Israel Has Crushed One Terrorist Group, but Attacks Are Unlikely to Stop

Last week, the IDF and Shin Bet carried out a decisive raid against the Lions’ Den, an upstart West Bank-based terrorist group that, although financed by Hamas, operates outside of the framework of the major Palestinian organizations, and has been responsible for several attacks during the preceding weeks. But informed observers believe it unlikely that terror will abate—as evidenced by the stabbing a police officer in Jerusalem yesterday. Yaakov Lappin writes:

Moshe Elad, one of the founders of security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority, and a lecturer at the Western Galilee College in northern Israel, told JNS: “We will apparently hear more about other groups . . . who succeed the Lions’ Den, because Palestinian history points to imitation as a central motive in this society.”

In previous years, he noted, “There were the ‘Hawks of Fatah’ and the ‘Eagles of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,’ and other Lions’ Dens of Fatah—in other words, the [use of animal imagery] is a winning and prestigious message.”

“Lions’ Den is perceived as a winning organization” by Palestinians despite its leading members killed and arrested and some of its members turning themselves in, he said. “In Palestinian tradition, failure becomes dazzling victory,” he added.

With regard to the Palestinian Authority (PA), he continued, its decision to place some members of the Lions’ Den in protective custody is part of “the old revolving-door policy, and it is likely that news will soon emerge of their release” following public pressure.

Yet the PA is in an unenviable position. The Lions’ Den is openly opposed to the PA’s leadership, but efforts to suppress it—beyond behind-the-scenes coordination with Israel—will only further undermine President Mahmoud Abbas’s popularity. At the same time, the further success of terrorist groups will eventually provoke a large-scale Israeli response, which will be equally damaging to Abbas and his supporters.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror

 

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship