Wednesday, April 22, 2015

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Middle East Monitor translates an article from Hamas' Felesteen about the importance of Israel's navy. And the article is surprisingly impartial.
Over the course of the past decade, Israel has gone to great lengths to strengthen and develop its navy, which now rivals the air force in its offensive capabilities using the best military resources available. Israel is now able to confront all of the military threats it may face. The Israeli government's massive investment in naval technology is justified by the fact that the navy is responsible for about 50 per cent of all military operations carried out by the Zionist state; this was reported by the Jerusalem Post on 13 August last year.

The most obvious evidence suggesting of Israel's investment in naval technology is the fact that it now has submarines capable of carrying nuclear missiles. By the end of the decade, it is expected to have the most German-built Dolphin Class submarines in the world. These are regarded as the fourth most effective of their kind. Nowhere else in the world will you find a country with a population of just 8 million people having six such submarines in its arsenal. In addition to investing in strategic submarines, Israel has also doubled its number of naval attack vessels and has the sea-to-air and sea-to-surface rockets, both medium and long range, to go with them.

What has undoubtedly pushed Israel to make such a large investment is the reality of the changes taking place within the Arab world. The Zionist state believes that these could affect its foreign trade as 90 per cent of its imports and exports go by sea freight. Hence the need for the navy to take centre stage.

According to Professor Ephraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Bar-Ilan, the fact that Arab and Islamic countries control the world's most important maritime routes make it necessary for Israel to secure its commercial vessels with a strong navy. In a recent study, Inbar warned that militant Islamic groups could target Israeli merchant ships. He emphasised that he has no doubt that the most important strategic role in securing Israeli interests needs to and will be carried out by the navy; it also needs to be able to retaliate in the event that it is the victim of a nuclear attack.

According to Umair Bouhbout, a military commentator for Wala News, Israel believes that the only way it can retaliate in such an event is from its seaborne nuclear capabilities. Moreover, having submarines with nuclear warheads makes it possible for Israel to keep its options open with regards to manoeuvrability and the stationing of submarines close to target countries. Israel also looks upon its navy as the means to combat arms smuggling by Palestinian resistance groups and Lebanon's Hezbollah. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have gone so far as to claim that they have prevented several smuggling operations via Sudan, Iran and other states. In addition to all of this, we must not forget that the Israeli navy will play a crucial role in securing the natural gas fields that have been discovered off the coast of Palestine.

Israel fears that a hostile party will attack those fields within its territorial waters and it is for this reason that the government and the IDF are focusing the most energy and financial resources on strengthening the navy, which has a key strategic role.

According to Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahranoth last August, dozens of Palestinian homes were destroyed during the summer war on Gaza by rockets fired from Israeli warships stationed off the coast of the besieged territory; this confirmed that the navy is not only complementing all other sections of the IDF but is also quite possibly the most favoured and used.

Former Israeli naval commander Rear-Admiral Eli Marom said recently that because the submarines can stay underwater for a long time, they are often used by special units to implement covert operations that are thousands of miles away from Israel. An investigation published by Wala News confirmed that Israel employs submarines in electronic warfare against several parties. There is currently no doubt in Tel Aviv that its navy acts as a major deterrent factor that makes other states think twice before launching any attack against Israel.

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