Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is this the dumbest statement ever made by an Israeli official?

I have often highlighted dumb statements made by Israeli politicians (usually on the Left) - such as here and here. I have also often highlighted the irrational extent that Israeli politicians will go to in order to 'reduce tensions' with its terrorist neighbours - such as either apologising for completely legitimate actions (something that Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres specialised in) or even accepting responsibility for incidents that did not happen (such as the infamous Mohamed al-Dura hoax) - another Ehud Barak speciality.

But today's announcement by "an Israeli source" about Sunday's successful targeting of leading Hezbollah terrorists and an Iranian general (who were planning a major attack against Israel from the Golan Heights) is surely the dumbest of all. The source said: "We meant to target low-ranking guerrillas in Syria, not Iranian general". The article goes on to say
The remarks by the Israeli source, who declined to be identified because Israel has not officially confirmed it carried out the strike, appeared aimed at containing any escalation with Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group.
Whether or not the statement really is true then let's look  at the pros and cons of keeping quiet and making the statement:

By keeping quiet:
  • The mystique of the IDF's power, reach and accuracy is further enhanced.
  • The mystique and penetration of Israel's intelligence services is further enhanced.
  • Evey high ranking Hezbollah terrorist and Iranian terrorist general - in areas where they have no right to be - lives in fear for their lives 
  • There is a genuine deterrent against Hezbollah and Iranian forces (who have no right even to be in Syria) moving into the Golan Heights
  • There is little chance of any retaliation from Hezbollah or Iran, since the terrorists know they will be obliterated if they did so.

By making the statement:
  • The mystique of Israel's power, reach and accuracy is shattered
  • The mystique and penetration of Israel's intelligence  services is shattered
  • Hezbollah and Iranian forces now know they can operate at will on the Golan Heights without fear of further attacks from Israel
  • Evey high ranking Hezbollah terrorist and Iranian terrorist general now knows that Israel will not deliberately target them no matter what atrocities they commit
  • Israel is actually inviting some limited retaliation from Hezbollah or Iran as 'compensation' and is effectively saying they will not respond
UPDATE: What Israel should have said in response to the attack

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