Israel's Security Needs
March 22, 2011
Contrary to opinions expressed on this website far from being toxic the retention of the settlements and much of Judea and Samaria is vital to Israel’s long term security. Hysterically defaming and libelling the vast majority of the nearly half a million law-abiding Jewish inhabitants of Judea and Samaria by referring to the questionable and sometimes illegal activities of a tiny minority does not override these concerns. The nasty labelling of the settlements as toxic seems to justify the continuing terrorist activity against Israeli citizens of Judea and Samaria and deserves unqualified condemnation. Argue if you will the merits or legality of the settlements but do not use the language of our enemies to defame us, unless, that is, you number yourself among them.
It ill befits someone living in the relative comforts of the UK to pontificate to us living on the front line what our priorities should be. Asking us to overlook those security concerns when the party to whom we are being asked to entrust our future wellbeing has evidenced absolutely no acceptance even of our right to exist as a Jewish State is tantamount to asking us to commit suicide; which we are not prepared to do.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has set out cogent reasons why for the sake of security Israel must retain Judea and Samaria which I summarise as follows:
1. It is commonly misunderstood just how vulnerable Israel actually is. Some 70 per cent of its population and 80 per cent of its industrial capacity are concentrated in the narrow coastal strip between the Mediterranean Sea and Judea and Samaria. The adjacent hills topographically dominate the relatively flat and exposed coastal plain, providing a distinct advantage to an attacker for observation, fire, and defence from an Israeli ground response.
2. If Judea and Samaria were to fall into hostile hands, the resulting situation would pose a constant threat to Israel’s national infrastructure, including Ben-Gurion International Airport, the Trans-Israel Highway toll road, Israel’s National Water Carrier, and its high-voltage electric power lines.
3. By its presence along the eastern perimeter of the West Bank in the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert, Israel has been able to prevent weapons smuggling and the infiltration of hostile forces. Indeed, one of the most important preconditions of a successful counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism strategy is isolating the area of conflict in order to cut off any reinforcement of hostile forces with manpower and material.
4. The entire Jordan Rift Valley constitutes a natural physical barrier against attack that averages between 3,000 to 4,600 feet. There are only five east-west passes through which an attacking army can move, each of which can be defended with relative ease. For this reason, the Jordan Valley has been viewed as the front line for Israel’s defence in an extremely uncertain Middle East.
5. The advent of ballistic missiles and rockets has increased the importance of terrain and strategic depth for Israel, since its small standing army may have to fight for longer periods of time without reinforcements from the reserve forces, whose timely arrival may be delayed or prevented by rocket fire. Israel’s standing army may also have to operate for a considerable period of time without major assistance from the air force, which may be busy destroying the air defence systems of enemy states and suppressing ballistic missile launches aimed at Israeli cities
6. The distance between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is approximately 40 nautical miles. A combat aircraft can fly across the country in less than four minutes, and a plane could penetrate the country via the Jordan Valley and reach Jerusalem in less than two minutes.
7. In the past, prior to a planned Iraqi mission to carry out an aerial attack on Israel’s nuclear research compound in Dimona, Jordan permitted Iraqi combat planes to use its airspace and to fly on a route parallel to the Israeli border in order to take aerial photographs of Israeli territory. Thus, despite the current relative calm, Israel cannot entrust its security to the goodwill of the Jordanians or the Palestinians.
8. Israel suffers from a major topographical security disadvantage because all of its international civil aviation could be exposed to possible attack from hostile Palestinian elements using shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, fired from the West Bank mountain ridge, at planes during take-off or landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
9. A Palestinian entity located on the central mountain ridge enjoys a topographical advantage compared to largely coastal Israel. A small Palestinian transmitter station on Mount Eival, near Nablus, for example, could jam virtually the entire communication system in Israeli areas broadcasting on the same frequencies.
Therefore far from being toxic the settlements provide security in depth for Israel as a whole and furthermore as I previously pointed out we have a lawful right to be here.