Like his supporters, US Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently been asleep
for the past 20 years.
Kerry has proffered us security arrangements,
which he claims will protect Israel from aggression for the long haul. They will
do this, he argues, despite the fact that his plan denies the Jewish state
physically defensible borders in the framework of a peace deal with the
There are several serious problems with Kerry’s arrangements. But in
the context of Kerry’s repeated claims that his commitment to Israel’s security
is unqualified, their most glaring flaws are rooted in their disregard for all
the lessons we have learned over the past two decades.
arrangements rest on three assumptions. First, they assume that the main threats
Israel will face in an era of “peace” with the Palestinians will emanate from
east of the Jordan River. The main two scenarios that have been raised are the
threat of terrorists and advanced weaponry being smuggled across the border; and
a land invasion or other type of major aggression against Israel, perpetrated by
Iraqis moving across Jordan.
It is to fend off these threats, Kerry
argues, that he would agree to a temporary deployment of Israeli forces in the
Jordan Valley even after Israel expels all or most of the 650,000 Israeli
civilians who live in Judea, Samaria and eastern, northern and southern
We will consider the strategic wisdom of his plans for
defending Israel from threats east of the Jordan River presently. But first we
need to ask whether a threat from across the border would really be the only
significant threat that Israel would face after surrendering Judea, Samaria and
much of Jerusalem to the PLO.
The answer to this question is obvious to
every Israeli who has been awake for the past 20 years, since Israel started
down the “land for peace” road with the PLO. The greatest threat Israel
will face in an era of “peace” with the Palestinians will not come from east of
the Jordan. It will come from west of the Jordan – from the Jew-free Palestinian
The Palestinians don’t give us peace for land. They give us war
for land. Whether they support the PLO, Hamas or anything in between, the
Palestinians have used every centimeter of land that Israel has given them as
launching bases for terrorist and political attacks against Israel.
is no peace camp in Palestinian society. There are only terrorist organizations
that compete for power and turf. And to the extent there are moderates in
Palestinian society, they are empowered when Israel is in control, and weakened
when Israel transfers power to the PLO. Back in halcyon 1990s, Israeli
supporters of “land for peace” told us, “It’s better to be smart than
By this they meant that for peace, we should be willing to give
up our historical homeland, and even our eternal capital, despite the fact that
they are ours by legal and historic right. That peace, they promised, would
protect us, neutralize the threat of terrorism and make the entire Arab world
Over the past 20 years, we learned that all these wise men were
fools. Even as the likes of Tom Friedman and Jeremy Ben Ami continue to tell us
that the choice is between ideology – that is, Jewish rights and honor – and
peace, today we know that they are full of it.
Our most peaceful periods
have been those in which we have been fully deployed in Judea and Samaria. The
more fully we deploy, the more we exercise our legal and national rights to
sovereign power in those areas, the safer and more peaceful Israeli and
Palestinian societies alike have been.
The only way to be smart, we have
learned, is by being right. The only way to secure peace is by insisting that
our rights be respected. We won’t get peace for land. We will get war – not from
the Iraqis or anyone else to our east, but from the Palestinians. And since the
Palestinians are the people Kerry is intending to empower with his peace plan
and his security arrangements, both his peace plan and his security arrangements
are deeply dangerous and hostile.
As for the threat from east of the
Jordan, here too, Kerry’s security arrangements are absurd. Kerry and his
supporters claim that by enabling Israel to maintain a limited force along
border with Jordan for a period of 5-15 years, he will build, in the words of
Jeffrey Goldberg, his biggest fan, “an impregnable security system.”
this is ridiculous. When Israel withdrew from the international border between
Gaza and Egypt, it wrongly assumed two things – first, that the regime of Hosni
Mubarak would always be in power, and second, that Mubarak’s regime would secure
In the event, Mubarak, Israel’s peace partner, did not secure
the border. According to then Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, in the three
months after Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005, the Palestinians smuggled
more weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt than they had in the previous 38
years, when Israel controlled the border.
And of course Mubarak did not
remain in power. He was replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood.
While it is
true that for now, the Egyptian military has wrested control over the country
from the Muslim Brotherhood, and is reportedly cooperating with Israel in the
Sinai, there is no reason to assume that the present conditions will
Kerry’s security arrangements along the Jordan Valley are
predicated on two similarly dim-witted notions. First, that the Hashemite regime
will remain in power forever. And second, that the Hashemites will want to
protect the border forever.
Given the instability of the Arab world as a
whole and the fact that the overwhelming majority of Jordanians are
Palestinians, the most likely scenario is that the Hashemites will be overthrown
at some point in the eminently foreseeable future.
Moreover, even if King
Abdullah II manages to remain in power, his children are half Palestinian. So
even if the Hashemites remain in power, there is no reason to believe that their
commitment to peace with Israel will be maintained over time. This is doubly
true given the rise of jihadist forces aligned with Iran and al-Qaida battling
for power in Syria and Iraq.
The third foundation of Kerry’s security
arrangements is that Israel can trust America’s security guarantees.
position of course was completely discredited by the nuclear deal that Kerry and
President Barack Obama have concluded with Iran, which paves the way for the
genocidal Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapons.
After the Iran
deal, only the most reckless and irresponsible Israeli leaders could take
American security guarantees at face value.
Israelis frustrate the
land-for-peace processors from Washington because we have actually been awake
for the past 20 years. And we refuse forget what we know.
Land for peace
was killed by Palestinian terrorists.
Jordan is not forever.
US security guarantees are about as useful as a three dollar