For Israel, Size Does Matter

A small truncated Israel will invite aggression – by terrorists, armed forces, and those in possession of nuclear weapons.

Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens
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Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens

Where are the negotiations carried out under the auspices of John Kerry going to take us? Their declared purpose is to bring about a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians – Fatah, Hamas, and an assorted group of Jihadists. Any realistic observer of the Middle East well knows that this is mission impossible at this time.

However one thing is for sure: If the negotiators reach an agreement it is going to make the area under Israeli control smaller, much smaller. It will return Israel to the lines that existed before Israel was attacked in the Six-Day War on June 4, 1967. In 1969 Israel’s foreign minister Abba Eban referring to these lines said: “The June map is for us the equivalent of insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz.” Tzipi Livni, sent to negotiate our future by Benjamin Netanyahu, obviously does not share Eban’s strategic vision.

She may have bought the nonsense that territory is unimportant in the age of missiles. Just the opposite is true. Territory is more important than before. For the small short-range missiles, which are hard to detect and destroy, bringing them closer to our population centers spells disaster. And for the large long-range missiles with large warheads, reducing the size of the target area is a mistake.

Small is precarious. Small is dangerous. Small creates the impression of weakness. Small can be bombed, invaded, and destroyed. Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. secretary of defense once said: “If we know anything it is that weakness is a provocation.” A small truncated Israel will project weakness and provoke aggression – by terrorists, by armed forces, and by those in possession of nuclear weapons. No security arrangements or demilitarization are going to be of any use in the long run.

A good example of the strategic implications of a reduction in size is the transfer of the Sinai to Egypt as part of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in 1979, which reduced the area under Israeli control by two thirds. Although in this case there was reason to believe that this concession would bring a long-lasting peace with Egypt, a belief somewhat shaken by recent events in Cairo, the full strategic implications of this drastic reduction in area under Israeli control only became apparent with the appearance of the danger of possession of nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel’s enemies in recent years. Without the Sinai, Israel has been turned into a point-target in case of a nuclear attack - a provocation.

Now Tzipi Livni, under Netanyahu’s direction, would like to finish the job – chop another 6,000 square kilometers from areas under Israeli control. She would turn Judea and Samaria over to parties uncertain and unpredictable, bring the rockets closer to Tel Aviv. It is a sure-fire recipe for aggression against Israel in the years to come.

How to explain this mad rush toward disaster? It is the obsession that has seized Livni, but not only her, that a binational state must be avoided at all cost. That not one more Arab should be added to the list of Arab citizens in Israel. That she has been charged with the mission of protecting the “Jewish Democratic State.” That unless 6,000 square kilometers be chopped off and tens of thousands of Israelis be uprooted from their homes, “Israel will cease being a Jewish State or else cease being a democracy.”

Claptrap. Better dead than a binational state, she must be thinking.

Israel is a binational state today with both Jewish and Arab citizens. Our challenge is integrating Israel’s Arab citizens into Israeli society. Including additional areas of the Land of Israel in the State of Israel’s borders does not present insurmountable challenges to Israel’s democracy. Reducing the size of Israel will endanger Israel’s future.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard celebrating after launching a missile in 2012. Any peace agreement will make Israel a smaller target.Credit: AP

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