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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Weekly Commentary: The Learning Curve Problem with the Bang=>Quiet-Quiet Model for Gaza

Weekly Commentary: The Learning Curve Problem with the Bang=>Quiet-Quiet
Model for Gaza

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 15 November 2012

Under the "Bang=>Quiet-Quiet" Model the IDF seeks to cause enough pain to
the enemy that the enemy is deterred from continuing its attacks against
Israel and agrees to a "quiet-quiet" understanding according to which
"quiet" from the Palestinians is rewarded with "quiet" from Israel.

Proponents of the "Bang=>Quiet-Quiet" Model don't claim that permanent
"quiet" is achieved by this approach, just that it is a reasonably long
period of "quiet".

To be clear: under "quiet-quiet" the Palestinians can do anything and
everything they want in order to prepare to attack the Jewish State. And
that's just what they do. And while some weapons were destroyed while on
the way to Gaza, Israel has, under-quiet-quiet been unable to have any
significant impact on the ongoing flood of weapons reaching the Gaza Strip
via Egypt.

Now if the Palestinians were only "reloading" in each round of the
"Bang=>Quiet-Quiet" model, one might accept the nonchalant way that it is
embraced by so many policy advocates.

But the Palestinians are not only "reloading".

They are continuously upgrading their weapons systems as they race up the
"learning curve."

Each round their missiles have longer ranges, with greater accuracy and more
deadly payloads.

Each round they are equipped with more sophisticated weapons to use against
Israeli ground forces, helicopters and jets.

And each round they study – with the help of their Iranian and other
military advisors – Israel's "Bang" in order to develop methods of operation
that minimize Israel's effectiveness in the next round.

That's not to say that Israel doesn't also study and prepare for the next
round.

Just that each round has, by its nature, much higher stakes.

Increasingly more dangerous stakes.

If the "Bang=>Quiet-Quiet" model is no longer acceptable then what can
Israel do?

Some leaders talk of toppling the Hamas regime and retaking the Gaza Strip.
But it is far from clear that Israel is prepared to devote the kind of
resources and bear the diplomatic costs associated with such a move.

But there is a way to radically change the "Bang=>Quiet-Quiet" model so that
instead of escalating up with each round it could actually spiral down.

And that's with retaking the Philadelphi Corridor.

Please note: I am not writing this off the top of my head. I checked with
military experts about the efficacy of retaking the Philadelphi Corridor in
order to stop the flood of weapons.

And the experts, almost to a man, tell me that while we could not
hermetically seal the Sinai-Gaza border, we have the technology and
methodologies to reduce the flood of weapons via the smuggling tunnels to a
trickle.

They also tell me that if the Philadelphi Corridor is widened from its
narrow 100 meter width that Israeli control of the Philadelphi Corridor
could be implemented on an ongoing permanent basis without the kind of
casualty levels that would drive Israel into a hasty retreat.

To be clear: retaking the Philadelphi Corridor is not a "Bang".

Israel would retake the Philadelphi Corridor because there's simply no other
mechanism available to stop the flood of weapons.

The international community has neither the will nor the wherewithal to stop
the flood.

And Egypt is certainly not about to actually close down the tunnels – photo
ops and press releases notwithstanding.

Israel could tell the world that it is retaking the Philadelphi Corridor
strictly out of security considerations because there is no viable workable
alternative.

In fact, as evidence that the move is not meant as a punishment for the
Gazan civilians who would be affected by the widening of the Philadelphi
Corridor, Israel could deposit 150% of the fair market value of the
properties it evacuates in an account to compensate the evacuated civilians
and property owners – offering that this “compensation fund” can be
administered by the UN, Egypt or any other non-terrorist body.

And as further evidence that Israel bears no ill will against the Gazan
civilians, Israel could drop all restrictions on the movement of
non-military material via Israel to the Gaza Strip – including rebar and
cement.

Yes. It is extremely tempting for the decision makers to opt for the
familiar “Bang=>Quiet-Quiet” model.

But it would be a disservice to the Israeli public in general and those now
bearing the brunt of the fire today in particular.

Take note: the Israeli public isn’t demanding that this round end as quickly
as possible. The Israeli public is asking its leaders to have the stamina
to significantly change the situation.

And of the options available, retaking the Philadelphi Corridor is most
definitely the most viable move to significantly change the situation.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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