New Efforts To Explain Israel’s Vital Security Interests
New Efforts To Explain Israel’s Vital Security Interests
by Sarah Ann Haves
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have
ended. The Palestinians blame Israel for not continuing the settlement
moratorium. The Israelis blame the Palestinians for refusing to recognize
Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Despite U.S. pressure and demanding timetables, 2010
negotiations at the level of indirect proximity talks leading to direct talks, has
gained little ground and accomplished almost nothing in moving the peace
process forward. Instead, what has
been emphasized, to an already skeptical global community, are the wide gaps
that remain between Israel and the Palestinians.
THE FEAR OF UNILATERAL MOVES
The current threat, posed by the Palestinians, is the
possibility of a unilateral declaration of statehood, which would be
internationally recognized through a UN Security Council resolution. Adding to
that is the threat of another UN resolution that would declare Jewish
settlements illegal in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). This declaration
might also extend to Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem. Any such UN
resolution would make it impossible for Israel to continue building for natural
growth in order to meet the demands of its expanding population.
While Israeli citizens are willing to accept a nation state of the Palestinian people, sitting on its borders, the Palestinians are not willing to reciprocate.
Israel has initiated a diplomatic campaign, through
governmental and non-governmental channels, to educate the international
community regarding its vital security needs and the importance of it retaining
defensible borders. In this diplomatic
campaign is an explanation as to why declaration of Palestinian statehood,
without an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, would be a foolish undertaking.
NO MORE CONCESSIONS
Israel cannot provide further concessions to the
Palestinians that would threaten the security interests of the Jewish State,
and Jerusalem government leaders have now decided to emphasize this point in public
According to Middle East analyst, Dan Dyker, who recently
spoke to journalists in a conference call hosted by The Israel Project, Israel
has moved from concession based diplomacy to a security based diplomacy model.
“Israel wants to be very clear about where it is going and
what it needs,” Dyker stated. In his estimation, anything done by the
Palestinians, unilaterally, will destabilize the Middle East, threaten U.S.
interests in the region, and create a diplomatic war. He believes that there must
be a bilateral agreement and not unilateral actions.
ISRAEL’S JEWISH IDENTITY
While Israeli citizens are willing to accept a nation state
of the Palestinian people, sitting on its borders, the Palestinians are not
willing to reciprocate. This has been a major point of contention in the peace
A critical component of Israel’s security is Palestinian acceptance
of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. “Israel insists on this recognition today, because it
reflects on the self definition of the Jewish people. It is a nation state that
reflects on the destiny and the history of the Jewish people…There is no
country in the world today that faces an assault on its national legitimacy,”
Today, the Palestinian narrative, spread globally, undermines
Israel’s ability to defend itself. Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, look to
de-legitimize Israel on a daily basis. Dyker said there needs to be a culture
of peace where there is reciprocity, mutual respect and recognition. For
example, Israeli citizens are concerned that the Palestinian Authority still
educates its people in armed resistance, threatening the survival of the Jewish
Ideologically, there’s been little change in Palestinian education
circles. Palestinian television programs still encourage young children to
think about eventually taking over Israel’s major cities. The Palestinian
narrative does not encourage a future end to the conflict. According to Dyker,
Israel cannot race to finalize borders in a peace agreement if Jewish citizens
are going to live next to a population that has indoctrinated its children to
SECRET NEGOTIATIONS REPORTED
Secret diplomatic talks, involving the highest level of U.S.
and Israeli leaders, may be undermining Israel’s public relations efforts. Reports
indicate that the two countries could be hiding what may already be major
concessions on Israel’s part, because of U.S. assurances on paper. The question
remains as to whether Netanyahu is currently conceding land for peace, and
dividing Jerusalem, because of U.S. pressure, and without the general public
knowing about it.
Without referring to these reports, Dyker expressed his
disapproval of hidden agendas. “Let’s not fool ourselves in thinking we can
negotiate away in secret.”
The Oslo Accords, which were finalized in 1993, were partially
negotiated in secret between Israel and the Palestinians. After seven years,
the Accords failed to produce lasting peace. Dyker doesn’t want to see another
failure in any future peace agreement.
ISRAEL’S INDEPENDENT NEED FOR DEFENSE AND CONTROL
In this new public relations campaign, Israel is emphasizing what it needs in order to retain national security at the highest level, including defensible borders.
One of the sticking points in peace negotiations has been
Israel’s insistence in having its own military presence in certain areas.
Referring to the suggestion that Israel accept international forces in the West
Bank, or anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, Dyker
said this would not work. “Israel has never asked any foreign country to defend
it,” he said.
He gave the example of how UN forces in Lebanon have been
unable to control arms flowing from Iran to Syria to Hezbollah. This is occurring
despite UN Security Resolution 1701, initiated after the Second Lebanon War in
2006. There are now more than
50,000 new rockets in Hezbollah’s possession, while UN troops live in fear of
repercussions if they try to stop the flow of weapons to Hezbollah terrorists.
Speaking about the ineffectiveness of UN forces in Lebanon,
Dyker acknowledged, “They don‘t have the political will to turn down forces
like Hezbollah. They have to check in with Lebanon before they take action, and
they want to stay neutral. There are many caveats that restrict what they can
In this new public relations campaign, Israel is emphasizing
what it needs in order to retain national security at the highest level,
including defensible borders. One of the factors is the necessity for Israeli unified
control of Palestinian air space.
Dyker mentioned that it takes four minutes for a plane to
fly from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. “Any enemy aircraft has to be knocked down 9 miles from any
major city,” Dyker said. He referred to Israel’s small land space, narrow
width, lack of strategic depth, and topological disadvantages. This creates a situation where Islamic
extremists with short-range rockets and advanced weapons could stand on a
Palestinian hillside and shoot down on Ben Gurion Airport.
Israel needs control over Israeli and Palestinian airspace
in order to defend all citizens from an intruding enemy plane. “It would have
to be knocked down in an area that wouldn’t hurt citizens in populated areas,”
Dyker explained. He added that the Jordan Valley creates a wall to the east. If
there is instability in Jordan because of an American pullout from Iraq, or
because of an intrusion into the Jordan Valley by a nation at odds with Israel,
this area becomes vulnerable, especially to terrorist infiltration. “If they
could get to the hilltops, they could easily fire on any Israeli city.”
As Israeli leaders contemplate how to explain Israel’s
policies in a clear and concise way to the global public, the Palestinians continue
emphasizing what they believe is the current impasse in the peace process. Recently,
Palestinian leaders said they will not be able to return to the peace table
with the current Israeli government in power. They blame Netanyahu for the
impasse, and are looking to the U.S. to initiate a new peace plan, while they
also pursue UN recognition of a Palestinian state. Furthermore, they have
dismissed talk of temporary solutions or the establishment of a Palestinian
state with provisional borders.
In conclusion, while the rhetoric on both sides continues,
it remains to be seen whether Israel’s present public diplomacy initiative will
work to bring greater understanding and sympathy towards the Jewish State’s
essential security requirements, especially in the face of future Palestinian
“Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that
strive with me: fight against them
that fight against me.” Psalm 35:1
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting from Israel on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues affecting the nation.
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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.