web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Palestine, More Of A Threat To Israel Than The Uprising (Part I)


Beres-Louis-Rene

February 1989

The following article appears exactly as it was written by Professor Beres 21 years ago. It is especially important to reconsider at this moment, when U.S. President Barack Obama, still-embracing the so-called Road Map, pushes Israel to accept a Palestinian state via the five-part Mitchell Plan.

 

Part 1

 

     A pair of prominent Israeli commentators recently pointed out that continued control of the territories would have grave consequences for Israel’s security.  In this connection, Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former chief of military intelligence, argues in his newest book, Israel’s Fateful Hour, that a refusal to end “occupation” of West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza will produce escalating terrorism and further incentives for war by neighboring Arab states.  Abba Eban, Foreign Minister of Israel from 1966 to 1974, insists in a January 2, 1989 editorial in The New York Times (“Israel, Hardly the Monaco of the Middle East“) that Israel would have nothing to fear from an independent “Palestine.”  Such a state, he claimed, “would be the weakest military entity on earth.”

 

            In these assessments, Harkabi is certainly correct, but nowhere does he compare the risks to Israel of an ongoing “occupation” with those of a Palestinian state.  If he had offered such a comparison, perhaps he would have understood that continuing Israeli administrative control of Judea/Samaria/Gaza would certainly have its risks, but that a bordering state of Palestine would be far worse.  As for Mr. Eban, he is wrong altogether. 

 

If there were to be an Arab-ruled state in Judea/Samaria/Gaza, its danger to Israel would surely lie less in its own army than in the several other Arab armies and assorted insurgents that would soon burrow themselves into a new and authentic form of occupation.  To suggest that the risks to Israel can be ascertained by simply comparing the Israeli army to the far more modest forces of a prospective Palestine is to assume a totally static condition in the new state, one that naively offers only the “best case” scenario for Israel.

 

                 These assessments, therefore, are hardly in Jerusalem’s best interests. Israel is not “the Monaco of the Middle East,” but neither would Palestine be as benign a mini-state as Abba Eban suggests.  Before Israel can reasonably conclude that the so-called “occupation” is intolerable, its leaders will first have to determine whether it is actually less tolerable than Palestinian statehood.   If it isn’t less tolerable, then rationality would require continuing administrative control, however painful, costly and unfortunate. And such rationality would not even take into account the overwhelmingly all-important fact that Judea and Samaria are inherent parts of the Jewish State under binding international law.

 

                 What, exactly, are the major strategic risks to Israel posed by an independent Palestine?  To answer this question, one must first understand that several of the Arab states are still preparing for war with Israel, and that a new Arab state in Judea/Samaria/Gaza would open another hot border for the Jewish state.  As a result, the Arab-Israeli balance of forces could change decisively, possibly even providing the needed incentive for certain Arab first-strikes.

 

     Ballistic missiles that could carry chemical warheads now exist in Syria, Iraq, non-Arab Iran, Libya and Saudi Arabia.  Significantly, Syria, which is now, together with Iraq, the most serious country threat to Israel, has also been receiving massive stocks of new conventional weapons, including main battle tanks, combat aircraft, anti-aircraft systems and tactical missiles.  Still anxious to recover the Golan which it lost in 1967, the regime of Hafez al-Assad has already deployed 4,200 tanks on its border with Israel. 

 

I know.  I visited Israel’s northern borders with the IDF during the first week of this year.

 

     Ultimately, enemy ballistic missiles could carry nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia recently purchased CSS2-class surface-to-surface missiles from China that could reach any part of the Middle East from Riyadh.  Iraq, even after Israel’s highly-successful 1981 air attack against the French-built Osiraq nuclear reactor, still possesses about 12.5 kilograms (27.5 pounds) of French-supplied highly-enriched uranium, enough for at least one nuclear weapon.  During its recent “War of Cities” with Iran, the Baghdad regime consistently violated the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibitions against chemical weapons.

 

     What about delivery systems?  Iraq has several types of aircraft that would be capable of meeting these needs, including the Soviet-supplied TU-22, TU-16, and MiG-23, and the French-supplied Mirage F-1.  Iraq has also acquired the SCUD B from the Soviet Union, a 300-km ballistic missile with inertial guidance, and, also from the Soviets, the FROG-7, an unguided free rocket over ground with a 60 to 70-km range.  It has also been reported that the Soviets have exported an unknown number of SS-21s to Iraq, a replacement for the FROG with improved guidance capability.  For now, the principal impediment to Iraqi nuclear weapons is the temporary incapacity to manufacture or acquire nuclear missile warheads.

 

     Let us turn to Iran, certain to become a major strategic threat to Israel.  Until the revolution in January 1979, Iran’s nuclear program was the most ambitious in the entire Middle East.  In addition to open, commercial activities, the Shah most likely initiated a full-scale nuclear weapons research program. This program included work on two technologies for producing weapons-grade nuclear materials, enrichment and reprocessing, and on the actual design of nuclear weapons.

 

     Because of Washington’s unwillingness to undermine the Shah in the days preceding the final overthrow, Khomeini inherited substantial nuclear assets.  The precise configuration of this nuclear infrastructure, including weapons-relevant technology and equipment, is still known only to selected persons within the Messianic Khomeini regime.  What is known is that this regime is diligently reactivating the nation’s nuclear program. Where will this reactivation end?

 

     From Iran’s point of view, nuclear weapons must appear as an essential counterweight to Iraq’s superiority in conventional armaments. Moreover, nuclear weapons would seem to have special value in enhancing the Khomeini regime’s status in the region, and its associated capacity to advance the objectives of militant Islamic fundamentalism.  It should not be surprising, therefore, that Iran, in 1984, opened a new research center at Isfahan.

 

     What delivery systems are available to Iran?  At the moment, the Tehran regime has two lines of advanced combat aircraft that can deliver a nuclear bomb:  the F-4D/E Phantom II, and the F-5E/F Tiger II.  It also has a ballistic missile force that could deliver nuclear warheads.  Although there is no available information that Iran is making substantial progress in the manufacture of such warheads, that country has maintained and expanded its very costly nuclear research program at a time of increasing economic dislocation and hardship.  Iran remains a potential nuclear power that should not be dismissed out of hand.

 

To be continued

 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971), Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue University, is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.   In Israel, he was Chair of Project Daniel.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Palestine, More Of A Threat To Israel Than The Uprising (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reviews details of a "bad deal" with Iran.
Netanyahu Warns of Increased Iran Aggression in Middle East
Latest Indepth Stories
Temple Israel Of Boston

“The resentment towards us (Jews/Israelis) was really intense. They clearly hate Zionism & Zionists”

US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.

Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations

Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

ISIS terrorist carries the group's black flag.

Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”

Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all

Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war

There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…

When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.

“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”

Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.

For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/palestine-more-of-a-threat-to-israel-than-the-uprising/2010/02/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: