Israel's Defense in a Turbulent Environment

(Israel Defense) Amos Yadlin and Carmit Valensi - The IDF is the strongest military in the Middle East, but the challenge is asymmetrical. The terrorist organizations have developed solutions for Israel's technological superiority through various capabilities and combat tactics (including the launching of rockets, blending into the local population and using protection and camouflage measures). Western society is highly sensitive to casualties, and even more so to casualties among the civilian population. The restrictions of international law and on-going international public criticism also hinder the ability to effectively subdue such complex threats. The peace agreements have survived, but the masses are hostile: the political upheaval in Egypt and the instability in Jordan raise concerns about the future of the peace agreements with Israel. These masses are frustrated owing to the absence of any practical improvement in their own circumstances. The extensive overlapping of interests between Israel and Arab countries belonging to the moderate Sunni world (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries and Jordan) provides an opportunity for regional cooperation. Such a cooperative alliance will be based on a similar perspective and identical interests vis-a-vis Iran and Syria, and more recently vis-a-vis the threat imposed by Global Jihad organizations. The failure of the "Kerry effort" to reach an agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process and the internal Palestinian split have pushed Abbas to adopt a contrarian stance and concentrate his efforts on the international arena, in a manner that bypasses the direct arrangement channel. Meanwhile, a string of declarations by several European parliaments and governments regarding their recognition of a Palestinian state has given momentum to the Palestinian effort and undermined the principle of direct negotiations. Israel must ensure that the Iranian options of progressing toward nuclear power along the uranium and plutonium paths are eliminated, that the Iranian nuclear program is placed under constant monitoring, and that a long-term agreement is signed that would allow a gradual lifting of the sanctions in exchange for a complete fulfillment of the Iranian commitments. Additionally, Israel must retain a credible military option in the event that all of the other alternatives should fail. Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin is the former Director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and formerly the Head of Israeli Military Intelligence. Carmit Valensi is a research associate at INSS.

2015-02-19 00:00:00

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