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Israel's Deterrence Rooted in Ability to Conquer Territory

IDF General says Israel's ability to deter attacks is rooted in its ability to seize land -- and in the enemy believing Israel will keep it.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/1/2011, 5:24 PM

Eyal Eisenberg
Eyal Eisenberg
Flash 90

Major General Eyal Eisenberg of the IDF Home Front Command said Thursday that Israel's deterrence is rooted in its ability to conquer foreign territory when attacked.

"A principal pillar of Israel's deterrence is the IDF's maneuverability, and the enemy knowing that the price it will pay for attacking us is losing the land we took defending ourselves," Eisenberg told a security conference attended by regional council heads.

"But [for this deterrence to work] they must not believe the land will simply be returned to them afterwards," he added.

Eisenberg also discussed changes in IDF war-fighting methods and the necessary changes those would require in Israel's civil defense systems.

"In the past, Israel was primarily faced with major military confrontations or operational incidents," he said. "Today, we face a terrorist insurgency and other volatile threats - which expect to succeed by attrition."

"In the new paradigm, the home front is the weakest and most problematic aspect of our national defense," he added.

Eisenberg noted that, since the Second Lebanon War - during which some 4,000 rockets were fired into Israel -  the enemy has constantly sought to increase its missile capacity.

"Missiles pointed toward Israel are targeting infrastructure and civilian communities," Eisenberg warned. "And the enemy has achieved greater striking power, range, and precision."

Eisenberg also said the next war Israel fights will focus on protecting critical infrastructure and continuing to provide services that will allow civilians to go about their daily affairs.

He noted five essential pillars needed to maintain readiness for emergencies: ample warning, physical protection, organized local authorities, training and emergency information systems.

"We work closely with local authorities - we identified likely scenarios and prepared plans for protecting our communities. In addition, we are working on a pedagogical multi-layered plan for dealing with emergencies and for protecting children in schools."

"We also set up and operate a network of information centers allowing us to send emergency dispatches and instructions to the civilian population."