IDF Intelligence Corps head Maj. Gen. Herzl (Herzi) Halevi recently made a surprising and self-revealing recommendation to the Israeli Cabinet with his annual appraisal. He recommended to the government a "solution" to the ongoing Arab terror wave; his “solution” is a ‘diplomatic process' needed to stop Abbas's terrorists from attacking. The senior intelligence officer of the I.D.F. continued and stated that "We are close to exhausting the military steps," the IDF sources were quoted as saying to the government's Security Cabinet. The incident occurred only days after the I.D.F. Chief of Staff was quoted describing the chacteristics of the current terror wave by claiming that he would not want a soldier to open fire and empty a magazine clip into a 13 year old terrorist holding a knife or scissor (despite standing rules of engagement that allow shooting a terrorist as long as the assailant poses a threat to a soldier or others in the immediate vicinity). Despite Prime Ministers automatic defense of the Chief of Staff, many among the government ministers questioned the judgment of those making these statements. One can only be left with the unnerving feeling that Israel’s military leaders may very well be abreast of the existential threats posed by Iran, but in the Palestinian Arab theatre, they are fighting todays and tomorrow’s Palestinian Arab terror with the tactics of the previous terror waves of the last decade and the last century, or as we say in Israel, “full gas in neutral”.
Making these kinds of statements in the midst of a terror wave that has raged on since last September, with little to show for in terms of a successful tactical response attributed to the I.D.F. makes these statements that much more intolerable raising questions in the minds of many whether the leadership of the I.D.F. fundamentally misunderstands the strategic threats posed by the current Palestinian terror wave. In today’s internet/Facebook/twitter generated terror, Palestinian terrorists don’t stick to military doctrine or tactics, but to an objective: killing as many Jews as possible as cheaply as possible. If thwarted in one way, they quickly find another, and the I.D.F is expected to be one step ahead of — not behind — the terrorists. They must be innovative and seek to combat and prevent terror, as opposed to only responding to terror.
If the I.D.F. leadership had elected to adopt a mindset of “never again” in response to Palestinian Arab terror similar to the “never again” in response to the Yom Kippur War, than the I.D.F. wouldn’t be burdened with a public perception that our deterrence is ineffective and that we are losing to an enemy despite the obvious advantage in terms of I.D.F. preparedness, firepower, organization, and doctrine. Yesteryears’ models of organizational success that dominated the 20th century have their roots in the industrial revolution, and simply put the world has changed. The pursuit of “efficiency” getting the most with the least investment of energy, time, or money, has been superseded by a capability for responsiveness to a constantly shifting environment. Adaptability, not efficiency, must become our principal competency for the I.D.F.. While it is so important to learn from the past, it is even more imperative to avoid the trap of preparing to face the same challenges of the past.
The current Palestinian Arab terror wave also known as the “lone wolf intifada” is part and parcel of a systemic assault on Israel as a Jewish and democratic sovereign state. The current terror wave represents only one battle in the overall war of de-legitimation being waged against Israel. As a whole, the terror wave aims to demoralize and precipitate Israel’s political implosion. The terror wave has hit us where we are most vulnerable- international media, international public opinion, and local foreign funded NGO’s associated with the left. A continuing failure on the part of the I.D.F. leadership to understand the goals of the forces generating incitement and the de- legitimation of Israel fueling the Palestinian Arab rage and “Martyr” syndrome behind the current terror wave will only empower those inciting to terror and to the murdering of Jews. Therefore the I.D.F. leadership must focus on the terror wave’s generators, and not exclusively on their high-profile terror attacks.
The Palestinian Arab Authority and the Hamas Terror organization are both located in areas controlled and under the legal mandate of the I.D.F. that is, the I.D.F. is the sovereign power in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Arab leadership as a whole must be held accountable for the current terror wave. Allowing these local Arab political leaders to abdicate their responsibility and allowing their continued public support of incitement challenges Israel’s sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and only further fuels more terror. Only a sweeping, ambitious, synchronized approach across military and legal lines against local Palestinian political leaders by the I.D.F. will impact and inhibit the generators of the current Palestinian Arab terror wave. The Chief of Staff would be wise to allow local commanders to decide on necessary rules of engagement in response to deadly terror and instead invest more of his time and effort in orchestrating an innovative approach to destroy, as the I.D.F. has done in the past, the generators behind the current terror wave.