Why the IDF Shouldn’t Adopt a “Turn-the-Other-Cheek” Policy

Dec. 26 2017

Last week, a video circulated the Internet of a Palestinian teenager named Ahed Tamimi insulting and taunting two Israeli soldiers. When they didn’t respond, she proceeded to slap, shove, and kick them while her friends videotaped the scene and encouraged her. The incident concluded only when they walked away, although Tamimi was subsequently arrested and is now in custody. Hillel Frisch argues that the IDF does itself no favors by letting such behavior go unpunished:

This . . . incident . . . can only dampen young people’s willingness to join [combat] units [when they enter the military]. Israeli youth will ask themselves, quite reasonably, why they should not only put their lives on the line but tolerate such humiliation as well. . . . Prospective soldiers don’t want to become victims of the doctrine of turning the other cheek.

This incident also sends a dangerous signal to the many Palestinians who want to harm Israelis. Anyone viewing the two-minute video can clearly see how the number of people encouraging the assault grew as the passivity of the officers continued. It begins with two girls, a third joins in, and then [Tamimi’s] mother enters the fray with two young boys. The assault also becomes increasingly brazen in the face of the officers’ passivity.

One can safely assume that the weaker the IDF looks, the greater will be the willingness of Palestinians to join the ranks of attackers in larger, more charged, and more dangerous scenarios. Israel must make clear that turning the other cheek is not its doctrine.

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More about: IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey