Thursday, July 29, 2010

Israel's Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace


In light of a widening range of threats to Israel's security, for the first time a group of senior Israeli generals has come together to outline the basic principles of a defense policy - rooted in a consensus spanning past and present Israeli governments - which is focused on Israel maintaining defensible borders. The crisis over the Hamas flotilla to Gaza illustrates how some of Israel's critical alliances in the Middle East are changing, especially its relationship with Turkey, and the importance of designing a defense policy that takes into account the uncertainties that Israel faces with many of its neighbors.
Recent events only underscore that it is critical for Israel to preserve the principle of defending itself by itself.

Executive Summary
Introduction: Restoring a Security-First Peace Policy
Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon
In his major policy speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009, Prime Minister B ă enjamin Netanyahu

articulated a major shift in Israel’s policy – a restoration of Israel’s traditional security-based
approach to achieving a lasting peace.

ă When Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin entered into the Oslo Accords, he envisioned something
along the lines of the “Allon Plan” for Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Drafted shortly
after the Six-Day War, the plan called for Israel to retain sovereignty in some of the territories
it came to control in Judea and Samaria, and delineated a security border extending from
the Jordan Valley up the steep eastern slopes of the Judea-Samaria mountain ridge and
retained sovereignty over Jerusalem as Israel’s united capital.

ƒÉ In the aftermath of Arafat’s rejection of Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer, the
Palestinian suicide bombing war that followed, Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from the Gaza
Strip, the Second Lebanon War, the failed Annapolis talks, and the recent war in Gaza, the
Netanyahu government is readopting the notion that safeguarding Israel’s vital security
requirements is the only path to a viable and durable peace with our Palestinian neighbors.
ă The Palestinians have adhered to their historical narrative of armed struggle that denies
Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation-state, regardless of signed agreements or unilateral
Israeli withdrawals. The Palestinians have interpreted Israeli territorial withdrawals as
signs of weakness and retreat that have energized their struggle to force additional Israeli
territorial concessions

ƒÉ Until now, the Palestinians have only been asked for a “top-down” peace process,
throughout which their leaders have held meetings, shaken hands, attended peace
conferences, and even signed agreements with Israeli leaders. But when a peace process
does not sprout from the grassroots of a society, it is both pointless and useless. Until threeyear-
old children in Ramallah stop being taught to idolize “martyrs” who blow themselves
up for jihad against Israelis and Jews, there will only be a “peace process” in the imaginations
of the self-deluded.
Defensible Borders to Secure Israel’s Future
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan
It is commonly misunderstood just how vulnerable Israel actually i ă s. Some 70 percent of its
population and 80 percent of its industrial capacity are concentrated in the narrow coastal
strip between the Mediterranean Sea and the West Bank. The adjacent West Bank hills
topographically dominate the relatively flat and exposed coastal plain, providing a distinct
advantage to an attacker for observation, fire, and defense from an Israeli ground response.
ă If the West Bank were to fall into hostile hands, the resulting situation would pose a constant
threat to Israel’s national infrastructure, including Ben-Gurion International Airport, the
Trans-Israel Highway toll road, Israel’s National Water Carrier, and its high-voltage electric
power lines.
ă By its presence along the eastern perimeter of the West Bank in the Jordan Valley and the
Judean Desert, Israel has been able to prevent weapons smuggling and the infiltration of
hostile forces. Indeed, one of the most important preconditions of a successful counterinsurgency
or counter-terrorism strategy is isolating the area of conflict in order to cut off
any reinforcement of hostile forces with manpower and material.
ă The entire Jordan Rift Valley constitutes a natural physical barrier against attack that
averages between 3,000 to 4,600 feet. There are only five east-west passes through which an
attacking army can move, each of which can be defended with relative ease. For this reason,
the Jordan Valley has been viewed as the front line for Israel’s defense in an extremely
uncertain Middle East.
ă The advent of ballistic missiles and rockets has increased the importance of terrain and
strategic depth for Israel, since its small standing army may have to fight for longer periods
of time without reinforcements from the reserve forces, whose timely arrival may be
delayed or prevented by rocket fire. Israel’s standing army may also have to operate for
a considerable period of time without major assistance from the air force, which may be
busy destroying the air defense systems of enemy states and suppressing ballistic missile
launches aimed at Israeli cities.
The U.S. and “Defensible Borders”: How Washington Has
Understood UN Security Council Resolution 242 and Israel’s
Security Needs
Dr. Dore Gold
ƒÉ The United States has historically backed Israel’s view that UN Security Council Resolution
242, adopted in the wake of the Six-Day War on November 22, 1967, does not require a full
withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines (also called the 1967 borders). There is no basis to
the argument that the U.S. has traditionally demanded of Israel either a full withdrawal or a
nearly full withdrawal from the territories it captured in the Six-Day War.
ă In the international legal community there was an acute awareness that Jordan had illegally
invaded the West Bank in 1948 and held it until 1967, when Israel captured the territory
in a war of self-defense. Israel’s entitlement to changes in the pre-1967 lines did not arise
because it had been vulnerable, but rather because it had been the victim of aggression in
ƒÉ When asked what was the “minimum territory” that Israel “might be justified in retaining
in order to permit a more effective defense,” the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
(JCS), General Earl Wheeler, responded on June 29, 1967: “From a strictly military point of
view, Israel would require the retention of some captured Arab territory in order to provide
militarily defensible borders.” Regarding the West Bank, the JCS specifically suggested “a
boundary along the commanding terrain overlooking the Jordan River,” and considered
taking this defense line up to the crest of the mountain ridge.
ă The Clinton parameters of 2000 did not become official U.S. policy. After President George
W. Bush came into office, U.S. officials informed the newly-elected Sharon government that
the administration would not be bound by the Clinton parameters discussed with Israel’s
Barak government. Conversely, it was understood that the Sharon government would
likewise not be bound by its predecessor’s proposals.
ƒÉ President Bush wrote to Prime Minister Sharon on April 14, 2004: “In light of new realities
on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to
expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the
armistice lines of 1949.”
Key Principles of a Demilitarized Palestinian State
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash
Israel’s definition of demilitarization is that no security threat – w ƒÉ hether symmetrical,
asymmetrical, military, or terrorist – be allowed to develop either within or by way of
Palestinian territory, and that no Palestinian army or military capabilities be established
which could constitute a threat to Israel.
ă In Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to date, the heads of the PLO and the PA have refused
to agree to a "demilitarized" Palestinian state. They claim the right to have high-trajectory
weapons (mortars), anti-tank missiles (RPGs), and armored vehicles equipped with machine
guns, in order to control security in their territory and protect their central government.
ƒÉ Israel’s current military freedom of operation in the West Bank, which enables the IDF
to reach every place where prohibited arms are manufactured or hidden, has thus far
prevented terrorists there from being able to manufacture rockets and launch them at
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has also enabled the IDF to intercept suicide bombers before they
are able to carry out their malicious missions.
ă A major problem Israel faces in dealing with a non-state actor such as the Palestinian
Authority is that, unlike state actors such as Egypt or Jordan, classic principles of deterrence
and punishment are far less effective, as there is no unified government that asserts control
over people, weapons, and terrorist groups. This is illustrated by the split between Fatah in
the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
ă The Palestinian Authority must commit to the cessation of incitement to terrorism,
and to the building of a “culture of peace.” This will entail forming joint structures for
preventing incitement; neutralizing all channels of support for terrorist organizations (such
as the transfer of funds to and activities conducted by extremist associations disguised
as organizations established to help the needy); and eliminating school curricula that
encourage violence, martyrdom and suicide. This will also require a commitment on the
part of the Palestinian state to prevent the delivery of hostile sermons in mosques and other
religious and cultural institutions.
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