This special document is an original English translation of a 2015, thirty-three page (in Hebrew), Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strategy paper, marking the first time that the IDF has published an official account of its fundamental driving principles. An introductory essay by Ahmad Samih Khalidi, “On the Limitations of Military Doctrine,” places the strategy document in the context of Israel's failures in the 2006 Lebanon war. The document, itself headed by a short letter from Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, encompasses a broad spectrum of grand strategy analysis, prediction, and recommendation, against a complex matrix of operational, tactical, and logistical measures. It comprises three main parts: first, a succinct “Strategy Document” that describes Israel's strategic and operational environment and that delineates the basic principles guiding its military actions (chapters 1–3); second, a description of the IDF's command structure and procedures (chapter 4); and third, the prescription of a series of follow-up steps (chapter 5). In brief bullet points, the strategy document covers national goals, threat perceptions, the domestic, regional, and international contexts, technical and technological challenges, the main functions and roles of the IDF, the different conditions (or “operating statuses”) for the use of force, the importance of cyberwarfare, intelligence, questions of legitimacy, issues of command and control, resource utilization, defense capabilities, special operations, and the priorities for five years. Israel's traditional concerns with the threat from Arab states are downgraded in favor of the threat posed by sub- or non- state actors (Hamas and Hezbollah), and “distant” players (Iran).
Introduction: On the Limitations of Military Doctrine
Ahmad Samih Khalidi is a writer on Middle East political and strategic affairs. He is coeditor of Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyya, the Arabic-language sister publication to JPS, and a senior associate member of St. Antony's College, Oxford.
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Ahmad Samih Khalidi; Introduction: On the Limitations of Military Doctrine. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 February 2016; 45 (2): 127–146. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2016.45.2.127
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