Analysis: The Dahiya Doctrine vs. the Goldstone Report

The IDF does not plan on significantly changing the way it fights in future conflicts. On the contrary, it will continue to target civilian infrastructure that is used by terrorists.

gaza kid 88 (photo credit: )
gaza kid 88
(photo credit: )

Following Operation Cast Lead, the IDF OperationsDirectorate prepared a slideshow to explain the type of challenges theIsraeli military is currently facing in Lebanon against Hizbullah andin the Gaza Strip against Hamas.

Onone of the slides is a picture of Khan Yunis, Gaza, but it could alsobe any one of the 160 Shiite villages in southern Lebanon whereHizbullah has stored its weaponry. The map is filled with differentcolored dots, each one representing a different type of threat an IDFplatoon will face.

The Operations Directorate calls this type of warfare the"Collage War" since when fighting against an organization likeHizbullah or Hamas, IDF commanders will face characteristics fromguerrilla, terror and conventional battles.

In other words, a commander invading Lebanon or Gaza will faceanti-tank missiles (conventional), kidnapping attempts (terror) andunderground tunnels (guerrilla), each threat represented by a differentcolored dot on the slide. These threats are also not located in openbattlefields but in built-up areas like Khan Yunis, one of themost-densely populated parts of the world with close to 200,000 people.

The purpose of the slide is to explain that Israel isnot fighting against a conventional military like the IDF, but hasenemies - Hamas and Hizbullah - that flagrantly use the civilianpopulation as human shields.

Still, the IDF does not plan on significantly changing the wayit fights in future conflicts. On the contrary, it will continue totarget civilian infrastructure that is used by terrorists.

Thisis known in the IDF as the "Dahiya Doctrine," in reference to theneighborhood in Beirut that can only be accessed by card-carryingHizbullah members. During the 2006 war, the IDF bombed large apartmentbuildings in the neighborhood since they were also used as Hizbullahcommand-and-control centers.

Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, OC NorthernCommand Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot made clear that the IDF will continueto apply this doctrine in the future.

"Hizbullah is the one that is turning these areasinto a battleground," Eizenkot said. "I hope this will restrain them -but if not, we need to explain to ourselves and to others that this issomething Hizbullah has brought upon itself since it is building itscombat zones inside these villages."

As a result, the IDF believes that the Goldstone Report wasborn out of a wrong perception of modern warfare and was written whileignoring the reality in Gaza and Lebanon. As a result, what theOperations Directorate believes is necessary, is not a commission ofinquiry like the Winograd Commission after the Second Lebanon War, buta change in the world's understanding of the nature of modern warfare.

Until this happens, the IDF can expect to face many more Goldstone Reports in the future.