In Terror Fight, Israel's Hands Still Tied

Israel’s outgoing chief of military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, warned this week that the greater Tel Aviv area could face missile attacks from multiple directions, and that Israel’s enemies “are trying to increase their missile arrays in terms of range and accuracy. Tens of thousands of missiles are weapons of terror, not the kind you can conquer land or win a war with.”

In other words, sowing terror among the population could be just one aspect of a larger onslaught.

On a more positive note, Yadlin said he “can safely say that Israel’s deterrence and the IDF’s might are stronger than ever.” However, he also implied that much of Israel’s might could be nullified by political factors: “Our enemies expect our hands to be tied, like in the case of the Goldstone Report. This may allow Iran and Hezbollah to continue arming themselves, while hiding in the midst of civilian population.”

The Goldstone Report, a UN-sponsored counterattack to Israel’s 2009 Gaza offensive, charged Israel with war crimes on the basis of Hamas-vetted interviews in Gaza. Yet it has been only tepidly opposed by the United States and the EU.

Yadlin’s words compare and contrast interestingly with another item in the Israeli media this week, an article on al-Qaeda’s threat to Europe by Ron Ben-Yishai, military analyst for Israel’s largest daily Yediot Aharonot. Noting that U.S., Pakistani, British, French, and German intelligence agencies concur on the existence of the threat, and that the group planning attacks “is hiding, organizing, and training in the tribal area in Western Pakistan,” Ben-Yishai writes that:

This group’s immediate objective is to avenge the fatal blows sustained by al-Qaeda in Pakistan as a result of U.S. drone attacks in recent months. Since entering the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized no less than 122 drone hits against senior al-Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban leaders hiding out in the tribal regions of the country. This is more than double the number of attacks former President George W. Bush authorized in all eight years of his presidency.

Just last month, at least 22 such attacks in Pakistan alone killed dozens of Muslim terrorists.