Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In The News

Will Israel Risk Giving Up Control Of The Jordan Valley?

One of the main issues of dispute in current peace negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is whether a newly created Palestinian state will have an army that can defend its borders. Abbas is demanding a militarized Palestinian state, void of Jews, and with no IDF presence on any of its borders.
The demand of a militarized Palestinian state is in direct opposition to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in his speech at Bar Ilan University in June 2009
Netanyahu also said in that speech that Israel needs defensible borders. Now, at the peace table, Israeli interlocutors stipulate that Israel must have an IDF presence on the eastern border with Jordan. This is something the Palestinians vehemently oppose. But, Israel's position on this is not new. In the past, Israeli government leaders came up with the same critical assessment.

The liberal politicians in Israel's government and in the Opposition are not too happy about this particular sticking point in the negotiations. Yet, one can recall a similar debate about borders when former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in August/September 2005. That unilateral withdrawal was not only controversial because it uprooted thousands of settlers from their homes, Sharon also abandoned a very important and strategic area along the outer perimeter of the Gaza Strip called the Philadelphi Corridor. He did this against the advice of most of his generals at the time.
Jews had to abandon their homes and businesses in Gaza. Their empty synagogues became terrorist museums. And, the Philadelphi Corridor became an open door for terrorist infiltration by Hamas and other Gaza radicals. Weapons smuggling from Iran surged and rockets became the new threat to Israeli border towns.
Israel does not want to make that mistake again.

It is not only the retreat from Gaza that upsets many Israelis. They also remember when Ehud Barak led the IDF to abandon its post in south Lebanon in the year 2000.  Hezb'allah filled that vacuum. Today, 1 out of 10 homes in south Lebanon is equipped with a rocket launcher storage facility.  In the future, Hezb'allah will attempt to launch those rockets against Israel's northern civilian population. The terrorist group expects that Israel will hesitate to retaliate because to do so means that Lebanese civilians and their homes will be in the line of Israeli fire.

Peace negotiators have suggested bringing in international forces to protect the eastern border with Jordan. 

But, international forces did not stop Hezb'allah from building up its terrorist network on Israel's northern border, nor stop Hamas from taking over the Gaza Strip in the south.
Wherever Israel withdraws its forces or civilians, that land becomes the flashpoint of terror against the Jewish State. Terrorists test the IDF's skills, willpower, and manpower along the new frontier trying to push through electric fences and security walls. They plant bombs to kill IDF soldiers or infiltrate towns to carry out terrorist attacks.

Notwithstanding the best intentions of US Secretary of State John Kerry, the current round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians may fail (shocking, we know). But what happens then? Well, most members of the current Israeli government may be fine with the status quo — the emphatic absence of a Palestinian state — but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to resume steps to unilaterally advance the PA’s statehood bid, a move Jerusalem is extremely wary of.

“If Abbas gets all other members of the Security Council to agree, he might manage to drive the Americans into a corner,” the official said. “Washington might at some point become fed up with being the only country to oppose Palestinian statehood, and embarrassed and fearful of international isolation, it might accede to the Palestinians’ request.”

In the meantime, though, the Palestinians don’t need full UN membership to incriminate Israel on the international stage, an Israeli official said. As soon as they are admitted into the World Health Organization, Habitat or other UN programs, “they could have our arms twisted,” he said.
Before the current round of peace talks commenced, the Palestinians were quite successful in their quest to achieve “incremental recognition,” he said. “Since they joined UNESCO, they hijacked the organization’s agenda and now it’s all about bashing Israel all the time,” added the official, who asked to remain anonymous so he could more freely discuss sensitive diplomatic issues. “All the Palestinians do all day is get yet another condemnation against Israel. And their strategy is working.”


Governmental sources report that US Secretary of State John Kerry is behind the European boycott threats on Israeli products and companies operating in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The EU published itsguidelines last July, boycotting Israeli companies operating over the 1949 Armistice lines.

Meanwhile for the PA's part, a senior official recently was interviewed on Syrian TV admitting that any agreement will simply be the "first stage" in wiping Israel out completely.

"Do they expect that if we continue to give in, then the boycotts will stop?" remarked Eldad, noting that leftist professors in Israel have been active in encouraging international academic boycotts.
"Israel has been negligent up until now and dragged its feet when the first signs of a boycott of products from Judea and Samaria emerged. It declined to indict those factors who called for the boycotts, and now we are paying the price," charged Eldad.

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