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July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
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Defensive Systems: Like Taking Aspirin Against Infection?

Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov / Flash 90

Policymakers can use defensive systems such as “Iron Dome” to either facilitate attacking the enemy or ignoring it.

As many analysts predicted, Israeli policymakers consistently opt for the latter function. And that’s unfortunate.

Because if the only thing the defensive system does is enable policymakers to indefinitely postpone addressing the very real challenge that the enemy presents, that turns the implementation of the defensive system into the equivalent of prescribing aspirin to treat a spreading infection.

The aspirin may temporarily relieve the pain – but the infection will continue to grow. And the “infection” in the Gaza Strip is most definitely growing by leaps and bounds.

Not only are the range, payloads and accuracy of the weapons in Gaza constantly improving, the area inside Israel that is subject to actual ongoing attack is also continually expanding.

When this farce began, only a limited rural area near the Gaza Strip was being hit. Each time the range was extended there was talk that a red line had been crossed. But it is now clear that these lines in the sand had no meaning. Today over a million Israelis are in range of the weapons already launched from the Gaza Strip.

It is reasonable to assume that the trend will continue and that we will find ourselves accepting rockets slamming into Tel Aviv to the same extent that we accept them slamming into Ashdod today.

What now?

It would appear that the Arabs are in the driver’s seat for the Gaza Strip saga. They can continue indefinitely to improve their offensive capabilities as long as they don’t shoot too much.

Only the Arabs can compel the Netanyahu team to act.

Yes. It is very frustrating.

But there is something valuable that we can take from this experience: recognition of the limitations that our leadership apparently have. And that’s a very important thing to know. It is something critical to remember. Because one day our leaders may propose yet another concession to the Arabs. One involving relinquishing Israeli control over some area.

And on that day our leaders will promise that there are “iron clad” arrangements to prevent those areas from becoming a repeat of Gaza today. And they will further assure us that should these arrangements fail that Israel will act swiftly and resolutely to redress the violations.

But we will remember March 2012. We will remember March 2012 and we will remind our leaders about March 2012. That with all the respect and admiration that we have for our leaders, we know only too well their limitations.

And since we know that they cannot deliver on their promises to enforce the agreements that are supposed to protect us from the consequences of Israeli territorial concessions, such concessions are simply unworkable.

About the Author: Dr. Lerner is the Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis).


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