How to Secure Israel's Future

(Prospect-UK) Ehud Barak - The State of Israel lives in a tough neighborhood, one in which there is no second chance for those who are unable to defend themselves, a neighborhood which is characterized by uncertainty, instability and hostility. About 15% of our citizens have spent the last decade under the direct threat of artillery rockets, mortars and missiles, launched indiscriminately by terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. During the recent escalation with Hamas, half of the country was within range of the terrorists' missiles launched from Gaza (and 1,500 were fired in eight days in November). On our northern border, Hizbullah, a Shia terrorist organization based in Lebanon, has amassed an arsenal of around 70,000 artillery rockets and missiles. The Sinai peninsula has become anarchical, while the brutal civil war in Syria has already trickled over into the Golan Heights. Iran remains the chief sponsor of terror, continuing - openly - to arm and fund the terrorist organizations seeking to destabilize the region. It supports Hizbullah, as well as Assad's brutal campaign in Syria. It aspires to be the regional hegemon and continues to develop its military nuclear program. It is often noted that the Iranian threat represents a complex challenge for Israel. That is undeniable, but for Israel, this "complex challenge" could become a potentially existential threat. Israelis are a stiff-necked people. We must be strong and open-eyed; extending one hand out perennially to feel for any potential opportunity for peace. The other hand, however, as is imperative in our tough neighborhood, must remain firmly on the trigger, ready to protect our citizens should the necessity arise. The writer, a former prime minister, is Israel's minister of defense.

2012-12-28 00:00:00

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