Netanyahu Promotes Dahiya Doctrine Author to IDF Chief of Staff
Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was named today as the next IDF chief of staff. Since virtually every such Israeli commander (among the more bloody have been Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Dan Halutz) has conducted military campaigns that violated international laws of war, it’s no surprise that Eisenkot himself already has more blood on his hands than most. He was one of Israel’s key commanders during the 2006 Lebanon war, in which Israel unleashed a massive level of devastation on the country, its infrastructure and people (1,100 were killed by the IDF). Eisenkot enunciated the Dahiya Doctrine, which declared that the IDF would launch indiscriminate attacks on Lebanese civilian targets in order to deter Hezbollah.
Dahiya was the neighborhood stronghold of Hezbollah in Beirut. The strategic “thinking” behind it was that the Islamist movement would cause the destruction of its own Shiite followers in the heart of the group’s own civilian stronghold. In other words, no one would be spared. Indeed, the IDF bragged at the time that it dropped a 25,000 pound bomb on Nasrallah’s headquarters under Dahiya and killed him. But it didn’t. Thus the Doctrine was seen to have a few chinks.
In the IDF commander’s own words:
[Israel’s response will] happen in every village from which shots were fired in the direction of Israel. We will wield disproportionate power against [them] and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases. […] This isn’t a suggestion. It’s a plan that has already been authorized. […] Harming the population is the only means of restraining Nasrallah.
A hawkish Israeli military analyst elaborated:
“With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes…Israel…will have to respond disproportionately in order to make it abundantly clear that the State of Israel will accept no attempt to disrupt the calm currently prevailing along its borders. Israel must be prepared for…a full-scale confrontation.
Israeli hawks will claim that Dahiya worked since the northern border has been relatively quiet since 2006. But at what cost? Billions in losses to both the Israeli and Lebanese economies. One million Israelis fleeing to bomb shelters. Some of the IDF’s finest tank crews and commanders (including David Grossman’s son, who died on the last day of the war) killed by Hezbollah’s daring tunnel and guerilla warfare tactics.
The IDF extended the Doctrine to Gaza as well, with wholesale slaughter of entire neighborhoods, which brought the death toll there to 2,200 in fifty days of fighting. No one, not even the champions of this excuse for mass murder, argues that it is a long-term solution. It’s a corollary of the “mowing the grass” phenomenon. Every few years you take out the lawn mower and get your hands dirty by thinning out the enemy. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it, etc.
The Dahiya Doctrine is a war crime on a number of levels. First, it constitutes collective punishment. Second, it deliberately targets civilians as a war goal rather than mere collateral damage. I expect some day to see Eisenkot and a number of other Israeli generals and political figures before the ICC in the Hague.
Another interesting ethnic aspect of Eisenkot’s appointment is that he is the first Israeli-Moroccan to hold the title of chief of staff. According to this Israeli source, thousands of Eastern European Jews fled to Morocco both during the Middle Ages and afterward. This even happened during World War II. Given his Ashkenazi name, his ancient family origin was in Eastern Europe. But eventually it made its way to Morocco. There have been two previous Mizrahi chiefs of staff, but no Moroccan.
17 thoughts on “Netanyahu Promotes Dahiya Doctrine Author to IDF Chief of Staff – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“Who’s Who of IDF war criminals: (from l.) Ehud Barak, Gadi Eisenkot, Yair Naveh, Benny Gantz.”
There will only be a victory for sanity when all four of them join Netanyahu in a Russian prison camp somewhere in Siberia.
From your mouth into the ear of the Baba Sali.
Well, that`s the only real deterrent given the many missiles Hezbollah has. It took them generations to lift the Shea conditions in Lebanon (which was miserable) and they can lose it overnight given that they are concentrated in small geographical areas. Indeed, there is no need even to kill people. Just undo the infrastructure from the air will already paralyze everything there and people will have to flee. So that`s the nightmare (and suicidal) scenario that Nassaralah has to consider before he decides to attack civilian targets in Israel.
But the good news is that most likely nothing of the sorts will happen: Hezbollah is destined to be bogged forever in the Syrian mud fighting the Caliphate guys there – and with that, ironically, it is doing Israel`s bidding (which very much does not want those guys to create chaos from there)
@ IsraeliRambo: This is just the sort of smug, idiotic rambling Ramboism that gets Israel into so much trouble to begin with. It’s full of untested, unprovable or blatantly false assumptions, just like the IDF’s overall strategic doctrine.
Another stupid hasbara item: the northern Israeli border is quiet because the Israelis are scared to cross it knowing that Hizbullah will retaliate. In fact, Lebanese farmers work their respective land down to the border fence with Israel.
I think in the long run the Dahiya Doctrine will prove excruciating for Israel because as we saw from the last massacre of Palestinian civilians (Op Protective Edge) such orgies of state terror feed the BDS movement and concentrate the world’s attention to defining Israel as a pariah state.
The Palestinians have proven they can weather the pain and demonstrated that Israel could not stomach the cost of an all out annexation of the Gaza Strip. Any more episodes the Dahiya Doctrine on display will most certainly have Israel’s friends squirming.
Months after the last Gaza massacre, Bibi is still being buffeted by the fall out, making rash and unwise political decisions which not only has the Zionists at the New York Times worried, but also has the Anti-Defamation League feeling nauseous. Even now the tragedy in Gaza is still being played out as the people huddle against a harsh Winter amongst the ruins and the UN, Israel and the PA bickering amongst themselves.
Eckberg: Don`t forget the continual wild chaos in the countries around Israel – that takes all the attention and provides a yardstick in regard to which what goes on with Israel is dwarfed.
Israel has never sought a regional identity. Today, it trumpets its “western democracy” credentials and longs to join the EU. Israel must be judged then as though it is located in Western Europe. By this measure, it is a social/political basket case, a banana republic slaughtering “indians”, making a mockery of freedom and democracy while it stretches for lebensraum.
The idea that in the long run Israel can get away with whatever it is doing because the West is preoccupied with what is going on around it is delusional. The long term view will not be of the difference between Israel and it surroundings but of the similarities – similarities and then some.
Israel will be perceived as just another Middle Eastern state with repressive practices that are rather worse than elsewhere. In short a state that is no longer worth the protection of a superpower with its own long term interests that transcend those of that little corner of the Middle East. The late Tony Judt discussed this eight years ago, more in sorrow than in anger (he was after all an ardent young Zionist once), in Haaretz.
It is a very long article but I offer here some extracts:
“By the age of 58 a country – like a man – should have achieved a certain maturity. After nearly six decades of existence we know, for good and for bad, who we are, what we have done and how we appear to others, warts and all. We acknowledge, however reluctantly and privately, our mistakes and our shortcomings. And though we still harbor the occasional illusion about ourselves and our prospects, we are wise enough to recognize that these are indeed for the most part just that: illusions. In short, we are adults.
But the State of Israel remains curiously (and among Western-style democracies, uniquely) immature. The social transformations of the country – and its many economic achievements – have not brought the political wisdom that usually accompanies age. Seen from the outside, Israel still comports itself like an adolescent: consumed by a brittle confidence in its own uniqueness; certain that no one “understands” it and everyone is “against” it; full of wounded self-esteem, quick to take offense and quick to give it. Like many adolescents Israel is convinced – and makes a point of aggressively and repeatedly asserting – that it can do as it wishes, that its actions carry no consequences and that it is immortal. “
Judt then discusses the great change in the international opinion of Israel. Those who are old enough to have lived through this all can fully confirm what he says here:
“But they have changed. And it is this change, which has passed largely unrecognized within Israel, to which I want to draw attention here. Before 1967 the State of Israel may have been tiny and embattled, but it was not typically hated: certainly not in the West. Official Soviet-bloc communism was anti-Zionist of course, but for just that reason Israel was rather well regarded by everyone else, including the non-communist left. The romantic image of the kibbutz and the kibbutznik had a broad foreign appeal in the first two decades of Israel’s existence. Most admirers of Israel (Jews and non-Jews) knew little about the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. They preferred to see in the Jewish state the last surviving incarnation of the 19th century idyll of agrarian socialism – or else a paragon of modernizing energy “making the desert bloom.”
But today everything is different. We can see, in retrospect, that the victory of Israel in June 1967 and its continuing occupation of the territories it conquered then have been the Jewish state’s very own nakba: a moral and political catastrophe. Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza have magnified and publicized the country’s shortcomings and displayed them to a watching world. Curfews, checkpoints, bulldozers, public humiliations, home destructions, land seizures, shootings, “targeted assassinations,” the separation fence: All of these routines of occupation and repression were once familiar only to an informed minority of specialists and activists. Today they can be watched, in real time, by anyone with a computer or a satellite dish – which means that Israel’s behavior is under daily scrutiny by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The result has been a complete transformation in the international view of Israel.
Today only a tiny minority of outsiders see Israelis as victims. The true victims, it is now widely accepted, are the Palestinians. Indeed, Palestinians have now displaced Jews as the emblematic persecuted minority: vulnerable, humiliated and stateless. This unsought distinction does little to advance the Palestinian case any more than it ever helped Jews, but it has redefined Israel forever. It has become commonplace to compare Israel at best to an occupying colonizer, at worst to the South Africa of race laws and Bantustans. In this capacity Israel elicits scant sympathy even when its own citizens suffer: Dead Israelis – like the occasional assassinated white South African in the apartheid era, or British colonists hacked to death by native insurgents – are typically perceived abroad not as the victims of terrorism but as the collateral damage of their own government’s mistaken policies.
Such comparisons are lethal to Israel’s moral credibility. They strike at what was once its strongest suit: the claim of being a vulnerable island of democracy and decency in a sea of authoritarianism and cruelty; an oasis of rights and freedoms surrounded by a desert of repression.
But today the country’s national narrative of macho victimhood appears to the rest of the world as simply bizarre: evidence of a sort of collective cognitive dysfunction that has gripped Israel’s political culture. And the long cultivated persecution mania – “everyone’s out to get us” – no longer elicits sympathy. Instead it attracts some very unappetizing comparisons: At a recent international meeting I heard one speaker, by analogy with Helmut Schmidt’s famous dismissal of the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with Missiles,” describe Israel as “Serbia with nukes.”
If Israel’s leaders have been able to ignore such developments it is in large measure because they have hitherto counted upon the unquestioning support of the United States – the one country in the world where the claim that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism is still echoed not only in the opinions of many Jews but also in the public pronouncements of mainstream politicians and the mass media. But this lazy, ingrained confidence in unconditional American approval – and the moral, military and financial support that accompanies it – may prove to be Israel’s undoing.
the United States is a great power; and great powers have interests that sooner or later transcend the local obsessions of even the closest of their client states and satellites.
It is becoming clear to prominent thinkers across the political spectrum – from erstwhile neo-conservative interventionists like Francis Fukuyama to hard-nosed realists like Mearsheimer – that in recent years the United States has suffered a catastrophic loss of international political influence and an unprecedented degradation of its moral image. The country’s foreign undertakings have been self-defeating and even irrational. There is going to be a long job of repair ahead, above all in Washington’s dealings with economically and strategically vital communities and regions from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. And this reconstruction of the country’s foreign image and influence cannot hope to succeed while U.S. foreign policy is tied by an umbilical cord to the needs and interests (if that is what they are) of one small Middle Eastern country of very little relevance to America’s long-term concerns –
Thank you for this Judt article. I think though that comparing Israel’s age to a person’s age/maturity does not work for two reasons. First is that a country is different from a person. A country at 58 is still young. Second even so age does not necessarily bring wisdom and maturity, not in nations or in people.
But Judt is terrific.
[comment deleted: usually even though disagreeing with a commment, I will publish it. But in your case you didn’t even bother to get my name right. And you kept calling me “Richard Goldstein” not once but many times throughout your comment. Not showing the least respect or willingness to fact check your comment.]
Thanks richard for helping ISIS!
@ iyyn: Sorry to disappoint you in your efforts to smear me, but the Kurds themselves cast “grave doubt” on Yaari’s report. This aired on Israeli radio:
Not to mention that Yaari is an untrustworthy scuzzy asshole. But other than that, an impeccable source. You both deserve each other.
You forgot to mention how I’m at fault for Rosenberg herself agreeing to be interviewed on Israeli radio. Did she think her anonymity would be protected in doing this? She made her bed, now she’s got to lie in it.
The genocidal entity currently styling itself “Israel” is a mere transient mole or wart on the enduring body of Palestine. Here today, gone tomorrow. Will it shrivel and disappear naturally, or will it be removed surgically? Time will tell, but either way, “You will not be here. We shall fight you until you leave the land you have defiled, and then we shall sprinkle the Haram al-sharif with rose water, just as we did after the Crusades.”
Soon, in sha’ Allah!
Everything is transient – history is about that – but just how much real difference the existence of Israel makes in regard to the truly crucial problems of that the Arab world faces today?
@ traducteur: This sort of soft-eliminationism makes me extremely uncomfortable. Israeli Jews are not “leaving the land.” So either you’ll have to physically expel them or eliminate them. Either option is as repugnant as Israeli ethnic cleansing.
Perhaps if the Zionists were to abandon their practices of mass theft and genocide, you wouldn’t get these unsympathetic reactions. You never know, might be worth a try.