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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 06, 2002

Why one should oppose a second Palestinian-Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - Part 12 of 23

This piece continues a series of which the first eleven parts were posted on September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23, and October 7, 24, 28, and 29, 2002. The object of the series is to provide a database that is not only reliable and well-documented but also one for which documents are easily accessible, preferably from web resources. The term "second Palestinian-Arab state" is used in order to underscore that one Palestinian-Arab state already exists: it's called Jordan, and it is located in that part of Eastern Palestine that was originally to have been part of the Jewish National Home.

12. Creation of a second Palestinian-Arab state will obviate Israel's ability to defend herself in time of war. In fact, weakening Israel by creating the second Palestinian Arab state may precipitate another war against Israel.

If ever it was true that one picture is worth a thousand words, then surely the map of Israel speaks volumes. Any map showing the distance between Judea, Samaria and Gaza (“Yesha”) border, on the one hand, and major Israeli cities, on the other hand, is testimony to Israel’s special security problems. An exmaple may be seen in the map posted by IRIS. (IRIS, or Information Regarding Israel’s Seurity is “an independent organization dedicated to informing the public about the security needs of the State of Israel, especially vis-a-vis the current peace process”.) The map shows, for example, that Tel Aviv, Israel’s major urban center, is merely 18 km (11 Miles, for our US brethren) from the border of Yesha, while Netanya, the site of so many homicide bombings, is merely 15 km (9 miles). Haifa, a major port is 35 km (21 miles) and Jerusalem, the capital, is on the border itself.

I am no military expert and I cannot provide an original, detail analysis of the implications of these non-distances, beyond what common sense would indicate, but people like General Wheeler, formerly of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Benjamin Netanyahu, who served as an IDF officer, are fully qualified to enlighten us. This article, therefore, relies heavily on their testimony.

First, let us review what Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, U.S. Army, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1964–1970, advised the US Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara concerning Israel’s security. The document is dated 29 June, 1967, and was declassified in 1984; it is available on the JINSA site (JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs is a “non-profit, non-partisan educational organization committed to explaining the need for a prudent national security policy for the United States, addressing the security requirements of both the United States and the State of Israel, and strengthening the strategic cooperation relationship between these two great democracies”).

1. Reference is made to your memorandum, dated 19 June 1967, subject as above, which requested the reviews of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, without regard to political factors, on the minimum territory, in addition to that held 4 June 1967, Israel might be justified in retaining in order to permit a more effective defense against possible conventional Arab attack and terrorist raids.

2. From a strictly military point of view, Israel would require the retention of some captured territory in order to provide militarily defensible borders. Determination of territory to be retained should be based on accepted tactical principles such as control of commanding terrain, use of natural obstacles, elimination of enemy-held salients, and provisions of defense in-depth for important facilities and installations. More detailed discussions of the key border areas mentioned in the reference are contained in the Appendix hereto. In summary, the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding these areas are as follows.

a. The Jordanian West Bank. Control of the prominent high ground running north-south through the middle of West Jordan generally east of the main north-south highway along the axis Jenin-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem and the southeast to a junction with the Dead Sea at the Wadi el Daraja would provide Israel with a militarily defensible border. The envisioned defensive line would run just east of Jerusalem; however, provision could be made for internationalization of the city without significant detriment to Israel's defensive posture.

b. Syrian Territory Contiguous to Israel. Israel is particularly sensitive to the prevalence of terrorist raids and border incidents in this area. The presently occupied territory, the high ground running north-south on a line with Qnaitra about 15 miles inside the Syrian border, would give Israel control of the terrain which Syria has used effectively in harassing the border area.

c. The Jerusalem Latrun Area. See subparagraph 2a above.

d. The Gaza Strip. By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage.

[Here and subsequently, bold font is added.]

When these requirements are drawn on a map, they take up practically all of Yesha.

Behind these consideration stands one basic tenet of Israeli security, as elucidated in an article posted by the Canada-Israel Committee:
Israel cannot afford to lose [even] one war to surrounding Arab/Moslem states that vastly outnumber Israelis in population, territory and quantitative weaponry. Even Israel's traditional qualitative military advantage is shrinking as Arab states acquire advanced military systems, including long range ballistic missiles capable of delivering non-conventional weapons.
With this in mind, let us now examine Benjamin Netanyahu’s analysis, as given in his book,

Netanyahu, Benjamin. Durable Peace. New York: Warner Books, 2000.

In the following paragraphs, the page number will be noted, as in BN 200, meaning, Benjamin Netanyahu’s book, p. 200.

Netanyahu’s analysis begins with the thesis that (BN 283)

Israel’s ability to deter aggression depends on three central factors: its military strength, relative to that of the Arabs; the warning time it has to mobilize its forces; and the minimum space that its army requires to deploy in the face of potential threats.
With regard to military strength, Israel simply cannot compete with the size of the Arab armies and their equipment. Worse still, for economic reasons Israel can only keep a small army on standby, depending on mobilization of reserves if attacked. Recall that the six million Israelis stand against 284 million Arabs (in 21 arab countries plus Yesha - 2000 data, according to the UN Arab Human Development Report, 2002).

Being dependent on reserves, Israel requires adequate warning time in order for Israel to survive; this is deemed to be a minimum of 48-72 hours. Also, the flight time from Arab air bases to Israel is so short, that without adequate warning time, the Israeli air force could be wiped out before it takes to the air.

At present, Israel has surveillance stations high on the mountains of Yesha, but without these early warning stations, Israel’s security is compromised. If Israel vacates these stations, she loses a key defence factor. Worse still, if these heights fall into hostile hands, a foreign power could conduct surveillance on Israel’s coastal plain, where most of the Israeli population is concentrated. Airborne surveillance is no substitute for ground-based early warning stations, because airborne surveillance is vulnerable to bad weather conditions and to enemy fire.

The third component in Israel’s security system is adequate space in which to deploy hardware and troops, or strategic depth. If Israel loses the depth she enjoys in Yesha, the narrow strip left for deployment is sure to come under disruptive enemy fire, obviating the planned deployment.

Yesha’s mountain range also ensures that an enemy attacking from the East (Iraq, for example) will have to scale this mountain range and travel for some time before reaching the Israeli population centers. Without this assurance, Israel is just too vulnerable.

In the age of missiles, Israeli control of Yesha is particularly significant, opines Netanyahu (BN 302). If Israel can be hit with missiles, short range or long range, then deployment in the narrow strip of the pre-1967 borders is all the more vulnerable to enemy fire, and the Israeli army’s ability to respond could be jeopardised even before Israel calls up her reserves. If Yesha’s mountain range is controlled by the Palestinian Arabs, then a missile barrage could well be initiated from these heights.

The idea of a demilitarized Palestinian-Arab state, which ostensibly would obviate the last danger mentioned, is unworkable. Who will prevent smuggling dismantled rockets into such a state, if Israel doesn’t control the borders? And who will enforce a creeping militarization? Prior to the 1967 War, the “international community” failed even to enforce Israel’s right to navigation in the international waters of the Straits of Tiran. The current situation with regard to Iraq’s treatment of the UN inspectors is yet further proof of the impotence of the “international community”. Should Israel retaliates for militarization by invading the new state, then one is assured of the UN invoking Chapter VII sanctions. With the Arab and Palestinian-Arab record of breaching agreements (recall, for example, Iraq with regard to the inspectors and the Palestinian Arabs with regard to the arms ship, Karine A), relying on their commitments is worse than building on a sand dune.

Another consideration raised by Netanyahu (BN 307) concerns the economic burden resulting from the new borders to be patrolled by the IDF, should a second Palestinian-Arab state come to pass. Because of the convoluted shape of Yesha, the border lines would be more than “3.5 times the length of the present straight border along the Jordan River”. It is doubtful that the fence could reduce this burden substantially.

In his book, Netanyahu also quotes from a 1988 petition by one hundred retired US generals and admirals to the US administration, in which they said (BN 298):

[Without the territories, a] dwarfed Israel would then be an irresistible target for Arab adventurism and terrorism, and ultimately for an all-out military assault which could end Israel's existence ....

If Israel were to relinquish the West Bank... it would have virtually no warning of attack... Virtually all the population would be subject to artillery bombardment. The Sharon Plain north of Tel Aviv could be riven by an armored salient within hours. The quick mobilization of its civilian army... would be disrupted easily and perhaps irreversibly.
Netanyahu proceeds to quote Lieutenant-General Thomas Kelly, who had served as the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War and who visited Israel in 1991:
It is impossible to defend Jerusalem unless you hold that high ground... [I] look onto the West Bank and say to myself, "If I'm chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, I cannot defend this land without that terrain."... I don't know about politics, but if you want me to defend this country, and you want me to defend Jerusalem, I’ve got to hold that ground”.
This statement is in line with a Jerusalem Post article by Bernard Smith, dated 7 April 1998, and entitled The buried memo . The author quotes Thomas Kelly as saying,
[T]he West Bank mountains, and especially their approaches, are the critical terrain. If an enemy secures these passes, Jerusalem and all of Israel becomes uncovered. Without the West Bank, Israel is only eight miles wide at its narrowest point. That makes it indefensible.
In his book, Netanyahu also refers to the water issue, yet another aspect pertaining to the question of a second Palestinian-Arab state; this principal issue will, however, be dealt with in a separate article.

When he was prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu presented his views in an unequivocal speech to the UN General Assembly (24 Sept 1998), as the folowing excerpt indicates:
I envision a permanent settlement based on a clear principle:

For such a peace to succeed, the Palestinians should have all the powers to govern their lives and none of the powers to threaten our lives.

They will have control of all aspects of their society, such as law, religion and education; industry, commerce and agriculture; tourism, health and welfare.

They can prosper and flourish.

What they cannot do is endanger our existence.

We have the right to ensure that the Palestinian entity does not become the base for hostile forces.

The territories we cede must not become a terrorist haven nor a base for foreign forces.

Nor can we accept the mortal threat of weapons such as anti aircraft missiles on the hills above our cities and airfields.

This is the great challenge of the permanent status negotiations:

To achieve a durable peace that will strike a balance between Palestinian self-rule and Israel's security. I repeat: This balance can only be achieved, not by unilateral declarations but by negotiations and negotiations alone.
Earlier this year, Netanyahu repeated his objection to a second Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha, citing security considerations. An AP piece that ran in the Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2002, and was entitled Netanyahu: Palestinian state would be terrorist state, informs as follows:

Netanyahu said if the Palestinians achieve independence, Israel will be unable to prevent them from bringing in arms, even if they sign an agreement prohibiting this.

He said the problem was highlighted by Israel's recent seizure of a ship with contraband weapons which Israel says were destined for the Palestinians.

"With its own independent port, such a state would receive shiploads of arms, day and night, and we would find ourselves facing a terrorist state, armed to the teeth," he told Israel Radio.

The only way to stop the current Palestinian attacks on Israelis is to bring down the PA and its leader, Netanyahu said. Expelling Arafat "would make clear to any future Palestinian leadership that if you resort to terrorism, your fate will be like that of the Taliban and Arafat," he said.
To review more of Netanyahu’s pronouncements on the topic, see interview dated May 15, 1998 (when Netanyahu acted as prime minister) with Elizabeth Farnsworth of PBS.

Four years ago, while Sharon acted as Israeli foreign minister, he declared in Paris (15 January, 1999), according to a document posted at the official site of the Israeli Government:

The concept I used to describe the future Palestinian entity is limited sovereignty. This entity, which will be more than what they have today but less than a full state, can only be reached through negotiations and an agreement with Israel, and never by a unilateral act or declaration.

This entity will be limited in terms of types and amounts of weapons it will be allowed to possess; Israel will maintain control of the borders and ports of entry and epartures; military agreements and defense treaties that threaten Israel will not be allowed; free flying zones for Israeli aircraft over that entity will have to be maintained as well as other specific measures - all of which are intended to limit and curb the danger and threats such an entity may pose in the future for the State of Israel. Even if relations are
normalized in the future Israel will have to monitor the development of such an entity and ensure that its security interests in the long-run are not hampered or compromised in any way.
In other words, Sharon too held the view that a sovereign Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha would pose a security threat to Israel.

But why do we in the West have to worry about Israel’s defence needs? The answer comes, inter alia, in a 1999 document entitled Palestinian State: Implications for Security & American Policy . Endoresed by JINSA, and focussing on the intrinsic self-interest of the the West, the document sates:
The United States should oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian State owing to:

• The ability of the PA to provide safe haven to terrorists, as has already been demonstrated;
• The ability of the PA to import offensive weapons through an independent seaport and airport. Offensive weapons could make Israel’s international airport vulnerable to missile attack and could endanger the U.S. Sixth Fleet when it is anchored in Haifa;
• The ability of the PA to join with countries such as Iraq and Iran in military alliances which could include the acceptance of Iraqi or Iranian troops west of the Jordan River. Such agreements – and such troop movements – would have major implications for US policy regarding Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia;
• The fundamentally undemocratic, anti-Western thrust of Palestinian policies thus far and the likelihood that a newly independent state will continue those policies; and
• The threat posed by such a state to America’s democratic ally, Israel, and to other friendly states in the region.
The ability of a sovereign Palestinian state to serve as an anti-Western terrorist haven has also been emphasized in a Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) News Release, dated May 3, 2002. The ZOA document warns that a Palestinian-Arab state,
* Undermine the fight against terrorism by giving the Palestinian Arab terrorists a reward for their violence.

* Boost Bin Laden's allies --Osama Bin Laden's terrorists are closely allied with the terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Fatah, who are attacking Israel and who would control a future Palestinian Arab state.
In the cynical world in which we live, this is a pivotal point. In September 1938, in Munich, Britain and France threw Czechoslovakia to the Nazi wolves and paid a hefty price for this madness. Let no one think that by installing a second Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha to Israel detriment, the only victim will be Israel. In fact, any of the Western democracies might be hit from Palestine-based terrorists, of the very same variety that has already claimed the WTC, the US Navy ship Cole, and the French tanker Limburg. Further elaboration is deferred to a separate, forthcoming article in this series.

The final word goes to Major General Dayan (Moshe Dayan’s nephew) who said in a 1999 interview with Ha’aretz correspondent:
[Question:] The necessity to be strong is very deeply ingrained in you.

[Gen. Dayan] Let me tell you a story. I have the sad honor of having two fathers, Zurik [Dayan] and [his brother, future IDF Chief of Staff] Moshe [Dayan]. Zurik was killed when I was exactly 100 days old, so I didn’t know him. He was killed at Ramat Yochanan at the start of the War of Independence, in a battle with the Druze. The deputy commander of the Druze forces in the battle was a guy named Ismail Kablan. A few days after my father fell, his brother Moshe made an alliance with the Druze, an alliance which eventually brought them into the Border Police. That very same Ismail Kablan was among the founders of the Border Police, and his son Jihad was one of our officers in Abraham’s tomb in Hebron when I was commander of Central Command. That gave me the feeling of victory. Not victory over someone else, but a feeling of joint victory, of victory over the reality of bloodshed. For me the lesson was that if you are sufficiently strong and you know what is essential, you can find a formula like Moshe Dayan found, one that preserves your interests but allows you to be generous at the same time.
The battle in which Zurik Dayan was slain was the only battle in which the Druze took up arms against Israel, and the battle ended with the defeat of the Druze forces. This episode represents the Middle East reality that Israel faces: if she is strong and if she prevails, alliances and peace are possible; if she is weakend, the predators will circle for the kill, and if she loses even one war, she will be annihilated. In view of the security considerations which were spelled out above, I fear that those who preach a "two state solution" may well be bringing upon Israel a Final Solution.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland