Actually, 67 borders are perfectly defensible

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments

Gil Maguire blogs at IrishMoses about Netanyahu’s claim that the 1967 borders are indefensible. Excerpt:

What are the legitimate security concerns of Israel, and what would be acceptable defensible borders?  Martin van Creveld, Israel’s preeminent military historian and theorist, recently analyzed this issue in the Jewish Daily Forward on December 15,
2010 in an article entitled: “Israel Doesn’t Need the West Bank to be Secure”.  He concluded that an invasion of Israel from Jordan through the West Bank would be suicidal for the attacker,

…since the West Bank itself is surrounded by Israel on three sides, anybody who tries to enter it from the east is sticking his head into a noose. To make things worse for a prospective
invader, the ascent from the Jordan Valley into the heights of Judea and Samaria is topographically one of the most difficult on earth. Just four roads lead from east to west, all of which are easily blocked by air strikes or by means of precision-guided missiles. To put the icing on the cake, Israeli forces stationed in Jerusalem could quickly cut off the only road connecting the southern portion of the West Bank with its northern section in the event of an armed conflict.

As his article demonstrates, Mr. van Creveld is not in any sense a hand wringing liberal Israeli with unrealistic views of Israel’s security concerns.

He approves of Israel’s security wall as well as the extreme violence of its invasions of both Lebanon and Gaza as effective means of deterrence.  Nonetheless, van Creveld views the Israeli settlement movement as the major threat to Israel’s security and feels Israel needs to withdraw totally from the West Bank as it is fast becoming an apartheid state.  His conclusion is both powerful and persuasive:

… it is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank. Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social,
cultural and political challenge that ruling over 2.5 million — nobody knows exactly how many — occupied Palestinians in the West Bank poses. Should Israeli rule over them continue, then the country will definitely turn into what it is already fast becoming: namely, an apartheid state that can only maintain its
control by means of repressive secret police actions.

To save itself from such a fate, Israel should rid itself of the West Bank, most of Arab Jerusalem specifically included.

Van Creveld’s views are not unique.  In a January 24 article from the
Jerusalem Post entitled “Encountering Peace: What does Netanyahu want?” Gershon Baskin, head of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, concludes the
following:

ALL THE security experts I have spoken with, including several US generals and senior NATO officers, have said there are real military and security answers that would effectively guarantee security along the Jordan River. The Palestinian leadership, including President Mahmoud Abbas, has said in public and in
private, that they are willing to find a way to meet all security demands, including direct IDF involvement in patrols and monitoring missions that would be established based on Israeli security standards.

… In other words, most security experts, including a significant number of current and former IDF officers, Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officials, believe that the security risks from peace – including a withdrawal from the West Bank based on the June 4, 1967 border with agreed-on territorial swaps in the order of around 3%-4% – pose no real strategic or security threat that cannot be answered.

On the other hand, failure to reach peace raises some real unanswerable existential threats that not only empower extremists locally and regionally, but also put an end to the
two-state solution, which is a death blow to the Zionist enterprise.

In early April, a group of former Israeli defense chiefs and heads of Israeli intelligence agencies including Mossad and Shin Bet, as well as former Israeli political leaders, created the Israeli Peace Initiative based on the 2002 Arab Initiative which calls for Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders except for minor land swaps.  It is difficult to imagine that such a distinguished group of Israeli defense and intelligence officials would make such a recommendation if it would put Israel at risk by creating indefensible
borders.

36 Responses

  1. David Samel
    May 25, 2011, 9:59 am

    Good point, Gil. I would only add the obvious, that Israel had these borders in 1967, and when they were attacked by Jordan, after Israel already had started the war against Egypt and Syria, the borders proved to be very defensible. Israel’s military advantage over the past 44 years has only grown exponentially, and made the borders infinitely more defensible.

    Also, look at the contrast between what Netanyahu demands for his state, and what he demands for the state of Palestine he claims to accept. Palestine must be absolutely incapable of defending itself from Israeli attack. I guess Israeli attacks are inherently blessed with the imprimatur of the Almighty.

    I’m sure that when members of Congress recognize the inconsistency and unfairness in Netanyahu’s positions vis-a-vis the two states, they will issue a statement expressing regret over their standing o’s. Any day now.

    • Shmuel
      May 25, 2011, 10:32 am

      Palestine must be absolutely incapable of defending itself from Israeli attack.

      David,

      You know that Palestinians have no legitimate security concerns and no need for self-defense, because they face no external threats other than eminently reasonable, peace-loving Israel that has never done them any harm (that they didn’t soundly deserve). Besides, if the West Bank has no access to the Mediterranean, how can anyone possibly throw them into the sea?

    • irishmoses
      May 25, 2011, 7:46 pm

      David,

      Israel attacked into the West Bank in 1967 and defeated the Jordanians there. Israel has no claim for self defense in 1967 agains Egypt, Jordan or Syria.

      Gil Maguire

  2. GuiltyFeat
    May 25, 2011, 10:00 am

    Great post, thanks.

    Van Creveld does qualify his statement about the West Bank. Everything he says about Israel managing perfectly well without it is dependent on it being demilitarized.

    Is that something the Palestinian leadership including Hamas can live with?

    • libra
      May 25, 2011, 10:51 am

      GF: “Van Creveld does qualify his statement about the West Bank. Everything he says about Israel managing perfectly well without it is dependent on it being demilitarised.”

      You are being disingenuous (at best), about what Van Creveld actually says (the last sentence is the key one):

      “Therefore, just as Israel does not need the West Bank to defend itself against ballistic missiles, it does not need that territory to defend itself against conventional warfare. If it could retain a security presence in the Jordan Valley, keep the eventual Palestinian state demilitarized and maintain control of the relevant airspace, that would all be well and good. However, none of these conditions existed before 1967; in view of geography and the balance of forces, none is really essential today either.”

      You really should concern yourself with Van Creveld’s last two paragraphs if you want to live in “the Jewish State”:

      “Keeping all these facts in mind — and provided that Israel maintains its military strength and builds a wall to stop suicide bombers — it is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank. Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social, cultural and political challenge that ruling over 2.5 million — nobody knows exactly how many — occupied Palestinians in the West Bank poses. Should Israeli rule over them continue, then the country will definitely turn into what it is already fast becoming: namely, an apartheid state that can only maintain its control by means of repressive secret police actions.

      To save itself from such a fate, Israel should rid itself of the West Bank, most of Arab Jerusalem specifically included. If possible, it should do so by agreement with the Palestinian Authority; if not, then it should proceed unilaterally, as the — in my view, very successful — withdrawal from Gaza suggests. Or else I would strongly advise my children and grandson to seek some other, less purblind and less stiff-necked, country to live in.”

    • Chaos4700
      May 25, 2011, 10:53 am

      Because what? Because Zionists had to demilitarize before Israel was recognized? Remind me again, which side is committing mass murder with military-grade weapons?

  3. Avi
    May 25, 2011, 10:16 am

    I’m sorry, Gil, but this doesn’t make much sense. When the Israeli government advances the claim — however false — that the 1967 borders are not defensible, it is referring to the Green Line, meaning that the Israeli coastal plains would be under threat from the higher mountain ridges of the West Bank. And in that context, the Jordan Valley has no relevance.

    Moreover, Van-what’s-his-name brings up the Jordan Valley as though a future Palestinian state in the West Bank would either have no control of the Valley, or, Israel would have a carte blanche to invade any time it wishes. In addition, the assumption seems to be that a future Palestinian state would be de-militarized. Otherwise, why does he mention an invasion from Jordan? While he’s hypothesizing, why not consider an invasion from the West Bank itself?

    • irishmoses
      May 25, 2011, 7:12 pm

      van Creval’s point is that an attack on Israel from the Jordan valley is militarily suicidal as it is all uphill, confined to 4 roads and puts the attackers into a perfect three sided ambush. Jordan attempted that approach in 67 and received a bloody nose which convinced it to stay totally out of the 73 fray.

  4. Richard Witty
    May 25, 2011, 10:24 am

    For decisions, the question should not be an up/down, is the 67 borders defensible, but a relative question, which borders are most defensible?

    The settlement maze borders are far less defensible than the 67 borders, with multiple exposed peninsulas with far less than 9 miles of depth.

    Both the Olmert and Abbas proposals allow for the most adjacent settlements to be included in Israel, but the extending ones to be either evacuated or integrated and within Palestinian legal jurisdiction. (My preference).

    It is the extending ones that remain exposed.

    The only border proposal that is not exposed is the rectangle from river to sea, with the implication that the Palestinians would be removed to retain a Jewish plurality. They desire to avoid the prospect of democracy with river to sea as jurisdiction with current population. (Gaza is a different question)

    Netanyahu will attempt to keep the current status of Palestinians not voting, no free movement, etc. until who knows what. He goes from one precarious setting and does damage control to the next.

    The construction of security is a combination of defensibility and relations with neighbors. Netanyahu uses defensibility either as the majority of his concerns (assuming sincerity), or as an excuse for incremental annexatin (assuming insincerity).

    In reality, security is constructed MORE by relations with neighbors than by defensibility. Good relations takes creating. It does grow on trees, but only on trees that are planted, watered, fertilized, shared.

    I think that Abbas and Fayyad are trustable, and if documents drafted are clear, then peace will be dependable, and may be adjusted to if/when things go south.

    • James North
      May 25, 2011, 10:53 am

      Richard Witty said: ‘More gobbledygook from me above, meant to hide the painful truth: Netanyahu’s speech before Congress confirms that Israel will never accept a genuine 2-state solution. My nearly 10,000 comments on Mondoweiss have all been for nothing.’

      • Chaos4700
        May 25, 2011, 10:54 am

        Do you know, I’ve take to just reading your summaries, Mr. North. I wonder how many people here appreciate the useful service you provide.

      • James North
        May 25, 2011, 11:35 am

        Thank you, Chaos. I do my summaries because on one thing Richard Witty and I are in complete agreement: he does represent a large (shrinking, but slowly) segment of pro-Israel opinion. His tortuous efforts to ignore the truth to protect his dream castle view of Israel are common, even among people who are otherwise progressive. By translating his rationalizations and evasions into plain English, I am contributing to a genuine discussion of the hard facts in Israel/Palestine.

      • eljay
        May 25, 2011, 11:09 am

        >> RW: In reality, security is constructed MORE by relations with neighbors than by defensibility.

        And just imagine the security that could be achieved if Israel were to halt its ON-GOING campaign aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder, and enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace!

        >> JN: Richard Witty said: ‘More gobbledygook from me above, meant to hide the painful truth: Netanyahu’s speech before Congress confirms that Israel will never accept a genuine 2-state solution. My nearly 10,000 comments on Mondoweiss have all been for nothing.’

        Touché.

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2011, 11:19 am

        James, never dispute the facts from Wittypedia!

      • libra
        May 25, 2011, 11:58 am

        James,

        I much appreciate your Witty translation service for both its time-saving and entertainment value. But today I had a go at parsing Richard’s above post before you had stepped in and I feel you have done him a slight disservice, for his post is effectively bookended by these two sentences.

        “The settlement maze borders are far less defensible than the 67 borders, with multiple exposed peninsulas with far less than 9 miles of depth.”

        and…

        “In reality, security is constructed MORE by relations with neighbors than by defensibility.”

        Not only was I shocked by the clear, grammatical English of both sentences, but I was surprised to find myself completely agreeing with their sentiments. Of course, what comes between these two outputs of literacy is, indeed, gobbledygook.

        As far as I can tell, Richard has got out his world atlas and is busy redrawing borders like some latter-day Imperial Viceroy. Unsurprisingly, the Witty Lines would seem to solely benefit the Israelis, with the Palestinians either having to lose land, move somewhere else to “retain Jewish plurality”, or accept settler’s who have stolen their land.

        But nevertheless, clear evidence for the theory that Richard’s syntactical problems begin and end with his Zionism.

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2011, 12:55 pm

        “But nevertheless, clear evidence for the theory that Richard’s syntactical problems begin and end with his Zionism.”

        Exactly, and thanks.

      • Richard Witty
        May 25, 2011, 3:54 pm

        I am an advocate of exactly what Obama articulated.

        You want to call the global concensus “gobbledeguck” go ahead.

        My thesis for a very long time (10 years or so), is that the 67 borders are more defensible than the maze.

        On the criteria of what would be defensible borders, the rectangle of river to sea would be, but that would entail either the apartheid relationship (voting Israelis, but non-voting West Bank – Gazans would be totally excluded) or forced removal of West Bank Palestinians.

        Some idiots think seriously about such a proposal. I don’t.

        Your misrepresentations of my views are malicious. Please stop already. You guys are smarter than that small tent, or at least you should be.

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2011, 5:47 pm

        “On the criteria of what would be defensible borders, the rectangle of river to sea would be, but that would entail either the apartheid relationship (voting Israelis, but non-voting West Bank – Gazans would be totally excluded) or forced removal of West Bank Palestinians.”

        My Wittylator reads “Make one move Zionists don’t like, and the Palestinians get it in the neck”

        But I really can’t say mine works better than Mr. North’s

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2011, 5:53 pm

        “Your misrepresentations of my views are malicious.”

        There’s no mistranslating that cry for help! Tying up an old, feeble, man, and forcing him to read Mondoweiss and write innumerable comments, and then subjecting his comments to “malicious misrepresentations”! How could you?
        Hey, are you guys making sure he gets a kosher diet, and an adequate one, too? I’m telling you, if he makes the big aliyah-oop and hands in his Teflon tefillin while you’ve got him tied up, you will be in big trouble!

      • libra
        May 25, 2011, 6:07 pm

        RW: “My thesis for a very long time (10 years or so), is that the 67 borders are more defensible than the maze.”

        Richard, let me repeat my agreement with this sentiment. And in this, we both agree with Israeli military historian Martin Van Cleveld. But I would be interested in your view on his conclusion to his article in Forward (after identifying the prospect of an Apartheid state):

        “To save itself from such a fate, Israel should rid itself of the West Bank, most of Arab Jerusalem specifically included. If possible, it should do so by agreement with the Palestinian Authority; if not, then it should proceed unilaterally, as the — in my view, very successful — withdrawal from Gaza suggests. Or else I would strongly advise my children and grandson to seek some other, less purblind and less stiff-necked, country to live in.”

        RW:” Your misrepresentations of my views are malicious.”

        Richard, if anyone is misrepresenting your views it is yourself with your repeated failure to use clear and grammatical English. This is an issue that is (literally) in your hands, and your hands alone, to solve.

        But if you are distancing yourself from the Zionist consensus (Bibi, Likud, AIPAC, Congress etc.) then that is wonderful news. But how exactly? If you thought you were showing how the borders could be equitably redrawn, then please point out where you addressed the issue of “swaps” that Obama raised. As far as I could see, you were offering nothing to the Palestinians. But please correct me if I have again “misrepresented” you.

        However, I think the global consensus is that there is little chance of a negotiated 2-state solution due to Israeli greed and intransigence. My take on Obama’s speech to AIPAC on May 22 is that, after listing all he would do to protect Israel from external threats, he was warning there was nothing he could do to save Israel from itself.

      • eljay
        May 25, 2011, 6:14 pm

        >> Your misrepresentations of my views are malicious. Please stop already.

        You’re right, there’s no need to misrepresent your views. They speak for themselves, loud and clear:
        – you approve of ethnic cleansing when “necessary” (as though such an immoral and unjust act could ever be considered necessary);
        – you argue for a supremacist “Jewish state”;
        – you hypocritically defend Israeli actions while condeming similar or lesser Palestinian actions;
        – you sneer at universal human rights, justice and accountability; and
        – you support rewarding the criminal and punishing the victim.

      • irishmoses
        May 25, 2011, 7:27 pm

        Libra,
        I actually found Richards comments to be spot on in this instance. The West Bank settlements make any Israeli claim for defensible borders ludicrous. I also like his point that having good neighbors makes for defensible borders. None of our (US) borders are defensible. If the Canadians or Mexicans want to invade us, they will always be able to find plenty of invasion routes that are totally undefended. Our borders are simply too long to be adequately defended. They don’t and won’t invade us because they are our friends, not perfect friends, but certainly not hostile or fearing invasion on our parts. Using Netanyahu’s logic, we would need to invade and seize a 20 mile strip of land along our entire northern and southern borders, and depopulate and put troops in those zones to gain secure borders.

        Our east, west and gulf coasts are likewise indefensible to some submarine based terrorist scheme. The defensible borders Netanyahu, Likkud and the Lobby want are the Jordan River, the Sinai, Golan and southern Lebanon (oops, that one didn”t work out so well).

        Gil Maguire

      • Chaos4700
        May 25, 2011, 11:13 pm

        Witty is lying through his teeth as usual. Today he’ll say he’s a staunch supporter of the 1967 borders. Tomorrow (like yesterday, and every other day) he will insist that Israel MUST be allowed to keep “a few” settlements — in other words, he will side with Netanyahu, all the while pretending like he somehow opposes what Netanyahu says (let alone represents).

      • libra
        May 26, 2011, 9:08 am

        Gil,

        Thanks for the great post. I look forward to more.

        My first comment on this post was to agree with the two points in Richard’s earlier comment that you highlight above. They are important points and your post is unusual in creating this amount of common ground.

        I think where I would differ from Richard is that he would not, unlike Martin van Cleveld, contemplate a unilateral withdrawal to the 1967 borders to preserve the “Jewish state”. Rather than take the initiative and act from strength to reach a strategic goal, he would prefer (as he has recently stated) to infer that Hamas has a veto on any settlement. Your post points out the absurdity of this. But it is a typical Zionist ploy, preferring to play being the victim of someone with a fraction of your power, rather than take responsibility for correcting your own mistakes – in this case the stealing of another people’s land and hence undermining one’s own strategic future.

        But I may be misrepresenting Richard’s position on this. It’s something I intend to continue pursuing with him so we will see.

  5. Jim Haygood
    May 25, 2011, 10:24 am

    Quotes from Netanyahu’s speech to Congress:

    ————

    ‘They [Palestinians] continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.’

    ‘Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.’

    ‘Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. It is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River.

    ————

    None of this is inconsistent with the goal of creating a Greater Israel comprising ALL of historic Palestine, by bulldozing the West Bank’s entire Arab population across the river into Jordan.

    On the other hand, by insisting that a theoretical Palestinian state in the West Bank be entirely demilitarized and surrounded by Israeli troops, Israel preserves the option of pouncing on and reoccupying it. No such state would ever be secure against a power whose expansionist proclivities are on constant display.

    Netanyahu harped on Israel’s limited geography. One bit is only nine miles wide, he said — half the width of the Washington beltway. Israel is at least larger than Delaware, larger than Rhode Island, he said — comparing it to America’s smallest states.

    All of these remarks support one conclusion: Israel wants ALL of Palestine. By stipulating unacceptable terms for peace, Netanyahu indicates that the status quo of expanding settlements will continue indefinitely, until Israel is forcibly stopped.

    That the US Congress hooted and howled their approval of his bristling rant — Netanyahu’s sequel to Khrushchev banging his shoe on the UN podium — demonstrates that like the former Soviet Union, the United States encourages reckless aggression and territorial expansion by its satellites.

    Unless the rest of the world sides with the Palestinians against the U.S./Israel axis of aggression, their best hope may be that Bin Laden’s ‘tar baby’ strategy of bankrupting the U.S. empire in the desert sands of the Middle East succeeds. There is no better way to stoke anti-Americanism across the entire awakening Muslim region than by siding with Netanyahu’s extremist, intransigent rants. Which, in turn, will only accelerate America’s descent from mere insolvency (negative net worth) to illiquidity (no cash flow).

    Israel is our misfortune.

  6. Thomson Rutherford
    May 25, 2011, 10:34 am

    Are the pre-1967 borders defensible? Regardless of the true answer, I have been reading a whole lot of articles by Israeli writers and American neocon types saying that we have just witnessed a colossal Obama booboo and a gigantic Netanyahu political coup in the matter of borders for Israel.

    A good example of this is Dana Milbank’s current opinion piece at the WaPo website, where he essentially calls Obama a bungling fool. He writes that he took a 21-year-old, politically moderate Israeli house-guest (“Inna”) with him as he covered Netanyahu’s speeches before AIPAC and the Congress:

    “What distinguishes Inna and other Israelis is their deeply pessimistic outlook. She fully understands that things could get worse in Israel without a peace deal, but she has no expectation that there will be peace in her lifetime. ‘It’s like an equation too big to be solved,’ she said. This sense of hopelessness, confirmed by the recent resignation of the American envoy to the region, George Mitchell, has hardened Inna’s generation. ‘We are very cynical and we don’t trust anybody,’ she said.

    “Unfortunately, Obama encouraged that cynicism last week, when he offered his now-infamous suggestion that ‘the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.’

    “Obama and his defenders argued that this wasn’t really a new policy, but, as The Post’s Glenn Kessler expertly documented, the statement ‘represented a major shift.’ Later, after the damage had been done, Obama qualified his statement, saying the border should be ‘different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.’

    “Inna was stunned. ‘Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, the 1967 lines? It’s crazy,’ she said. ‘It’s impossible.’ Holding her thumb and forefinger an inch apart, she added, ‘They’ll be this close to Tel Aviv.’ The phrase about ‘agreed swaps’ changed nothing.

    “To Inna’s ears, Obama had issued an existential threat to Israel, and it put her in an unfamiliar place: in lockstep with Bibi. When he told Obama in the Oval Office that the 1967 lines were ‘indefensible,’ Inna celebrated. ‘Now, he’s our guy,’ she said. ‘He’s the voice of Israel.’

    “She’s aware that Netanyahu isn’t about to strike a peace deal. After she listened on Tuesday to Netanyahu’s list of requirements for a Palestinian state — a list one Palestinian official called a ‘declaration of war’ — she knew it was a nonstarter. ‘I can’t imagine it on a map,’ she said.

    “But that was less important to Inna than Netanyahu’s firm rejection of Obama’s frightening proposal. ‘It’s a big thing to say “no” to the president of the United States,’ she said. If there were an election now, she said, ‘I would vote for Bibi.'”

    [“Go Bibi!” she had uttered as she listened to him in the Capitol.]

    Continued Milbank:
    “This is why Obama’s speech was such a blunder. By pushing an Israeli moderate such as Inna into the arms of Netanyahu, Obama has strengthened the hard-liners.”

    I don’t know how much to trust Milbank in regard to the details of this story, but from my reading I would say that the tenor of it, the line about “strengthening the hard-liners”, is typical of how Obama’s “pre-1967 borders” gambit is being played in the American and Israeli mainstream press.

    Here is the link:
    link to washingtonpost.com

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 25, 2011, 11:08 am

      On the theme that “Israeli hard-liners have been strengthened”, even
      Aluf Benn ( editor-at-large for Ha’aretz, who certainly admires Obama more than Netanyahu) joins in. Monday, he wrote this about Netanyahu’s strategy to bolster his own Likud-coalition government in Israel, by using Obama as a punching bag and Congress as a vehicle to strengthen Obama’s Republican opposition:

      “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday before the U.S. Congress will be the formative event of his term, if not his entire political career. A statement released by his bureau promises that the speech will ‘garner major international attention,’ alluding to a surprise.

      “The speech, whose purpose is to curb international pressure on Israel, gives Netanyahu a rare opportunity to reboot his leadership. Just a few months ago, he appeared to be directionless. Now, people are hanging on his every word.

      “Netanyahu has taken advantage of the opportunity to veer to the right to unify his coalition and marginalize opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima ). Instead of praising U.S. President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy statement of last Thursday, Netanyahu attacked it. The maneuver worked, at least for the meantime. Both right-wing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and left-leaning Defense Minister Ehud Barak have crowded into Netanyahu’s tent.

      “Livni spoke archaically and vaguely, not daring to give the simple, clear message: ‘Say yes to Obama.’”

      For the rest of the article, here’s the link:
      link to haaretz.com

    • Koshiro
      May 25, 2011, 11:29 am

      Just shows what sensible people have known for a long time:
      Israeli “moderates” are a myth. The mainstream of Israeli society is colonialist, expansionist and paranoid. Reason will not work. Only pressure will. Rather than bank on liberal bruhaha, Israel should simply be presented with a choice:
      What, in your opinion, reduces your “defensibility” more?
      a) Going back to the 1967 borders with equitable swaps and security guarantees?
      b) Permanently losing your annual $3 billion check and your access to Western military technology?
      Back to 1967, or no more military aid. It is very simple, and it would bring Israel compliance within a week.

    • Shingo
      May 25, 2011, 5:11 pm

       By pushing an Israeli moderate such as Inna into the arms of Netanyahu, Obama has strengthened the hard-liners.”

      Millbank is out to lunch on this one. Any pressure on Bibbi, no matter how gentle was always going to produce this outcome.

      How can “Inna”, not imagine the 1967 borders? They existed for nearly 20 years and Israel accepted them in 1967. All these issues about being indefensible are if Israel’s making.

      So what is Millbank’s recipefor a peace deal if not 1967 borders with land swaps?  A one state solution?

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2011, 5:55 pm

        “How can “Inna”, not imagine the 1967 borders?”

        A better question might be, ‘how could Dana Milbank not imagine Inna’?

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2011, 5:58 pm

        I bet “Inna” rode to Milbank’s house in the cab driven by the guy Tom Friedman gets his political analysis from.

    • irishmoses
      May 25, 2011, 7:37 pm

      The problem with Netanyahu’s approach is that is pretty much guarantees no negotiations and ensures that the Palestinians will apply for and receive overwhelming recoginition as a state within the 1967 lines in just 4 months. This will finally allow the Palestinians access to the ICJ and other UN forums for seeking sanctions against Israel without US interference. This may be the best outcome for both the Palestinians and the US as the US can then simply through up its hands and say to Israel, “We warned you”, Wish we could help but our hands are now tied.”
      Netanyahu’s blustering made for great theatre but was disastrous tactically.
      Gil Maguire

  7. Chu
    May 25, 2011, 10:44 am

    It’s a bogus argument that a nation armed to the teeth with weapons could not defend itself. So after the 3 billion dollar annual aid package, they couldn’t defend their borders? The problem is that Congress buys the whole corruption and will provide a standing ovation for these theatrics.

    Cole makes the argument as well:
    What lies behind 1967

    “You can’t launch a war and annex your neighbor’s territory because you fear that your own presents security challenges. Lots of countries are unhappy with their borders. Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait in 1990 in part because he felt that the British had erred in not giving modern Iraq a deep water port, which made Iraq ‘indefensible’ and put it at an economic disadvantage. Pakistan believes that its failure to secure the headwaters of the Indus Valley rivers in Kashmir in 1947 puts it at a permanent disadvantage vis-a-vis India and makes the country overly vulnerable (‘indefensible’). Netanyahu’s immoral argument that a country just has to take by main force whatever it feels will make it more secure is astonishing and is a standing danger to world peace if it were taken seriously by other countries.”

    • lysias
      May 25, 2011, 4:57 pm

      Hitler’s whole Lebensraum theory was based on national security considerations. Germany had been defeated in World War One by the British blockade. Therefore, Germany had to control enough of the European continent to be self-sufficient and invulnerable to blockade.

  8. piotr
    May 25, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I think that comparisons with other nations are the best answers, and the comparison that is most fitting here is Paraguay. Are the borders of Paraguay defensible? No, would Triple Aliance arise again, Paraguaians would suffer another holocaust. So what can be done about it?

    Paraguay should refrain from picking fights with Brazil and Argentina. Refraining from any meddling in Uruguaian politics seems to be a moot issue, luckily.

    There is really no other solutions, although providing Paraguay with nukes could also help. (Although, really??) Extra 100 km of the territory did not help “then” and it would not help now.

    Are borders of Congo Democratic Republic defensible? Of course they are not. What can be a solution? It is a more contemorary issue, and one can venture a flip recommendation: Congolese should avoid fighting each other. And no, nukes woild not help in the least.

    Israel could get a combination of these helpful suggestions.

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