Israel is a global superpower, but the country’s powerful military is actually far more powerful, according to a new study.
A new study published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington-based think tank, finds that Israeli military power is a much bigger deal than its geopolitical power.
The study, conducted by the think tank and published online by the Middle East Policy Initiative (MIPI), also finds that Israel’s military power dwarfs the US’ ability to shape events in the Middle Eastern region, a trend that has been on the rise.
Israeli military strength is estimated at more than $100 billion a year, making it the third-largest economy on the planet after the US and China.
But its military prowess has also been a source of concern to many.
Israel’s ability to fight wars and maintain an effective military has been a major concern for policymakers in Washington and around the world, including US President Donald Trump, who has been critical of Israel for its policies towards the Palestinians.
The new study, titled “What Israel is really good at: military or geopolitical?”, suggests that Israel is actually much more dangerous than it is perceived to be, as the Israeli military’s ability and reach has grown exponentially since the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel’s then-leader, Ariel Sharon, captured the West Bank.
Israel’s military might has grown to such an extent that it now occupies nearly all of the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, which the US Congress designated as a “no-man’s land” for Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was elected in a 2015 election on a platform of “zero tolerance” for Palestinian incitement and violence, has argued that Israeli policy is based on the principle of “the Jewish people’s right to self-defense.”
While the United States and other Western countries have largely backed Israel’s stance on the Palestinians, the US is a major military backer of Israel, as has Israel’s allies, such as the UK, France, Germany and Australia.
The Washington-sponsored study, however, also found that Israeli’s military capabilities are far more important to US national security than their perceived geopolitical power, which has been criticized as “biased and misleading.”
The authors concluded that while Israel’s power is “not in doubt,” the US military has a much more limited role in shaping the Middle Area, which includes Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of Africa, and therefore is not a “significant threat” to US interests in the region.
“The U.S. does not have an adequate role in influencing events on the ground in the Mideast and does not control the balance of power in the entire region,” the report said.
Israel has not always been averse to using force in the international arena.
In 2012, Israel attacked Syria in retaliation for the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons, killing more than 1,000 people.
Israel subsequently launched a military offensive on Gaza in 2014, which resulted in Israel killing more Palestinians than it has Palestinians killed in the conflict.
Since then, Israel has also launched attacks on Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.