Time for Israel to Define Its Borders

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The boundaries they will declare for their state are temporary not because they are willing to concede territory in negotiation, but for the very opposite reason: because they want all the territory. They want their state to consist of Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Israel – the whole of the country that is now Israel. Israel will be dissolved in the State of Palestine. It will be abolished. That is what the Arabs have always wanted and continue to want – the abolition of the State of Israel.

It is glaringly obvious that what Israel needs to do is define and declare its own bordersnow. But surprisingly is seems that the Israeli government is not thinking of making that vital move. If the news out of Israel is to be believed, they don’t seem to be considering the implications of the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, and so cannot grasp the fact that with it everything changes.

They are allowing the Palestinian Authority to dangle them on a string. But why would Israel allow itself to be kept dangling while the Palestinians decide where their state will be and, therefore, where Israel will be – especially since Israel knows perfectly well that the ultimate intention of the Arab side is to wipe it off the map?  Why are Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government waiting, as though in shocked disbelief or denial, for the PA to act?  Do they not believe that the State of Palestine will be declared? Do they think it will not happen because the US will veto it in the Security Council? True, the Obama administration would have a hard time from Congress and American public opinion if it did not oppose the unilateral declaration, but its veto cannot be relied on. Only under heavy pressure from both parties in Congress was it reluctantly used against the recent Security Council resolution condemning Jewish settlements as illegal.

This is the moment for the Israelis finally to decide for themselves on their own frontiers, having earned that right with victory in three defensive wars. They should declare them to be permanent. Nothing within them would be negotiable. Israel would offer all those within its borders residency or citizenship, but it would not be required to let in any citizens of a foreign state. There could be no question of a “right of return” for Palestinians. This is the time, now, before the Palestinians declare their state – and even if they do not – for Israel to draw the line: this far and no further. This is where we are; whom we let in is our business; how we protect ourselves is in our hands, not our enemies’.

There could be no more talk then of “occupation” and so none of a “right of resistance”. The territories brought within Israeli sovereignty would be part of Israel. Any insurrection from people within the state would be dealt with according to Israeli law.

If there are Jewish settlements left out of the declared borders of Israel, the residents can decide whether they want to stay where they are and live in Palestine (a risky choice, and one that the Palestinians may not allow them), or move to Israel. Equally, Arab citizens of Israel should be free to stay or move.

Once Israel has defined and declared its borders, and asserted control over them, its security will be in its own hands and no longer held hostage in negotiations. Any future dispute over borders with neighboring states will need to be settled the way border disputes between states are always settled: by diplomacy or war. The issue will no longer be concerned with population majorities, no longer clouded by perceptions that superior force used against irregular militants is illegal. It will be state against state. If Israel is attacked, its defense will be legitimate and seen to be legitimate.

Meanwhile the Palestinians can get on with the business of building institutions for their state without being able to claim that the presence of Jews in settlements interferes with its viability. The institutions of statehood put in place by the Palestinians will determine the viability of the Palestinian state, not the presence of Jewish settlements. The talk of wobbly frontiers round disconnected cantons, the cry of  “Bantustan” and  “ghetto”, the complaint over “viability”, raised as a pretext not to accept borders, will have to come to a stop.

It may be that the Palestinians will find good governance and economic success sufficient to dull the desire to undo the Naqba (their “disaster” of 1948, when Israel came into existence). Until then, let the Palestinians have their state, and, if they choose, continued war with Israel; but they will have to bring the war to Israel’s borders. It will no longer be plausible to call it a war of “liberation” – and that might mean that it will pall as a pet cause for international humanitarians. In any case, the likelihood of a Palestinian state making war alone on Israel is not high. That Iran might join it is another story.


Jillian Becker is the former Director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Terrorism and author of “The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” St. Martin’s Press, New York.

C. Gee is a lawyer who has made a special study of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


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  • Fred Dawes

    what is happening in Israel is the way to left wing has taken over the government and if the jews do not stand up and tell its government what to do its all over with, just like the USA And it is all over with here right now in San Diego whites( read Americans white eurpeans do not have dual citiznship like all hispanics ) are down to only 48 percent of the population which will be by 2040 60 percent with as much as 30 percent of chinese which will run this part of the FORMER USA. within 75 years if not stopped whites will disappear from the USA. ITS CALLED SLOW Holocaust.

  • Henach

    "There could be no more talk then of 'occupation' " ? Wrong. The slanders against Israel are based on political considerations, economic dreams, and from Europe an age-old many-centuries war against the Jews.
    When Israel was about to leave the Gaza Strip, remove 9000 Jewish residents forcefully from their homes and communities there, and remove IDF forces from there, it was said that this would bring about international support for Israel. In fact, it demonstrated weakness on the part of Israel, and brought about the opposite.

  • Albert Bello

    To define the borders may be easy if the PA recognizes 1) Israel as the State for the Jews, 2) Palestinian State to be demilitarized, 3) No refugees right of return to the Israel proper. Unfortunately, Palestinian leaders seem not to agree to the above, neither today nor in the future. Therefore, Palestinian territories might remain occupied for a long time. Jillian Baker fully aware that Israel have had declared: Borders to be defined after all conditions accepted. Otherwise, agreement is just another temporary ceasefire with the enemy. Isn’t what Palestinians are seeking: To remain enemies ?

  • Aryerushalayim

    The Land of Israel is from the Jordan to the Sea, from Eilat to the Golan. Non-citizen arabs to be transferred east, north and southwest. Citizen arabs are given qualified citizenship which includes civil and religious rights but not political rights.
    The use of the word Palestine, West Bank, in any form to describe current people, places and events is inaccurate and a propaganda tool for those who hate Israel.

  • GoodEnemy

    You can definitely copy, repost, or email mine to anyone including lobbying senators, state representatives and any other public officials who shape our country’s foreign policies.

    The main Zionist claim is that they have a supreme right to some of Palestinian territory because they lived there thousands of years ago. Let’s examine the core and real nature of this claim.
    Firstly, this claim is mistaken and selfish in its core concept because Zionists fail to recognize that history is a continuum and that there were other people living in majority in Palestine before the Jews and also after the Jews. Zionists simply cut history at a convenient point for them and claim ancestral ties to the land as of that convenient point.

    Secondly, whatever the claim, it is beyond absurd to try to shape modern world based on thousands of years old maps. Imagine if the rest of the world would be reshaped by who was on the land thousands of years ago. It would cause horrific wars, countless refugees, and unimaginable human suffering, exactly what is happening in Palestine.

    Thirdly and most disturbing, Zionist goal was to establish a Jewish state wherever possible. Palestine may have been a preference, but Palestine was not the only location that Zionists planned as their state in modern times. Another location was Argentina where Jews have been migrating for hundreds of years for the purpose of establishing a state. Also, locations in Europe were on the list and that’s why the Catholic Church was killing/expelling Jews since Roman times (read the history of the Holly Inquisition). Whatever the location, Zionist plan was to simply occupy the people living on the land even if that would mean imposing a regime worst than Nazi Germany’s from which they escaped. And Zionists would just use a different ideological coloring than the one used in Palestine in the attempt to rationalize the occupation.

    In conclusion, the main claim on which the Zionist regime is built in Palestine is erroneous, selfish, and a lie. I am categorically against generalizing, and recognize that many Jews are against the crimes the Zionist regime is committing and that many Jews are leading the global resistance to it. They should be proud

  • GreySky

    If it is ever reached, the current and any other artificial “peace agreement” will be illegitimate before it is ever signed because (1) all people living in Palestine regardless of religion, race, origin, etc. (hereinafter “All People of Palestine”) were never given a choice on how they want their land to be governed, and (2) all contracts signed under duress are null and void.
    The biggest problem in Palestine is that the Zionist regime never offered a choice to All People of Palestine on how they want to govern their land because the Zionist regime cannot exist as a democratic entity. If there was ever any democratic process in Palestine, Zionists would have been outvoted and the Zionist regime would have never existed. That is why the Zionist regime is the occupier because it does not offer choice (i.e. democracy), but instead imposes its regime (i.e. occupies). Imagine if Russians would simply occupy a town in the U.S. where they are in significant numbers and attempt to create a Russian state there without giving the rest of the Americans living there a choice. Imagine then if they would try to institute a “peace agreement” that would attempt to legitimize their occupation. The “peace agreement” would logically and legally be illegitimate because the Americans were not given a choice.

    Under all countries’ laws, any contract is null and void if it is signed under duress. The current Palestine “peace agreement” process reminds me of The Godfather movie where the mafia boss (i.e. the Zionist regime) made a guy “an offer he could not refuse” by placing a gun (i.e. Zionist conventional and nuclear arsenal) to his head and making him sign the contract. Like the mafia boss’ offer, any “peace agreement” other than the choice for All People of Palestine is a crime, and the contract is legally null and void.

    The bottom line is that All People of Palestine never wanted to divide their land into artificial two states the way the occupation and this “peace agreement” attempt to divide it. From the beginning of the Zionist regime to its unavoidable end, All People of Palestine and the region never wanted the Zionist regime and they do not want it even more after all the atrocities the Zionist regime committed. I just cannot believe how the Zionist regime can be so ignorant to think that this or any other “peace agreement” that does not allow people to choose how they want to be governed will last and ensure its people’s survival. The Zionist regime fails to realize that no matter if it succeeds in muscling this “peace agreement” by unspeakable historic coercion tens of millions of moral people around the world will oppose it until it is corrected, and until justice and free choice prevail. Also, ever increasing number of Jewish people are realizing that Zionism is becoming a destructive force for them and are leading the global resistance to it

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.harper.520562 Jack Harper

    I always thought t was illegal to conduct business with a state that has no defined borders.