Sixty percent of Jordanians expressed “a lot or some confidence in Osama bin Laden as a world leader” while the al-Qeada leader’s popularity was waning elsewhere among Muslims. According to the Jordan Times’ Jerusalem correspondent Omar Karmi,152 because of close geopolitical and familial ties, Hamas has a close relationship with Jordan’s Islamists, and the Jordanian Islamists’ increasing popularity has been given a big boost by Hamas’ victory, “render[ing] it more difficult for the regime to curb their influence.” Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood is and always has been implacably opposed to the 1994 [Jordan-Israel] peace treaty. Despite the remarkable durability of the Hashemite Kingdom, Jordan’s strategic position and its vulnerability remain a given that cannot be ignored in any Israeli security assessment.

Just as the United States maintained a strong military as a defense against the former Soviet Union, so too must Israel maintain a strong defense, based on geography, air, missile, and land forces, so that the Arab world accepts the realization that Israel is too strong to destroy militarily.

To minimize the scope of the conflict, and to assume the Palestinians are the only problem, is to miss the broader picture. Despite peace with Egypt and Jordan (two giant steps toward stability in the region), the 1948 Arab declaration of war against Israel still stands. In a survey taken in 1999, at the height of optimism regarding the peace process, just prior to ‘final status negotiations’ at Camp David (summer 2000) a public opinion polls of 1,600 Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Palestinians reveals that some 54 percent thought that Israel must be “made to disappear” and 80 percent though “the conflict should continue.”153

Ironically, while two of Israel’s immediate neighbors have dropped out of the game, Egypt and Jordan have effectively been replaced by countries on the margins – Iran and Saudi Arabia - who have turned into effective foes154 – whether as direct participants or though Hezbollah and Palestinian proxies, a capability made possible by technology and petrodollars.

Growing negative forces on the eastern front

In the Middle East, one cannot be sure what changes might occur in Arab leadership because of age, illness or assassination. Optimism ran high155 when Syrian president Bashar al-Assad ascended to power upon the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad in 2003. Educated in London, a doctor by profession, 37 years old and in his prime when he took over the reins of government, Bashar al-Assad might have brought much-needed change to his country, but just the opposite occurred.

Syria: Syria has become a leader in state-sponsored terrorism.156 The State Department confirms that it provides safe-haven to terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. This includes Hamas’ political leader Khaled Mashaal and Islamic Jihad’s general-secretary Dr. Ramadan Shalah. Both operate out of Damascus. Syria finances, arms and activates terrorist organizations who serve as proxies for the regime, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since Bashar al-Assad took office, Syria’s bullying of its weaker neighbors has escalated to assassination of ‘opponents’ to its domination of Lebanon, even after the Syrian ‘withdrawal’ from Lebanon. This included the murders of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri and anti-Syrian Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir.

According to former Iraqi general Georges Sada,157 Saddam Hussein indeed had weapons of mass destruction which were ‘ferried’ to Syria in 56 flights by Iraqi Airways civilian aircraft ‘disguised’ as humanitarian relief from Syria after the collapse of an Iraqi dam in June 2002. Ironically, the civilian aircraft were re-configured as makeshift cargo plans by taking out the passenger seats ... like El-Al did in the 1991 airlift of 15,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Georges Sada’s disclosure partially confirms British intelligence’s suspicions that this subterfuge had been used to spirit away Iraqi centrifuge components to Syria.158 The chemical and biological weapons Sada speaks of are apparently still in Syria, but Bashar al-Assad has not allowed international inspectors to search suspected depots. Even without ‘custodianship’ of Iraqi WMDs, Syria itself has one of the most advanced biological and chemical weapons capabilities in the Middle East.

Syria seeks to acquire advanced Russian-made Iskander-E missiles which would revolutionize its current arsenal of missiles (SCUD159 , SS-21 and FROG missiles. Iskander missiles would give Syria the ability to carry out a surprise aerial attack on Israel with solid-fuel missiles that can be launched quickly, travel at a speed of 3,455 MPH and reach Tel Aviv in less than three minutes.

The confluence of possession of weapons of mass destruction; efforts to acquire Russia ballistic missiles or build Syrian missiles with North Korean technology; and a proven record as a champion of terrorism by proxies or by the regime160 itself are a very dangerous brew that Israel cannot ignore. Despite Syria’s diplomatic isolation and the sorry state of the Syrian military as a whole (which despite its size, at present does not constitute a major concern) Syria cannot be ‘written off’ as a security threat to Israel. IDF Chief-of-Staff Dan Haloutz has challenged conventional wisdom saying that he has “no doubt that [weapons of mass destruction’ existed in Iraq.” Moreover, he also warns that “weapons of mass destruction are today a regional phenomenon” singling out Syria in particular as a major offender.161 Major General Haloutz, who is a former commander of the IAF, added that this combination of WMDs and missile technology that regimes like Syria seek to acquire are designed to neutralize Israel’s air superiority in any full-scale war. Full Scale war is a contingency that is “not behind us.”

Informed observers say that Israel’s minimal requirement for peace with Syria would have to ensure the absolute demilitarization of the Golan Heights and leave Israel in control of the Hermon. Any changes in the status of the Golan would have to be part of a genuine peace treaty with Syria based on full normalization that is part of a comprehensive regional peace settlement. For the time being, in light of the radicalization taking place in the Middle East – including Syria, this is almost an End of Days scenario.

Syria is not only an Israeli security concern. Syria’s behavior in the 2003 war in Iraq and its ongoing support of insurgents seeking to undermine stabilization and reform in Iraq, poses a threat to the America’s presence in neighboring Iraq, as well.

Ironically, the current Syrian government may not be the worst of all possible governments. In early 2005, the BBC and the Washington Post reported that Syria is witnessing an Islamist revival. The al-Asad’s ruling elite belongs to the minority Shiite Alowite sect – some 15 percent of the population, while 70 percent of the Syrians are Sunnis. In 1982, the secular Ba’ath party brutally crushed the Muslim Brotherhood which threatened the regime (including an assassination attempt on Hafiz al-Assad in June 1980). The regime killed some five to ten thousand Brotherhood supporters in Hamat in 1982 in a final showdown and outlawed the Brotherhood. Yet, there has been speculation among some scholars that elements tied with Muslim Brotherhood ideology could take power if Bashar al-Assad’s pro-terrorist regime collapses under the weight of international pressure to abandon its support of terrorism and democratize.164 One of the members of the Syrian parliament with ties to the Brotherhood claims a full third of Syrian men now attend mosques. Islamists say the attraction of religion is the product of “the total failure of secular Arab governments.” Middle East analysts agree that like other Arab countries, in Syria there is no ‘middle ground’ for reform: There is no civic society, no significant middle class and no ‘competing ideology’ between bankrupt socialist and pan-Arab ideologies of parties such as the Ba’ath, and those who say ‘Islam is the solution.’

Iraq: The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime removed one of the immediate threats on Israel’s eastern front, however, continued violence and political chaos make it too early to assess what change will take root in Iraq…and in the Middle East as a whole. Under such conditions, “it would be a cardinal error for Israeli policy-makers to conclude that…Israel’s east is moving in the direction of greater stability.”165 There are many signs of destabilization and radicalization of the eastern front (Syria, Jordan, Iran and Iraq) that potentially could transform this front into a major concern for Israel and make control of strategic areas of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley all the more essential. Lamentably, as many political observers have pointed out, the consequences of democracy taking hold in Arab states tends to empower Islamic extremists, as has been the case in Algeria, Jordan and Turkey, and more recently, in the Palestinian Authority.

Qaeda and Iran – New direct participants in the conflict

Israel’s multiple security challenges have been compounded by two ‘new’ players who at the close of 2005 have moved from the periphery to center stage. Both are extremist Islamist entities hell-bent to exterminate Israel: Al-Qaeda and Iran:

Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda initially assigned Israel a “low priority” in its operations, but in October 2005, the head of IDF warned that “[Israel’s] prioritization for [Al-Qaeda] is increasing.”166 In the past, beyond declarations linking Israel to the United States as the enemy and ‘Palestine’ as a holy cause, Al-Qaeda’s Israel operation was mostly confined to behind-the-screen support for Palestinian terrorists or attacks by Al-Qaeda operatives on ‘soft’ Jewish or Israeli targets abroad (Tunisia, Morocco, Istanbul, Kenya.) Following destruction of its headquarters in Afghanistan (2002) and the occupation of Iraq by western forces (2003), the base and focus of Al-Qaeda’s operation has shifted to the Middle East, including “playing the Palestinian Card,” say Ely Karmon of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center - Herzliya.167 Al-Qaeda has broadened its ‘outreach’ literally to Israel’s doorsteps with a duel aim: one – to destabilize secular regimes in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, two – to get within striking range of Israel proper.168 Al-Qaeda cells were responsible for attacks on Israeli tourists in Taba in October 2004, and bombings of Egyptian resort hotels in at Taba and Sharm el-Sheik in July 2005, also designed to kill Israelis vacationing in Sinai.169 Whether due to inability or unwillingness, Egypt has failed to root-out Al-Qaeda operatives in Sinai. Since Israel’s August 2005 Disengagement, key Al-Qaeda operative have crossed the Sinai-Gaza border to establish a base in Gaza, under the protective umbrella of the Palestinian Authority.170

There are various signs that Al-Qaeda’s ideology is changing orientation towards a direct confrontation with Israel. In December 2005, Al-Qaeda disseminated a special 500-word fatwa (religious ruling) to its operatives that was out of character – devoted entirely to Israel. It called supporters to mobilize for a massive jihad against Israel “within their borders and everywhere else in the world” promising to “strike from within” and disclosing that “our people have already begun to plan to organize the strike…”171 They underscored this message with a barrage of Katyusha rockets on the Upper and Western Galilee days later, an attack that Iraqi-based Al-Qaeda leader Zarqawi says was ordered by Bin Laden himself.172

According to Karmon’s monitor of ideological strategy planners within Al-Qaeda, 2006 will be marked by geographical spread and empowerment of second generation leadership within Al-Qaeda who will “engage in direct confrontation with the State of Israel in Palestine.”173 Reuven Paz of the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center174 believes Egypt and Sinai will constitute a “new arena of holy warfare” for World Jihad – an assessment based on scrutiny of the writings of scholar-operative Al-Suri, one of the rising stars among the ‘second generation’ that Karmon speaks of.175 A main tenant of Al-Suri’s new doctrine is to end the counterproductive bloodbath between Muslims in Iraq and concentrate on targeting non-Muslims in the Middle East and secular Muslim governments. All the above-mentioned reports indicate that the threat to Israel from Al-Qaeda – often presented in Western newspapers as a phenomenon unrelated to the Arab-Israeli conflict – is genuine and growing.

Iran. The second player whose prominence is growing is Iran. Iran aspires to compete for regional hegemony in the new Middle East power matrix after its arch-enemy Iraq was neutralized by the 2003 Iraq war. A combination of advanced technology and petrodollar-fueled proxies has transformed Iran from an ‘outer rim’ member of the Middle East’s anti-Israel coalition, into a key player in the Israel-Arab conflict. Contenders for leadership of the Arab world have always played the popular Palestine card, but when Machiavellian opportunism, despotism and religious fervor merge with advances in nuclear fission and rocket technology, Iran becomes an existential threat to the State of Israel.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the threshold of possessing nuclear bombs and a long-range delivery system has declared that Israel “must be wiped out from the map of the world.” Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki clarified on state-run television that “the comments expressed by the president are the declared and specific policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”176 Indeed, this seems to be so. Ahmadinejad’s predecessor – the so-called ‘moderate’ Hashemi Rafsanjani, has no qualms about ‘thinking the unthinkable’: In December 2001 he declared that “if one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now…the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything…It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality”…even taking into account the damage to Muslims.177 In May 2003, a Saudi cleric issued a fatwa on behalf of bin Laden sanctioning using a nuclear weapon against the United States.178 In February 2006 Iranian cleric Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of President Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, issued a similar fatwa that "Shari'a [Islamic religious law] does not forbid the use of nuclear weapons,” and “in terms of Shari'a, it all depends on the goal.”179

One should keep in mind that the Cold War was kept in rein by the acute awareness of both parties that a nuclear first strike would end in mutual assured destruction (MAD) due to the other side’s second-strike capacity. Israel has successfully tested its Arrow missile defense system against a target resembling Iran’s long-range Shabhab-3 missile believed to be capable of packing a nuclear warhead with a range of 2000 kilometers (1,250 miles). Clearly, this is an Israeli warning to Iran.180 Although according to foreign sources, Israel is believed to also have a submarine-based second-strike capability,181 there is growing concern that for a ‘revolutionary rogue state’ such as Iran where political leaders boast that Israel could be obliterated with one, at most two atomic bombs in a first strike, MAD might not be a deterrent: Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes182 founder of the Middle East Forum adds another reason for alarm: Ahmadinejad belongs to a radical apocylyptic form of Shiite Islam that believes the end of the world will come in the next few years, to be followed by mahhdaviat, a world filled with Islamic “justice and peace” ushered in by the return of the Twelfth Imam (Mahadi). This gives Ahmadinejad’s reassurances that Iran’s nuclear projects are for ‘peaceful purposes’ a very anonymous ring, to say the least.183 Iran has an ‘illustrious’ quarter-century record of state-sponsored terror184 that makes its threats sound all the more genuine. A study by Henry D. Sokolski and Patrick Clawson published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, concludes:

“Were Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, there is a grave risk it would be tempted to provide them to terrorists. After all, mass casualty terrorism done by proxies has worked well for Iran to date.”185

While a nuclear Iran is a threat to the entire world – a peril recognized by many western leaders, at least on the declarative level – Israel has made it clear that it cannot and will not tolerate such a situation186 – a policy some observers have labeled the ‘Begin Doctrine’ after Israel’s distraction of Iraq’s reaction in 1981, a preemptive strike ordered by then prime minister Menachem Begin.

Encirclement of Israel by radical Islamists

There are signs of increasing cooperation between Al-Qaeda in Sinai with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority – encircling Israel with Islamist terrorist groups whose declared objective is to destroy Israel. Their operations, in turn, all involve a growing cooperation with Iran (and Syria). The fact all these groups are Islamic in character, is not coincidental. In fact, scholars such as Meir Litvak at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies believe the Israeli-Arab conflict is undergoing a process of Islamization. Litvak cites that this is registered both in an emerging ‘Palestinian identity’ with a strong religious component, reflected in the vote of confidence Hamas received in January 2006 Palestinian elections, and in the way the Israeli-Arab conflict is being redefined by other Arabs, as well – as a religious conflict between western Judeo-Christian civilization and Islam.187

In a post-election in-depth profile of Hamas188, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies – a body associated with the IDF Intelligence Branch, labeled Hamas’ victory “an earth-shattering event” for Palestinians “whose shockwaves are expected to wash over Arab countries and reach throughout the Muslim world. The study says it is “the first time that the Middle East has seen the rise to power of a radical Islamic movement with a terrorist-operative wing in democratic elections.” The white paper warns this event will have “far-reaching consequences extending beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” Debka file, an Israeli commercial intelligence and security news web site noted that this is the first Sunni Islamic state to be established in the Middle East, a no less ominous insight.189

The ‘bandwagon effect’ of the Hamas landslide was reflected in the response of the head of the Islamic movement in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front (IAF, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood) MP Azzam Huneidi, who described the Hamas victory is “an important milestone and model for Jordan.”190 In 2003 parliamentary elections, the Islamists largely boycotted elections for Jordan’s Lower House, leading to a very low turnout (44 percent) in protest of gerrymandered election reform designed to undercut opposition parties.191 One should keep in mind that political Islam is hardly a marginal player in Jordanian politics: In 1989 the Muslim Brotherhood controlled a third of the Jordanian parliament and in 1993 was the largest party in the parliament.192 Furthermore, some 80 percent of the Jordanian population is Palestinian, and even the traditionally-moderate Bedouin are being radicalized – a process epitomized by Abu Musab Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaida’s Iraq-based faction. Zarqawi is a Jordanian Bedouin.

The Broader Picture: Threats from Near and Far

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN, the late Chaim Herzog once said in the UN:

“As long as [Israel’s] neighbors maintain that a state of war exists, it is the duty of the Israeli government – a duty which is clearly recognized in international law – to do what it sees fit to protect its inhabitants.”193

At the time (the 1970s) Herzog was thinking of Israel’s immediate neighbors. Today, ‘belligerent neighbor status’ no longer hinging on close geography. While two of Israel’s immediate neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties with Israel, Israel’s duty to defend its citizens from serious threats to their security – even their very survival, now extends a thousand miles beyond its border as well as ‘five minutes from Kfar Saba.’

At the outset of 2006, Israel finds itself being surrounded by a growing coalition of radical Shiite and Sunni forces that make no bones of the fact that they seek Israel’s extinction – from Iran to the east, Hezbollah to the north and a growing religious element in Syria to the northeast; Hamas in Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood in pro-Western Egypt to the south; Saudi Arabia to the southeast; and Hamas on the West Bank and the Muslim Brotherhood in pro-Western Jordan to the east – and with Al-Qaeda turning its attention to Israel, and the Islamic and Palestinian identity of Israel’s Arab citizens growing stronger, Israel must be ready to meet a host of contingencies that threaten its security, even it very existence.


  • Israel is limited in the kinds of risks it can take, given the geography and volatile nature of the Middle East. It must remain in control of control strategic areas of the West Bank, and needs to remain strong enough to deal with a coalition of Arab states in a conventional war, should such a threat materialize.
  • Israel, like America, lost much of its deterrent power and must demonstrate it cannot be attack with impunity.
  • An arsenal of 12,000 missiles, rockets and mortars in the hands of Hezbollah and similar weapons in the hands of Syria are a strategic threat to Israel’s security.
  • Palestinian suicide bombers also constitute a strategic threat to Israel. The components of Israel’s counter-terrorism doctrine – first and foremost, the security fence, are legitimate and effective. With Hamas at the helm, Israel is likely to face escalation of the Terror War with improved rocketry and attempts at mega-terrorist attacks.
  • Iran has moved from ‘outer rim’ status to become major players in the Israel-Arab conflict. Al-Qaeda is also zeroing in on Israel.
  • At the outset of 2006, the Israeli-Arab conflict is being ‘Islamicized.’ Israel is being surrounded by a coalition of Islamist forces that seek its extinction – Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Al-Qaeda in Sinai and Gaza, the Moslem Brotherhood in neighboring Egypt and Jordan, and Iran.

1 “Secretary Rumsfeld Town Hall Meeting,” DoDNews, August 6, 2002 at:
http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2002/t08062002_t0806townhall.html. (10189)
2 The ‘outer rim’ includes Muslims who are not Arabs – such as the Iranians.
3 The ‘phase plan’ was adopted in 1974 (Point 2 of the secret 10-Point Program adopted by the Palestinian National Council at its 12th convention). It called for establishing a “national, independent fighting authority on every part of the Palestinian land to be liberated.” Any territory Israel would relinquish, the Palestine Liberation Organization would consolidate the gains, then renew pressure for a further withdrawal until all of Palestine would be ‘redeemed. In January 2006, Hamas began to circulate a ‘re-phrased phase plan’ based on an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders in return for a ‘temporary cease fire’ (hudna, in Arabic) for up to a decade – designed to enable Hamas to consolidate its control of the West Bank and Gaza and build its military might unhindered, then renew armed struggle and demands for more.
4 Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, “MAN PADS’ Shoulder Fired anti-Aircraft Missiles – What do they Mean – Politically?” Nativ, April-May 2001.
5 Yaakov Amidror, “Israel’s Requirement for Defensible Borders,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2005, at: http://www.defensibleborders.org/amidror.htm (11596)
6 A study, conducted by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (June 29, 1967) under Gen. Earl Wheeler points to the minimum territory Israel required “in order to permit defense against possible conventional Arab attack …” The study content was considered so explosive and contrary to State Department policy, it was classified Top Secret until the Wall Street Journal revealed its conclusions in 1983.
7 Jerusalem Post, November 7, 1991.
8 Former Commander of USS Forestal and former Chief of Staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Congressional Record, July 29, 1991.
9 For excerpts from Douglas Feith’s article “A Strategy for Israel,” published in September 1997 in Commentary, see:
http://christianactionforisrael.org/medigest/feb98/opinion.html. (10216)
10 “Secretary Rumsfeld Town Hall Meeting,” DoDNews, August 6, 2002 at:
http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2002/t08062002_t0806townhall.html. (10189)
11 Quoted in Charles Krauthammer, “At Last, Zion,” Weekly Standard, Issue 34, November 5, 1998, at:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/check.asp?idArticle=9581&r=gsydf. (11597) Krauthammer said “Israel too is a small country. This is not to say that extinction is its fate. Only that it can be.”
12 An overview of the geographical realities of Israel’s security concerns, see Jane’s profile, David Eshel, “A Palestinian state and Israeli security,” October 13, 2000, at:
http://www.janes.com/regional_news/africa_middle_east/news/jir/jir001013_3_n.shtml. (10192)
13 See: http://middleeastfacts.org/territories.asp. (10277)
14 Statistics, http://www.iris.org.il/katyusha.htm. (10193)
15 Flying Time Between Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, Department of Jewish Zionist Education, see:
http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/maps/fly.html. (10194)
16 For a discussion of Israel’s vulnerability from the air, see Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, “Non-classified realities affecting Israel’s air force 2005-2010,” Ariel Center for Policy Research, Publication 136, March 2002. For a graphic illustration of the geographical ‘blind’ against air attack. See “Cross-section Herzliya-Nablus (Shem)-Jordan River,” at: http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/maps/nablus.html. (11598)
17 See: http://middleeastfacts.org/Elevation.asp . (10272)
18 Alex Safran, “Does Israel Use “Palestinian Water?” CAMERA, March-April 2000, at:
0http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/backg/water.html. (1599)
19 Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, “Israel-Arabia Eye to Eye with the Future,” Ariel Center for Policy Research, Policy paper 112, January 2001, p. 29.
20 “Katyusha Rockets and Israeli Security,” http://www.iris.org.il/katyusha.htm. (10193)
21 “hundreds of Qassam rockets have been fired at Israel since the disengagement,” Yediot Ahronot, March 21, 2006, at:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3230573,00.html. (11600)
22 See: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/699804.html. (11601)
23 “Seizing of the Palestinian weapons ship Karine A on January 4, 2002,” IDF Spokesman’s Office, January 4, 2002, at:
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2002/Seizing%20of%20the%20Palestinian%20weapons%20ship%20Karine%20A%20-. (10197)
24 “2005 Summary,” (in Hebrew) GSS Spokesperson, Prime Minister’s Office, at: (11602)
25 Yael Shahar, “The Santorini & Mortar Diplomacy,” Institute for Counter-Terrorism, May 10, 2001, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/comment.cfm?id=606. (10202)
26 For a BBC overview on the Strella-2 SAM Missile, see “The threat from portable missiles,” November 29, 2002, BBC News, at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2527645.stm. (10199)
27 Ahmed Jibril: Head of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), a radical pro-Syrian organization, On use of arms ships, see Mitchell Ginsburg, “Santorini arms ship completed three smuggling trips before Israel intercepted it,” Jerusalem Report, November 18, 2002, at:
http://www.mefacts.com/cache/html/israel-security/10656.htm (10656). For information on inventory, objectives and Ahmed Jibril interview with the French news agency. See “Ahmed Jibril Vows Further Arms Shipments to Palestinians,” Institute for Counter-Terrorism, May 10, 2001, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=606. (10200)
28 “2005 Summary,” (in Hebrew) GSS Spokesperson, Prime Minister’s Office, at: (11602)
29 Nick Hopkins and Richard Norton-Taylor, “Huge hunt for missile smugglers,” Guardian, February 13, 2003, at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,894543,00.html. (10201)
30 Arieh Egozi, “Shielded Plans will Land in Europe,” (in Hebrew), Yediot Ahronot, February 16, 2006.
31 Yael Shahar, “The Santorini & Mortar Diplomacy,” Institute for Counter-Terrorism, May 10, 2001, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/comment.cfm?id=606. (10202)
32 Yuval Steinitz, “The Growing Threat to Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge,” Jerusalem Center for Policy Affairs - Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol 3, No. 10, December 11, 2003, at: http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief3-10.htm. (11603)
33Discussion of loss of deterrent power is discussed in detail in Ellie Lieberman, “Deterrence Theory: Success or Failure in Arab-Israeli Wars,” McNair Paper No. 45, Chapter 1, Institute for National Security Studies. October 1995, at:
http://www.ndu.edu/inss/McNair/mcnair45/mcnair45.pdf. (11604)
34 For maps, see “Missile and Artillery Ranges,” at: http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/maps/missle.html (10203). For conventional Katyusha rockets, see:
http://www.iris.org.il/katyusha.htm. For report on Iranian Fajr-3 missiles with a range of 45 kilometer (25 miles) and third-generation Katyusha rockets with a 60 kilometer (37.5 miles) range, in the hands of Hezbollah, see “Iranian Artillery Rockets” in Global Security report, at:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/mrl-iran.htm. (10204)
35 “Israel Assesses Hezbollah Missile Threat…” in Missile Defense Briefing Report No. 86, American Foreign Policy Council, January 2, 2003, at: http://www.afpc.org/mdbr/mdbr86.shtml (10207)
36 Gary Gambill, “Hezbollah’s Strategic Rocket Arsenal,” Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Vol 4, No 11, November-December 2002, at:
http://www.meib.org/articles/0211_l2.htm (11723)
37 “TRW uses world's first laser weapon to shoot down operational rocket,” Aerotech News and Review, June 9, 2000, at:
http://www.aerotechnews.com/starc/2000/060900/TRW_THEL.html. (10205)
38 “US kills Nautilus laser gun,” Globes, January 18, 2006.
39 Taylor Dinerman, “Effective Ballistic Missile Defense Requires a New Testing Paradigm,” spaceequity.com, March 15, 2002, at:
http://www.tgv-rockets.com/spaceequity_3-15-02.htm. (10206)
40 Cited in Patrick Devenny, “Hezbollah’s Strategic Threat to Israel,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2006, at:
http://www.meforum.org/article/806. ( 11723)
41Gary Gambill, “Hezbollah’s Strategic Rocket Arsenal,” Op. Cit.
42 Patrick Devenny, “Hezbollah’s Strategic Threat to Israel,” Op. Cit.
43 Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 5th rev. ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978.
44 Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, “Israel-Arabia Eye to Eye with the Future,” Op. Cit., p. 23 and note 23.
45 Cited in Dan Schueftan, “Voice of Palestine: The New Ideology of Israeli Arabs,” Azure, Winter 2003, at:
http://www.azure.org.il/magazine/magazine.asp?id=156. (11724) See also: Timothy Gordon, Op. Cit.
46 Established by four mothers from settlements in the north with sons serving in Lebanon, following the deaths of 73 IDF soldiers in a mid-air helicopter collision – an event that rocked the entire country. See: www.4mothers.org.il
47 Cited in Daniel Pipes, “Israel’s Lebanon lesson,” Op. Cit.
48 PSR - Survey Research Unit: Poll No. 18,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Op. Cit.
49 56.2 percent supported them, compared to 49.7 percent in May 2005. See February y 25, 2006, Jerusalem Media and Communications Center poll: “Poll results from Palestinian Attitudes towards the results of the PLC election held on January 25, 2006,” Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, Poll #57, February 2006, at:
http://www.jmcc.org/publicpoll/results/2006/no57.pdf (11725)
50 Some of the ‘terror race’ will officially be against Hamas proxies, so Hamas can avoid ‘blame.’ Observers have suggested not only Islamic Jihad will fulfill this function but also Fatah’s armed wing. The same ‘division of labor’ was adopted by Arafat in the 1990s, where Hamas acted as a proxy for Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, after the PLO’s Oslo pledge to ‘abandon terrorism.’
51 Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Op. Cit.
52 “The Real Record,” Forward, September 19, 2003 at:
http://www.forward.com/issues/2003/03.09.19/ed.html, quoting the Jewish Virtual Library. (11729)
53 For statistics, see Ibid, and “Summary data on Palestinian terrorism in the course of the violent confrontation with Israel up until the Sharem el-Sheich summit (September 28, 2000 – February 8, 2005),” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, at:
http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/pa_t_e/sum_8feb_05.htm. (11730)
54 “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000-December 2005),” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies, January 1, 2006, at:
55 America’s population (281.4 m) was 44.6 times Israel’s (6.3 m) in September 2000. 2,967 persons were killed by 19 Arab terrorists on September 11.
56 It is sobering to reread some of the euphoric 1993 vintage commentary to sense just how overly optimistic and unrealistic expectations were. See for instance Ehud Yaari, “Peace: Towards Self-Rule – Bombers for Peace,” Jerusalem Report, 1993, at:
http://www.mefacts.com/cache/html/israel-security/10228.htm. (10228)
57 Ballantine Book, New York, March 1985.
58 Ophir Falk and Yaron Schwartz, “The Oslo Process – Fate or Folly?,” April 28, 2002, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=434. (10223)
59 Ari Shavit, “Onward, ship of fools,” Haaretz, February 16, 2006, at:
http://lists.btvshalom.org/pipermail/newsdigest-btvshalom.org/2006-February/003518.html. (11732)
60 Charles Krauthammer, “Palestine Without Illusions,” Washington Post, February 3, 2006, at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/02/AR2006020201579.html (11733)
61 The Charter of the Hamas. See translations (slight differences, combined for maximum clarity) at the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center – Center for Special Studies, at:
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_charter.pdf and the Ariel Center for Policy Research website, at:

62 Meir Litvak, “The Palestine Islmaic Jihand: Background Information,” Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies - Tel Aviv Notes, November 28, 2002, at: http://www.dayan.org/taunotes56.pdf.
63 “The Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Intelligence and Terrorism Center – Center for Special Studies, October 2003, at:
64 Including the double-suicide bombing at: Beit Leid Junction (1995) that killed 21 persons; the suicide bombing outside Dizzengoff Mall (1996) that killed 14, mostly teens; and (together with Hamas) the bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001 which killed 15, including 7 children and the Maxsim restaurant in Haifa, October 2003 which killed 21 persons, including five members each of two separate family.
65 Hamas was behind the other two – one ‘claimed’ by Islamic Jihad in an attempt to cover Hamas’ tracks. For statistics, see “Summary data on Palestinian terrorism in the course of the violent confrontation with Israel up until the Shar el-Sheich summit (September 28, 20000 – February 8, 2005), Op. Cit.
66 For Hezbollah’s mission statement, see “Identity and Goals” at:
http://www.victorynewsmagazine.com/HezbollahIdentityandGoals.htm. (11324)
67 Roni Daniel, Report from the Northern Border, Second Channel - ITV, January 28, 2005 Evening News broadcast, Intelligence warnings of impending threats of shelling or cross-border incursions to kill or kidnap Israeli citizens or soldiers, periodically disrupt life along the entire northern border.
68 “The Pew Global Attitudes Project – 2002,”p. 5, at:
69 The video of the beheading of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl is a horrifying example.
70 For an in-depth study of the phenomena, see “Jihad Online: Islamic Terrorists and the Internet,” at:
http://www.adl.org/internet/jihad.asp. (11339). However, Al-Jazeera TV is no less powerful a medium than the Internet.
71 David Talbot, “Terrorists Increasingly Turn to the Internet,” MIT Technology Review, February 21, 2006, at:
http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16385,258,p1.html An interviews with Gabriel Weimann, professor of communication at Haifa University regarding his forthcoming book Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges.
72 For an in-depth analysis of all aspects of the suicide bombing in a report prepared by graduates of IDF intelligence, see “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000-December 2005), Op. cit., at:
73 Cited by terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman in an interview “The Calculus of Terror,” Atlantic Magazine, May 15, 2003 at:
74 Avraham Bleich et al, “Exposure to Terrorism, Stress Related Mental Health symptoms and Coping Behaviors Among a Nationally Representative Sample,” JAMA, August 6, 2003. at:
75 Meir Elran, Op. Cit.
76 Attempts to demilitarize Germany after World War I were a dismal failure, of course. As to the durability of a Palestinian state would not remain demilitarized, see Louis Rene Beres and Zalman Shoval, “Why a Demilitarized Palestinian State Would Not Remain Demilitarized - A View According To International Law,” no date, at: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~lberes/arab2.html
77 Clarification: While the Nusseibeh-Ayalon Petition (penned by a Palestinian academic and a former Israeli GSS security chief) called for a demilitarized state, few Palestinians signed it (60,000); there were many complaints among the 1160 names made public in two ads in the Arabic press, that their names were added without their consent; and not one Palestinian leader endorsed it. See “More on Nusseibeh-Ayalon: “The So-called People’s Campaign,” Badil Resource Center, June 9, 2003, at:
http://www.badil.org/Publications/Press/2003/press305-03.htm and The ‘Nusseibeh-Ayalon Plan Totally Rejected By The Palestinian People, Badil Resource Center, June 5, 2003, at:
78 “PSR - Survey Research Unit: Poll No. 18,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, December 24, 2005, at:
79 Allocation by organization cited in “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000-December 2005),” Op. Cit. Hamas was responsible for 40 percent and Islamic Jihad for 27 percent.
80 This included a May 2002 plot to drive trucks laden with a ton of explosives into the underground parking lot of Israel’s ‘Twin Towers’ – the twin 50-storey Azrieli complex in Tel Aviv; the vehicles were discovered in Kalkilya, a Palestinian town 15 km. from Tel Aviv. Another was an attempt to blow up a fuel truck in the middle of a major gas/fuel storage complex surrounded by residential neighborhoods that was prevented only because the perpetrators mistakenly booby-trapped a tanker with kerosene, which is not a highly flammable petrol. On March 13, 2004 two suicide bombers killed ten persons in Ashdod port, but missed their main objective – the port’s dangerous toxic materials depot. In 2005, rockets from Gaza have focused more and more on zeroing in on sensitive infrastructure in Ashkelon’s southern industrial zone.
81 Krueger and Malechova, “Poverty and Low Education Don't Cause Terrorism,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 9070, at:
http://www.nber.org/digest/sep02/w9074.html, (10675), quoting PCPSR opinion poll #3 (December 2001), at:
http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2001/p3a.html. (10678)
82 PCPSR opinion poll #5, Policy and Survey Research, August 2002, at:
http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2002/p5a.html. (11331)
83 PCPSR opinion poll #7, Policy and Survey Research April 2003, at:
http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2003/p7a.html. (10682)
84 PCPSR opinion poll #13, Policy and Survey Research, September 2004, at:
http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2004/p13a.html. (11332)
85 PCPS opinion poll # 18, December 24, 2005, Op. Cit.
86 Allocation by organization cited in “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000-December 2005), Op. Cit. Fatah was responsible for 25 percent, Islamic Jihad for 27 percent.
87 Avishai Margalit, “The Suicide Bombers,” New York Times, January 16, 2003, at:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15979 (10671).
88 For general articles on the phenomena, see David Brooks, “The Culture of Martyrdom,” Atlantic, May 16, 2002, at:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200206/brooks. (10669) “Look at the Mind of a Suicide Bomber,” NPR, March 7, 2003, at:
http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/transcripts/2003/mar/030307.joyce.html. (10670)
89 Nachman Tal, “Suicide Attacks: Israel and Islamic Terrorism,” June 2002, at:
http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v5n1p6Tal.html . (10672)
90 Ariel Merari “The Psychology of Extremism,” University of Michigan, February 2002 quoted in “The Genesis of Suicide Terrorism,” Institute for Social Research – University of Michigan, at:
http://www.isr.umich.edu/news/isrupdate-2002-05.pdf (11326 ), and
http://middleeastinfo.org/article3134.html . (10673)
91 Scott Atran “Genesis of Suicide Terrorism, Op. Cit.
92 Krueger and J. Maleckova, NBER Working Paper no w9074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass. July 2002, at:
http://papers.nber.org/papers/W9074 .
93 Scott Atran “Genesis of Suicide Terrorism, Op. Cit.
94 For further details see Opinion Poll # 12 June 2004 at:
http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2004/p12a.html . (11328)
95 Krueger and J. Maleckova, NBER Working Paper no w9074, Op. Cit.
96 Robert Spencer, “Mother from Hell,” frontpagemagazine.com, February 8, 2006, at:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21198 .
97 Palestinian Students Glorify Terrorism with Exhibit in Nablus,” Anti-Defamation League, 2001, at:
http://www.adl.org/israel/israel_sbarro.asp . For information on the actual bombing, see “Suicide Bombing in Jerusalem Restaurant,” Institute for Counter Terrorism – Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, August 9, 2001, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=652 and photo “Middle East peace retreats in 2001,” BBC, January 2, 2002, at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/2001/review_of_2001/1723363.stm . (11329)
98 “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000-December 2005), Intelligence and Terrorism Info rmation Center, Op. Cit.
99 Quoted by Itamar Marcus, “Palestinian words since Aqaba – more telling than deeds,” Palestinian Media Watch, at:
http://www.pmw.org.il/weekly.html#article1. (11333)
100 For instance, attempts by Israel to isolate Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters were met by a string of visits by senior European diplomats and politicians that undermined pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop the incitement and state-supported terror.
101 Announcement of American support for Palestinian statehood and the Road Map proposal that made Palestinian statehood a ‘given,' literally and figuratively – instead of it hinging on peace, came at the height of the Palestinian carnage.
102 “Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000-December 2005), Intelligence and Terrorism Info rmation Op. Cit.
103 “2005 Summary,” (in Hebrew) GSS Spokesperson, Prime Minister's Office, January 2, 2006 at:
http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMO/Communication/Spokesman/sbkspoke .
104 Amos Harel, “Shin Bet chief Diskin says Israel in midst of ‘new wave of terror,'” Haaretz, February 6, 2006, at:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArtVty.jhtml?sw=terror&itemNo=679123 .
105 Sever Plocker, “the cure – cutting aid,” Yediot Ahronot, March 20, 2006, at:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3229835,00.html .
106 Daniel Pipes, “Israel's Moment of Truth,” Commentary, February 2000, at:
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/327 .
107 Thomas L. Friedman, “Suicide bombers threaten us all,” New York Times, April 1, 2002, at:
http://www.factsofisrael.com/load.php?p=http://www.factsofisrael.com/blog/archives/000071.html. (10677)
108 After the 1967 Six Day War, the Green Line was ‘erased' on the overly optimistic assumption that contact with Israelis (and Israeli Arabs, who enjoyed unequaled prosperity and civil rights unknown in the West Bank) would breed moderation and acceptance with Israel. West Bank residents could literally walk or drive into Israel unhampered, until earthworks and roadblocks were established and the security fence were constructed in response to the Terror War.
109 For a discussion of this component of Israel's counter-terrorism doctrine, see Gal Luft, “the Logic of Israel's Targeted Killing,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2003, at: http://www.meforum.org/article/515 and Judge Amnon Straschnov (former IDF Military Advocate General) “Israel's Commitment to Domestic and International Law in Times of War,” Jerusalem Center for Policy Affairs – Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 4, No. 5, October 10, 2004, at: http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief4-5.htm .
110 Reply is available in book form at Amazon.com, and a free electronic copy in PDF format can be downloaded on the Myths and Facts web site, at:
111 John Bradley, “Saudi Arabia enrages Yemen with fence,” Independent, February 11, 2004, at:
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=490024 .
112 “Close call on Border,” Yemen Times, February 15, 2004, at: http://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=711&p=front&a=1 .
113 “The Security Fence – Hopes and Fears,” Jewish Agency Department for Jewish Zionist Education at:
http://www.jafi.org.il/education/actual/conflict/fence/ .
114 For discussion of the security fence by the Israeli Supreme Court, see High Court of Justice ruling HCJ 2056/04, June 30, 2004, “Beit Sourik Village Council v. 1.The Government of Israel,” at: . How ‘proportionality' is adjudicated is clarified in Paragraph 36. (10926)
115 IDF Ministry of Defense report, at: www.seamline.mod.gov.il .
116 James Robbins, “When Bad Neighbors Require Good Fences,” National Review, at:
http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins080103.asp .
117 “The security fence and the buffer zone as a successful obstacle to terrorism,” Intelligence and Terrorism Info rmation Center – Center for Special Studies, July 2004, at:
http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/c_t/fence/images/july_10_04.pdf .
118 “Successful vs. Unsuccessful (thwarted) Terrorist Attacks,” IDF Spokesman's Office, See:
http://www1.idf.il/SIP_STORAGE/DOVER/files/6/31646.doc .
119 It runs westward from the Beit Shaan Valley in the northeast (Kibbutz Tirat Zvi) to the ‘Triangle' (a triangular ‘elbow' heavily populated by Israeli Arabs and parallel West Bank Palestinian villages and towns, that was a popular cross-over spot for terrorists). At the ‘elbow' of the Triangle the security fence turns southward running parallel to the Sharon (Elkana).
120 Arek Binder, “GSS chief Dichter justifies barrier,” Maariv, February 24, 2004 at:
http://maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=3499 .
121 “The security fence and the buffer zone as a successful obstacle to terrorism,” Intelligence and Terrorism Info rmation Center – Center for Special Studies, Op. Cit.
122 For instance, an Islamic Jihad bomber with a 5-kilogram shoulder bag apprehended on Highway 1 that links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, .in a GMC van transporting 10 Palestinian job-seekers. See “Highway drama: Terror attack foiled,” Yediot Ahronot, March 21, 2006, at:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3230430,00.html .
123 Reem Salah Riashi, 21, a mother of two young children is a case in point: She approached a checkpoint claiming that a metal pin in her leg had set off the metal detector. In such a situation, a male suspect would have been ordered to raise his shirt, then lower his pants from a safe distance, but Riashi was to approach a secluded security booth, allowing her to get close enough to kill four Israelis – including a female inspector, and wound 12 others when she detonated her concealed suicide belt.
124 Such dastardly conduct extends to hiding suicide belts under sick children in ambulances, using ambulances to move operatives in and out of closed areas disguised as paramedics or patients in need of immediate care. The Palestinians then charged that heartless Israelis stop ambulances.
125 “Survey: 1 in 4 teens live in fear of terror,” Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2004.
126 David Simons “Cold Calculation Of Terror,” May 28, 2002, Forbes. See:
http://www.forbes.com/2002/05/28/0529simons.html . (10476)
127 Statistics cited in the “2006 State Budget,” (in Hebrew) at:
http://www.mof.gov.il/budget2006/fbudget.htm?budget.htm .
128 Statistics appear in K. Kagan, et al, “Defense Structure, Procurement and Industry: The Case of Israel,” June 30, 2005, at:
http://home.uchicago.edu/~yshefi/ksst.pdf .
129 ‘More or less' encompasses families who refrained from going out together to eateries or traveling on public transportation; bus passengers who endured tense daily commutes, unparalleled cell phone sales for children, and frantic calls that ‘crash' networks after every attack, etc.
130 Meir Elran, “Israel's National Resilience: The Influence of the Second Intifada on Israeli Society (in Hebrew), Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Memorandum No. 81, January 2006,
http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/memoranda/memo81.pdf .
131 Avraham Bleich, Op. Cit.
132 For the latest profiles of all Middle Easter countries, published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (Tel Aviv University) see:
133 See the report to Congress on global military acquisitions, at:
http://www.fas.org/asmp/resources/govern/crs-rl32084.pdf and Daniel Pipes, “Israel's Moment of Truth,” Commentary, February, 2000, at: http://www.danielpipes.org/article/327 . The threat from the combined military strength of all the Arab states (particularly military build-ups in Egypt and Syria with massive Soviet aid in the 1970s) has forced Israel for most of its history, to spend between 8-10 percent of its GNP on defense, and an unprecedented 25 percent after the Six Day war and over 30 percent following tremendous loses of equipment in the Yom Kippur War. In 1999, defense had been cut to 6.4 percent, but reverted to 9-10 percent due to the Terror War. Statistics appear in K. Kagaan, et al, “Defense Structure, Procurement and Industry: The Case of Israel,” Op. Cit.
134 Cited in the profile of Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East Military Balance 2003-4, published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Op. Cit.
135 Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, “Non-classified realities affecting Israel's air force 2005-2010,” Op. cit.
136 For an evaluation of peace with Egypt by a former head of IAF intelligence, see Ron Tira, “Land-plus for no peace,” Jerusalem Post, October 11, 1996, posted by Information Regarding Israel's Security, at:
http://www.io.com/~jewishwb/iris/archives/772.html . (10698)
137 Yuval Steinitz, “The Growing Threat to Israel's Qualitative Military Edge,” Jerusalem Center for Policy Affairs - Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 3, No. 10, December 11, 2003, at: http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief3-10.htm .
138 “Changes in Egyptian Policy Towards Israel,” MEMRI, December 4, 2000, at:
http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=egypt&ID=IA4400 .
139 In February 2005, in the wake of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit. The new ambassador is Mohammed Asim Ibrahim, who served previously in Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. The previous ambassador, Mohamed Bassiouni had served in Israel since 1986. Among the candidates to replace Bassiouni were more prestigious figures in the Egyptian diplomatic hierarchy, such as Mohamed El-Orabi – Egypt's ambassador in Berlin.
140 See for instance, the case of celebrated Egyptian playwright Ali Salem, who was expelled in May 2001 from the Union of Egyptian Writers for his pro-normalization' stance, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2002, at: http://www.meforum.org/article/130 . (10697)
141 “How the Arabs Compare. Arab Human Development Report 2002,” Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2002, at:
http://www.meforum.org/article/ 513 . (11334)
142 See Eilyahu Kanovsky, “The Middle East Economies: The Impact of Domestic and International Politics,” Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies - Middle East Policy and Security Studies, at:
; (10688). Kenneth W. Stein, “The Arab-Israel peace process: 1999” (on Jordan), at:
http://www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/JewishStudies/stein/Book Chapters/MECS99.html . Also “Continuity and Change in Egyptian-Israeli relations 1973-1997” (on Egypt), Israel Affairs (Spring-Summer 1997), at:
http://www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/JewishStudies/stein/Scholarly Journal Articles/E-I Relations.html .
143 For an overview of the report and its significance, see “How the Arabs Compare: Arab Human Development 2002,” Op. Cit. For the full report, see the UN Website http://www.undp.org/rbas/ahdr/english2002.html . (11335)
144 Jon Alterman, “Egypt: Stable, but for How Long?” Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2000, at:
http://www.twq.com/autumn00/alterman.pdf . (10699)
145 Tom Perry, “Islamists show strength in Egypt elections,” Reuters, November 16, 2005, at:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1318043. Khairi Abaza, “Egyptian Legislative Elections: A Reading of the Results,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, December 12, 2005, at :
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2418 .
146 Ehud Yaari, “Peace by Piece: A Decade of Egyptian Policy,” Policy Paper #7, 1987, at: Policy," - see:
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC04.php?CID=93 .
147 Dan Eldar, “Egypt and Israel A Reversible Peace,” Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2003, at:
http://www.meforum.org/article/565 .
148 Ori Nir, “Al-Qaeda Establishing Base in Gaza,” Forward, December 30, 2005.
149 For more on this, see Asher Susser, “Jordan: Case Study of a Pivotal State,” Policy Paper #53, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2000, at:
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC04.php?CID=51 .
150 “Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics,” Pew Global Attitudes Project, July 14, 2005, at:
http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=248 .
151 In the 2005 survey only 30 percent felt Islam's role was increasing – but the wording is ambiguous – whether the drop in influence was benchmarked by respondents compared to the tremendous gains of recent years.
152 Omar Karmi, “What does the Hams victory mean for nearby Jordan?,” Daily Star, February 18, 2006, at:
http://dailystar.com.lb/printable.asp?art_ID=22307&cat_ID=5 .
153 A survey carried out at the end of 1999 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy among 1,600 Jordanians, Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians, found 54 percent wanted Israel to eventually disappear from the Middle Eastern map. Cited in Anti-Semitism Worldwide 1999/2000, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv Univer si ty,
http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw99-2000/arab.htm . (10626)
154 On categorizing and evaluating the importance of the ‘second and third ring,' see Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin (Commandant, IDF Colleges), “Conflicts in the Second and Third Circles,” The New Strategic Landscape: Trends, Challenges, and Responses Conference, December 2-4, 2002, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya at: http://www.herzliyaconference.org . (11338)
155 See for instance, columnist David Ignatius, “Syria's Cautious Son,” Washington Post, February 11, 2003, at:
(11336) and Andrew Lamont, “Can Bashar al-Asad Deliver on His Promises?” Jerusalem Report, Anniversary publication 2000, at:
http://www.jrep.com/Info/10thAnniversary/2000/Article-12.html . (11337)
156 For an intelligence assessment of Syria's rogue state activities see “Syria 2004: Ongoing Support of Terrorism, Non-Conventional Weapons Build-Up, Continuing Violations of Human Rights,” Intelligence and Terrorism Center – Center for Special Studies, July 2004, at:
http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/sib/12_04/syria.htm .
157 Ira Stoll, “Iraq's WMD Secreted in Syria, Sada Says,” New York Sun, January 26, 2006, at:
. The disclosure was made in a book by Gen. Georges Sada: “How an Iraqi General Defied and Survived Saddam Hussein.”
158 Cited in Lee Kass, “Syria after Lebanon: The Growing Syrian Missile Threat,” Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2005, at:
http://www.meforum.org/article/755 .
159 According to Jane's, Syria has a large number of SCUD launchers, 24 to 36 at each Syrian missile site, with a low ratio of missiles per launcher (2:1 rather than 10:1) suggesting Syria's seeks an offensive capability to carry out a large first-wave strike before launchers would be found and destroyed by Israeli aircraft. Quoted in Anthony Cordesman and Arleigh Burke, “Syrian Military Forces and Capabilities,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 15, 2003, at:
http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,1836/ .
160 For an in-depth discussion of terrorism as an enduring feature of the Syrian regime, see Reuven Erlich, “Terrorism as a Preferred Instrument of Syrian Policy,” Institute for Counter Terrorism – Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, October 10, 2001, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=400 .
161 Dan Haloutz, “21st Century Threats Facing Israel,” Jerusalem Center for Policy Affairs - Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 3, No. 16, February 3, 2004, at: http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief3-16.htm .
162 Zeev Shiff, “Peace With Security: Israel's Minimum Security Requirements with Syria,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Paper 34, 1994 at:
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC04.php?CID=56 .
163 Kim Ghattas, “Syria witnesses Islamist revival,” BBC, February 22, 2006, at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4735240.stm and Scott Wilson, “Religious Surge Alarms Secular Syrians,” Washington Post, January 23, 2005, at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29401-2005Jan22.html .
164 Michael Jacobson, “What Role for the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria's Future?,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Watch 972, March 11, 2005, at:
165 Dore Gold and Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Halevi, “Zarqawi and Israel” Is There a New Jihadi Threat Destabilizing the Eastern Front?,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol.5, No. 12, December 15, 2005, at:
http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief005-12.htm .
166 “IDF Intelligence: "Al-Qaeda Already Operating in Gaza,” (in Hebrew) Maariv, October 17, 2005. Citing Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi (Farkash).
167 For a good overview see Ely Karmon, “Al-Qaida and Palestine,” Institute for Counter-Terrorism – Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, January 1, 2006, at:
http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=553 .
168 “Al-Qaeda in Sinai Has Advanced to Striking Range of the Suez Canal, Israel and Jordan,” Debka file, October 3, 2005, at:
http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1091 .
169 ‘Al-Qaeda signs' in Egypt blast,” CNN, October 8, 2004, at:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/08/egypt.explosions . In a December 12, 2005 fatwa devoted to a jihad against Israel, Al-Qaeda cites the attacks at the Egyptian resorts in July 2005. Most of the casualties, however, were non-Israelis.
170 Nir Hasson, “Rate of Gaza Qassam fire unchanged since pullout,” Haaretz, December 21, 2005, at:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/660380.html ; Debka file, October 3, 2005, Op. Cit.
171 Translated from Arabic into Hebrew by Debka File. (in Hebrew) “Al-Qaeda is About to Attack Israel,” December 31, 2005, at:
http://www.debka.co.il/article_print.php?aid=1347 .
172 Yassin Melman and Amos Harel, “Al-Qaida's Zarqawi: Bin Laden ordered rocket fire on Galilee,” Haaretz, January 10, 2006, at:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=668241 .
173 Ely Karmon, Op. Cit. quoting Fuad Husayn in “The Second Generation of al-Qa'ida,” (serialized book) in the London Arabic daily al-Quds al-Arabi, July 11, 2005. Other strategic goals include burning Arab oil to deprive the west of fuel and establishing Iraq as a base to topple secular regimes in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
174 A research framework at: the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, at: www.idc.ac.il .
175 Reuven Paz, “Al-Qaeda's Search for New Fronts: Instructions for Jihadi Activity in Egypt and Sinai,” Society for Internet Research, October 6, 2005, at:
http://www.sofir.org/sarchives/005108.php .
176 Arnold Beichman, “Dealing with Iran's threats,” Washington Times, November 14, 2005, at:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/20051113-114109-6209r.htm . Beichman is a fellow at: Stanford University's Hoover Institute.
177 Cited in Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, “Iran Bares ‘Genocidal Intent,” New York Sun, November 3, 2005, at:
http://www.harrywalker.com/articles/archive/The_Sun_Iran_Article_Nov_2005.pdf .
178 “Proliferation Issue Brief,” Council on Foreign Relations, June 2005, at:
http://www.cfr.org/publication.html?id=8269 .
179 He viewed nuclear weapons as a “counter-measure” since “the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons.” “Reformist Iranian Internet Daily: A New Fatwa States That Religious Law Does Not Forbid Use of Nuclear Weapons,” Middle East Media Research Institute, February 17, 2006, at:
180 “Israel missile test ‘successful',” BBC, December 2, 2005, at:
181 “First Dolphins move in on Israeli navy,” Jane's IDR, August 24, 1999, at:
http://www.dolphin.org.il/press/#3 and Walter Pincus, “Israel Has Sub-Based Atomic Arms Capability,” Washington Post, June 15, 2002, at: http://www.dolphin.org.il/press/#13 .
182 Daniel Pipes, “The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” New York Sun, January 10, 2006, at:
http://www.danielpipes.org/pf.php?id=3258 .
183 Ahmadinejad is steeped in Persia's long mystical tradition and sees himself as playing a pivotal role in ushering in this End of Days scenario, declaring that when he addressed the UN in September 2005, he ‘found himself bathed in a green light' (i.e. the color of Islam) that mesmerized his audience. See Fredrick Kempe, “The Iranian Tipping Point,” Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2006 and Scott Peterson, “Waiting for the rapture in Iran,” Christian Science Monitor, December 21, 2005, at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1221/p01s04-wome.html .
184 “Iran: A Quarter-Century of State-Sponsored Terror,” expert testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations, February 16, 2005, at:

185 Cited in the synopsis of Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson, Checking Iran's Nuclear Ambitions, Strategic Studies Institute, January 2004. The full study is available in pdf format at:
186 Declared by acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in his first public comments on diplomatic issues after PM Arik Sharon was hospitalized following a stroke, said Israel could not under any circumstances "allow anyone with these kinds of malicious designs against us, have control of weapons of destruction that can threaten our existence." See Herb Keinon, “Olmert: A nuclear Iran not an option,” Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2006.
The IDF Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant General Dan Haloutz described Iran's potential acquisition of nuclear weapons as “an existential threat to Israel.” See January 17, 2006 lecture at Haifa University, reported by Debka file intelligence web site ( www.debka.com ).
187 In the course of ‘sanctifying Palestine', Hamas mythology goes so far as to claim Abraham was a Muslim, not a Jew. Meir Litvak, “The Islamization of the Arab-Israeli Conflict,'' Princeton University (Taped) Lecture, February 5, 2003, at:
http://www.wws.princeton.edu/events/webmedia_archive_02-03.html . See also, Meir Litvak, “Islamization of Palestinian Identity: The Case of Hamas,” Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies - Tel Aviv University, at:
http://www.tau.ac.il/dayancenter/d&a-hamas-litvak.htm .
188 “Profile of the Hamas movement,” Intelligence and Terrorism Info rmation Center - Center for Special Studies, February 12, 2006, at:
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e0206.pdf .
189 “On Saturday 18.2 in Ramallah the first Sunni Muslim State in history was established, on its banner – a religious ideology and extermination of Israel” (in Hebrew), Debkafile intelligence web site, February 18, 2006, at: http://www.debka.co.il/article.php?aid=1361 .
190 “And Now: Call for an Islamic Revolution in Jordan,” (in Hebrew) News First Class, quoting the Jordanian Islamic Movement's web site (January 1, 2006), at:
191 Curtis Ryan and Jillian Schwdler, “Return to Democratization or New Hybrid Regime: The 2003 Elections in Jordan,” Middle East Policy Journal, Middle East Policy Council, Summer 2004, at:
192 “Muslim Brotherhood – Jordan” in Online Encyclopedia of the Orient, at:
http://lexicorient.com/cgi-bin/eo-direct-frame.pl?http://lexicorient.com/e.o/mus_br_jordan.htm .
193 For an official presentation of the Israeli case, see the speech by Chaim Herzog, Israeli ambassador to the UN (1975-78) – “Jewish settlements in ‘the Territories' Aren't the Problem,” republished by FrontPageMmagazine.com, at:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=7142 . (10702)

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