2nd Lebanon War – Lessons Learned

August 5, 2016

Nimetön (103)A decade has passed since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. This time interval makes it possible to analyze the lessons learned of that war.

Israel government’s failure to achieve its self-declared war aims, the relatively high Israeli death toll – 120 Israeli soldiers and 43 civilians – and the heavy impact of Hezbollah rocket fire on the civilian population in Northern Israel, shocked and angered the Israeli public. Meanwhile Israel faced international condemnation, accused of using ‘disproportionate’ force in its military operations in Lebanon. With many Israelis demanding the resignation of the prime minister, defence minister and IDF chief of staff, the government set up a commission of inquiry chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd.


2nd Lebanon War

The Lebanon and Israel War went from the 12th July 2006 to 14th August 2006. It was a 34 day military conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel. The principal parties were the Israeli military and Hezbollah paramilitary. Hezbollah was responsible for a raid in 2006 on a border post in Northern Israel in which two Israeli soldiers were taken captive. The abductions sparked an Israeli military campaign against Lebanon to which Hezbollah responded by firing rockets across the Lebanese border into Israel.

On the morning of July 12, 2006, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped and eight others killed when Hezbollah fighters carried out a surprise cross-border raid, thus effectively ending the sixyear period of relative quiet that had existed along the Israel-Lebanon border following the unilateral withdrawal of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) from Lebanon in May 2000.

What later became known as the Second Lebanon War ended 34 days later on August 14th 2006, when the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701 – which called for the disarming of Hezbollah, the withdrawal of its troops from the border with Israel and the deployment of the Lebanese Army in the southern part of the state – went into effect.


The Winograd Commission

The Winograd Commission’s final report [over 600 pages in Hebrew, cfr summary in English] on the government’s handling of the Second Lebanon War referred to it as “a great and grave missed opportunity” with its harshest criticism aimed at the military and political leadership. In particular, the commission found “serious failings and flaws in the quality of preparedness, decision-making and performance in the IDF high command… [and] serious failings and flaws in the lack of strategic thinking and planning, in both the political and military echelons,” noting that the “inadequacies of preparedness and strategic and operative planning go back long before” the war. Among its many criticisms, the commission found that the cabinet had failed to formulate clear objectives and policy options.

Based on an extensive range of documents and testimonies, the most prominent of which was the report issued by the Winograd Commission, Israel’s objectives for the operation may be summed up as follows: to bring about a change in the security situation and lift the terrorist threat imposed by Hezbollah out of Lebanon on the State of Israel by devising new rules and changing the balance of deterrence vis-à-vis Hezbollah; to restrict Hezbollah’s freedom of operation, to inflict a substantial blow to its capabilities and status; to enhance (Israel’s) regional deterrence by demonstrating the price of aggression against Israel; to motivate Lebanon to apply its sovereignty in its entire territory and impose restrictions on Hezbollah, including the removal of Hezbollah’s posts along the border followed by the Lebanese Army deploying in southern Lebanon; to call in international involvement in order to enforce the relevant UN resolutions and the ceasefire mechanism (based on UN Resolution 1559) and finally – to create the conditions for the return of the abducted soldiers.

Several constraints and restrictive conditions were specified for the operation, notably: keeping casualties among the combat elements to an absolute minimum; avoiding a large-scale war in Lebanon, particularly against Syria; no Israeli presence to remain in Lebanon after the end of the confrontation; maintaining Israel’s international legitimacy and maintaining the legitimacy of the operation among the Israeli public.

The aspect of combined-arms operations and interoperability turned out to be one of the primary failures in the employment of force during this operation. Prior to the operation, IAF had not attended any in-depth brainstorming and planning sessions with the General Staff or IDF Northern Command. During the operation in Lebanon, each arm executed its missions almost independently. The missions had been planned separately and the options for combined-arms operations involving a supporting element and an element being supported were hardly utilized.

One of the mission categories that had not been planned and was not sufficiently pursued is target acquisition and “hunting” during the actual combat operations, despite the fact that at the end of the fighting, this mission category recorded a high level of achievement relative to the expectations. The factor that made a decisive contribution to the successful execution of this mission category was the massive employment of the IAF’s UAV layout. [Source: Israel Defense ]

The intelligence aspect

old Aman logoThe crux role of intelligence was evident with sc “Night of the Fajr Rockets” and the success of Operation Specific Gravity in which IAF destroyed dozens of Fajr medium-range rocket launchers. These rockets had been concealed in houses and were a part of one of Hezbollah’s top secret projects. The successful elimination of those rocket launchers was made possible by exceptional intelligence achievements and deep penetration. This accomplishment led to distress among the ranks of Hezbollah, as thorough backtracking and self-examination were required in order to attempt and understand how Israeli intelligence had managed to penetrate to such depths.

According Israel Defense one of the members of the Winograd Commission stated: “The problem with the War did not concern the intelligence aspect.” This is a substantial statement, as the intelligence balance during the Second Lebanon War was indeed mixed and complex and could not be defined in terms of success or failure, but rather as a collection of numerous failures in various activities alongside significant success stories. To make things even more complex, gaps and even tensions and differences between some intelligence elements and senior officers of the IDF General Staff were clearly evident.

The report refers to two distinct periods: the intelligence preparations between the year 2000 and the outbreak of the War, and the performance of the military intelligence during the war. With regard to the aspect of “Operational Intelligence” (strategic intelligence) as per the Commission’s definition, “The accomplishments of the intelligence analysis activity at the General Staff and Northern Command in the period prior to the war were substantial.” Referring to the interface between the intelligence and the political-defense echelon and the decision-making process during the War, the Commission had some criticism that referred mainly to the gap between the potential and the actual ability of the intelligence to influence the decision makers and the actual occurrences: “Apparently, one area where the intelligence community had a more substantial ability to influence the War was in the context of the decision-making process on July 12 and the first few days thereafter, including the first few days of the War. This time, more than at any other time, when the professional echelons of the IDF Intelligence Directorate had the key to cracking the enemy’s riddle, they failed to exploit it opposite the military and political leaders. While the intelligence concept was generally correct, failures occurred in the process of submitting it to the leaders.”

In this context, Major (res.) Amir Dahan, a judge in civilian life as well as in IDF and a deputy commander of a reconnaissance intelligence company in his secondary capacity, stated in an article he published in the periodical “Ma’arachot” after the War, that one phenomenon encountered again during the War involved the fact that excellent had been available at the brigade and battalion level, but that intelligence almost never reached the company and platoon level and the individual troopers, and the intelligence that they did receive was faulty. [Source:  Israel Defense ]


The outcome 10 years after

Nimetön (102)According a fresh BICOM Strategic Assessment the lessons learned since 2nd Lebanon War are following:


On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, a future war with Hezbollah is considered the most threatening scenario for the IDF due to the organisation’s significant military capability.

In light of the failure of an ‘enhanced’ UN force to prevent Hezbollah rearming, Israel is sceptical of relying on international forces to defend its borders, a policy that has consequences for the security component of negotiations over the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The IDF’s new security doctrine reflects a focus on non-state actors and asymmetric warfare, and establishes new military and strategic approaches as well as redefined standards of what victory means. IDF’s

Israel’s political leadership has failed to fully implement recommendations for improving the national security decision-making process that were exposed during the war.


Israel’s security doctrine was altered by the Second Lebanon War

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel’s security doctrine has been based on three strategic pillars, often referred to as the three “D’s” – deterrence, early detection, and the decisive defeat of the enemy (military decision).

Yet the 2006 Lebanon War marked a turning point in Israel’s strategic priorities, with the threat of engaging in armed conflict with conventional armies shifting. Instead, Israel’s military and political leadership were forced to grapple with developing a response to asymmetric conflicts against actors who, while being non-states, possessed the military capacity and strength akin to regular armed forces, and had no ‘political address’ with whom to engage in postwar diplomacy. Moreover, Israel’s inability to militarily defeat these non-state actors enabled them to capitalise on a narrative that they won the war, as Hezbollah claimed in 2006. In light of the Second Lebanon War, two of the classic pillars of Israel’s traditional security concept – deterrence and decisive victory, both of which were further challenged in subsequent conflicts in Gaza – underwent a radical transformation.

Israel military doctrine

New national security strategy

The IDF has learned from its failures in the Second Lebanon War and from subsequent wars between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot published on 13th August 2015 a document outlining IDF strategy, including the threats facing Israel and plans to combat them. This is first time- in 60 years – since 1950s when Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion accepted military defense strategy of Israel.

The document highlights major changes in Israel’s strategic landscape, noting that the main threat confronting Israel today is from violent and wellarmed non-state organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which have forced Israel into five instances of armed conflict in the past ten years (including Operation Summer Rains in Gaza in June 2006).

The document details what can be expected from the IDF during three types of situations: Routine time, emergency situations and wartime. Based on this division, conflicts like Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense are considered confrontations limited in their scope and are therefore define as “emergency,” rather than “war.” This means these confrontations were meant to bring Israel “back to a situation of calm, without striving for an immediate strategic change,” so the IDF cannot be expected to bring down the Hamas regime in Gaza in such a military campaign, unless the political leadership tells it otherwise.

Responding to the challenge posed to Israel’s security by these hybrid actors, the doctrine updates one of the three D’s, “deterrence” – a central pillar of Israel’s security doctrine – clarifying the IDF’s role in developing a means for prolonging the period between wars. Moreover, the strategy redefines the concept of “military decision”, tying it to “achieving the political goals set for the campaign, leading to a postwar improved security situation”. This reflects an acknowledgment that in asymmetric conflict, conclusive defeat or surrender of the enemy should not typically be the expected outcome. The strategy also emphasises the importance of international media, humanitarian concerns and international legitimacy as relevant to the IDF’s ability to fight.

Eisenkot’s strategy confirms the addition of a fourth “D” – “defence” – to Israel’s core security pillars: “defence” – described as preparing the military and the public for steps the army will take to address threats on Israeli soil – constitutes a crucial addition, especially as the increasing rocket arsenals and the evolving subterranean threat along both the Israel-Lebanon and the Israel-Gaza borders has increased the likelihood that the next war will impact the home front in unprecedented ways.

The definition of the “enemy” has also been altered. As the threat of an all-out war against another state or several other states is on the decline, the document redefines the main threat as coming from military organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah or terror organizations that are not affiliated with any one country, like global jihad and the Islamic State.

idflogoMore in New Israel Military Strategy and in related materials – A previous outside analysis about Israeli military doctrine: Israel’s Strategic Doctrine – RAND Corporation and IDF’s public resume about previous military doctrine: IDF Doctrine


IDF ready but political leadership not

Besides new strategy the core element of Israel defense is its advanced missile defense system. The Israeli defense establishment has designed a multilayered system that will allow the Jewish state to respond to simultaneous attacks from multiple fronts — the relatively crude homemade rockets lobbed by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, the midrange rockets and missiles fired by the Shiite militants of Hezbollah from Lebanon, and the long-range ballistic missiles being developed by Iran that could carry conventional or chemical warheads. (More in Now Israel Has The Most Advanced Missile Defense System In The World )

Israel missile defence By Ari Rusila figure

However – according BICOM Strategic Assessment – the army’s preparedness for the next war stands in stark contrast to that of the political leadership. The adoption of the new IDF strategy is notable in that its existence follows years of failed attempts by the political leadership to formulate a written national security doctrine. While Israel is often lauded for its tactical proficiency, it is frequently chastised both by domestic commissions of inquiry and policy analysts for its decision-making process as well as lack of long-term planning and clear strategic agenda.


The failure of third parties to enforce political solutions to asymmetric threats

The key provisions of UNSCR 1701 called for the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, ensuring that there would be “no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state”. The resolution also enhanced the mandate for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL II), which would now allow for UNIFIL troops to, among other things, accompany and support the Lebanese army (LAF) as they deployed throughout south Lebanon as the IDF withdrew, and to assist the LAF with ensuring that it served as the only armed presence in southern Lebanon.

However UNIFIL and the LAF have failed to live up to expectations as demonstrated by Hezbollah’s significantly increased military strength. This situation, as well as the international community’s failure to successfully pressure Hamas to demilitarise in Gaza, offers a lesson. While international actors are increasingly needed as interlocutors to end asymmetric conflicts against non-state actors, they are rarely strong enough to help Israel achieve its political objectives vis-à-vis these groups.

Israel’s negative experience with the efficacy of international forces also ties in to the government’s opposition to an international presence along the Jordan Valley in the context of a future peace agreement with the Palestinians. The feeling that the best guarantor of Israel’s security is Israel itself – a long held belief by the framers of Israel’s security concept – is perceived as being validated by the UNIFIL experience. [Source: BICOM Strategic Assessment ]


Hezbollah now stronger than ever – despite Syria

Hezbollah has effectively utilised the “quiet” to prepare for its next confrontation with Israel, continuing to expand its arsenal in flagrant violation of UNSCR 1701. Despite the resolution’s changes to UNIFIL’s mandate, Hezbollah now has over 100,000 missiles – thousands of which have a range and accuracy to strike cities and strategic sites throughout Israel. The organisation has also built extensive new infrastructure – further embedding it into communities and the terrain in southern Lebanon. Rumours abound that Hezbollah has constructed a network of tunnels that extend under the border into northern Israel that would be utilised by fighters in the next war.

However the on-going fighting in Syria and high rate of casualties reduces the chance that Hezbollah will look to open a second front with Israel in the near term. On the other hand there is a concern in Israel that the combat experience gained in the Syrian war will render the next Israel-Hezbollah war more challenging for the IDF.

Israel Defense :

A future war between Israel and Hezbollah would likely be devastating with Hezbollah estimated to possess over 100,000 rockets – many of which are hidden amongst the civilian population of South Lebanon – thousands of which have a range and accuracy to strike cities and strategic sites throughout Israel. In February 2016, Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel’s ammonia factory in Haifa, warning that the damage caused would be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

Hezbollah’s sophisticated military capacity poses grave policy dilemmas for Israel, with the IDF preparing both defensive means – such as multitiered anti-missile technology – and offensive air and ground tactics to prevent or limit thousands of missiles from hitting civilian and strategic targets.



Bottom line

Israel’s northern border has been quiet since the Second Lebanon War, however Israel – after lessons learned – is prepared for 3rd round with Hezbollah, even if unlikely in the foreseeable future. Similar to 2006, the situation remains delicate, and continued risk exists of a miscalculation that may drag the parties back into another round of fighting. Now a future conflict with Hezbollah is considered one of the most threatening scenario for the IDF due to the organisation’s significant military capability.

The IDF’s new strategy for confronting non-state actors, accepts that there is no military operation that can entirely eliminate the threat posed by groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. BICOM Strategic Assessment concludes that the lack of a strong political address in Beirut (and Gaza) – as well as the relative weakness of the UN and other third parties – renders unlikely the possibility that Israel will achieve a decisive military victory in the traditional sense, and successfully transform its battlefield advantage into political gains.

In this context, as some experts have suggested, the best that can be hoped for is maintaining the status quo – predicated on mutual deterrence – while doing everything possible to prolong the periods between hostilities.


Military coup in Turkey: Turkish Army Statement

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Update: Mideast Peace Process

July 5, 2016

ISRPALMideast peace process, or more precisely negotiations to solve Israel-Palestine conflict, has been in deep freeze nearly two years. Officially the international community is repeating the need for talks to implement Two-State-Solution, however the main stakeholders –leaders of Israel and Palestinian Authority – have not even met despite that offices of PM Netanyahu and President Abbas are almost neighbors and despite that outside facilitators have tried to organize informal meetings when both leaders have been same time in same foreign capital.

If direct or facilitated negotiations don’t start so the alternatives are the zero-option, unilateral decisions, regional or part-solutions. The zero-option describes the present situation which in course of time might be drifting towards One-state solution. Unilateral decisions can be made both parties, at best – if they are constructive – they can lead part-solutions or even in long run to Two-State. Regional solution might be e.g. Three-State solution where Gaza will be returned to Egypt and main part of West Bank to Jordania, like they were before Six-Days-War ( more in ”The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict” ). One pragmatic part-solution could be Hamas-Israel deal about long term ceasefire or implementing Sinai option or Palestinian-Jordanian confederation or both.





The Quartet Report

The Middle East Quartet is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. The group was established in Madrid in 2002. (More about the Quartet: Office of the Quartet )

Mideast_quartetThe newest report was published on 1st July 2016 and describes in its eight pages the stalled peace process without any new initiatives. The core point of the report is that according it the Israeli policy “is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution.””This raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state”. In addition Israel should stop building settlements, denying Palestinian development and designating land for exclusive Israeli use that Palestinians seek for a future state, the Middle East peace “Quartet” recommended. The Quartet said urgent affirmative steps needed to be taken to “prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.”

The report claims Israel had taken for its exclusive use some 70 percent of Area C, which makes up 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and includes the majority of agricultural lands, natural resources and land reserves. Under the Oslo accords of the mid-1990s, Israel retains full control over Area C, where large tracts have been declared closed military areas.“Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C,” the Quartet report said.

Also amid a spike in violence, the Quartet criticized Palestinian leaders for “not consistently and clearly” condemning terrorist attacks and said illicit arms build up and militant activities in Gaza – controlled by Islamist group Hamas – must stop. The whole report Report of the Middle East Quartet – the European External Action Service in EAAS page.


The Israeli view

The statement of Israel government welcomes the Quartet’s recognition of the centrality of Palestinian incitement and violence to the perpetuation of the conflict. This culture of hatred poisons minds and destroys lives and stands as the single greatest obstacle to progress towards peace. The report unfortunately says nothing about the payments made by the Palestinian leadership to terrorists and their families. The graver the violence, the greater the payment. This Palestinian practice must stop.

Israel shares the Quartet’s historical commitment to advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace through direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions.

In previous agreements, Israel and the Palestinians committed to discuss every difficult issue exclusively through direct, bilateral negotiations. Nevertheless, the record shows a history of repeated Palestinian rejection of offers to negotiate and compromise from Israeli governments across the political spectrum. Israel cannot negotiate peace with itself. According government statement “We regret the failure of the Quartet to address the real core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in any boundaries.”

From government statement:

The report also perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace. When Israel uprooted every settlement in Gaza, it did not get peace. It got war. It is troubling that the Quartet appears to have adopted the position that the presence of Jews living in the West Bank somehow prevents reaching a two-state solution. The presence of nearly 1.8 million Arabs in Israel isn’t a barrier to peace; it is a testament to our pluralism and commitment to equality.

Israel will continue to strive for a genuine, negotiated peace based on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vision of two states for two peoples. While the report includes numerous factual and policy assertions with which we take issue, Israel will discuss with the Quartet envoys ways to explore moving toward this end.

Source: Government Press Office


Israel cannot negotiate peace with itself

The Palestinian Authority President rejected again the opportunity to meet with Israel’s President during a visit to Brussels by both leaders. With both Rivlin and Abbas in Brussels at the same time, the Europeans, very cautiously, proposed to explore the possibility of a Rivlin-Abbas encounter.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz attempted to broker the meeting between Presidents Reuven Rivlin and Mahmoud Abbas 23.6.2016, with President Rivlin keen to sit down with Abbas. President Rivlin said: “I was happy to welcome the initiative by the representative of the EU to set a meeting between me and President Abbas who is also visiting Brussels this very day.”

During a press conference alongside European Union (EU) foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, the Israeli president said he was “very sorry to learn that he [Abbas] rejected such a meeting,” and found it “strange” that Abbas “refused again and again to meet with Israeli leaders”.

President Rivlin, who addressed the European Parliament and pledged Israeli support for the two-state solution, added: “We can talk. We can talk directly and find a way to build confidence.” Source: BICOM

European leaders had high hopes for Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s June 20-23 visit to Brussels, and none of them tried to hide it. Indeed, the scope of Rivlin’s visit was practically unprecedented. Crisscrossing the Belgian capital, Rivlin met successively with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Belgian King Philippe, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, and the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. In between, Rivlin was also welcomed at the European Parliament, where he gave an address in Hebrew. But unlike the other political leaders Abbas rejected meeting with Rivlin.


Unilateral decisions?

One provocative view to issue

One provocative view to issue

From my perspective a new framework is needed, even if some apparent negotiations start the outcome probably will be a placebo to status quo.  Earlier I have referred two new leftist initiatives in my article Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict  – ‘it’s in our hands’ by Omer Bar-Lev, an MK for the Zionist Union and ‘Constructive unilateralism’ by Blue White Future, leftist think tank – which both in my opinion are steps forward and also to the right direction as well including required new roadmap for better future. A quote from Omer Bar-Lev, an MK for the Zionist Union. He concludes:

If Israel wants to be a democratic state, which it does, then it has to either grant them full citizenship rights, which will subsequently destroy Zionism (one state for two nations) or separate from the Palestinians (two states for two nations). In that case, Israel can keep the Zionist spirit. Then, it is for the Palestinians to decide to create their Palestinian State, which is in their interests and they will make their own decisions.

On January 2016, the leader of Israel’s opposition and head of the Zionist Union party Isaac Herzog, unveiled an alternative approach to the issue of Israel’s nearly 49-year old presence in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The main point of Herzog’s plan is, that Israel will complete the security barrier around the major settlement blocs. “We will be here and you, Palestinians, will be there,” Herzog said. “Live your lives, improve your economy, create employment. The blocs under Israeli sovereignty will be part of the permanent solution. They will serve as recipients of settlers from outside the major blocs.” (more in Herzog’s Plan: Security Barrier Around the Major Settlement Blocs of West Bank )

From Israeli side unilateral withdrawal and unilateral annexation are the main strategy options related to West Bank. I think that unilateral withdrawal is both feasible and doable; its main benefit might be that Israel can deside it individually. Sure this option is promoted by Isaac Herzog, leader of the Zionist Union, but I understand that the proposal has support in addition to center-left also from center and center-right in Israeli’s political sphere.

The Palestinian Authority has already taken constructive unilateral steps by seeking United Nations recognition as a state and building the institutions of statehood in the West Bank.


Regional solutions?

The best possibilities to develop negotiated peace process might be in a regional peace track proposed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in which Egypt would facilitate direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians as well as between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Egypt, one of few Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel, is a close ally of the Palestinians and enjoys good relations with Arab states which will be needed to make any potential concessions to Israel to reach a peace deal. Israelis and Palestinians have both been speaking to Sisi’s government about playing a role in talks.

clinton parameters

Cairo wants to build upon the areas of agreement already reached between Israelis and Palestinians during the Kerry-led talks in 2013-2014 and extensive security discussions between the two sides. It’s based on the premise that both sides have had extensive discussions, have discussed various parameters and know what is needed for an agreement. The Egyptians also want to revive the 2003 Arab Peace Initiative originally put forward by Saudi Arabia, in which Arab states could make some gestures to Israel in order to secure better conditions for the Palestinians. According CNN an Egyptian official said Netanyahu has shown a “sense of receptivity” to such a process led by Israel’s Arab neighbors.


On November 2015 Jerusalem Post reported   that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was claiming that Israel and Hamas have been conducting direct negotiations to expand the Gaza Strip so that it would include some 1,000 square kilometers of Sinai. At its core, the Egyptian initiative proposes expanding the Gaza Strip to five times its current size and settling all the Palestinian refugees in a state to be established there. Under the initiative, this state will be demilitarized, the Palestinian Authority would be granted autonomy in the Palestinian cities in the West Bank in exchange for relinquishing the Palestinian demand to return to 1967 borders. (More in Sinai Option again )

Earlier in August 2015 it was reported in the Times of Israel, that Hamas and Israel have essentially agreed on a long-term cease-fire. Hamas is about to sign a “comprehensive” agreement with Israel for the lifting of an eight-year blockade placed on the Gaza Strip in return for a long-term ceasefire One part of the deal is now coming to reality with new plan of Gaza seaport (more in Gaza Seaport – A Threat or Change and background in Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal ) Gaza seaport has been one aspect with reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey which talks are now proved to be a success.An expression of new warmer Israeli-Turkish relations was on July 4th, 2016 , as the first truck from the Turkish transport ships arrived from Ashdod Port to the Kerem Shalom crossing. The truck contained a shipment of toys (dolls and teddy bears) as well diapers in cartons bearing the Turkish flag. Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority personnel and COGAT officials unloaded the goods and are preparing them for transfer into Gaza. Source: Ministry of Defense

In my opinion annexing part of Sinai to Gaza as might partly solve Arab-Israeli Conflict as well Hamas-Israel Deal could pave way for the ‘Cold Peace Solution’. With this context the Gaza seaport is from point of view a positive step forward.

Jordan is Palestine Map low resInstead ‘knife intifada’ and no-talks policy the Palestinians could now think outside the box and reopen talks about the Palestinian-Jordanian confederation structure. The Palestinian-Jordanian confederation means the establishment of two states for two peoples, after the establishment of the Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines. This confederation solution was first raised by Jordan in 1972, but the PLO categorically rejected it in the same year. According to the confederation system, there would be two capitals — Jerusalem for the Palestinians and Amman for Jordanians — a centralized judiciary and one armed force led by the Jordanian king, one centralized council of ministers and one national assembly elected by the two peoples. The state should allow citizens to have full freedom of movement between the two regions.

My bottom line

The components of Two-State solution have been roughly clear last two decades – see e.g. Clinton Parameters – but the final agreement is still missing. The international pressure might lead to talks or negotiations again, with or without outside facilitators, but probably with the same outcome than earlier. So from my perspective unilateral actions are steps forward and in my opinion also to the right direction.

If peace negotiations don’t start, they fail again or regional solutions can’t be realized this time so from my viewpoint Israel could independently implement what I have called a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, where Israel would annex main settlements from West-bank inside the security fence and return to negotiations about other than so solved border issue when both parties feel need to make a long term deal. This solution in my opinion is the best way forward and it even might be possible to implement. If unilateral solutions are made in the framework of constructive unilateralism so this approach might be the right roadmap towards more permanent two-state solution.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict roadmaps to peace

Related articles:

Gaza Seaport – A Threat or Change

Israel’s 5 Strategy Options Regarding West Bank After Abbas

Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict

Herzog’s Plan: Security Barrier Around the Major Settlement Blocs of West Bank

Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Gaza’s Tunnel War Continues On All Fronts

Sinai Option again

Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal

Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander

Gaza Blockade – It’s Egypt not Israel!

Armed Drones: President Obama’s Weapon of Choice?

July 5, 2016

President Barack Obama has received much credit for drawing down American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, but less attention has been paid to his administration’s embrace of armed drones.

Under orders from the White House, the military and the CIA hunt down and kill people who have been deemed – through secretive processes, hidden from the press and the American public – worthy of execution.

These remote strikes tend to take place in foreign countries which are not declared war zones. The number of civilians killed is purposely withheld. And they are all carried out from afar by armed drones, which have become President Obama’s weapon of choice.

While there has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, that serves as a red herring for something far more important: The U.S. government’s exercise of worldwide power over life and death. After all, armed drones are a tool, not a policy. The policy is assassination.

Please have a look at new infographic made by Ammo.com.

Armed Drones: President Obama's Weapon of Choice [INFOGRAPHIC]
Via: Ammo.com

LEXIT – The Left Exit

June 29, 2016

lexitI invite all people who share the need for Lexit (= left exit) to join our discussions and campaigns and spread the Lexit Appeal!  The text below and signing the petition in address: http://lexit-network.org/appeal

Democracy and Popular Sovereignty instead of Neoliberal Integration and a failed Euro-System

This document was commonly developed by people from the Lexit Network. It was written and agreed before the Brexit referendum and was not intended to influence the popular vote one way or another.

EnglishFrench | German | GreekItalian | NorwegianPortugueseSpanish

With the implementation of the European single market and the Maastricht Treaty, European integration was established as a neoliberal project for the long run. The Stability- and Growth Pact, the fundamental freedoms of the single market and the European monetary union, among other elements, constituted a framework that has fueled austerity policies, the dismantling of workers’ rights and the welfare state and imposed privatization throughout the EU member states.

Contrary to the theory of the EU as a neutral level playing field, the events after the Great Recession (2007/2009) have shown that the current European integration project is defined by the regressive nature of its treaties and by an unprecedented radicalization of its neoliberal character. Uneven and hierarchical power relations (core – periphery) have long been a feature of European integration, finally culminating in Germany’s dominance of the EU’s economic policy orientations after the Great Recession. The regulatory developments that accompanied the establishment of the Eurozone and the measures taken in response to the Euro crisis through the imposition of ever stricter and ever less legitimated rules and governance structures (EuroPlus-Pact, Firscal Compact, etc.) deepened the authoritarian, neoliberal nature of EU-integration. Thus, the current integration project became a threat to democracy and popular sovereignty.

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The Euro – A Currency of Crises

The Euro crisis is a product of the misconceived concept and architecture of the European Monetary Union (EMU) from its start, focused on austerity and disinflation as its main targets. Instead of leading to a process of economic and social convergence of Eurozone member states, real economic development (in terms of wages, productivity etc.) drifted ever more apart. EMU was finally creating huge macroeconomic imbalances (e.g. increasing current account deficits not only in the southern EU-periphery, but also in France and Italy; huge current account surpluses in Germany and some others) and, in the first stage, led to capital flows from the EU-core to periphery. This flood of cheap money propelled speculative bubbles based on real estate, finance, and the like, and also heavily increased private and public debt.

An important factor behind the imbalances was Germany’s drive to reduce unit labour costs via re-organizing the chains of value creation for Germany’s export industries with cheaper labour from Eastern Europe, wage dumping, tax dumping and social cuts.

A consequence was a huge pressure on weaker economies to increase the international competitiveness of their industries and services. Since in the framework of EMU they could not do so with monetary policy anymore, they proceeded with internal devaluation. In practical terms, this meant dismantling of the welfare state, extensive privatization of public services and structures, wage and social dumping, tax competition, attacks on collective bargaining, attempts to disorganize unions and demonization or extensive lay-off of public workers.

The Euro – A Tool for the Benefit of Finance Capital

It is important to remark that none of this happens because of some unforeseeable construction faults in the Eurozone: The Euro works well in the sense of its neoliberal designers. It works not towards some kind of economic balance among member states, economic growth and full employment. It works towards the destruction of labor rights, social security systems, public sectors and profit taxation and towards the imposition of publicly financed bank-bailouts.

This is how the Euro works in political terms: It pushes its members into ever more downward competition in which the economic position of each member state can only be improved by policies against the majority of the population and for the benefit of international capital. It creates a downwards spiral which brings wages, pensions, social benefits, public employment, public investment, etc. to the bottom.

As the events in Greece in summer 2015 have shown quite clearly, the Eurozone governance structure is not open for policies that follow the democratically expressed view of the majority of people if they run counter to the neoliberal agenda. When the Syriza-led government tried to implement its program – strengthened by the Oxi-referendum – the ECB used its financial weapons to force the government to capitulate and sign another memorandum.

The Euro – A Bad Idea That Cannot Be Turned into a Good One

As has been proven conclusively by countless authors, the Eurozone does not meet the requirements for a functioning monetary area, nor is it to be expected that it will meet such requirements in the future. Among other measures, a functioning monetary area with very different levels of productivity and economic structures, as it is the case in the Eurozone, would require massive financial transfers in order to revert economic imbalances. Reliable analysis show that this would entail the redistribution of some 10% of Eurozone’s GDP from stronger to weaker economies, a step which is not only unfeasible in political terms, but also undesirable: As all precedents in the Eurozone have shown, the governments of donor countries would use this position to influence national policies in recipient countries, trampling on democracy. The last years showed how fast such a system undermines popular sovereignty, divides the peoples of Europe and creates room for xenophobia.

Ultimately, the option of a democratic, federal European state that does not reflect the uneven relations of power among the current member states would require a European civil society that is not given, nor can it be pushed into existence from above.

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Lexit – The Way to Effectively Fight Neoliberalism and Uphold Democracy

Against the background of the alarming loss of democratic rights, dismantling of welfare states and privatization of public goods, the emancipatory forces in Europe need to propose workable, credible alternatives based on popular sovereignty to the current project of authoritarian neoliberal integration. That is why a Lexit (left exit) must be advanced as a tool to reclaim Democracy.

The alarming upturn of the far right in most Euro countries results inter alia from their position against the EU and Euro governance systems. Their political proposals are misleading: Anti-euro right forces for example are fighting for further controls over immigration while do not make any claim for controls over indiscriminate capital mobility to and from countries pursuing policies of downward wage competition. For them, it would be enough to stop free circulation of people in Europe and abandon the Euro area by leaving currencies determined by free market forces and speculation: We could call this horrendous synthesis “xenophobic neoliberalism”.

If we want to avoid this scenario, we need a Lexit: An internationalist alternative based on popular sovereignty, fraternity, social rights and defense of workers’ conditions and the commons.

The unsustainability of the Eurozone is an objective fact. Sooner or later, it will impose a choice of alternative exit routes from the Euro, right wing or left wing, each of them with very different effects on the social classes involved. We explicitly state that the goal of Lexit is to develop emancipatory Left strategies to exit the Euro and to overcome neoliberal integration. The discussion has already begun and several proposals are on the table:

We invite all people who share the need for Lexit to join our discussions and campaigns!

My article related BREXIT and forwards: EU Reaching Cul-De-Sac Due Brexit – Revival Of Confederalism Necessary

EU Reaching Cul-De-Sac Due Brexit – Revival Of Confederalism Necessary

June 25, 2016

When you look into all this bizarre activity of the European Union with its 80,000 pages of regulations it looks like Gosplan. (Vladimir Bukovsky)

Nimetön (97)The EU was and still partly is a bold and unique project. It resembles less that of the United States of America and more that of the Soviet Union. Until the last decade the EU has been more or less a community of democratic nations. In my opinion EU has been moving more and more towards Federalism and in Eurozone even towards Unitary system; from my perspective now is the time make an u-turn and start to develop EU towards (Democratic) Confederalism.

While the USSR was a communist dictatorship the EU has been following its steps last years due a full-on economic crisis. Vladimir Bukovsky a former soviet dissident, once made a comparison: ‘We were told, that the purpose of the Soviet Union is to create a new historic entity, the soviet people, and that we must forget our nationalities, our ethnic traditions and customs. The same seems to be true to the European Union. They don’t want you to be British or French, they want you to be a new historic entity: European.’ There is amazing similarity in decision making between EU and ex-Soviet Union. USSR had also some “democratic” institutions like parliament and government, but the real power was in party machine and its politburo”. Anyway as USSR already went so shutdown of EU has now started due BREXIT and hopefully soon will it be possible to celebrate EU remembrance Day.

 I share in the highest degree the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan’s – leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party -paper on Democratic Confederalism . He e.g. notes

that Democratic confederalism is based on grass-roots participation. Its decision-making processes lie with the communities. Higher levels only serve the coordination and implementation of the will of the communities that send their delegates to the general assemblies. For limited space of time they are both mouthpiece and executive institutions. However, the basic power of decision rests with the local grass-roots institutions.

Although in democratic confederalism the focus is on the local level, organizing confederalism globally is not excluded.


From history: The supranational organisation planned by Nazis?

‘In 50 years’ time nobody will think of nation states.’ (Joseph Goebbels)

EU gratuitously got Nobel award as a peace project: to underscore the very reason that it was created on 9 May 1950, which was to limit any future wars or conflicts on the continent (more in my article Devaluation of Nobel Peace Prize Continues But EU Could Show Way For Better Crisis Management ). An alternative history shows that EU is continuation of war with economic means. This view came to my mind while reading about now published secret report about how Nazis were planning the Fourth Reich.


The document, also known as the Red House Report, is a detailed account of a secret meeting at the Maison Rouge Hotel in Strasbourg on August 10, 1944. There, Nazi officials ordered an elite group of German industrialists to plan for Germany’s post-war recovery, prepare for the Nazis’ return to power and work for a ‘strong German empire’. In other words: the Fourth Reich.detailed how the industrialists were to work with the Nazi Party to rebuild Germany’s economy by sending money through Switzerland.

They would set up a network of secret front companies abroad. They would wait until conditions were right. And then they would take over Germany again. The industrialists included representatives of Volkswagen, Krupp and Messerschmitt. Officials from the Navy and Ministry of Armaments were also at the meeting and, with incredible foresight, they decided together that the Fourth German Reich, unlike its predecessor, would be an economic rather than a military empire – but not just German. The Third Reich was defeated militarily, but powerful Nazi-era bankers, industrialists and civil servants, reborn as democrats, soon prospered in the new West Germany. There they worked for a new cause: European economic and political integration.

Ludwig Erhard (economist) pondered how German industry could expand its reach across the shattered European continent. The answer was through supranationalism – the voluntary surrender of national sovereignty to an international body. German industrialists were also members of the European League for Economic Co-operation, an elite intellectual pressure group set up in 1946. The league was dedicated to the establishment of a common market, the precursor of the European Union. Ludwig Erhard flourished in post-war Germany. Adenauer made Erhard Germany’s first post-war economics minister. In 1963 Erhard succeeded Adenauer as Chancellor for three years.

Germany and France were the drivers behind the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the precursor to the European Union. The ECSC was the first supranational organisation, established in April 1951 by six European states. It created a common market for coal and steel which it regulated. This set a vital precedent for the steady erosion of national sovereignty, a process that continues today. However one should remember that the German economic miracle – so vital to the idea of a new Europe – was built on mass murder and gold looted from the treasuries of Nazi-occupied countries and that a European federal state is inexorably tangled up with the plans of the SS and German industrialists for a Fourth Reich – an economic rather than military empire.

Scientists can argue if this alternative view about EU origins is valid or not, however in my opinion e.g. EU’s actions with financial crisis during last years give cause for claim that this alternative history might be true.

[Source: I have summarized this secret report item from: The secret report that shows how the Nazis planned a Fourth Reich – in the EU by Adam Lebor]


European Parliament?

Forgetting EU’s organogram as illusion and speaking today’s reality one can easily find different decision making practices in EU depending about importance of issue. Most important core group is cooperation between France and Germany sometimes earlier (pre-€) adding UK to group. Commission of course has great de facto power not only on implementation level but also designing proposals handled in EUs inner cores; the same can be said about bureaucrats in national ministries who are designing policies decided EU meetings at summit/ministry levels.

So where is this leaving European Parliament? It may handle some energy bulb level issues but honestly the whole institution seems to be unnecessary creation only to keep some democratic illusion on show. As EU citizens are not so stupid to keep his institution more than a puppet theatre they show their attitude by low turnout percentage. Before one EU Parliament elections I proposed and argued (in my article Let’s elect Donkey Parliament) why replacing MEPs with monkeys might not be so bad idea. Today EP is practical place to locate some second class politicians for retirement or out to not make any mess in national policy. They also can show good places to get fresh mussels while voters are visiting in EP as their quests. Designing EU policy happens anyway somewhere else.


EU today

The two dominating trends among EU leaders are to cut losses of players in virtual economy at the expense of taxpayers and to guide EU towards strict federation at the expense of democracy. (Ari Rusila)

In EU today the ‘austerity’ measures are destroying national economies making it impossible for them to ever to pay back those debts created by banksters of virtual economy and their political cabals. At grassroots people have become the victim of parasitic credit capitalism and its unelected institutions. Neoliberal capitalism has been winning ground last 30 years. During last five years emergency economics has made it possible to replace democracy with debtocracy. EU and especially Eurozone today is in condition which was recognized by Abraham Lincoln already one and half century ago as follows:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of our country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.” (Roberts, Archibald E., Bulletin–Committee to Restore the Constitution, Feb. 1989, p. 6 )

Coming back to present-day EU I see two dominating trends among EU leaders: First is to cut losses of players in virtual economy at the expense of taxpayers and the second is to guide EU towards strict federation at the expense of democracy. Change to this is needed for saving 99 % of people instead saving profits of the rest one per cent. With today’s strategy there is a risk that the combination of economic insecurity and political paralysis has been recipe for an increase in extremism and xenophobia. It is slow motion death spiral of economic collapse. That is the base to my view that people and the real world should be the first priority and not virtual economy, fiscal system, euro or EU elite. In my opinion it is time to whistle game out, collect losses and start new game in Day after Euro/EU context.

It would seem nowadays that the Eurozone leaders have decided to place the region under Martial law. Old principles about democracy, subsidiarity etc are forgotten. From my viewpoint intervene again and again into something that is not going to work in the long run is the wrong medicine.


Way forward

England-EU-OutEU Out movement now got big boost due BREXIT.The Britons had their own motivation to pull out from EU as well other populist movements in EU (to keep poor immigrants out, rich ones can buy entrance anyway as usual) and leftist grassroot movements (to stop austerity measures). Whatever reasons are the aim is against EU’s federalist development.

Quite common view is that EU is an opaque bureaucracy cut off from the citizens it was (publicly) intended to serve. The unofficial core and value of EU in my opinion is that EU is a system to protect, favor and facilitate the interests of big economic powers. A steady decline in voter turnout over the past three decades for European elections has lent credence to the idea that citizens feel increasingly estranged from the European project. The crisis appears to be making this worse by prompting politicians to rush through policies that concentrate more power in Brussels with limited public understanding or support.

From my point of view subsidiary principle should be widen so that more legislation should be implemented at national level and those few remaining issues could be decided between governments and implemented by slimmed European Commission and its agencies. With this approach the whole EP could be closed as useless extra body. This outcome – which I have called as EU lite version – is about the opposite to ongoing federalist tendency and indeed I support rebuilding EU with Confederalist approach. This subject I dealt recently with my article My 1st May Manifesto .

The best scenario from my point of view could be some kind of EU Lite version. A bit of similar ”privileged partnership” agreement than planed with Turkey (to keep it out from EU). EU Lite should be build simply to EU’s early basics as economical cooperation area including a customs union, the EU tariff band, competition etc linked to idea of the Common Market. EU Lite could also apply a structure of Confederation. Federalist intentions, the EU puppet parliament and the most of EU bureaucracy should from my point of view put in litter basket together with high-flown statements and other nonsense. In my opinion average citizen does not need EU to decide how wide tires one have in tractor or how big curve bananas can have. Most topics can more democratic way be handled at national level. For international affairs – e.g climachange, civil liberties, development aid – there are lot of official forums as well NGO-cooperation.


Even I sited Lincoln above I see some benefits with Confederalist view in new desirable politics. Policy-making starts from community assemblies based on the practices of participatory democracy and continues further by interlinking villages, towns, neighborhoods, and cities into confederal networks. Power thus flows from the bottom up instead of from the top down like today. With critical issues – such as human rights, civil liberties, international policy etc political units can adopt a common constitution while the task of central governments would be providing support for all members. Democratic Confederalism is based on grass-roots participation. Its decision-making processes lie with the communities; in conclusion my vision is decentralized society a network of directly democratic citizens’ assemblies in individual communities/cities organized in a confederal fashion.

Sure the scenario above can be seen as Utopian – however from my perspective the process or moving towards that Utopia is the core question.



Financial speculators, banksters and EU elite can congratulate themselves for creating such a massive well connected system –called EU that it is hard to break. The citizens have enjoyed from few benefits such as student exchange programme, Schengen area and common agricultural policy which subsidized farmers to produce goods that nobody wanted, dumped excess supply on world markets creating falling incomes for world farmers. The decline of EU as actor in international politics continues with its disastrous European External Action Service (=foreign policy, EEAS) so that the union can concentrate to its core function as distributor of agricultural funds and as aggregate of high-flown statements. The present challenge is, how to distance unsatisfied citizens and state parliaments away from disturbing egocentric and self-governing elite. I hope that grassroots finally will get fed up with this experiment and starts to demand some power back.

My bottom line:

  • People first system after
  • Power flow from the bottom up
  • Money for the people not the banks
  • From private to public money creation
  • Real economy instead of virtual economy
  • Investor risk instead of taxpayers risk

Nimetön (96)


Maailman korkein aurinkovoimatorni Negeviin

June 23, 2016


80_630_225_ashalim1Keskellä eteläistä Israelia – Negevin erämaassa – pystytetään maailman korkeinta aurinkolämpötornia. 240 metriä korkea Ashalim Tower kerää 55 000 tietokoneohjattavan peilin avulla auringonsäteet tornin huipulla olevaan kiehutuskattilaan – boileriin – jossa veden lämpötila nousee 600 asteeseen. Vesi johdetaan tornin alaosaan, jossa sen energiasisältö muutetaan sähköenergiaksi. Mittaluokkaa kuvaa se, että peilit kattavat 300 hehtaarin eli noin 400 jalkapallokentän suuruisen alueen. Torni näkyy kymmenien kilometrien päähän erämaassa kuin valtavana hehkulamppuna tai majakkana.

Kaavakuva toimintaperiaatteesta Kaavakuva toimintaperiaatteesta

Ruostumattomalla teräksellä päällystettävä torni maksaa 570 miljoona USD, sen rahoittavat General Electric USA:sta, Alstom Ranskasta sekä yksityisyhtiö Noy Israelista. Huipputeknologiaa edustavan tornin on määrä olla valmis v. 2017.

Ashalom Tower tuottaa 121 megawatillaan jopa kaksi prosenttia Israelin sähköntarpeesta puhtaalla energialla, alentaa CO2 päästöjä 110 000 tonnia vuodessa ja voi tyydyttää 120 000 kotitalouden sähköntarpeen.

al15_12_23_4443Aurinkovoimatorneja on jo rakennettu Marokoon, Etelä-Afrikkaan ja Kaliforniaan jossa Mojaven autiomaassa sijaitsee toistaiseksi maailman korkein – 137 metriä – torni. Ashalim Tower on paitsi yli sata…

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