Create a Different Strategic Balance Against Islamic Terrorism

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Hillel Frisch - In 2002, Israel engaged in massive offensives against Yasser Arafat's PA, its security forces, Fatah and the other terrorist organizations. It temporarily took over the big Palestinian towns, and has been "mowing the grass" ever since through daily preventive arrests of terrorist operatives. This policy, coupled with security cooperation with the PA security services under Muhammad Abbas' rule, has had a dramatic effect. Terrorism in the West Bank has declined to levels that prevailed before the first intifada and have remained low ever since. Israel has avoided a massive ground attack on Gaza on the assumption that such an attack will have no lasting effects and might even make the situation worse. Destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas could lead to its "jihadization"; to a Gaza controlled by a variety of small jihadist groups at Hamas' expense who would neither be deterred nor subject to pressure to desist from terrorist activity. Israel should adopt the highly successful anti-terrorist strategy it employed in the West Bank over the past decade and take over Gaza temporarily to destroy the terrorist infrastructure as much as possible. Even if a weakened Hamas was overwhelmed by other jihadist groups, they might spend more time fighting each other than against the Zionist enemy, as we see today in Syria. Prof. Hillel Frisch, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, is a professor of Political Science and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University.

2014-07-18 00:00:00

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