Protecting Israeli sovereignty from the second torpedo

The good thing about crisis is that it is helpful in building consensus. This consensus is a precious commodity. Until approximately eight weeks ago, American Jews remained substantially out of touch with the inherent dangers contained in the Iran agreement. Even with the “nuclear headline” it has taken a vast amount of energy to swing communal consensus to a position where Congress has just now begun to pay heed to the growing concern of American Jewry.

As out of touch with the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran as American Jews were, they are far more out of touch with the immediate and the overwhelming security risks of Israel being forced to cede sovereign jurisdiction of the West Bank to either a benign international peace keeping force or even to Palestinian control. The push for a Palestinian state would create an immediate security exposure that would threaten Israel’s very existence. This would not be an “existential threat” but rather a conventional crisis that required Israeli “boots on the ground” in order to deal with.

What would the inherent dangers of Israel losing control of the West Bank “security envelope” mean? Essentially the existing borders that have very effectively prevented the infiltration of men and materials would similar to the Egyptian/Gaza border become massively porous. Strategic topographic vantage points that have provided for the unassailable coverage of major Israeli population centers would be lost. All of this while American commitment in the region has receded to an all-time low. Hence, in conjunction with the infliction of topographical disadvantage, the historically dominant umbrella of American intervention would have been removed simultaneously.

The degeneration of Gaza, into the world’s largest terrorist platform is instructive. What power structure on the West Bank would prevent a Hamas take-over similar to the lightning fast takeover that Hamas executed in Gaza? In fact, a high proportion of West Bankers already have a favorable opinion of Hamas.

Israeli countermeasures against assailants operating from the West Bank would need to be tailored to the hypocritical constraints of world opinion. As the reaction by the UN, the EU and the United States to the 2014 barrage of 4,005 Hamas rockets proved, the world was quicker to handcuff Israel than to pursue effective countermeasures against Israel’s unlawful aggressors. We would expect a similar international response in the event of barbaric hostilities originating from the West Bank.

The problem with Israel having to constrain its response is that any aggression launched from the West Bank will threaten vital Israeli population centers and vital infrastructure.  Israel’s tolerance for acts of lethal aggression originating from the West Bank, will therefore need to be far lower than for those which originated from Gaza in 2014. Consequentially Israel will be required to launch countermeasures that are far more comprehensive and hard hitting. In particular, the exposure of Israel’s vital transportation link to the world, Ben Gurion Airport, would come under the constant threat of shutdown. This continued interruption of service would effectively yield the net result of creating a global embargo on Israel.

The predictable response by an international community, which taking the United Kingdom as an example, where 76,000 citizens have signed a petition supporting the arrest of Prime Minister Netanyahu,  would be unquestionably to fail to factor in the magnitude of these overwhelming exposures.

Despite the ongoing regional turmoil, the President has been relentless in his intention to create a Palestinian State on the West Bank. He has made an aggressive run at it several times. He went as far last May as to “theorize” that the UN, fed up with the lack of progress between Israel and the Palestinians, might in its despair, unilaterally “end-run around” the US and attempt to pressure the US into supporting Palestinian statehood.  To date because of the threat of Israeli backlash, and the potential disruption to the implementation of the Iran agreement, the President has tactfully backed away from pressing his intention. After the Congressional position on the Iran agreement shall have been expressed on September 17th, this temporarily erected barrier of appeasement against Israeli reaction will quickly vanish.  As we have witnessed with his relentless drive on the Iran agreement and with the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the President will do what he must to get what he wants, regardless of the price. On the next round, the President will utilize more nefarious means in order to make sure that the “big check writers and billionaires” who mucked up the works on the Iran agreement do not stand in his way.

Our President, in order to have his way, will continue to skillfully play hard on our “communal raw vein of status conscious insecurity”. He will first re-package and re-brand his previously failed formulas for “peace”. He will remind us of our “absolute communal commitment since 1993 to the justice of a two state solution”.  He will next take the defective package and to the e of the UN and frothing EU business interests, drop it in front of us as a de facto event. The UN and the international community will have been positioned to “run the ball into the end-zone” from that point. The centerpiece of this UN crafted mandate will be a time-table which despite the continued flagrant expression of hostility and violence by the Palestinians, will obligate Israel to relinquish control of territory that in the present state of regional chaos, is strategically indispensable. The relaxation of Israeli sovereign control within these vital security buffers will result in the creation of a platform from which heinous acts of aggression that target Israel’s most densely populated centers and infrastructure will be committed.

Therefore we must proactively, even as we continue to pursue a veto-proof majority on the Iran agreement, begin to assert this very significant question.  Understanding the imminence of the President’s aggressive agenda, we must, so as not to squander the consensus that has been forged in opposition to the Iran agreement, begin while the consensus remains intact,  to press this question hard:  as Iran and ISIS are projecting unstoppable power across the region, does increasing Israel’s burden of security by diminishing Israel topographical strategic advantage  not conflict with the commitment by all past US Presidents since John Kennedy, of maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge ( QME).

We must bring to bear the same level of intensity that has been developed in opposition to the Iran agreement. The threat posed by the forced Israeli relaxation of West Bank sovereignty must be painted in terms no less “existential” as has the threat of a nuclear Iran has been painted.   Because this attempted coup of Israeli sovereignty will be launched through the UN, there will not be a direct Congressional lever that can be used to diffuse the action. Rather, Congress will need to be lobbied to address this UN infringement on American interests with a battery of sanctions which will be severe enough to beat the UN back.

In this regard, it is of critical importance that communal organizations understand and embrace the necessity of hitting this issue as soon as is possible.

About the Author
Andrew D. Lappin is a redeveloper of urban industrial properties. He is a former board member of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Embers Foundation, the Committe for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), and serves on The Illinois Policy Board which monitors corporate compliance with the state's anti-BDS statute. The opinions expressed are by Lappin personally and NOT the views of any of the organizations with which he is affiliated.
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