Friday, December 24, 2010

"Israel doesn't need the West Bank to be secure" (van Creveld)

Elder of Ziyon
23 December '10
Posted before Shabbat

This op-ed in the Forward last week of Martin van Creveld made some waves, because the writer has some serious credentials.

His thesis is that the 1967 borders are defensible. I am not a military analyst, but I will annotate where I find problems with his logic:

When everything is said and done, how important is the West Bank to Israel’s defense?

To answer the question, our best starting point is the situation before the 1967 war. At that time, the Arab armed forces surrounding Israel outnumbered the Jewish state’s army by a ratio of 3-to-1. Not only was the high ground in Judea and Samaria in Jordanian hands, but Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem was bordered on three sides by hostile territory. Arab armies even stood within 14 miles of Tel Aviv. Still, nobody back then engaged in the sort of fretting we hear today about “defensible borders,” let alone Abba Eban’s famous formulation, “Auschwitz borders.” When the time came, it took the Israel Defense Forces just six days to crush all its enemies combined.

If Jordan had tanks on the ridge, and would have attacked Israel a few hours sooner, things very well may have turned out differently. The fact is that Jordan was not terribly interested in war and that is what made the Green Line "defensible" before 1967 - Jordan's King Hussein was not the aggressor Nasser was.

In reality, the snaking Green Line is more than twice the length of the border between the West Bank and Jordan. That by itself makes the Green line less defensible.

(Read full "Israel doesn't need the West Bank to be secure")

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