For years Israel (or actually, some guys in the government) believed the main threat to its existence was in Iran, which has been developing a nuclear capability and the missiles to deliver nuclear bombs. It coped with the Palestinian intifada that experts consider a "low-intensity conflict." For some reason, threats from Hizbullah were ignored. Israel has peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, but both countries could be taken over by extremists, and Egypt has a formidable army. The majority of Jordanians are Palestinian Arabs who don't have much use for the peace treaty.
UPI tells us (we knew) that Israel cut its defense budget. It closed combat divisions and air force squadrons, and dismissed career army men. What UPI doesn't mention, is that Israel moved army bases to the West Bank and converted them from training areas into stockades meant to protect settlements. It cut down its stockpiles, as UPI tells us. UP doesn't meantion that Israel also destroyed the Israel defense industry and came to rely on cheaper (free actually) US armaments, the availability of which depends on political whims of Washington. US arms, it seems, are not always the best quality or the most suitable for the Israeli theater. Humvees are fine for carrying troops on exercises in the United States, but as both US and Israel discovered, they are vulnerable to IEDs planted by guerillas. So now Israel will have to spend money converting old tanks to troop carriers and building its own troop carriers that actually protect troops. US manufactured cluster bombs have a habit of not exploding and not killing the bad guys, and then exploding later and killing little kids. Israel opted for those over a superior product made by its own defense industries because they were free. We saved money. The result was ineffective firepower, and the usual condemnations from John Dugard and the rest of the anti-Israel chorus.
Now, according to UPI military sources say Syria and Iran are helping Hamas build an army in the Gaza Strip and that "many tens of tons" of TNT have been smuggled into Gaza since June. You don't say! Presumably, Israel must wait until the Hamas actually have an army before we can act against Hamas. Maybe we should wait until the Hamas get an A-bomb or two from Iran.
Israel supposely decided to allocate 8 percent of its gross national product to defense. That is 6 percent more than in other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, noted Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, head of the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister's Office. On the other hand, Germany and France do not have the Hamas on their southern border, Hezbollah on their northern border and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatening to wipe them off the map. That might make a difference. They also have a great defense umbrella provided by the United States, and they are also disastrously complacent in view of the rising Russian aggressiveness.
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