Three waves of aggression have been launched against Israel during the last 63 years, in attempts by Israel's enemies to destroy the Jewish state. The first wave, an attempt to defeat the Israeli army on the battlefield, began in 1948 and continued, with interruptions, until 1973. The Yom Kippur War, which was launched with simultaneous assaults by Syria and Egypt, from the north and the south, respectively, caught Israel by surprise, before it had a chance to mobilize its army reserves, and these armies initially made substantial advances on both fronts. However, this was to be the last Arab attempt to challenge Israel on the battlefield. Within three weeks the Israel Defenses Forces, having called up its reserve units, crossed the Suez Canal, cut off the Egyptian Third Army and stood 101 kilometers from Cairo; in the north, Israeli forces were within artillery range of Damascus.
At this stage, both Egypt and Syria began pleading for a cease-fire to be put in place. After launching the war under optimal conditions and being totally defeated within three weeks, it had become clear to Israel's enemies that beating the IDF on the battlefield was not an option. Throughout the 38 years that have elapsed since, Israeli deterrence has been effective.
With the deployment of their armies no longer a viable option, Israel's enemies decided to use the weapon of terror. That was the second wave of aggression against Israel. The terror weapon was twofold: rockets launched from a distance against Israeli population centers, and suicide bombers. With the arrival of the suicide bombers - a precision weapon that the terrorist intent on suicide was able to place in buses, restaurants and wedding halls - the terror weapon, which until then had not been considered a major threat to Israel's existence, began to tear away at the fabric of Israeli society.
The terrorists claimed that what could not be achieved on the battlefield could be achieved in the streets of Israel's cities. Many in Israel insisted that terrorism could not be defeated militarily. The IDF and the security services proved them wrong with Operation Defensive Shield, in April 2002, when the army entered Palestinian cities and suppressed the terrorist menace. The terror-rocket threat, from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has not been eliminated but Israel is capable of dealing with it at a time of its choosing.
As it became clear that Israel had overcome both waves of aggression, its enemies chose another direction. This time it was a worldwide campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel, an attempt to make Israel an outcast among the nations, subjecting it to boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions. This campaign is gaining momentum.
The first wave of aggression naturally had the support of the Arab world. The second wave was also supported by Europe's far left and various fringe terror organizations. But the global campaign for the delegitimization of Israel will need much broader support if it is to succeed. It is not very difficult to mobilize such support, starting with the United Nations. Nearly one third of UN member states are Muslim countries, assuring an automatic majority for any anti-Israel resolution at the General Assembly. Any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council can veto a resolution by the council; Russia and China are disinclined to veto anti-Israeli resolutions, each for its own political and economic reasons.
The Quartet, a relatively new forum consisting of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN, has become another source of pressure against Israel. Add to all these the many Muslims living in Western Europe, the well-meaning "liberals" who are convinced that they know more about what is good for Israel than the democratically elected government of the state - a pressure group that includes a good number of Jews and even Israelis - and it is clear that a formidable coalition against Israel already exists. Although not all of the components of this coalition seek the destruction of the State of Israel, its more extreme elements have everyone else in tow.
Fortunately, Israel has grown strong economically and militarily over the years and should be able to overcome this third wave of aggression, as it has the first two.
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