Israel's Copycat Technique

Civilian deaths are down this year in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and residents face fewer disruptions in their daily lives. The secret? American counterinsurgency tactics imported from Iraq that emphasize building up living conditions over simply hunting down militants. As part of the shift, Israel has made less use of artillery and air strikes, formerly a common tactic, turning instead to less damaging commando raids. "Part of our philosophy is to fight the terrorists with M-16 [rifles], not F-16 [jets]," Israeli Brig. General Noam Tivon told The Wall Street Journal. "The Americans brought to this region a lot of new ideas." While 78 civilian casualties occurred last year before the new strategy, 12 have been killed the first six months of this year and there are fewer roadblocks and checkpoints. Observers are worried that with the generals in charge of the new plan on the way out, their successors might not continue their approach.