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Spengler

Why Israel Needs to Finish the Job Now

July 21st, 2014 - 11:20 am

There will be endless admonitions to Israel from the Obama administration, the United Nations, and so forth, demanding an early end to the Gaza war now underway. Israel’s security needs dictate the opposite: Hamas’ capacity to make war must be crippled.

Tel Aviv last week remained one of the safest cities in the world despite the incessant rocket bombardment. In the bomb shelters at the David Intercontinental, we joked about the lack of drinks and canapes at the hotel’s hastily improvised guest mixers. The cafe terraces were full every night on Dizengoff Street. But complacency on Israel’s part would be misplaced, perhaps even fatal. For the moment Israeli ingenuity has shifted the advantage in rocketry to the defense. That may not be the case for very long. Iron Dome has been extremely effective in containing the damage from a barrage of about 2,000 unguided rockets launched from Gaza. Most of these explode harmlessly in empty areas; the few that fly towards targets of value have been taken down with a 90% successs rate. But the advantage may shift back to the offense some time in the next few years.

Dr. Uzi Rubin, the architect of Israel’s missile defense, warned last January that Iran and Syria already have GPS-guided ballistic missiles. The Jerusalem Post reported:

“This is a strategic threat. Even worse news is coming; ballistic missiles are becoming smart,” he said. In the next five to 10 years, Israel’s enemies will inevitably arm themselves with GPS-guided ballistic missiles such as Scuds, [Rubin] said.

“Perhaps Syria already has this capability,” Rubin said. “This can significantly disrupt Israel’s air power. Israel will of course recover. We are talking about escalating a war to quicken it, and end it within three days. They are talking about doing the same. This threat can degrade the IDF’s ground capabilities” via accurate missile strikes on army mobilization and staging grounds, Rubin warned. “It can paralyze Israel’s war economy. And of course, it can inflict massive casualties. I’m not talking about Dresden, but Coventry, perhaps,” he said, referring to cities bombed in World War II.

Iron Dome can defend successfully against a handful of rockets fired simultaneously in the general direction of Israeli cities. At some point Israel’s enemies will acquire the capability to fire large salvos of precision-guided weapons at key military or civilian targets and overwhelm the existing defenses. GPS-guided rockets are not that difficult to make. Iron Dome gives Israel a respite, not relief in the long term.

Top Rated Comments   
Israel will be damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. As you note, it has been given an opportunity to strike with devastating force. Might as well take it.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
In this case, the US can be useful: The sheer incompetence of Obama and the Kerry State Dept. can preempt outside meddling while being itself utterly ineffective - if Israel is willing to pay lip service, at most, to the Obama administration while getting on with it.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whatever Israel does, it will be insulted and called 'genocidal' and 'disproportionate' and all the rest.

Therefore, Israel has nothing to lose in terms of 'world opinion'. It should simply do what is right and necessary, regardless of what helpful advice it receives from such good friends as John Kerry.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (106)
All Comments   (106)
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Having very bad feelings about this conflict. I think Israel is gonna somehow screw up and hit a school bus or something and then there will be outrage and the last thing everyone will remember. If ever there was a case for genocide, Hamas really deserves it. I just don't like the way things are looking.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Root out" Hamas entirely from a local population that supports them, and the very next day they will return, regroup, resupply and resume. Only by the experience of consequences will the local population re-think its support. Were the launch site of every outgoing Gaza missile met with the quickest possible (and more-powerful) incoming, and were that a consistent policy, the teachers who see Hamas set up to launch from their schoolyard might think about doing something other than cheer them on.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dave, you define the job to be finished is the crippling of Hamas' ability to wage war. ("Hamas’ capacity to make war must be crippled.") But Hamas, once crippled, can be rehabilitated, and odds are it will. As the target of indiscriminate aggression against its citizens, Israel could legitimately define the job as "effectively deterring the will of Hamas to wage war against Israel." Which definition would place all sorts of other tactical options on the table, including the disproportionate.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dear Israel, eliminate Hamas with extreme prejudice. That is all.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I wrote on another PJM site, this may be the last chance Israel has to root out Hamas. By the next time Iran will have a nuke and can stop Israel before she finishes the job. Nothing short of complete and unconditional victory over Hamas will suffice. If not now, when?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Iron Dome gives Israel a respite, not relief in the long term."

Which is why ongoing introduction of BMD systems now under development is so important. Layered BMD has been asked for by supporters of defending ourselves since 1959 at the latest, but has always been short-stopped by those unwilling to undo MAD. Now our ally faces people (Hamas) who cannot succeed unless our ally dies. To continue the refusal to break MAD in favor of a competent combination of offense and defense is folly, for either Israel or the US.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
World opinion, which is to say Progressive opinion, remains firmly on the side of the poor oppressed Arabs. Problem is, men with guns are not Progressives, and the more Progressives nag them, the less they care what Progressives think. The sword is truly mightier than the pen.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is my fervent hope that the IDF kill as many of those cowardly vermin as possible, while paying no attention whatsoever to the Leftards who support terrorism.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
spengler said: Hamas will fight like the South after Gettysburg, or the Germans after the liberation of France. Most casualties in occur after the hope of victory has vanished, because the combatants would rather die than surrender.

Yeah but Hamas barely fights in those terms, they don't have the training or the equipment or the will. They attack innocent civilians. They act out. They are more in the mode of a mad dog or a crazy person firing a rifle in all directions. Except what they do they do by choice, and not only that they have the electoral support of the entire Palestinian population. That may leave something like 49% possibly "innocent" civilians, but that's tough luck if your neighbor is a madman insists on setting fire to everything he can reach.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
all the bleeding heart liberals will howl about Israel bombing "civilians" without any regard to a) Israel warnings to the Gaza residents to "get out of the way, we're bombing you soon" to keep casualties down, and b) the fact that Hamas sets up weapons storage and Intel centers and commend centers in civilian homes and buildings then tells the residents and workers NOT to leave so they can be human shields.

People are ignorant...
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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