Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs

Jerusalem Viewpoints
No. 514 8 Adar 5764 / 1 March 2004


Colonel (Res.) Yehuda Wegman

The many classic examples of low-intensity conflict - in Indo-China, Malaya, Algeria, Cuba, and Northern Ireland - are irrelevant to the case of Israel. Not a single citizen in Britain, France, or the United States had his daily routine in his native country disrupted as a result of the low-intensity combat conducted by his country's army on a foreign battlefield.

The guerilla and terror actions in Vietnam, Algeria, Ireland, Rhodesia, and other places were not directed against the very existence of the rival nation and its army.

Something about the Western response to a strike on its population centers can be learned from the American reaction to 9/11, with its military operation directed at the heart of Afghanistan as the sender of terror. In this case, the doctrine of limited conflict was cast aside, as the "strong" side under attack undertook to summarily obliterate the "weak" attacker in accordance with the laws of war.

I have a few questions that I'd like more expert knowledge on.

1. Does classic counterinsurgency doctrine apply in the case of Israel?
2. What do you think of Israel's current strategy, is it working or not?
3. What mistakes are Israel making?

I'd only like short answers, but if you want to expand then feel free.