Israel: Why Land Matters, Part I

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In the years that followed the 1967 Six Day War a prevailing conventional wisdom developed among Western policy makers – especially in Washington — that simultaneously contends that a “strong and secure Israel” should have, as per UN Resolution 242, “secure and recognized boundaries” or simply “defensible borders,” yet nonetheless calls on Israel to make unilateral territorial concessions (today’s PC term is a return to the pre-’67 lines with “mutually agreed land swaps”) as part of an ultimate peace settlement with its Arab neighbors.

Strangely few perceive the inherent contradiction between the call for a “strong and secure Israel” and the call to give up the very territory that would – at minimum – comprise said strength and security.

This was the case with Egypt, for example. More than 30 years ago, Israel gave up the entire Sinai Peninsula, including its vast strategic depths and bottleneck passes as well as the Abu Rodeis oil fields, which supplied Israel more than half its energy needs and would have made Israel energy independent within a few short years more than 30 years ago. And this is also the case today with the Palestinian Arabs. As long as there are Palestinian Arabs willing to take territory from Israel even without any quid pro quo from their side, Israel is expected to unilaterally give up its most strategically critical territory.

Israel, without the administered territories, is a strategically crippled country. These areas, known historically as Judea and Samaria and labeled “the West Bank” following the Jordanian occupation of said territories in 1949, are the key to Israel’s strategic strength against any attack from the east (Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, et al.). An Israel with control of these territories is a strategic asset to the West in defense against radical Islamic expansionism no less, if not more, than during the Cold War period when Israel was the West’s reliable bulwark against Soviet expansionism in the Middle East.

Up until the late 1980s, following the outbreak of the so-called “Palestinian uprising” or “first intifada,” everyone viewed the security threat to Israel to be solely by conventional Arab armies who, to quote the late Egyptian President Nasser, wished to “drive the Jews into the sea.” In the following two decades, with the vast increase of terrorist attacks and the introduction to the missile age, it appeared that conventional war no longer threatened Israel’s existence per se. And if the threat was primarily terrorism and missiles fired from afar, territory with its high ground and strategic depth no longer seemed as important. From the standpoint of Israel’s national security, however, this is a misconception. Territory is not only still vital for national defense, it is even more so than previously.

There is a basic premise: Israel’s security can be discussed only in terms of national survival. It is necessary to understand the price Israel pays if she unilaterally gives up more of these territories and what she benefits by their retention.

Given the three potential threats of missile attacks, terrorism, and conventional warfare, Israel must retain a safety zone with the aforementioned high ground and strategic depth to deal with any potential future threats — even if political agreements are signed with its Arab neighbors. Israel cannot afford to bet its survival on signed agreements while giving up critical tangible physical strategic assets. Israel needs to maintain the ability to defend itself under any and all possible circumstances. (Given the Muslim/Arab history for not keeping agreements with non-Muslims, this is not mere whimsy.)

The key question Israeli policy makers must ask themselves: If Israel were attacked by a combination of a conventional Arab army, ballistic missiles, and terrorist bands, would a truncated border with its lack of strategic depth be sufficient for the IDF’s small standing army to successfully repel the invaders and do so with minor damage to Israel’s national infrastructure? Or to be blunt: Could Israel survive such an attack in the event of an all-out war?

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  • Rifleman

    The PA areas are clearly visible from orbit in the excellent article photo. It's always been pretty clear who the best custodians of the land are.

    I think Israel's enemies ceased serious conventional efforts to wipe out Israel after '73 because Israel's nuke stockpile became large enough to take out all their capitals, and their leadership. They've pretty much switched to stateless proxy armies since then, even though we know who their sponsors are.

  • Schlomotion

    "Judea and Samaria and labeled “the West Bank” following the Jordanian occupation of said territories in 1949, are the key to Israel’s strategic strength against any attack from the east (Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, et al.)."

    In other words, you don't believe Israel can exist without stealing this land. That's pretty simple.

    • reader

      In other words, you believe in judenreine Middle East, just like other islamonazis. But, unfortunately for you, most of Americans don't.

      • Schlomotion

        No I don't believe that. But I do believe that it is rather difficult to live as a Palestinian with a Jew standing on your head.

        • ziontruth

          No Palestinians except the Jews. Arabs are not Palestinians and have no right to any part of Palestine. They are settler-colonists and must evacuate all the land they are currently stealing from the one and only true Palestinian nation, the Jewish nation. No peace without justice!

          • Schlomotion

            This is why people rightfully accuse Zionists of being genocidal.

          • ziontruth

            Seeing as those exact sentiments, with roles reversed and names changed, are voiced by anti-Zionists of all stripes, this is why Jews rightfully see anti-Zionism as a new form of Jew-hatred.

          • Schlomotion

            Nonsense. I don't hate Jews at all. It doesn't stop me from making fun of various opinions and mannerisms that they have. Jews can't be immune from ridicule. They can't get guaranteed 100% endorsement of their land desires and political gambits.

          • moshe

            The proof is in the pudding. The moment you claim that Israel "steals land" is the moment you become a murderous antisemite on par with Hitler.

          • Schlomotion

            That's a travesty. Poor Hitler had to found that whole party on 5 Deutschmarks and invent Blitzkrieg. I have it easy.

          • moshe

            Ha-ha. So, you're an abject failure, whereas Hitler got somewhere. Is that your excuse? "Hey, I'm not a genocidal antisemite, I just WANT to murder all the Jews. I haven't actually DONE ANYTHING yet!"

          • Schlomotion

            Why is it always "murder all the Jews?" Can't I just want to the wring the necks of two or three?

          • ziontruth

            "I don't hate Jews at all."

            I don't probe hearts—there's only one Person who can do that, so I leave it to Him. I don't know what your intention is; there's a slight possibility, amazing to say, that you might actually have the best interests of the Jewish people at heart. (Then again, the moon might be made of cheese.) But that's not what matters to me.

            What matters, regardless of your intentions, is that anti-Zionism has the real-world consequence of getting Jews murdered. The anti-Zionist may not be an actual criminal, an Islamic suicide-bomber; instead, he may just be an accessory to the crime, in the form of a Far Right or Far Left ideologue who justifies the former with "context." As in: "Look, I don't condone suicide-murder, but you've got to realize how Israel, by its actions…" etc.

            So, I don't care about your reasons—being an anti-Zionist is enough for me to regard you as a de facto enemy of the Jewish nation.

            "Jews can't be immune from ridicule."

            You talk like anti-Zionists were just a bunch of people cracking Jewish jokes. They aren't, and it wouldn't matter if they were. As I said, anti-Zionism is not about ridiculing Jews but about either pushing them off their one and only land in the world by violence (which the Islamic imperialists do) or giving ideological justification for that (which useful idiot sympathizers of the Islamic imperialists in the West like you do).

            "They can't get guaranteed 100% endorsement of their land desires…"

            Who asked you for an endorsement? You're so arrogant as to think the Jewish nation needs permission from any other nation to maintain political sovereignty on and inhabit their one and only piece of land on the globe? Well, you're wrong. No more do we need permission for that, than the Greeks need to ask you if this or that town of Hellenes in any part of Hellas is legit.

            Get off that judgment seat, anti-Zionists, and go back to your proper place: The dock. Israel is not in the dock. Zionism is not in the dock. Anyone who opposes the Jewish national claim puts himself in the dock. Let that be understood.

          • intrcptr2

            Could you explain how it is exiling murderous palis from the Levant is genocidal? Especially considering the 1/6th Arab population of Israel.

          • Schlomotion

            I could, but then I'd have to shoot myself in the mouth after.

        • reader

          It's not a Jew standing on your head either, even though you think that the Jew does. You've just fell with your head down on a concret slab long time ago and have never recovered still, troll.

    • Niklas R.

      Judea and Samaria was to be part of the jewish homeland as agreed upon between Churchill and King Addullah I of Jordan.
      That the same country broke their own agreement in 1948 and invaded the newly proclaimed jewish homeland just show that you can't trust an arab futher than you can throw him.

    • ziontruth

      The Jewish nation, being the only true Palestinian nation, has a right to exclusive political sovereignty on and unlimited inhabitation of the entire Land of Israel; the Arab settler-colonist land-grabbing invader thieves falsely calling themselves "Palestinians" to dupe the world have no legitimate claim to any part of Palestine, and will have to dismantle all their illegal settlements in Palestine for there to be a just and viable peace in the region.

      Anti-Zionists, you are not judges of Israel but are judged. Keep that in mind. Israel is not under trial.

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,this I do know,the Israelis are screaming for the deaths of Americans. The Palestinians have. I side with the Israelis. They care about Americans. The Palestinians DON'T.

      • Ghostwriter

        I should have said that the Israelis AREN'T screaming for the deaths of Americans.

    • moshe

      It is not possible for Israel to "steal" what belongs to the Jews. If Israel were to ever take land beyond the nile or east of the Euphrates or north of the Black Sea, you might have a point. Otherwise, go back to your self-hater J street meetings, where you desperately spew hatred against the Jewish People in the hopes that doing so will prevent you from being shoved into the cattle car. Well, buddy, I have news for you. In reward for your efforts, you will be shoved into the gas chamber LAST.

  • Marty

    It is unlikely that the palestinians will ever come to their senses. If they do, it will mean that the term "compromise" has somehow entered their lexicon. If they go further and employ an ability to use "reason", the palestinians will grasp that the economic and technological benefits that would come to them if they actually ever pursued peace with Israel. Until or unless both of these events occur, Israel should continue to remain in control of territory that became theirs 3500 years ago, long before the arrival of murderers and sociopaths from arabia who have been squatting in Samaria and Judea since they impoverished these regions 1400 years ago. Better yet, they should return to the hellhole they left and enjoy the misery and torment that inspires them to hate and blame Israel that is so common in islamic society.

    • Asher

      The Palestinians will never come to their senses..their senses are clouded by irrational hatred….Israel keeps its land and builds its settlements and thats the way God wants it!

    • moshe

      They never left their senses. The Arab Moslem squatters are simply doing what their religion tells them to do.

  • Boston

    Land matters because there is already a Palestinian state called Jordan. The people living in Jordan speak the same Arabic as the people in the territories so they could just as easily kill each other in Jordan as they could in the territories. Also, when New York was an Native American village, Judea and Samaria were a vibrant country settled by my ancestors.

    • Schlomotion

      What I fail to understand is why you don't choose to reside in Israel.

      • Boston

        Would you believe I'm waiting for the Messiah to come ? Actaully I lived there for a year and wonder the same thing every day. I figure I'll move there when you do.

        • Schlomotion

          I would believe that. Dave Mustaine is a Messianic Jew, and he's all right with me.

      • moshe

        Maybe because he is saddled with a ridiculous amount of debt and keeps kicking himself for not making aliyah at 18.

      • ziontruth

        "What I fail to understand is why you don't choose to reside in Israel."

        What I fail to understand is why you don't choose to reside in Saudi Arabia.

        To every "Israel-firster" accusation, an "Islam-firster" rejoinder. Thanks to Dan Greenfield (of FPM staff) for this excellent idea.

  • Bert

    The Jewish establishment in both Israel and in the U.S. are always on the defensive because they are secular and self debased. They lack faith in G-d and hence fear man. If they had faith and courage they would stop lying against themselves and fearlessly declare the truth as follows:

    Mohammed was a criminal who invented a religion of imperialism, murder and conquest. Within 200 years the Arabs of Arabia had conquered and subjugated many peoples and occupied 10 million square miles. Mohammed also attacked and expelled the Jews and Christians who were in Arabia long before he was born. The Arab imperialists first invaded the land of Israel in the year 638, fully 1,600 years AFTER King David ruled a Jewish State from its capital in Jerusalem. The Koran makes NO mention of Jerusalem but actually recognizes the right of the Jews to the land that G-d gave to Israel. This is explicitly stated in the Koran, Surah 5, verses 20 and 21.

    The Arabs have NO right whatsoever to one inch of Israel and they should be evicted totally just as they evicted 850,000 Jews from Middle East countries where the Jews were there hundreds of years before the Arab invasion.
    The Arabs lie for political advantage. The Jews lie against themselves because they are cowards who fear man and ignore G-d.

    • Asher

      Very Well said….Parasites will lie, deceive and bully to push Israel out of its homeland….The Koran and its false prophet mohammed will be taken care of in due time by the Almighty!

  • H&R_ Barack

    The Arabs and/or Muslims of today control 22 nations… 99½ percent of the ENTIRE Middle East land mass while Israel occupies only a 1/2 of 1 percent speck of the region.

    But that's still too much land for the Arabs to spare.

    Israel first became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam!

    The Kingdom of David and Solomon: 1077 – 997 BC

    Kingdom of Herod- 30 BC to 70 AD

    Jewish Communities in the Land of Israel -7th-11th Centuries

    The Jewish People have one of the most legitimate Birth Certificates of any nations in the world. Every time there is an archaeological dig in Israel, it does nothing but support the fact that the Jewish People have had a presence there for well over 3,000 years.

    Islam wants it all.

  • Boston

    They don't necessarily lack faith in G_d, but they have too much in BHO. You have no idea how much of an embarrassment it is to hear my co-religonists rave about how wondferful Obama is and how much he's done for World Jewry. The first time he does something for Jews even in this country will be the first time. I always enjoy watching the beatdown that Netanyahu gives him every time he meets with the POTUS.

  • Silverio Facundo

    To schmo-motion.

    "In other words, you don't believe Israel can exist without stealing this land. That's pretty simple."

    Israel might have existed without these lands back in 1948. Right after the partition, Jews were ready and willing to do so, arabs weren't. Fast forward 65 years and too many wars later. No, Israel cannot exist without these lands. And get your facts straight. These lands were stolen FROM Israel BY the arabs, way before 1948. Israel is only now rightfuly reconquering them. Arab scum who are ready to live in peace within a Jewish-ruled Israel have always been welcome to stay, in spite of being scum. That applies even today, after having tried time and again to destroy the Jews. That shows to the likes of you the immense kindness and good-nature of the Jews, the fact that these scum still get a third, and a fourth, … and a hundreth chance. And once more: No, Israel cannot exist without these lands, which are the essence of the Jewish history, which were won fair and square from its arab occupiers and which even thru conventional wars, and proxy wars and every dirty trick known or unknown to man, arabs haven't been able to take back from the Jews. Get used to it and move on!

  • Eva Smagacz

    Is Israel planning to remove natives from Area C (60% of West Bank) only or from entire West Bank? Will they be shipped to Jordan in cattle tracks or similar?
    Is Israel planning to remove natives from Area C (60% of West Bank) and enclose them in Ghettos/Bantustans for ever?
    Is Israel planning to give natives in Gaza and West Bank a vote, or keep them forever in a separate legal system from Jewish Israelis?

    • ziontruth

      One good cross-posting deserves another. You posted this on the Part II thread, so I'm reposting my reply also:

      "Is Israel planning to remove natives…"

      The Jews are the natives. It is the Arab imperialists are planning to remove natives.

      "Will they be shipped to Jordan in cattle tracks or similar?"

      They're free to take their pick among over a score of already available Arab states. The only place their freedom ends is the Land of Israel, which belongs to the one and only true Palestinian nation—the Jewish nation. There the Arab colonists have no legitimate claims; they are land-thieves and must evacuate the lands they are stealing.

      The Sudeten-Arabs are a pretext for imperialist appropriation of Jewish lands and that pretext must be defused.

      Oh, and send my regards to Mound o’ Scheiss. Tell them Ziontruth spits on them gladly, unless they're on fire.

  • elihu

    "Make peace with your neighbors?" Heh! There's only one side in this that wants peace; and it isn't the so-called 'palestinians'!

  • ziontruth

    No peace possible with an imperialist enemy (Islamic imperialists, in this case). I'd have thought humanity would have learned that lesson from last century… natch.