Sunday, 19 September 2010


Terrorism's Global Impact.
ICT's 10th International Conference at the IDC Herzlia.

Day one continued with a Talking Heads panel of former Ministers of Defense and IDF Chiefs of Staff.

AMOS GILAD, as Head of the Political, Military, and Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Defense, said that Israel is in a reasonable situation regarding terror. 

'Arafat decided to strike at Israel and not the territories when he led his terror attacks against us.

The Palestinian Authority have stopped terror against Israel and are targeting Hamas because they are an enemy of the Palestinian Authority. It's a case of 'to be or not to be' within Palestinian society.

Since 2006 not many rockets have fallen from the Gaza Strip. Operation Cast Lead was a deterrent. Hamas thinks it a good idea not to fire rockets at us.

The Sinai is a danger with Al Qaida cells opening up there. It is also a smuggling route for weapons and people involving the local Bedouin. Egypt and Jordan share Israel's concern. So far Eilat and Aqaba are quiet'

As for future threats, Gilad referred to the Shihad/Kassam coalition. These are the two main rockets owned by Hizbollah over Israel's northern border and by Hamas over Israel's southern border.
Hizbollah now possesses 45,000 rockets compared to 14,000 in 2006.

'Lebanon has a Constitution but not a state', said Gilad. 'The Lebanese Prime Minister has not idea what is going on in the south of his country. It is no-go territory for Hizbollah'.

Referring to the Gaza Strip, Gilad said  'Hamastan now has missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. Hamas received massive aid from Iran. The Palestinian Authority is unable to take responsibility for what is going on in the Gaza area. Israel cannot go soft on mortar or rocket attacks'.

'Hizbollah and Hamas are independent entities. Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood can accept temporary defeats. They have a lot of patience. They have not changed their ambitions to eradicate the Zionist state'.

Regarding an Iranian nuclear capacity Gilad said, 'It would be humiliating for the Arabs if the Persians have the bomb that they don't have'.

'There are heavy clouds on the horizon. Unlike the weather, we can take steps to make sure we don't get wet'.

Regarding America he said, 'the security relationship with the US has become stronger in recent months. I can tell you personally that cooperation on the war on terror is increasing. We cannot get complacent'.

BOAZ GANOR, the Founder and Executive Director if Israel's Institute of Counter terror asked what should be done about the Iranian threat.
If,and when, Iran will be nuclear how will it impact on Hamas and world terror?

'A nuclear Iran is unthinkable', he said.  'It is a strategic threat. Israel is perceived as being strong. Hizbollah and Hamas are deterred, but they will never give up their ambition to destroy Israel. From tiny kids to their top leadership, they all say it.
You don't have to be a prophet to know what Iran will do. Just listen to Ahmadiajad and the Ayatollahs. Ahmadinajad goes to the United Nations and talks about the destruction of Israel, and nothing happens!'

On the subject of the new American Administration's approach to the war on terror, Ganor said that Obama's policy is different to Bush. Without wishing to give an evaluation of America, Ganor did say that Obama relied on dialogue 'to do it nicely'.
'This doesn't work. The US is in a war on terror. It is difficult to be optimistic about the abilities of the Iraqi and Afghani Governments abilities to cope with terror. You have to liquidate the threat. In Afghanistan, you can't deter them so you must eradicate them.

With US forces leaving Iraq and later Afghanistan you cannot be optimistic for the future'.

On delegitimization of Israel.

'There is a delegitimization campaign on legitimate acts of Israel in its self defense.

We are the David in this world, not our enemies'.

MOSHE ARENS was a former Minister of Defense and Foreign Minister. He spoke about the effect of terror on a civilian population.

'Terror deliberately targets civilians. The suicide bomber is one of the most accurate forms of terror. They choose the target and the timing of the attack.
Serial suicide bombings have the ability to break the spirit of the population. Israel successfully removed the threat of suicide bombings with Operation Defensive Shield, and the construction of the separation fence'.

Regarding rockets, Arens reminded us that the German V2s were launched against England to break their will. They were effective in that they caused immense damage, but the British were resilient. Eventually, the British reached the launching sites and stopped the German terror attacks.

'We were targets from the north and from the south. We have now invested efforts and huge amounts of money for interception. We have the capability of hitting a bullet with a bullet. We will continue to develop these defensive rocket shields until our enemies realise that their rockets are ineffective'.

Regarding deterring terror, Arens gave examples of how Israel had deterred terror attacks.

'If we talk of a terror group without a state or institution there is no way to deter them if they are determined. The only way to eradicate it is shown by Operation Defensive Shield.
We went town to town, house to house, and emptied their terror infrastructure. We build a separation fence that made it very difficult for them to reach us. Now we are tackling the rockets and missiles'.

Regarding terror with an infrastructure, Moshe Arens gave two examples.
Hezbollah is connected to the Lebanese Government. They have to consider an attack against us against the political and social environment in which they live.
They kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and fired rockets at us. We fought the Second Lebanon War. Despite the criticism about the way it was fought it did have a deterrence and implication for future Hizbollah action.
The head of Hizbollah, Sheikh Nasrallah, said he would not have fired rockets  had he known that Israel would respond so heavily.

This is similar to Hamas. We couldn't deter Hamas rockets attacks until we launched Operation Cast Lead. Today they have more and larger rockets but they don't seem too keen to use them.  After Cast Lead they take into account our reaction to their terror attacks and they are concerned about their survival.

'Deterence is not a stable commodity. It can change with political shifts and perceptions'.

SHAUL MOFAZ was, for 36 years, in various command positions in the IDF. He was also both a Former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense. He is currently deputy head of the Kadema Party.

He told us that Amos Gilad's opinions and assessments add weight to Israel's political decision makers.

'Nine years since the events in America shocked the world, the collaboration in counter terror intelligence has increased. Israel's experience against terror is extensive. The most difficult part was the war against suicide bombers and the general onslaught of terror against our population.

The lead is held by the desire for domination of an extremist ideology.  Today, the greatest threat is Iran. Iran leads the extremist axis. Iran is building huge arsenals aimed at Israel both directly, and through their proxies Hamas and Hizbollah.

We don't have the privilege to allow Iran to achieve nuclear capability. Iran means what it says.

Yes, continue the dialogue. Yes, increase the sanctions on Iran. There must also be a military option. I hope the international community will take the necessary steps.

To those who say it is possible to contain a nuclear Iran I say this is not possible.

About the missile threat, this is not against Israel only. Entities must be deterred from developing and using more sophisticated rockets and missiles. The world must create and deploy other options to prevent rocket attacks from reaching countries as far away as America'.

On a peace agreement Mofaz said, 'Without touching on the diplomatic track, there is an opportunity at this time. If a two state solution is accepted how do we turn it in practical terms.
The Palestinian political system is split. I do not see any possibility this will be solved. Do we have the privilege of waiting for them to sort out their problems, or do we move ahead with whatever can be achieved, taking out security needs into consideration?
We can make border and security arrangements. We retain the large settlement blocks and they can have a state on part of the territories. The border should be the equivalent of the 1967 borders, though not exactly on those lines'.

'Benjamin Netanyahu made a big mistake in granting a freeze on settlement building ten months ago. This had never been proposed under previous Israeli administrations, and the Palestinians had never made building freezes as one of their preconditions.
It is clear to everyone that we did not have a plan'.

'If we don't reach a realistic peace agreement with the Palestinians someone else will impose terms of reference on us.
We cannot give up on the hope of peace. Peace will free us to concentrate on education, social problems, and the future of Israel'.

'Any peace agreement will include Israel's defense and security needs to avoid a future Eastern Front against a possible invasion from Iraq and a flow of missiles and weapons from the east'.

PROFESSOR URIEL REICHMAN, the Founder and President of IDC Herzlia opened the evening proceedings.

He outlined the First Millennium during which Christian radicalism swept the world with Crusades and the Catholic conquests.
In the Second Millennium we see radical Islam.
People found other reasons to launch wars but religion played its part.

'Islam', he said, 'is trying to put the clock back a thousand years.  The main weapon today is terrorism, but that is only a beginning.'.

'Iran wants to annihilate a United Nations member state. It wants to control over 60% of the world's oil resources. Resistance is the only course. This must include all humane societies. That includes moderate Islamic societies. Israel's negotiations are threatened by terrorism'.

'International cooperation is not only sharing intelligence. There has to be an international agreement to fight terrorism. The world community has to come to an accord on how to combat terror coming out of heavily populated areas.

The IDC Herzlia established the Center of Counter-Terrorism under Boaz Ganor. They give graduate courses in counter terrorism. Students from Stanford, Oxford, and other centers of learning come to ICT for an MA in Counter Terrorism'.

'On 9/11 an act of terror was directed at a country that had opened its arms to people of all nations and religions to come and live in freedom. It is a country with one of the greatest constitutions of any. It symbolises what jihad wants to destroy and replace.
This was the target. It is still the target.
We mourn the people who suffered the tragedy of 9/11.  We know, in Israel, how the loss feels.
We salute the United States and cherish the values of that country. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fight on terror'.

SHABTAI SHAVIT Former head of the Mossad.

'When we came up with the Institute for Counter Terrorism in 1996 we were the laughing stock. We are now the dominant force that is copied around the world.

'Today we raise the question whether fighting terror is a military or a police action?'

In Israel, with most terror attacks deliberately targeting the civilian population the first responders are, usually, the police.

'Don't envy the army field commander who has to think of the legal, humanitarian, and public relations considerations of his soldiers actions in real time close combat fighting'.

Professor Alex Mintz, Dean of the Lauder School of Government at the IDC Herzlia, said that nine years after 9/11 the world is no safer.
Iran is short of a bomb, but what will happen if they get the bomb?
Ahmadinajad has already said he would share nuclear science with his allies.

There has been twenty five reported cases of lost or stolen nuclear materials.

'The first nuclear missile will be used against Israel, unfortunately. I hope this conference will take this issue seriously. It is important for academic, political, and national security to formulate a plan that addresses this issue'.

BOAZ GANOR asked 'What is the secret of our success with this conference? It is not just a conference. It's a meeting place where experts talk among themselves of the challenges we face. This is not a theoretical issue. We are trying to find solutions for the atrocities of terror.
The academic world can, and should be, relevant to this subject - the war on terror'.

'We see the Iranian effort to achieve nuclear capability.
We see the United States step out of Iraq. What will be the result?
We see the radicalization of Turkey and the romance of the Turkish leadership with Iran, Hamas, Syria.
The peace process. If Hamas sees this leading somewhere we can expect their reaction'.

Ganor referred to the results of a recent survey on international experts undertaken by his Institute.

54% believe that within ten years a terror organisation will have nuclear capability.
66% believe that a non-conventional war will occur withing five years.
The majority feel that there is no sufficient counter terror measures in place  to offset these dangers.

'This conference has to be fruitful. We cannot afford it not to be'.

MOSHE YAALON, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs assessed Israel's strategic situation at the Jewish New Year.

"Last year was a reasonable year for Israel. Good economic growth. We convinced our Palestinian neighbours to begin direct peace talks, suppressed terror, reduced rocket attacks.
Israel still faces challenges.
There is an ongoing assault on the legitimacy of Israel, and on our right to defend ourselves.  We continue to build and fortify our country'.

'Our war on terror is reactive. We are forced to take preventive measures against those who fight us'.

'We commemorate the dreadful attack against the free world. We send our condolences to America and to the victims families. Right after 9/11 the understanding was clear. With time, this clarity is eroding. Radical Islamic groups want to change the world order. This is the time to say that terror is terror is terror. Fight it by all means'.

'Israel has been the victim of terror since before its establishment.
As far back as the 1920's Jews were massacred in Hebron. Since 1973 terror has become the major way.
Since they found that they could not beat us in conventional warfare they turned to terror.
The moderate Arab states signed peace with us. The radicals chose another path.
The aim of terror is to break the will of its victim. It is the result of wrong
political decisions and changes on the ground. We withdraw from Lebanon and from the Gaza Strip and terror replaced the vacuum.
Capitulation to terror only brings more terror'.

'Hamas and Hizbollah are becoming institutionalised in Gaza and Lebanon. There is daily friction among their own factions.
Due to Israeli actions the terrorists are deterred from launching attacks against us. They are, however, acquiring more weapons, taking advantage of the organisations supporting them. They have rockets instead of suicide bombers'.

'In making peace we must insist that the other side gives up all terror activities from the bottom up. No incitement, preserve law and order, an uncorrupted economy. The peace agreement must not be a 'hudna', a pause for regrouping.
We can encourage those that fight terror, but not be fooled by superficial efforts.
An effort must be made to prevent terror groups from obtaining better weapons'.

'Public support is as important as military effort. We must maintain the moral high ground and fight for our legitimacy. We must not be affected by baseless, biased, things like Goldstone, or delegitimacy campaigns like flotillas and boycotts.
In spite of these attempts to restrict us, Israel will do whatever is required.
We don't have any other choice'.

'We must maximise cooperation with allies, including the Palestinian Authority, through dialogue.
If we stick to these principles we can win this war'.

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