Dear Mr. Prime Minister and Ministers,
As you prepare to discuss the proposed law on the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, we, members of Commanders for Israel’s Security, wish to alert you to the risks to Israel’s security posed by the intended reckless abuse of the broad national consensus around Ma’ale Adumim. The proposed legislation would endanger our future sovereignty there and Israel’s future sovereignty over the other settlement blocs, and will undermine other national security interests of the State of Israel.
Commanders for Israel’s Security firmly believes that the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem as well as the large settlement blocs adjacent to the security fence – including Ma’ale Adumim – must become part of the State of Israel in any future agreement.
However, the unilateral annexation of Ma’ale Adumim endangers this vision. It threatens to set in motion local, regional and international developments that could imperil vital Israeli interests including our above-mentioned common aspiration that the settlement blocs become part of Israel in any future agreement.
In light of similar past decisions that were made without a comprehensive assessment of possible consequences, and given your personal responsibility for the outcome of the decision and for the manner in which it is made, we urge you to insist on a full review of the position of the National Security Council, the security establishment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government Legal Advisor regarding the risks entailed in the proposed legislation, including:
- The reaction of the Palestinian ‘street’ in Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem, and the possibility of an outbreak of violence.
- The possibility that Hamas will take advantage of the decision to divert popular protest against its failures by launching a new round of violence.
- The reaction of the Palestinian security agencies and the risk that they might terminate security coordination with the IDF.
- A possible loss of control on the part of the Palestinian Authority and the consequent need for Israel to manage the affairs of 2.5 million Palestinians in areas A and B; the associated cost of such an eventuality; and the implications for IDF priorities and additional force deployment.
- Popular reactions in the Arab world and their influence on Arab governments.
- The related possibility that Egypt and Jordan might be forced to sever diplomatic relations with Israel.
- The related possibility that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states will sever the discrete security coordination with Israel.
- The potential for the creation of an Arab-European coalition (with or without the participation of the new US Administration) to promote a Security Council resolution even harsher than the one recently passed.
We caution that going forward with such legislation, without extensive deliberations on the hazards it entails, would be a dangerous gamble that could turn out to be a mistake of historic proportions.
This is not a time for adventurism. What Israel needs now are measured steps to stabilize the situation, like those recommended in the Security First plan we submitted to you and the other government ministers, and which we presented in detail to the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
The combination of military, civilian and political steps this initiative entails, steps that do not require a partner for their implementation, would enhance Israel’s security and promote stability in Judea and Samaria; set in motion a process of separation from the Palestinians; and improve our regional and international standing – all without requiring any change in the present deployment of the IDF.
We urgently call upon you to see to it that a legislation with possible damaging consequences for the Zionist vision is not enacted.
We are at your disposal for any clarification or additional information you might require.
Major General (Ret.) Amnon Reshef
Founder and Chairman of Commanders for Israel’s Security.