Defensible Borders for Israel

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) - Dore Gold The quest for defensible borders has been an axiom of Israeli governments since 1967 on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242. Defensible borders for Israel has been a bipartisan hallmark of U.S. policy since the Reagan administration. In Rabin's last Knesset address he made clear that Israel "will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines." He insisted on a map including a united Jerusalem, the settlement blocs, and the Jordan Valley. In 2003, Israeli planners will have to operate under the assumption that the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure will be incomplete, and should a Palestinian state nonetheless be established, its complete demilitarization will not be reliable. During the Oslo years, the Palestinian leadership was in material breach of the military clauses of the Interim Agreement, seeking to import illegal weaponry like SA-7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and manufacturing Qassam rockets. Many of the same security figures who breached Oslo now serve the government of Mahmud Abbas. Moreover, fundamentalist groups like Hamas that mentioned the Islamic term hudna, for cease-fire, understood that it means a truce that is maintained until the balance of power changes. This means they will seek rearmament; Israeli military intelligence, in fact, reported in early July that Hamas had accelerated production of Qassam rockets. In their pronouncements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have even used a weaker term: ta'liq - a temporary cessation of hostilities. In the wake of the decline of the threat from Iraq, Israel will require defensible borders to meet the growing lethality of the Palestinian threat, backed by the assistance of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The roadmap is silent on Israel's right to defensible borders, though it mentions the Saudi plan with its call for full withdrawal. The Bush administration should provide Israel with assurances concerning defensible borders as it seeks Israel's acquiescence to the creation of a Palestinian state.

2003-07-08 00:00:00

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