Survey: Lebanon war damaged Israel’s deterring image
Tel Aviv University’s 2005-2006 Middle East Strategic Balance survey discusses lack of progress in the Palestinian arena, American failure in Iraq, Syrian peace overtures, Iranian nuclear threat, consequences of second Lebanon war
The Middle East Strategic Balance 2005-2006 survey said, “The Lebanon war actualized Israel’s strategic problems and instability, damaged its deterring image, and exposed IDF weakness in decision making in Israel .”
The survey was written by experts at Tel Aviv University’s Middle East Strategic Studies Institute.
Security and stability threats in the Middle East worsened during the past year. According to the survey, this was due to lack of progress in the Palestinian arena, lack of achievements in the struggle against world terror and radical Islam, and the American failure to stabilize the situation in Iraq.
The institute also stated that the failure in Iraq hurt the United States’ position and that Israel had nothing to gain from the American presence in Iraq.
With regards to Syria , the survey said that Damascus was in a strategically weak position, and was trying to better its position by taking steps in suggesting negotiations with Israel.
The researchers also pointed out that even if there was a doubt as to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s willingness and ability to “provide the goods”, Israel would do well to closely examine Syria’s stance.
‘Israel can attack Iran’
With regards to Iran , the research showed that the country’s purchase of military nuclear ability was widely supported by Iranians. It also expressed doubt that effective international sanctions would be implemented.
Regarding Iranian nuclear power, the experts pointed out that although Israel had the technical ability to take offensive action “of some sort” in Iran, it should allow the international community to continue making the most of its operations, and not become a central factor in the issue.
War perceived as ‘Israeli failure’
The survey writers wrote that despite United Nations decisions, Hizbullah was not limited with regards to rearming. It was likely to keep the peace on the border with Israel in the short run in order to allow the rehabilitation of its strongholds.
Israel’s fighting in Lebanon was perceived by many, friends and foes united, as an Israeli failure. The war also exposed the issues of Israel’s vulnerability and the lack of an effective solution to the Qassam rockets.
One of the institute’s researchers, Giora Island, said that the war had two far reaching, serious consequences. One was that Arab states now doubt Israel’s strength, and may take future offensive steps that would have been unthinkable six months prior.
The other consequence was Israel’s disappointment to the US and other western countries in light of the war’s embarrassing achievements, which could possibly affect future discussions connected with Israel’s offensive aspects.