Terror is an Existential Threat

The Lebanon war exposed a crisis in Israel's national security policy. This crisis derives from the terror activity of the 'Resistance Network', which now poses an existential threat to Israel.

Essence of the Warning1

The war in Lebanon and the military actions in Gaza have revealed a crisis in Israel's national security policy. This crisis derives from Israel's irrelevant policies in addressing the threat to its existence created by the ‘Resistance Network'.2

In recent years, the salient expression of this network is acts of terror emanating from Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Through such means, the Resistance Network has succeeded in preventing Israel from any military or political achievement leading towards its secure existence. In this way, the Resistance Network furthers its goal of establishing a single Palestinian / Arab / Islamist state in place of the state of Israel.

As a result of this development, terror has come to signify an existential threat to Israel that requires a systemic response. Nonetheless, Israel conducts itself as if terror constitutes merely a bothersome tactical threat which principally demands a localized military response.

Israel's irrelevant policies are thus causing repeated military failure and political deadlock vis-à-vis the Resistance Network. Closing the gap between the nature of the threat that Israel faces and the nature of Israel's response is at present the most significant challenge facing Israel's national security.

Existing Mindset - Terror is Not an Existential Threat

Israel's current policies regarding the threat of terror are based on the following assumptions:

The primary response is military (especially when there is "no partner") - Israel's national security policy relies upon its military supremacy in relation to its enemies.3

Moreover, the perception that Israel has no partner with the will or carrying capacity to reach a political agreement prevents Israel from developing a broad political strategy. This perception applies, in a variety of fashions, to Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.4

As a result of this approach, the military rationale has become predominant in Israel's national security policy.

The right of independent action - Israel maintains its prerogative to act independently in the military and political spheres, while it remains wary of foreign initiatives.5

The United States is Israel's only genuine ally - Therefore, the US constitutes the primary, and generally the sole, actor with whom Israel coordinates its political and military actions and from whom Israel seeks legitimization for its actions. This relationship is perceived as constituting practically the only limitation on Israel's freedom of action.6

Israeli response focuses on geographic arenas - It appears that the logic behind Israeli action is based on a division of its threats into geographic arenas. This logic is expressed in the conceptual, organizational and management levels. The Southern Command manages the fight against terror that emanates from the Gaza Strip, the Central Command manages the West Bank, and the Northern Command manages the fighting vis-à-vis Lebanon.7

Terror is not an existential threat - The manifestations of acts of terror with which Israel is confronted include those perpetrated by the Palestinian terror organizations, the Hizbullah in Lebanon, and organizations identified with al-Qaeda that operate in Egypt, Jordan and in other countries. In accordance with the present security policy, these threats are not part of the existential threat facing Israel, due to the limited amount of damage that they cause.8

On the other hand, Israel perceives both the threat of a single Palestinian state9 and the Iranian nuclear threat10 as existential. It is important to note that the conventional threat of traditional armies11 and the threat which derives from the combination of terror and weapons of mass destruction12 are not considered to be existential threats to Israel at present.

It appears that even in the aftermath of the Lebanon War (7/06) this mindset remains intact.13 Israel continues to rely upon a response that is chiefly military,14 to remain without a political agenda,15 and to conduct itself on the basis of geographic arenas. In parallel, Israel appears to rely almost exclusively on its special relationship with the United States. It appears that the assumption that terror is not an existential threat has not changed.16

Diverging Reality - The Resistance Network Creates an Existential Threat

Israel's national security policy has been undermined by recent trends which challenge the relevance of this policy.

The Resistance Network represents a new type of enemy with special characteristics - The concept "Resistance Network" relates to a proliferation of actors of several different types, which are connected to each other within a systemic network, and committed to the struggle for the destruction of Israel. As such, the Resistance Network may also include states, organizations and persons which negate Israel's right to exist morally and operate to prevent its existence in reality.17

The Reut Institute identifies the following characteristics of the Resistance Network:

  • The Resistance Network is a systemic phenomenon - The phenomenon is composed of an Initiator, Facilitators, and Executors operating from the territory of a Host towards a certain objective or target.

20061123 Resistance Network

  • Proliferation of actors and multiplicity of addresses - the Resistance Network is composed of states that have various levels of internal control and effectiveness, as well as non-state armed groups18 dispersed throughout a large number of countries.19

  • Every actor can play a different role in the Network - it is thus possible for any actor to initiate, facilitate, host or even execute the operation, depending on circumstances.20

  • Undermining or taking control of local governments - the Resistance Network's agenda promotes an alternative to the ideology of the secular and moderate governments, as in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt or the Palestinian Authority. Undermining these addresses fulfills two goals: impeding Israel's military and political actions; and expanding the Resistance Network's scope of influence.21

  • The Resistance Network prospers in places where there is no ‘address', namely in countries where the central government is weak and does not possess a monopoly on the use of force.

  • The Resistance Network is global - The Resistance Network exploits the global environment, which is characterized by a decentralized, interconnected structure, comprising a diversity of logics, small groups yielding significant influence and the rapid transfer of knowledge and people.22

  • The core manifestation of the Resistance Network within Israel is terror on the part of Hamas and Hezbollah. Currently, Iran is the driving force and the primary source of inspiration of the Resistance Network's ideology.

The Resistance Network is based on a political logic - the Resistance Network carries out a two-pronged political strategy against Israel. On the one hand, it uses terror and other means aimed at impeding Israeli progress both militarily and politically, as Israel seeks to end its control over the Palestinians.23 On the other hand, the Resistance Network promotes the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamist state in place of Israel.

The military logic of the Resistance Network is secondary. The Resistance Network acknowledges Israel's military supremacy. Hence, it avoids direct military confrontations with the Israeli army, where it is expected to be defeated.24 As an alternative, the Resistance Network conducts continuous wars of attrition, limited to terror and guerilla fighting. Thus, it precludes Israel from reaching either decisive military victory or significant political achievement.25

The Resistance Network does not seek End of Occupation - Terminating Israeli control over the Palestinians (End of Occupation) and transforming the conflict into a border dispute represent a strategic threat for the Resistance Network, as these are processes that are likely to affect the legitimacy of the continuous struggle against Israel's existence.

This is even more so regarding the scenario of "End of Conflict" between Israel and the Palestinians or Israel and Lebanon and "Finality of Claims" between the parties.26

American influence declines, while the influence of other actors increases -

  • Over the past few years, Israel's reliance on regional and international actors other than the US has increased. As it becomes increasingly understood that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may not be solved in a direct fashion (i.e., by a bilateral permanent status agreement), the tendency to internationalize the conflict grows. For instance, in order to withdraw from Gaza, Israel needed to reach agreement with Egypt and the EU regarding their respective roles.27

    Additionally, the war in Lebanon and the establishment of a security regime along Israel's northern border necessitated cooperation with international forces, negotiation and compromise on UN Resolution 1701, reinforcement of UNIFIL and understandings with Russia.

    Similarly, the threat posed by Iran calls for international cooperation with actors such as Russia, China and the EU; as well as with the moderate Arab countries and countries which border Iran.28

  • The decrease of US control results from its invasion and occupation of Iraq (3/03), the failure of democratization embodied in Hamas' electoral victory, the Hizbullah opposition to Siniora's government in Lebanon and the erosion of the US role as a plausible mediator (‘honest broker') in the Israeli-Arab conflict. In circumstances where the status of the US is damaged, Israel's status suffers proportionally.


The gap between Israel's existing perception, embodied in its words and actions, and the Resistance Network's guiding rationale, poses an existential threat for the state of Israel:

The Resistance Network cannot be vanquished with conventional military tools, due to its decentralized and systemic structure.29

The Resistance Network blocks Israel's political agenda and prevents any political progress, whether by agreement or unilateral.30

The Resistance Network has succeeded in moving Israel into a position of strategic inferiority - While military logic currently prevails in Israeli thinking, the Resistance Network is operating with a primary political logic. Thus, an "asymmetric struggle" between these different logics has evolved.31 Israel manages the conflict under the assumption that its national security will be based on its military supremacy over its enemies. In fact, the Resistance Network has succeeded in preventing Israel from achieving any sustainable political or military objectives that would ensure its continued existence.

Therefore, the terror caused by the Resistance Network signifies an existential threat to Israel - As a result, the Resistance Network is leading Israel into a dead end, with no successful military response and with no political solution to its problems. At the same time, Israel cannot obtain the required legitimacy for its continued existence in the region.

Policy Options

Israel's national security policy should be updated and its toolbox should be expanded - As stated above, it appears that the present security policy, which is principally based on the capabilities of the IDF, will not be able to provide a response to the challenge of the Resistance Network. Thus, Israel must update its national security policy through, inter alia:

  • Strengthening the policy's political component by the establishment of regional and international alliances, initiating political processes and updating national goals regarding the Palestinians (see below);

  • Integrating additional elements, such as economic, scientific and cultural issues into the national security policy;32

  • Creating a systemic response to the systemic challenge - As stated above, the current arena-oriented, geographic response can be expected to fail, as it provides only a partial solution.33

  • Israel should build strong regional alliances and move forward with political initiatives that are acceptable to moderate Arab states, even if such alliances partially inhibit Israel's complete freedom of action - Israel should establish strategic cooperation in the areas of intelligence, military, political initiatives and economics. This cooperation should be wide and deep with Egypt and Jordan; and should also be promoted at appropriate levels of intensity with the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and the countries of central Asia.

Arab peace initiatives are levers for political cooperation - Arab peace initiatives are a lever for building regional cooperation in the struggle against the Resistance Network. When Israel rejects them, it makes the building of regional coalitions all the more difficult and alienates what may be the only framework for ending control over the Palestinians and garnering legitimacy for Israel's existence.34

Strong regional governments are in Israel's interest - Israel has an interest in the existence of stable and effective governments in neighboring countries. This interest may need to take precedence over reservations regarding the ideological identity of these governments.

The Resistance Network must be challenged and forced to make difficult decisions - Israel can challenge the Resistance Network by creating political dilemmas that sharpen the tension between the Resistance and national domestic interests. For instance, Israel can condition the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority upon the acceptance of the Oslo Accords; or condition its retreat from the Shebaa Farms upon a clear Lebanese statement on the finality of its claims against Israel.

Transformation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a conflict between "conqueror" and "conquered" into a "border conflict" should be an Israeli goal. Although such a transformation will not stop the activity of the Resistance Network, it is likely to neutralize the threat to Israel's existence of the creation of a single Palestinian / Arab / Islamic state in all of the territories that are under Israel's control.

Advocacy - Israel needs to explain to the world the nature of the challenge that emerges from the Resistance Network, which is not aimed exclusively at Israel. Israel should work with other state and non-state parties to identify the tools that can be used in response.

Table: Gaps between the Rationales of Israel and the Resistance Network

See the table as a PDF file

Israeli rationale

Rationale of the Resistance Network and ramifications

Political vs. military rationale

The military rationale is dominant, on the basis of the supremacy of Israeli military strength. Israel aims for direct military conflict in which its strength can be clearly exhibited and perceived.

The political rationale is secondary; there is no need for a political initiative.

The political rationale is dominant. All progress on guaranteeing Israel's permanent existence must be prevented, and the alternative of a Palestinian / Arab / Islamic state must take its place.

The military rationale is secondary, acknowledging Israel's military supremacy. The aim of military tactics is to undermine political alternatives and to avoid military defeat.

The Palestinian approach to ‘occupation'

The Palestinians want to end the occupation and to establish a Palestinian state.

Therefore, the end of control over territory and the Palestinian population, as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state, are Israeli "cards" for future negotiations.

The Resistance Network has no interest in either Israel's End of Occupation or the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Unilateral withdrawals harm the struggle. They must be prevented or reversed, even if the result is the renewal of "occupation".

Independence of action

Retention of Israel's military freedom of action.

The Resistance Network is spread throughout the region and has global reach. Thus, Israel cannot deal with the threat by itself. There must be close cooperation with other regional actors, at the possible cost of restricting Israel's freedom of action (as in Israeli over-flights of Lebanon).

Military concepts

Military terminology evolved in the context of conventional threats and conflicts.

Israel cannot achieve "victory" in traditional military terms. Also, the terms "deterrence" and "early warning" lose meaning when there is no organized decision-making mechanism on the other side.

Management and organization

Israel manages the conflict on the basis of a "geographic arena" rationale.

The Resistance Network is systemic.

United States

The US is the primary - almost exclusive - ally of Israel.

US hegemony is declining. Dealing with the threat will require Israel to forge alliances with other actors.

Regional governments

Israel seeks "addresses" on the other side of the conflict, usually the local government, that will take responsibility over its territory

The Resistance Network undermines local governments in the region, to the extent of causing them to fail. Thus, Israel's ability to use carrots and sticks with these governments is undermined.

Relevant axes

The exclusive enemy of the Resistance Network is the State of Israel.

While the Resistance Network is involved in a struggle against Israel, it is also involved in the regional struggle for hegemony. In this context it also undermines moderate Arab governments and US influence. Thus, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia Turkey and the states of central Asia are potential allies for Israel.

Significance of acts of terror

Terror is not an existential threat.

Terror is an existential threat.

1 Acknowledgements - The Reut Institute would like to thank the following experts for their contributions to this document - Dr. Zvi Lanir, founder of the Praxis Institute and author of Fundamental Surprises (Tel Aviv: Center for Strategic Studies, 1983, in Hebrew); General (Res.) Yonatan Lerner of the CSC Group, who is an expert in strategic planning for large organizations; and Advocate Moti Cristal, an expert in negotiation strategy and former Deputy Head Manager of Negotiations in the Prime Minister's Office. However, the Reut Institute is solely accountable for the content of this document.

2 The concept ‘Resistance Network' refers to a group of actors of a variety of types that may exhibit a fluidity of roles according to changing circumstances and are mutually committed to the struggle against Israel. The central manifestation of this phenomenon is terrorism. Currently, Iran fulfills the role of its primary initiator. See the explanation in the document below.

There is a connection between the Resistance Network and the phenomenon of Permanent Resistance to Israel, which negates Israel's right to exist and acts to further this goal (see, for instance, the present policy and actions of Iran or of organizations such as Hamas or Hizbullah). There is also a connection between the Resistance Network and the phenomenon of Basic De-Legitimization of Israel, which denies Israel's right to exist. In the framework of the latter, states, organizations and other actors that are prima facie not inherently connected to the Arab-Israeli conflict, attack the right of the state of Israel to exist through their activity regarding various issues (as in the anti-Israel activity at the 2001 Durban Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; or the International Court of Justice case against Israel concerning the separation barrier).

3 Since the Yom Kippur War, Israel has developed military supremacy vis-à-vis its enemies. This supremacy has become the defining point of Israel's national security policy (see Horowitz Dan, "The Fixed and the Changing in Israel's National Security Policy", War of Choice, Tel Aviv, Jaffee Center, 1985; Bar Micah, Red Lines in Israel's Deterrence Strategy, Tel Aviv, Ma'arachot, 1990; and Yaniv Avner, Politics and Strategy in Israel, Tel Aviv: Sifriat Ha-Po'alim, 1994).

The perception of the supremacy of power also applies to the conflict with the Palestinians. It was expressed in the operation Defensive Shield and in the targeted killings, which brought a decline in the level and scope of Palestinian terror. See the words of former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon: "Since Defensive Shield and especially in recent months, signs of breakdown on the Palestinian side were revealed."(Shavit, Ha'aretz, 8/30/02 and 9/15/06).

4 See the words of Prime Minister Olmert: "The Palestinian issue is on the agenda...[But] we have to find the best partner to do it. A lot depends on the Palestinian leadership." (Lally Weymouth, Newsweek, 11/12/06), and also "Assad is currently not a partner", (Sofer, Ynet, 9/25/06). In addition, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held a similar stance: "There is no Palestinian partner" (Exchange of Letters Concerning the Disengagement Plan), 4/14/04).

5 See the words of Defense Minister Amir Peretz upon the outbreak of the Lebanon War: "Israel sees itself as free to carry out any course of action that is necessary" (Rabid, NRG, 7/12/06). See also the words of Prime Minister Olmert on the eve of the elections: "It is incumbent upon us to design the future of the country" (Ynet, 3/29/06). Additionally, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's letter regarding the Disengagement Plan reads: "Israel must keep its ability to defend itself and to deter its enemies" (Exchange of Letters Concerning the Disengagement Plan, 4/14/04).

6 See Ben-Zvi Avi, Israel and the USA - Limitations of the Special Relations, (Tel Aviv, Jaffee Center, 1993). The political process, from the peace agreement with Egypt and until the Oslo process, was managed by, approved of and coordinated with the US. Unilateral moves, such as the Disengagement and the Convergence Plan, were also coordinated from the beginning with the US (See Exchange of Letters Concerning the Disengagement Plan), 4/14/04). The Convergence Plan was presented to the US before it was revealed to the Israeli public (Galei Zahal, 3/12/06).

7 Israel has identified the inspiration Hizbullah gives to Palestinian organizations as well as the transfer of knowledge and personnel. Nevertheless, most of the commentary surrounding the struggle with Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iran or Syria, does not make a systemic connection between these actors. See the address by PM Olmert at the opening of the Knesset Winter Session (10/16/06). The Prime Minister's speech addressed separately the topics of the Palestinian threat and the policy of the three demands, the Lebanese threat and UN Resolution 1701, the Syrian threat and the issue of the Golan Heights, and the Iranian nuclear threat.

8 See Chief of Staff Dan Halutz's speech at the 6th Herzliya Conference (1/06): "Terror is not an existential threat... the situation of the State of Israel in the present year is very good. When looking into the future, it is hard to see an existential threat to the State of Israel."

9 The concept of the One-State Threat refers to an interplay of forces, expressed both through public discourse and actions, seeking the Basic De-Legitimization of Israel and pushing toward a One-State Solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict while undermining a Two-State Solution.

Prime Minister Olmert said: "More and more Palestinians are uninterested in a negotiated, two-state solution... For us, it would mean the end of the Jewish state" (Benvenisti, Ha'aretz, 11/15/06).

10 PM Olmert stated, "It is absolutely intolerable for Israel to accept the threat of a nuclear Iran" (Lally Weymouth, Newsweek, 11/12/06). In addition, in his address at the opening of the Knesset Winter Session (10/16/06), PM Olmert stated, "The Iranian threat is an existential threat to Israel."

However, this document focuses on the existential threat presented by the ‘Resistance Network' as distinct from the Iranian nuclear threat.

11 Until the 1970s, the perception was that the existential threat to Israel derived from the conventional armies of Israel's neighbors. The four victories of the IDF (1948-1973), the alliance with the US, the peace agreement with Egypt (1978-79), the peace agreement with Jordan (9/94) and the occupation of Iraq and dismantling of its army (3/03) significantly reduced this threat. See the words of Chief of Staff Dan Halutz: "Terror is not an existential threat... after that comes non-conventional capacity and finally fighting against conventional foreign armies..." (Nfc news, 6/14/05). See also the report of the Jaffee Center on the strategic situation of Israel (Barzili, Ha'aretz, 9/22/03).

12 Israel is not alone is dealing with this threat, which is a global reality that many countries face. For example, a dominant fear of many Western countries is that nuclear technology could flow from a country such as Pakistan, North Korea or Iran to al-Qaeda, the ideological initiator for the global Islamic struggle. In Israel's region, al-Qaeda is principally active in Sinai, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip (Harel, Ha'aretz, 3/13/06, 3/22/06).

13 Public criticism of the war in Lebanon centered on decision making and management of the war and not on the mindset upon which the state and army's actions were premised (Sofer, Ynet, 9/17/06).

14 Head of the General Security Service Diskin: "We should be ready for a military action in Gaza" (Ha'aretz, 11/14/06); "The IDF's working assumption: war this summer" (Oren, Ha'aretz, 11/6/06). "Israeli response to Iran primarily focuses on failure of diplomacy and the need of a military option. (Rosner and Benn, Ha'aretz, 10/20/06).

15 PM Olmert said that the U.S. and Israel have exchanged ideas about advancing the Palestinian channel for talks, but said there would not be an international conference, which he appears to oppose (Benn and Rosner, Ha'aretz, 11/15/06). After the war in Lebanon, Israel rejected the peace initiative of the Arab League on the grounds that the US and Israel were cooperating to restart the Roadmap (Shamir, Ha'aretz, 9/20/06).

16 In a recent interview, PM Olmert refers to Iranian nuclear power as an existential threat, but does not relate to terror by Hamas and Hizbullah as existential threats (Lally Weymouth, Newsweek, 11/12/06).

17 See the concept "Phenomenon of Basic De-Legitimization of Israel", which denies Israel's right to exist; and the concept "Permanent Resistance to Israel".

18 Shultz Richard and Dew Andrea, Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias, (Columbia University Press, 2006); Byman Daniel, Deadly Connections, (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Rotberg Robert, When States Fail, (Princeton University Press, 2004).

19 For instance, the components forming the Resistance Network include Iran as the Initiator and as a type of Facilitator, Syria, the Facilitator which supports and helps the network, and Hizbullah, Hamas and other terror organizations as Executors. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, even specific regions in Egypt and Jordan support the network as Hosts, whether willingly or not (See Ben Horin, Ynet, 11/05/06, in Hebrew).

20 The fluidity in roles is based on the flexibility of the network, which allows any actor to be the Executor, Initiator, Host or Facilitator, depending on circumstances. For instance, Iran currently fulfills the role of Initiator and Facilitator, whereas organizations such as Hizbullah or Islamic Jihad are mainly Executors. However, due to the fluidity in roles, even if Iran ceases to initiate operations of resistance, Israel will be confronted by another actor filling the role of the Initiator.

21 See the concept "Address". Examples include Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's sabotage of the Fatah government in the PA or the restraining of Hamas' governmental delegation by Khaled Mashaal from Damascus. Mashaal works in coordination with Syria and Iran, trying to shape the nature of the leadership in the PA (see interview with Mashaal, Ynet, 11/14/06, in Hebrew). In a similar fashion, the Hizbullah attempts to negotiate for more power in the Lebanese government, while maintaining independent military, economic and social power, due to Iranian subventions (see "The Lebanese Political Crisis", Stern, Ha'aretz, 11/13/06, in Hebrew).

22 The Resistance Network cooperates with the international terror. While international terror acts against the West in general, the Resistance Network functions according to a regional logic. Nonetheless, both networks find common ground in their struggle against Israel and the United States. See, for example, the article on the Somali guerilla fighters, who came to Lebanon in order to fight along the Hezbollah in the war against Israel (Worth Robert, New York Times, 11/14/06) or the global activity of Hizbullah (Karmon Ely, "Hezbollah America Latina: Strange group or real threat?", ICT, 11/14/06).

23 With every new political process, terror attacks become more frequent, as they target to prevent an agreement (cf. strategic terror during the Oslo process and the Quagmire of Negotiations). This trend can also be observed in implementation of the Roadmap, whereby terror was used to thwart both sides' efforts to launch the first stage of the plan (See the First Phase of the Roadmap).

24 Nasrallah stated that if he could have anticipated the intensity of Israel's reaction, he would not have commanded the kidnapping of the soldiers (Melman, Haaretz, 08/29/06).

25 See Nasrallah's spider's web strategy (05/26/00), and Barel, Haaretz, (07/17/06), in Hebrew.

26 See The "Shebaa Farms" syndrome.

27 See models of international intervention in Rafah or the UNIFIL model in Lebanon.

28 See Erlanger, New York Times, 11/13/06.

29 In the wake of the Lebanon War, military terms such as "victory" and "deterrence" are becoming irrelevant. It is difficult to continue to apply such terms without giving them a new meaning; it may be preferable to devise new concepts that are appropriate to the evolving reality.

30 In retrospect, it can be shown that the connections between Iran and the Palestinian terror groups contributed to the major terror attacks of 1996 helped bring an end to the Oslo process. See Shaul Shay, The Axis of Evil (Herzeliya: The Interdisciplinary Center, 2003). This is an example of how the Palestinian terror threat, which Israel does not consider to be existential, can succeed, in a regional and systemic context, in blocking a strategic political process.

Moreover, it may be assumed today that Khaled Mashal, Syria and Iran are preventing Israel from reaching a deal on the exchange of prisoners and the return of Gilad Shalit; while also forcing Israel to abandon the Convergence Plan and possibly even forcing it to return to the Gaza Strip.

31 The term "asymmetric struggle" indicates a struggle between sides to a conflict that are guided by different rationales.

32 For example: the development of alternative energy sources; cooperation with world powers such as China, India and Russia and influence on their respective regional agendas; creation of relevant norms of international law; new models of international involvement, and more. Such a wide national security policy was presented in the past by Yigal Allon in his book Screen of Sand, Tel Aviv, HaKibbutz HaMeuchad, 1968.

33 For instance: the Disengagement Plan was a response to the Palestinian problem and allowed Israel to improve its mindset regarding the Palestinian issue, so that it would be more compatible with the demographic reality that threatened the continued existence of a Jewish and democratic state. Nonetheless, this response did not succeed in dealing with terrorist activity that is part of the Resistance Network, and therefore terrorism had succeeded in undermining the unilateral Israeli logic of separation.

In addition, the systemic nature of the Resistance Network which contains a proliferation of actors and fluidity of roles will bring about a situation in which the departure of one actor from the network is liable to leave a sufficient number of actors to fulfill its role.

34 As a result, the Resistance Network's advantage has increased, while Israel serves its goals by refraining from entering the political arena.