By Eli E. Hertz
The conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis is not the only adversary
While indeed peace with the Palestinians is a core issue for both Israel and the Arab states, the scope of the conflict cannot be artificially minimized by ignoring that the Arab world as a whole continues to view Israel as a foreign irritant, an artificial, illegitimate and ultimately transitory entity which by hook or by crook, must ultimately be destroyed or disappear.
One must keep in mind that
Political upheaval in Arab lands will continue to threaten
Objectively, how vulnerable is
Israel's pre-1967 borders - the borders Secretary Rice and the Palestinians want Israel to pull back to (in the 'first phase') - lacked rhyme or reason and reflect the deployment of Israeli and Arab forces when the 1948 armistice agreement for a cease-fire was signed.
At one of the narrowest points in central Israel, the entire width of the state from the Mediterranean coastal town of Netanya to the Green Line is a mere nine miles - just about three times the length of John F. Kennedy Airport's runway (14,570 feet or 4,441 meters). If
In an interview with the German news paper Der Spiegel in November 1969, the late Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, a lifelong dove, described Israel's pre-Six-Day War borders as "Auschwitz' lines" that threaten Israel's survivability. IDF Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror puts Eban's 'Auschwitz' metaphor in operational terms in regard to the
In a 2005 analysis of what 'defensible borders for a lasting peace' entail, Amidror explained that even from a technical standpoint, the Green Line lacks minimum 'defensive depth' - an overarching principle of military doctrine for all armies: There is insufficient battle space for a defensive force to redeploy after being attacked; there is no room for reserves to enter or counterattack; and there is no minimal distance between the battle front and the strategic interior necessary for any army to function.
American military experts have recognized the importance of shoring up
The need for territorial depth has not decreased over time. U.S. Lt. General (ret.) Tom Kelly, who served as Chief of Operations during the 1991 Gulf War, said in the wake of the Gulf War:
"I cannot defend this land (
This sentiment was echoed in the assessment of the late U.S. Admiral James Wilson "Bud" Nance, who told Congress in 1991 that there was:
"... no logical reason for
The prospects of a new Arab state, a Palestinian state, on
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was even more candid, remarking in a talk with Pentagon employees in August 2002:
"If you have a country that's a sliver and you can see three sides of it from a high hotel building, you've got to be careful what you give away and to whom you give it."
Eli E. Hertz
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