Many times Israel has “won” in Gaza and then soon found itself fighting Hamas again. Deterrence and “mowing the grass” doesn’t defeat Islamic terrorists; you must liquidate them, one way or another. The Islamists who run Iran, Gaza, and Lebanon have a total disregard for the citizens of their respective communities. Do the Islamic terrorists hesitate to use their fellow Arabs as human shields in defending Gaza? Not at all.
So far, Israel has failed to stop our unflagging enemies. It’s the fear of winning (with the collateral damage that would accompany victory) that allows Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran to continue to grow and become more powerful. Israel has had many victories since the 1967 Six Day War but still lost the political narrative.
Israel must attack its enemies long and hard rather than depending so much on defensive measures. A powerful defense is not the way to win. The deadly Hamas incursion proves that without a doubt. The hi tech border fence is a case in point. The highly touted Iron Dome system saves lives when rockets and missiles are in midair, but has the Iron Dome stopped Hamas from firing many thousands of rockets in the years since 2011, when the Iron Dome was first deployed? No. On the first day of the recent Hamas invasion alone, 2,200 rockets were fired into Israel, and in the confusion, hordes of terrorists occupied more than twenty Jewish communities in the south with devastating, horrific results..
Yes, in the short run defensive weapons protect us. But in the long run their efficacy will be reduced by the enemy’s countermeasures. And the ingenuity that provides countermeasures is mostly low tech.
Motorized hang-gliders, hand grenades, bulldozers, cutting tools, drones and other methods sufficed to overcome Israel’s electronic fence, the just-completed underground barrier, sophisticated cameras, drones, and other methods. The Intelligence corps soldiers whose eyes are riveted on their computer screens monitoring the border seemed to have taken the holiday off. The first reaction to the invasion by Hamas came five or six hours after the initial attacks! These attacks were evidently not coordinated via digital methods or mobile phones, so high tech surveillance failed. Obviously the human intelligence also failed, as we were caught flat-footed.
Journalist Lazar Berman wrote that the technological wizardry of the Iron Dome and the high-tech border fence provided Israel with a hermetically sealed bunker, has been horribly discredited as an illusion. While Israel felt that Hamas was deterred, it chose to let the Gaza problem fester. “The fence creates an illusion and gives a false sense of security to both the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and the residents near the fence.” (https://www.timesofisrael.com/why-did-israel-think-a-border-fence-would-protect-it-from-an-army-of-terrorists/)
Israel must have the appropriate respect for our enemies’ capabilities because none of them are pushovers. They have zeal, they have experience, and they train incessantly. And perhaps most important, they are religious fanatics.
So far, the US has hardly impeded Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. Israel has been handicapped by the American hesitance. A while ago Israel passed the “red line” Prime Minister Netanyahu drew at the UN in 2012. A change in a strategy which relies on a weak style of deterrence must be transformed into a fervent push towards victory. Otherwise, we may face imminent defeat. (See my article on the need for victory written earlier this year: https://www.sdjewishworld.com/2023/02/20/victory-not-stalemate/)
History shows that any defensive line can ultimately be breached, therefore it must not be completely relied upon. Examples include the Bar Lev Line on the eastern side of the Suez Canal, considered impenetrable by the Israelis until it was overrun during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in less than two hours by the Egyptian military. The technologically sophisticated Maginot Line, was built by France in the 1930s to deter invasion by Germany and was impervious to most forms of attack – except the Germans went right around it. While Israel recovered from its initial losses in the Sinai Peninsula in 1973, it rallied and pushed the Egyptians back. The French were not so successful; France surrendered to the Nazis after just six weeks of warfare.
In the four days of tough fighting in Israel’s south the IDF pushed Hamas terrorists back into Gaza, where the bulk of the fighting is now taking place. 300,000 reservists are being brought up to destroy the Hamas machine in Gaza. An assault into Gaza is almost a certainty, unlike recent encounters where troops remained outside of Gaza and the Israel Air Force attacked from the sky. Israel has already lost many soldiers and will lose many more in the assault on Gaza. The Gazans, of course, will have many more casualties and their towns will be destroyed. We don’t know how long Israel will be able to face the inevitable backlash from the West. Not only that, it’s possible that Hamas leadership will survive in their hiding places, often below schools, mosques, hospitals and in undiscovered tunnels.
Then there’s Hezbollah in Lebanon. If it opens a second front, that will be an even more onerous task for the IDF. It helps that the US has sent a large, formidable naval task force just off our northern shores. It might deter Hezbollah. If not, the US may get involved in destroying the Lebanese arsenal, which is Iran’s strongest force outside of its boundaries. So far, the State Department has minimized Iran’s danger to it and Israel. Israel’s declared war against the Islamists may be the factor that awakens the US to Iran’s malevolent scheme. This is an alarming, dynamic conflagration which will not be quickly extinguished.