Thursday, January 13, 2011

Israel Security Report for 2010: Trends in Attacks and Threats

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By Barry Rubin

You might find interesting some details from the Israel Security Agency report on 2010.

--Iran smuggled about 1,000 mortar shells and hundreds of rockets through Sudan and Sinai into the Gaza Strip in 2010.

--The most significant new weapon for Hamas is the Kornet anti-tank rocket, the best in the world and the one used by Hizballah against Israeli tanks effectively in 2006. In response, Israel has sent a battalion already equipped with sophisticated protective equipment to that border.

--The Sinai Peninsula has turned into a virtually free area for Hamas smuggling. On two occasions, rockets were fired from that Egyptian territory at Eilat in Israel.

--Hamas is trying to create a military infrastructure in the West Bank, especially near Hebron. Both the Palestinian Authority and Israeli army are opposing this.

--The number of rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza declined from 2,048 in 2008, to 569 in 2009, and to “only” 150 (about one every other day) in 2010. This reflects only a tactical shift from Hamas and obviously could be reversed at any time.

--The total of attacks on Israel—including rockets and mortars from Gaza—declined from 1,354 in 2009 to 798 in 2010.

What does this all mean? Israel is in relatively good shape at present. It faces a potential future threat from Hamas or Hizballah firing large numbers of rockets into Israel. But even a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority and the creation of a Palestinian state ruled by that group would not have any positive effect on that problem.

The 2003-2004 operations in the West Bank, 2006 in Lebanon, and 2009-2010 military action in the Gaza Strip--that both came after Israel was attacked--had a strong deterrent effect in reducing attacks from those places. The conflict doesn't end not because too much force is used or because diplomacy isn't properly managed but because the other sides don't want to end the conflict.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

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