Have the Fundamentals of Israel's Strategic Environment Inextricably Changed?

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Dore Gold - There are certain constants in Israel's security predicament that are not going to be altered even with the developments the Middle East is witnessing. For Israel remains a small state surrounded by states that have a combined population of 300 million, in territories that are hundreds of times the size of Israel. As a result, Israel's military assets may be seen as geographically concentrated in a limited area, while neighboring Arab states have been able to disperse launch sites, weapons depots, and military bases across a vast expanse of territory. While some neighboring armies have been badly degraded by internal conflicts, it would be a cardinal error to base national planning on a temporary snapshot of reality. For example, Iraq is planning to modernize its ground forces and convert its army from a counterinsurgency force to a force with maneuver warfare capabilities based on new armored and mechanized formations. There are estimates that it will have over 2,000 main battle tanks by the middle of the next decade. The Gaza Strip has been flooded with Iranian and Libyan weapons. In the West Bank, where Israel holds on to the outer perimeter of the territory in the Jordan Valley, the same weaponry has not reached terrorist organizations. Global jihadists have been unable to reach the West Bank in order to reinforce their Islamist compatriots, as they did in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Thus, territorial considerations remain applicable to the new threats. The pressures Israel faces at this time to agree to a full withdrawal from the West Bank and to acquiesce to the loss of defensible borders pose unacceptable risks for the Jewish state. The writer, Israel's former ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center.

2013-08-23 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive