ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Aggressive “Containment”

Aggressive “Containment”

1 July 2006

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Israel’s position in regard to the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip is not only a political, diplomatic and military complication, but a no-win situation, at least for the present. The USA found itself in a similar situation from the late 1940s until the early 90s when the Soviet bloc collapsed. The policy was one of “Containment” which called for lining up like-minded allies and applying enormous and continual pressure on the enemy while drawing on an unending amount of endurance. People always want a date to know when it will all end, but there is none. Despite the security forces working round the clock to halt terrorism, whenever there is a crisis in Israel we hear the anguished cry of “Until when?” Politicians and generals need to be honest and reply, “We don’t know”.

It is interesting to note that critics from the Left and Right always have the answer until they gain power. The best immediate example is Defense Minister Amir Peretz, one of the great doves and Peace Now advocates from the Labor Party. His reality check over the past to months month has been very unpleasant especially as his home town of Sderot is shelled constantly by Kassam rockets. Furthermore, the Hamas was just involved in a cross border attack into Israel, as happened when two soldiers were killed and another abducted. As a labor union leader Peretz and others with his socio-economic perspective believed the Palestinians could be bought off with development and well being.

The Right is of the errant belief that massive military force can break the other side. PM Ehud Olmert believes first in using the threat of military force (and then going ahead with the threat). All three approaches cannot be expected to bear any fruit. The Israeli air force dropped leaflets in northern Gaza last week warning residents of the impending Israeli assault, but no one took them seriously and residents prefer to stay home and watch as terror units fire Kassam rockets at Israel from the center of Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya and Jabaliya.

There is total anarchy in Gaza. Neither Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of the secular Fatah, nor Hamas PM Ismail Haniya has any control. Both are political castrates whose constituents take orders from elsewhere. Armed gangs roam the streets. There is popular support for attacks against Israel and anyone returning the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, will be viewed as a traitor. The gangs enjoy much more popular support than the political leadership.

Israel’s arrest of a third of the Palestinian Hamas government and several members of the legislature may sound like a positive move for the sake of deterrence but it will not make a difference. The semblance of government will not exist, so what? The Hamas extremist, Khalid Mashal, who rules from Damascus, demands a bitter battle to the end. One can expect increasing Palestinian terror attempts.

Terrible as it is to say, releasing the abducted soldier cannot be Israel’s first priority, because releasing thousands for his return will just encourage other abductions. Soldiers must trust the state will do its best to secure their release should they fall into terrorist hands, but they must also know they are not the top priority; otherwise the state is a hostage along with them.

Israel has no deterrence against the Islamists, who would like nothing better than to become “shahids” or martyrs, in the cause of Allah and Islamic world domination. Or put otherwise, there is a collective suicide/homicide bomber mentality is Gaza. How does one deter someone who wants to kill you on his way to the next world where he is “sure” to be rewarded with heavenly delights (72 virgins, etc.) for his efforts?

A policy of pre-emptive aggressive Containment is in order. Offensive, defensive and nipping terror attacks in the bud. All terrorists must find themselves on the receiving end of a targeted removal, whether they double as elected officials or not. Terrorists cannot be deterred, only massively disrupted.

And the end? Only when the Hamas patrons in Al Qaeda, the Moslem Brotherhood (the World Jihad movement) and the Iranian Khomeinists are crushed and their ideologies completely discredited will the turning point be reached. The decision lies in Europe and Washington.

Until such time, Israel will have to go it alone with an intensified full court press and a long term Containment policy as the “response”. For the answer, see the above paragraph.