Jane's Intelligence Review Volume: 13 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2001 Pages: 46-47
Christopher C. Aaron
This article examined the impact of the lack of non-lethal weapons on Israeli operations during the Al-Aqsa Intifada crisis.
In reviewing the experience of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in suppressing unarmed Palestinian demonstrators during the first phases of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in October 2000, the IDF was accused of using excessive force. The imposition of severe operational limitations on the IDF army not only restricted their tactical capacity to handle crisis situations but led to a distorted picture of its activities by the international media. The real problem identified was that the IDF was compelled to use what was regarded as excessive force because it lacked effective non-lethal weaponry. The limited value of Israel’s military deterrence in preventing low-level conflicts was discussed. The non-lethal weapon is meant to be an effective trade off between lethality and effectiveness. A reliable and effective NL solution means fulfilling a mission without resorting to excessive force. It was presented that Israel needs to adopt a wide range of NL weapons and apply these to the changing circumstances to avoid sliding into uncontrolled escalation of a conflict that could reach strategic proportions.