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Fundamentally Freund: John Kerry’s frequent failure program
By MICHAEL FREUND
16/12/2013
Of all the dumb and dangerous designs to emerge from the depths of the US State Department, Kerry’s latest scheme is one of the more dreadful duds in recent memory.
 
Torrential rains and heavy snow were not the only forms of precipitation to strike the Jewish state last week, leaving the country gripped with fear and trepidation. Adding insult to injury, US Secretary of State John Kerry decided to pay yet another visit to the region, this time to hurl a wad of New England spit upon one of Israel’s most basic and essential security needs.

According to various press reports, Kerry put forward a proposal under which Israel would forgo sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and instead maintain a security presence in the area for 10 to 15 years, one that would ostensibly be bolstered by various technological gizmos designed to enhance border defense.

Of all the dumb and dangerous designs to emerge from the depths of the US State Department, Kerry’s latest scheme is one of the more dreadful duds in recent memory.

To begin with, take a quick glance at a map and you will see that the Jordan Valley effectively serves as Israel’s buffer to the east, a line of defense against any potential threat emanating from over the horizon.

Anything less than full Israeli sovereignty and complete military control over the area would expose the rest of the country and place it at the mercy of potentially hostile forces or terrorist groups.

The absence of a robust IDF presence in the Jordan Valley would virtually guarantee an unending wave of arms-smuggling and infiltration into Israel’s heartland, transforming Tel Aviv and the coastal plain into a tempting and easy target.

Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend how Kerry was able to present his plan to Israel regarding border security with a straight face, given the fact that the US itself has been unable to safeguard its own southern border with Mexico.

DOES KERRY really expect Israel to bet its future and existence by relying on surveillance technology? As anyone who once owned shares of Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry, knows all too well, today’s hi-tech quickly becomes tomorrow’s low-tech.

Gadgets might make fine Christmas gifts, but they are no answer to a country’s security needs.

Look at Israel’s experience with the Philadelphi Corridor between the southern end of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. After the IDF pulled out of the area in 2005, the corridor became a virtual free-for-all, with Hamas building dozens of tunnels that were used to smuggle men and munitions with impunity.

There is simply no substitute for a full and hardy Israeli military presence on the ground, one that is capable of patrolling the Jordan Valley freely, unencumbered and unrestricted.

Yitzhak Rabin understood this well. Addressing the Knesset on October 5, 1995, just one month before his assassination, Rabin went out of his way to emphasize the importance of the Jordan Valley to Israel’s security.

“The security border of the State of Israel,” he said, “will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.”

Last month, at a meeting of the Israeli cabinet on November 3, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a similar statement, declaring that Israel must retain its “security border” in the Jordan Valley in any final agreement with the Palestinians.

And according to various media reports, even the Jordanian leadership wants the area to remain under Israeli control, as King Abdullah II is said to fear an influx of Palestinian Arabs into his kingdom, which already has a large Palestinian majority.

Some observers have suggested that perhaps international forces stationed in the Jordan Valley could provide a solution, but this too is a non-starter.

History has shown that when the going gets tough, multinational forces in the Middle East often go soft, failing to perform even the most minimal of functions, such as UNIFIL in Lebanon which has neither disarmed Hezbollah nor prevented it from attacking the Jewish state.

Simply put, Israel must be able to protect itself, by itself and for itself. No ifs, ands or buts.

Moreover, the Jordan Valley is home to more than 10,000 pioneering Israelis who live in over 20 Jewish communities spread throughout the area. They cannot and must not be uprooted or expelled from their homes. After all, any “peace” which requires the eviction of Jews from their homes is neither just nor sustainable.

The Jordan Valley is part of our ancestral homeland, and no human power has the right to try and take it away. Fortunately, it appears that the Palestinians swiftly and completely rejected Kerry’s proposal, since they refuse to countenance the presence of a single Jew in territory they wish to control.

Hence, for the ninth time since becoming Secretary of State 10 months ago, John Kerry visited Israel and was forced to leave empty-handed.

With a track record like that, his Sky Miles account is coming to resemble a Frequent Failure Program, one with no perks or rewards, but plenty of turbulence. As Syria continues to implode, US relations with Russia grow sour, an Afghan security pact remains unsigned, and nuclear North Korea descends still further into irrationality, it seems about time that Mr. Kerry turn his attention elsewhere and stopped trying to twist Israel’s arm or compel it to capitulate.

We know quite well how to handle our own security, thank you very much, and can do without your imprudent and irresponsible proposals.

So please, Secretary Kerry, do the world and especially Israel a favor. Take your flights of fantasy, and failure, somewhere else.
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