Israel needs to achieve deterrence as a first step towards victory

The terrorist attack severely injuring two Israelis at the Tapuach Junction, shows how little deterrent we have. Op-ed/

Gregg Roman ,

Knife found on terrorist at Tapuach junction
Knife found on terrorist at Tapuach junction
Border police spokesperson's office

Israel’s senior political and military leaders have spoken a lot about victory in recent years. Achieving victory, defined as imposing one's will on the enemy, so they give up their war goals, is no easy task and requires more than words.

However, the first step on the road to victory is deterrence. The recent terrorist attack, severely injuring two Israelis at the Tapuach Junction, shows where we are right now.

The enemy must feel deterred enough not to attack, or there is simply no hope of them giving up their war goals.

Recent days, however, have demonstrated that, despite the lofty and important use of the term ‘victory’, Israel is simply a long way from it in essence and effect.

This, perhaps, more than anything else, points to the necessity of a new direction against our enemies in the next government.

The fact that the Jewish State’s enemies, near and far, have been taking regular pot shots at Israeli civilian population centers, and the spate of terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria, demonstrate how seriously we are currently being taken by those who seek our destruction.

Recently, terrorists in the Gaza Strip rained dozens of rockets down on Israel’s southern communities, without nary a response, except some restrictions on Gaza’s fishermen. The constant and oft-repeated riposte to not test Israel’s patience or merely threatening a response is no longer taken seriously, if it ever was.

In addition, the long-range rocket launched from Syria which landed not far from Israel’s nuclear plant in Dimona, arguably Israel’s most sensitive location, again shows that our enemies are far from deterred.

Israel needs to start using overwhelming force as a preventative measure against its enemies.
Regardless of the target or intention, Iranian government mouthpieces have been quick to spread the message that this attack makes Israel look “weak”.

With Hezbollah constantly saber-rattling on Israel’s northern border, with an arsenal greater than most nations on earth, the Jewish State’s enemies, buoyed on by Iran, are clearly emboldened.

This has been buttressed by an uptick in terror attacks in recent days, culminating in the drive-by shooting at Tapuach junction. The brazenness of this attack has not been witnessed for a while.

Our enemies are no longer surprised. They know the limits of Israel’s response to their attacks. They know the level acceptable to our leaders, that have long appeared to include allowing rocket barrages on Israel’s southern citizens.

They also know that we have become risk-averse, our bark through countless press releases, far worse than our bite.

This risk aversion has led to the fact that on each and every occasion over the last decade and more, the terrorists in Gaza have decided when there is a conflagration, how large or limited, and when it ends. And they always have the last word.

Israel is far from victory because it has not even achieved the far lower level of deterrence.

This means that the State of Israel and its citizens, require a new direction which will give the green light to the IDF’s new victory strategy as enunciated by Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.

The basic position of anyone who considers themselves Right-wing on security issues should be a strong hand against one’s enemies.

It is interesting to note that in Israel many of the Left-wing’s leaders historically have been military leaders who might have been dovish on land issues but were resolute on dealing with Israel’s enemies.

Israel’s security should not be a Right or Left-wing or wedge issue.

Israel is facing threats on multiple fronts, which just appear to be growing.

Despite our success and achievements in many arenas, if Israel is no longer able to defend itself against its enemies, then everything else pales into comparison.

It is time for new direction, one that is resolute in achieving first deterrence, whereby our enemies do not attack us at will with a measured response.

Israel needs to start using overwhelming force as a preventative measure against its enemies.

Once this has been achieved, Israel can then turn to the victory paradigm and impose its will on its enemies near and far, so they give up their war goals.

We are too far away from this currently not to need a change in direction towards a more robust and forceful response to our enemies’ constant and unrelenting attacks.

Gregg Roman is the director of the Middle East Forum.