Palestine's Bid for UN Membership Is Dangerous and Wrong

(Slate) Katy Waldman interviews Dore Gold - My objection to the Palestinian position is chiefly over the issue of borders and security. On this point, Israel has vital needs which have been expressed by the main authors of its national security doctrine, such as Rabin, Sharon, and Dayan, since 1967. Therefore, my concern is how to protect those vital Israeli interests in any future negotiation. The fathers of Israel's security doctrine always viewed the Jordan Valley as the front line of Israel's defense. When Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza, it learned again the importance of controlling the outer perimeter of the territory where it is waging a counterinsurgency campaign. For example, when Israel left the Philadelphi Route, which was the outer perimeter of Gaza, the entire area was penetrated by massive arms smuggling, including Grad rockets from Iran. This gave Hamas the ability to strike deep into southern Israel, which previously it did not have. By analogy, should Israel abandon the Jordan Valley, it is very likely that major Jihadi organizations, from southern Syria down to Yemen, would seek to smuggle weaponry into the West Bank, putting Israeli civilian aviation over Ben-Gurion Airport and most of Israel's large cities at risk. The Palestinian Authority's bid for UN membership is part of a unilateralist course that it decided upon a few years ago. Rather than pursuing a negotiated peace, which would require the Palestinian leadership to make certain concessions, just like Israel, Mahmoud Abbas decided to lean on the international community to obtain statehood, without having to agree, for example, to demilitarization....The point is that any move of the Palestinians towards statehood has to be negotiated with Israel. Borders are another issue. Israel is entitled to "secure and recognized boundaries," according to UN Security Council Resolution 242. It is not required to withdraw to the pre-1967 line, which was never an international border, but only an armistice line, where the armies stopped in Israel's 1948 War of Independence. The settlements are a red herring. The amount of territory they sit on is miniscule - only 1.9% of the West Bank. If you're talking about 1.9%, and then somebody adds a few houses, you're not undercutting the negotiations; you're just addressing the needs of the people. Meanwhile, the Palestinians want to build a whole new city, called Rawabi, near Ramallah. Why not? They have needs; let them do it! Is that called a settlement? Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2012-01-06 00:00:00

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