Israel’s Odd Strategy: Is Israel Internationalizing its Conflicts?

A lot is being written these days about a possible confrontation between Israel and Iran. Possible scenarios, special weapons’ operability, military capabilities on various fronts, just name it. In sharp contrast, little is said about the strategic policies of the sides. This is not surprising; this is always a tightly kept secret. If a leading politician says something about that, it is for sure carefully formulated disinformation. However, sometimes they are careless enough to let us see their deception (see Israel Bluffs Iran). One of the things I try to do in this website is to integrate various sources of information in each article so that a wide perspective of the reported event is achieved. Doing so for long enough on a specific topic, the big picture can be elucidated; maybe even the strategic one.

Bypassing the Newspapers’ Frontline


In recent months, there is a surprising surge in news reporting on foreign forces reaching Israel. The events are apparently unrelated to each other, but they create a reality which would be relevant in the case of a missile war between Israel and Iran. InNATO-Israel Joint Drill, I reported on the arrival of NATO forces later this year to Israel, in order to participate in “Turning Point 6,” an earthquake drill. Moreover, Israel may fully join NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour, a Mediterranean Sea patrol. This would be an upgrade from the Israeli liaison officer already stationed within Active Endeavour headquarters. The upgrade may result in the presence of NATO officers in the relevant bases of the Israeli navy.

Netanyahu visited Cyprus in February 2012 and reached several agreements with Israel’s new ally in the area. Cyprus is Israel’s consolation prize for having lost Turkey as its best ally due to Israel’s Freedom Flotilla crimes. The agreement signed between the countries refers to mutual Search and Rescue operations, and allows the IDF to enter Cyprus, and the Cypriot army to enter Israel in the case of disasters. The allowed entrance is exclusive to the disaster point, in order to provide humanitarian help.

In January 2012, it was announced that the US was strengthening its military presence in Israel, by deploying some 9,000 soldiers. This is in addition to a US radar station in southern Israel, which hosts between 500 and 700 American soldiers. Nearby, a communications military base, is plugged into the CAZAB system, acting in fact as a military base in the service of the US.

The Iron Dome Missile Shield system is not a stranger to this website. One of its characteristics is that it had been funded partially by Singapore, one of its potential buyers. This link between Israel and Singapore is not new. Israel helped to create the marine commando forces of Singapore; since then it keeps training them at the Shayetet 13—IDF’s Naval Commando—base in Atlit, south of Haifa. Every year during summer, foreign faces can be seen in the area. Israel’s commando was created during WWII with the massive help of the Italian marine commando, which is considered to be one of the best; this is yet another example of Israel acquiring technologies from someone and then selling them around. Israel also helped build Singapore’s army, Singapore’s purchased IAI’s Barak surface-to-air missiles, Israel upgraded Singapore’s fighter planes, Rafael supplied drones for naval missions and Elbit Systems supplied Hermes drones. The cooperation is extensive.

In other military bases, other foreigners may be seen training. The Shin Beth regularly trains secret police personnel from various countries. Two famous clients are the Palestinians and Iran under the rule of the Shah. Other clients include former Communist countries and islands of the Caribbean and the Pacific. Moreover, the UN has a strong presence along the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon cease-fire lines. Consequently, UN forces can be regularly seen within Israel.

This massive foreign presence—which is constantly growing—seems to be against the declared policies of the State of Israel. Endless times the Israeli Administration has openly rejected the internationalization of its conflict with the Palestinians. Even the Middle East Quartet (USA, EU, UN and Russia) has problems interacting with the Israeli Administration. The Hebrew media treats the Quartet as if it were a leper dog; Netanyahu treats them a bit better, but that’s only due to politeness requirements of the diplomatic world. This discrepancy in the policies may be an important hint. This import of foreign forces may be intended as a war-deterrent.

In the current situation, if following a further deterioration in the situation between the countries, Iran begins a war against Israel, it would be practically impossible not to hit foreign forces stationed in Israel. Hitting American soldiers would be equivalent to declaring war on the USA. Being cannon fodder is the most probable raison d’être for the American soldiers being deployed in Israel. That’s another reason why Iran is unlikely to attack first. On February 17, 2012, US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess was quoted saying “an attack at the hands of Iran is unlikely, unless, of course, the US acts first.” In the case Israel—or the USA—attack first, then this line of defense is irrelevant. This makes sense; in such a way, Israel is controlling the “when and how” of a possible war against Iran.

Yet, once begun, it may deteriorate rapidly. On February 17 and 18, the Israel Iron Dome Missile Shield system (see Grad Missile Hits Beer Sheva) faced a major setback. The failures showed the extent of the exaggeration in past reports by the IDF on the capabilities of the system. In a war with Iran, the Arrow anti-missiles weapon would be the relevant option, but the Arrow and Iron Dome suffer from similar limitations. Even if the Arrow had a 100% success rate, the price ratio interceptor/missile is high, thus it cannot provide a solution even if Lord Rothschild provides a comfy loan. Especially when both sides agree that more than 150,000 missiles are aimed at Israel. That’s the reason a war hasn’t begun yet and is unlikely to begin, unless troubled Israel finally recognizes the End of its Dream. Israel is losing the demographic war. The demographic battle between Jews and Palestinians in Israel has reached a turning point. Expectedly, Israel keeps quiet on this topic. However, at a certain point, it may reach the conclusion that only a war—no matter how desperate—is its only chance to perform the ethnic transfer many Israelis consider the only way of ensuring the survival of the State of Israel. At that point, Israel may attack Iran; until then, Iran is unable to perform a pre-emptive attack.

This strategy is highly ironic and typical of Israel. Israel opposes internationalization of the Palestinian conflict, but pursues it in its offensive moves against Iran. It rejects it when it is the stronger side, but opposes it when it is the weaker one. Despite their charm, double morals cannot be accepted. However, that never has been the case with Israel, which openly discriminates even against its own citizens. Israel likes to portray itself as the direct descendant of the people that two millennia ago were defined as hypocrites by Jesus. That’s arguable; however, judging by its hypocrisy, the State of Israel is undeniably the legal descendant.


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Addendum: General Medina Speaks


Israeli General Medina didn’t speak Arabic. Palestinian General Istiklal could speak Hebrew, but he didn’t want to. Silently, English was agreed upon. It was the only deal they would probably ever reach.

After a somewhat dry greetings, Istiklal concentrated on his coffee. He would enjoy this moment for as long as he could. Medina was the highest rank IDF officer left; others run away on the American Sixth Fleet ship and were by now mapping the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

Medina looked like a spoiled child. In typical Israeli insolence he had arrived in “madei aleph”—the uniform reserved by IDF soldiers and officers to civilian areas and official events—with all his vain decorations. The dandy had shone his shoes in the car before entering Istiklal’s Spartan office.

“I’m here to surrender in the name of the State of Israel,” Medina said dryly, while handing over a hastily printed sheet of paper.

Istiklal took the last sip of his coffee. As if he had all the time in the world, he took out of his pocket the prepared answer. He didn’t want to use a paraphrase under these extraordinary circumstances; he wanted the exact text.

“There is no question of your transferring power. Your power has crumbled. You cannot give up what you do not have.” These were the words said by Colonel Bui Tin from the Vietnamese army to Duong Van Minh, the last president of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975, in what became known as the Fall of Saigon.

In his aloofness, Medina was unable to recognize the text, or even to understand its meaning. There was a stain on one of his shoes.

Roy Tov

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