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Original English Translation of the 2015 Gadi Eisenkot IDF Strategy
Whatever shifts may be taking place in the realm of discourse, Israel has not neglected the material preconditions of its power. At a time when leading Arab countries are manifestly enfeebled, ceasing to regard Israel as a matter of strategic concern, prioritizing Iran instead, and when some of them are apparently on the verge of being incorporated into a U.S.-Israeli antimissile defense system, thereby becoming dependent on Israel’s defense industries and technology, it is worthwhile examining how Israeli strategic planners assess their environment. The Journal does so by offering an English translation of a document laying out the strategic doctrine authored by Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot that was released in August 2015. It will be recalled that Eisenkot is the originator of the so-called Dahiya doctrine—the application of “disproportionate force” to “cause great damage and destruction” to “civilian areas” considered by Israel as “military bases” —which the general articulated in a 2008 interview after having put it into practice in the eponymous area of Beirut during the 2006 Lebanon war, and which he did again in Gaza, most recently in 2014.
This new document is less blunt than Eisenkot’s chilling 2008 pronouncement, but no less striking in its own way. Alongside “operations in the perception-shaping, economic and legal fields, as part of the effort to restrict enemy capabilities and legitimacy,” the document stresses “fully utilizing [the] potential for cooperation with moderate forces in the region” in an oblique reference to Israel’s successful efforts to benefit from the current state of Arab division and co-opt so-called moderates. It is further evidence that at a time when the Arab world is fragmenting in a fashion reminiscent of the disastrous muluk al-tawa’if (or factional kings) era in Islamic Spain, Israel retains a steely focus on maintaining its strategic hegemony in the region.
- Journal of Palestine Studies Editor Rashid I. Khalidi
To read the unabridged IDF Strategy document, click here.
(Photo: Motti Kimchi)