Ballistic Missile and Insurgency Threats to Israel: Effects on Security Posture and Implications For Nuclear Weapons

Date of Graduation

Spring 1998


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


The ongoing "Peace Process" obscures the fact that Israel's ability to deter an Arab attack may be declining. Although it has not been engaged in a high-intensity war of survival for nearly twenty-five years, a combination of insurgency related terrorism and the augmenting of Arab arsenals with ballistic missiles armed with nuclear, biological, and chemical warheads could tip the scales of the Middle East security equation in favor of Israel's adversaries. The aggregate effects of Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hizballah terror campaigns are producing an erosion in morale among both the Israeli populace and the Israel Defense Force (IDF). These efforts have served to speed up the Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and all of Gaza, where a defacto Palestinian Arab state now resides. This truncating of Israel could serve to embolden the Arab states to resolve the Palestine "problem" through force. In such an attack, the Arab states would likely use their chemically-armed ballistic missiles against airfields and reserve marshalling centers to disrupt Israel's vital mobilization. If these missile attacks succeed in their objective, a depleted IDF would be given the nearly impossible task of stopping a large Arab force. To deter, and defend against such an attack, Israel is developing an integrated ballistic missile defense system. In the same vein, Israel should reassess its nuclear policies to enhance its nuclear deterrent posture by bringing its "bomb" out of the "basement" and conveying to its enemies that it has the will and capacity to use it.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Raymond Alan VonHarten