Counter-Terrorism: Killers Can't Get Into Israel


January 7, 2010: Israel suffered no Islamic terror attacks within its borders in 2009. That's the lowest level of Islamic terrorism for Israel since the Palestinians began their current round of violence in 2000. The Israelis developed tactics to defeat the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign (after Palestinian leaders refused to accept a recently negotiated peace deal), and keep improving those methods, as well as adapting to new Palestinian tactics.

The Palestinian terrorist groups still say they are going to destroy Israel. But as a practical matter, the current round of Palestinian terrorist violence is over. You can see this by the sharp decline in successful terrorist attacks, and the frequent pronouncements from the terrorists groups that they are going to behave, for a while anyway (until they can figure out how to bypass Israeli defenses). What the terrorists really want is to avoid any more of the Israeli tactics that shut down their terrorist operations. This included going after terrorist leaders and technical specialists, and either capturing or (failing that) killing them. Raids and air attacks were made against buildings used by the terrorists, and tight security on Israelis borders were instituted. This last measure crushed the Palestinian economy, which put popular pressure on the terrorists to stop their attacks, and promise to keep it that way. That hasn't worked, but Israeli counter-terror techniques continue to.

The Israelis also set up an increasingly effective intelligence system inside the Palestinian territories. What the Israelis basically did was "take the war to the enemy." This is an application of the old maxim, "the best defense is a good offense." This particular war is still going on. The Israelis implemented their winning tactics in 2003, and two years later the terrorists were rendered largely ineffective.

Egypt and Algeria defeated Islamic terrorists during the 1990s using traditional methods (attacking everything in sight), and it took longer and was bloodier. The Egyptians defeated the Moslem Brotherhood (and the survivors fled to help found al Qaeda) in the 1990s. Algeria took even longer, finally defeating a similar movement only in the past few years. Syria crushed the Moslem Brotherhood in the early 1980s, after five years of violence. These three Arab nations are all police states, and were able to deploy large numbers of police and soldiers that spoke the same language as the terrorists. Israel also had a large number of counter-terror agents who spoke Arabic. These were Israeli Jews who had grown up in Arab countries, or had parents who had done so. The Israeli police agents who looked, and spoke like, Palestinians, could circulate in Palestinian areas, recruiting informants, and making arrests.





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