So going back to the 1967 lines creates a security problem for you, John Kerry says to Benjamin Netanyahu. We can fix that. We shall send you a four-star Marine general to show you how you can retreat to the '67 lines and still be secure.
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For Kerry the '67 lines is a euphemism for the lines defined by the April 3, 1949 armistice concluded by the Israel Defense Forces with the Jordanian army, which had invaded Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria on May 15, 1948. This British commanded, equipped, and funded army had joined the Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, and Iraqi armies in their combined attempt to destroy the new-born Jewish State, each hoping to grab a piece of the territory mandated by the League of Nations to Britain for the purpose of establishing a Jewish State in Palestine. As the British armed forces left the area, they came storming in. The Jordanian army succeeded in capturing the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, blew up its synagogues and deported all its inhabitants. It conquered Judea and Samaria, destroying all Jewish settlements there, killing or deporting its Jewish inhabitants. Subsequently Jordan annexed the occupied area to Jordan.
Kerry prefers to use the term '67 lines, which helps to ignore this piece of history, and the fact that the area which he prefers to call the West Bank was actually at one point Jordanian occupied territory until Jordan violated the 1949 armistice agreement and launched an attack against Israel in June 1967 from these very lines.
The man selected to tell Israel how it can be safe after withdrawing from Judea and Samaria is Marine General John Allen, a soldier and a scholar. In meeting IDF officers he will not encounter any Israeli four-star generals. The IDF throughout the years has been modest in the ranks assigned to its senior officers. The highest rank, Rav Aluf, or three-star general, is held only by the IDF Chief-of-Staff. The other Israeli generals are either two-star or one-star generals. He will, however, meet Israeli generals who in their younger days participated in the defense of Israel against the combined onslaught of the Egyptian and Syrian armies in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. But General Allen will need no convincing by them to understand that the '67 lines are indefensible against an attack on Israel by regular armies. A look at the map of the Middle East would have convinced him. As far as that is concerned he could have saved himself the trip.
Kerry evidently prefers the assumption that Israel will not face an attack by a coalition of hostile armies in the foreseeable future. So then there is no need to be concerned about the defensibility of the '67 lines. That is a plausible assumption at the moment, but for how long is it valid in the volatile Middle East? If you nevertheless make that assumption, you only have to worry about attacks on Israel by irregular terrorist forces and individual terrorists. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaida, the whole lot of them – many trained, armed, and assisted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. They launch rockets at Israeli cities and carry out incursions into Israel. On this subject General Allen is likely to find that the Israeli military has more relevant experience than he has.
The IDF has been engaged in fighting terror for many years, and has found that the only effective defense in such cases is what the Americans call boots on the ground, namely the presence of the IDF in the area where the terrorists are active and launch their rockets – in other words, in Judea and Samaria. If he needs any evidence he can be shown the results of operation Defensive Shield launched after the massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002. General Allen will have a hard time convincing Israelis otherwise.