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In ‘intractable conflict,’ Israel must periodically and forcefully ‘mow the grass’

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From the IDF twitter feed
From the IDF twitter feed

Yet another sign of the lack of vision of the Israeli security state and the crisis that it is plunging into given the failure to resolve the conflict with Palestinians. A study by leading national security experts calls for “mowing the grass” in the West Bank and Gaza for the forseeable future.

“Mowing the Grass,” Israel’s strategy in the twenty-first century against hostile non-state groups, reflects the assumption that Israel finds itself in a protracted intractable conflict. The use of force in such a conflict is not intended to attain impossible political goals, but a strategy of attrition designed primarily to degrade the enemy capabilities. Only after showing much restraint in its military responses does Israel act forcefully to destroy the capabilities of its foes, hoping that occasional large-scale operations have a temporary deterrent effect in order to create periods of quiet along its borders. The Israeli approach is substantively different from the current Western strategic thinking on dealing with non-state military challenges.

This new Hebrew study explores the strategy in four cases: Operation Defensive Shield (2002), the Second Lebanon War (2006), Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), and Operation Pillar of Defense (2012).

Thanks to Helena Cobban, who interviewed one of the authors of the study above in 2009, Efrain Inbar:

The most realistic scenario Inbar could foresee over the coming years in the West Bank was, “Conflict management: to lower the flames, limit the suffering, and not anger the Americans too much.”

No wonder the NYT has an Op-Ed today called the Coming Intifada, by Ali Jarbawi.

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The latest Inbar/Shamir paper is particularly timely given the fast-approaching (Dec 27th) fifth anniversary of the start of Operation Cast Lead (one of its four ‘case studies’), and provides helpful background as we all ponder the ‘meaning’ of that terrible, 23-day-long Israel assault on the people and infrastructure of the Gaza Strip.

Carpet bombing. Israelis follow the teachings of US in Vietnam and Laos.

People use the word intifada without knowing what it means. They use it as a synonym foot violence. But it is literally a shaking off. In this case shaking off oppression and occupation. Not an attack on Israel.

Do their soldiers realing need all that equipment to beat up college students and arrest five year olds?

Only after showing much restraint in its military responses does Israel act forcefully to destroy the capabilities of its foes, hoping that occasional large-scale operations have a temporary deterrent effect in order to create periods of quiet along its borders. It’s called preventive war. It’s about regular preventive wars. I think the obligatory insertion of an apology has become part of the grammar or something because the concept of ‘preventive wars as a last resort’… Read more »