Israel Needs an Indefinite Security Presence in the Jordan Valley

(Ha'aretz) Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni - The proposed American security arrangements are based on a variety of technological means as well as international peacekeeping forces on the eastern or Jordanian side of the Jordan River, together with the Israel Defense Forces in a narrow strip along the western side for a predetermined period. The technological solutions that were formulated so that Israel would have the right to veto from afar the entry and departure of persons through the Rafah border checkpoint between Gaza and Egypt, with the help of European inspectors, collapsed even before they began. In a relatively short while, the European inspectors fled for their lives. From the security standpoint, Israel's withdrawal from most of the West Bank would entail its relinquishing of strategic capabilities involving deterrence and detection and would seriously impair its ability to collect military intelligence and to effectively deal with the terrorist infrastructures that would develop in the area under Palestinian control. At a time when the Middle East is undergoing enormous changes, it makes abundant sense to exercise the upmost caution regarding security arrangements. The second reason for such caution is the fact that, with regard to thwarting terror attacks, immense importance must be attached to territorial depth. In order to prevent the deterioration of the security in the West Bank, and to enable the Palestinian government to exercise a reasonable measure of control, weapons and terrorists must be prevented from entering the area. The IDF and the Royal Jordanian Army already have a very satisfactory level of cooperation to prevent infiltrations and weapons smuggling from Jordan to the West Bank. Jordan's commitment to its present security arrangement with Israel would diminish if the IDF were not to have a presence in the Jordan Valley. The duration of Israeli control of the Jordan Valley cannot be determined in advance. The stability of the Palestinian regime in the West Bank, the effectiveness of Palestinian efforts to fight terrorism and prevent arms smuggling, the level of collaboration with Israel, the stability of the Jordanian regime, the development of threats from the east with particular emphasis on Syria and Iraq, the relations between the PA and Hamas and the connection with Iran are all criteria which must form the basis on which the duration of Israel's control of the Jordan Valley must be determined. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni is a former head of Central Command of the Israel Defense Forces.

2014-01-06 00:00:00

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