The Relevancy of Israel's National Security Concept

Statements regarding the limitations of a military operation in Gaza indicate the lack of congruence between Israel's National Security Concept and the changing reality.
The minister of strategic threats, Avigdor Lieberman, told US Foreign Minister Condelezza Rice that "if Israel were to enter the Gaza Strip on a military operation and then withdraw, the situation would simply return to the way it was. If Israel undertakes a military operation, the result should be the stationing of 30,000 NATO troops in the Strip to keep the quiet."

These statements indicate an understanding that certain parts of Israel's National Security Concept do not take into consideration the changing reality and developing regional threats, and should therefore be updated. This is true regarding the situation in Gaza, as well as regarding threats from Lebanon and Iran:

  • Military superiority - A central component of Israel's National Security Concept is the IDF's military superiority. However, continuing to rely on military force in Gaza is liable to renew Israel's control over the Palestinian population, and as a result, undermine Israel's Jewish and democratic character. The effectiveness of Israel's military superiority may also be limited in Lebanon and Iran.

  • Freedom of Action - According to its National Security Concept, Israel protects its freedom of action, avoids dependency on other countries (with the exception of its strategic alliance with the US), and is often suspicious of foreign initiatives. However, in the past years, Israel's dependency on foreign actors is increasing. Thus, for example, ending control over the Palestinians in Gaza after the Disengagement required deploying international forces along the Philadelphi route just as ending the second Lebanon War (8/06) required involvement from UNIFIL.
  • International Involvement - There are growing incentives for Israel to seek cooperation with international actors besides the US. Actors such as China, Russia, the EU, and the moderate Arab States have a lot to offer Israel in issues including ending Israel's control over the Palestinians, dealing with Lebanon and Syria, and thwarting the rising Iranian hegemony in the region.


Benn and Issacharoff, Ha'aretz, 1/14/06, full text.