It is important to put the policy recommendations of Israeli security officials – and former officials – in context.
Security officials may have a good handle on the gizmos our various enemies now possess and even what they have in the pipeline for future deployment. They may even have an appreciation of their training and operations doctrines and methodologies.
But when it comes to policy recommendations it is profoundly more complicated than just the gizmos and the forces operating them as policy has to also anticipate what the enemy decision makers will ultimately opt to do with their gizmos and forces.
And that’s where an ideological orientation can seriously distort the analysis.
For example, back in 2000 Israel’s Senior Negotiator with Syria, Major General (Res.) Uri Saguy, who had served in the past as head of Military Intelligence, took the position that “peace will not eliminate the strategic threats to Israel, but will prevent their materialization”. Saguy believed that since Assad’s goal was to recover the Golan that once he had that Syria would not attack Israel. That belief served as the basis for his support for grossly unworkable security arrangements in the North as part of a plan to leave the Golan.
Saguy is in very good company. Most of the top people in Israel’s various security and defense systems share a similar ideologically driven optimism regarding the efficacy of “land for piece of paper”.
Time and again over the last two decades the embarrassingly naive analysis of Israel’s security people led them to advocate reckless plans and arrangements – with many of those actually implemented literally blowing up in our faces.
It would be one thing if these security experts warned that the efficacy of their recommendations hinged on the assumption that the Arabs will eternally honor a final agreement.
But they don’t.
Instead they contend that the arrangements they advocate are robust and insure Israel’s survival and wellbeing. Period.