Report to Congress on Israel's Requirements for Defensible Borders in a Rapidly Changing Middle East

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Dore Gold - Jerusalem Center President Amb. Dore Gold, IDF Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel appeared at a briefing for the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington on Tuesday, April 5, at the request of Committee Chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. In his presentation, Amb. Gold emphasized: Israel is confronting a new diplomatic assault that could well strip it of the territorial defenses in the West Bank that have provided for its security for over forty years, leaving it in a very precarious position against threats that are likely to emerge to its east in the years ahead. Traditional U.S. policy recognized that Israel is not expected to withdraw from all the territories it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. This was enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 242 and in repeated letters of assurance by U.S. secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to Warren Christopher. These new demands of Israel are being proposed at a time when the entire Middle East is engulfed in flames. Just as Israel faces complete strategic uncertainty with regard to the future of the Middle East, it is being asked to acquiesce to unprecedented concessions that could put its very future at risk. How can Israel be expected to sign agreements, predicated on it withdrawing from strategic territories, like the Jordan Valley, when it cannot be certain if the governments it negotiated with will even be there in the future? The present wave of anti-regime rebellions is loosening control of the central governments over large parts of several Arab states. This has created a vacuum in many areas, which is being filled by regional terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The biggest question is the future orientation of Iraq, where the Iranians have been supporting a number of key Shiite parties. Iraq is roughly 210 miles from the Jordan River. Israel cannot rule out Iraq, under Iranian influence, re-engaging in the Arab-Israel conflict. The pressures Israel faces at this time to agree to a full withdrawal from the West Bank and to acquiesce to the loss of defensible borders pose unacceptable risks for the Jewish state. They also stand in contradiction to international commitments that were given to Israel in the past. The 1993 Oslo Agreements envisioned a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with borders to be decided by the parties themselves and not imposed by international coalitions or by unilateral acts.

2011-04-06 00:00:00

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