United States Secretary of State Kerry once again yesterday stated plainly the threat he promises faces Israel if a peace agreement is not reached with the Palestinians by the end of the current negotiations. This threat does not matter whether it is Israel or the Palestinians who refuse to make peace, either way Israel will be the target of a world-wide boycott and political isolation. The threat was covered in an article in Arutz Sheva as follows, “US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday threatened Israel that a failure in the peace talks would lead to global boycotts and delegitimization of the Jewish state.” So, the consequences of not reaching a peace agreement have been spelled out in plain language such that everybody in the Knesset and Prime Minister’s Office have a succinct and accurate appraisal of the risks involved in the negotiations failing. The difficulty with this threat situation is that there has been no reciprocal threat of consequences placed on the Palestinian side of the negotiations. This places Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians in a rather unique and enviable position regarding the negotiations. Now the Palestinians threat of a third intifada is not the only consequence of not reaching a peace and they obviously know they sit with a huge advantage in these negotiations. Now when Abbas, Erekat, Rabbo, Shtayyeh and whomever else may represent the Palestinians make demands that Israel must meet or claims of Israeli obligations as they perceive them, Israel will have to consider the consequence of refusing even the most radical of impositions as doing so could result in the Palestinians resigning and ending the negotiations resulting in Israel being condemned, embargoed, boycotted, isolated and removed from the community of nations for all intents and purposes. This consequence allows the Palestinians to make any demand with impunity as they need but simply threaten to cut off the negotiations to force Israel to consider the alternatives and the impossibility in denying meeting absolutely any Palestinian demand.
There are those who will claim that what could be so horrendous a concession that Israel might risk isolation rejecting making peace because the demand is beyond any sane consideration. Truthfully, there are a number of demands which have previously been made by the Palestinians both as actual points within negotiations and others in speeches, announcements, their media and to reporters from around the world which Israel would have to be suicidal to accept. A few examples would include the “Right of Return” for over five million Palestinian inundating Israel changing the demographics bringing Israel as the state for the Jewish People to an end, demanding sole proprietary rights to the Judean and Samarian water table claiming a major aquifer from which Israel receives water for drinking and irrigation, the ability to raise a military and hold training exercises with whomever they should desire resulting in massed armies bordering the heart of Israel, and the greatest demand that Israel surrender the entirety of what the Palestinians claim is their ancient homeland defined as stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As is plainly obvious, the Palestinians have a collection of demands they could press all of which would result in the complete and permanent destruction of Israel as it is known today yet refusing any one of these demands could result in Israel’s complete isolation makes refusal far more problematic.
But even if Secretary of State Kerry were to nullify any of such demands and protect Israel from Palestinian undue and overtly malicious demands which would knowingly result in denial of Israel being recognized as the homeland of the Jewish People, which could be done under the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as such, there are still considerations of the ramifications of having to meet sufficient Palestinian demands in an effort to facilitate an Abbas signature on an actual agreement. It is obvious that Secretary of State Kerry willingly is allowing for a situation where the Palestinians are virtually guaranteed to succeed in imposing their maximalist demands with a fair intention of forcing Israeli capitulation on all but the obviously most egregious. There is one demand which Secretary Kerry has made obvious that Israel must meet and that is the surrender of East Jerusalem and it is expected that the Palestinians will demand that every Israeli living within those borders be removed making several thousand Jews into homeless refugees. Additionally, Secretary Kerry has implied that Israel will only be permitted to retain at best 80% of the communities from within Judea and Samaria which will produce anywhere from seventy-five-thousand to two-hundred-thousand homeless Israeli refugees in addition to those from East Jerusalem. This demand on Israel carries a further ramification which for many Israelis will be more damaging than the refugees, the loss of the ability to visit the Western Wall or the Temple Mount. Even if the “Holy Basin” is made an international zone, which nation will be willing to place their troops in East Jerusalem to protect the rights of Jews and Christians to have access to their holy sites within those holy grounds? Any foreign troops placed in the areas around the Temple Mount and other areas within East Jerusalem would be making their troops targets of opportunity for terrorists. This would result very rapidly to the negation of the status of international area allowing for Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims to visit their holy locations. These are but a few examples of the possible difficult choices which not only could result but are likely to result from Israel being forced to negotiate from a weakened and indefensible position being under direct threat no matter who the fault lies with should negotiations fail.
But let us assume that a near perfect peace is finalized which guarantees the right for access to every religion’s holy sites, Israeli retention of a majority of their disputed communities with land swaps acceptable to the Palestinians, a partial and readily absorbed representative “Right of Return” for Arab refugees, Israel recognized as the state for the Jewish People, a sworn end to the conflict and no unresolved issues. Then what follows? As has been pointed out endlessly, Israel will have a mere nine mile wide central area between the Palestinian State and the Mediterranean Sea leaving no strategic depth in which to react to an aggression before an invading army would enter and hold central Israel including Tel Aviv, Netanya, Herzliyya and Ben Gurion International Airport as well as the vast majority of Israeli industry, population, infrastructure and other vital instillations and bases. But even if there was not an invasion, the fact that the Judean highland ridges overlook this same area allowing for line of sight targeting for rockets, artillery, and other projectile weapons, central Israel could be turned into a live-fire zone with extreme accuracy made possible due to the terrorists staging from the high ground. Should one Qassam, Grad, Katyusha or larger rocket were to impact central Tel Aviv once a week it would bring the Israeli economy to a screeching halt. Even worse would be the loss of one passenger airliner being shot every month down using a MANPADs (Man-portable air-defense system) system, Israeli tourism and much more would be devastated. Exactly for how long would the world be demanding Israel show restraint in the face of what would assuredly be described as minor terror attacks which cause few casualties, almost negligible fatalities and insignificant damage. Unlike the smaller rockets which were the full range until recently fired from Gaza which were only capable of reaching Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kibbutzim and some smaller communities, these very same rockets will be capable of striking Tel Aviv, Netanya and the rest of the heart located in central Israel. Where launches originating in Gaza could mostly be aimed solely at wide open areas where the majority of the lands were uninhabited while should they be fired from the entire range of Judea and Samaria they would be striking heavily populated areas and thus causing significant damages and potentially fatalities and other casualties. Such aggressive attacks would soon force Israel to counter militarily to end what could only be described as a reign of terror in a similar manner as was used to bring an end to the deadly attacks of the second intifada.
This is the eventuality which is the most frightening, a military assault into Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to remove the terror threats and bring the firing of rockets on Tel Aviv and the surrounding heart of Israel to an end. Such an offensive in and of itself poses some very dangerous circumstances and necessitates a large mobilization of reserves preparing for the worst case scenario. With Mahmoud Abbas being invited to Tehran to meet with the Iranian leadership, we can assume that he will return with an agreement from Iran similar to the kinds of agreements Iran has with Hamas in Gaza, Hezballah in Lebanon and Bashir Assad in Syria. With a defensive pact from Iran which would promise complete support with whatever was necessary in any confrontation with Israel, Abbas and the terrorist entities in the West Bank, both allied with Fatah and others, would be emboldened thus permitting and producing more attacks be they from rockets, mortars, MANPADs, sniper fire, IEDs (improvised explosive devices), suicide bombings, car and truck bombs and other terrorist methods of attack. This would force an Israeli military response which would then quite possibly initiate a response from Iran using both their allies in the neighboring areas around Israel as well as reinforcements being sent to the West Bank to provide direct assistance. This would expand the conflict to beyond the West Bank and would include attacks from Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Lebanon and possibly Syria. What this would make possible would be the utilization, according to Israel’s Chief of Military Intelligence, Major General Aviv Kohav, “We call this period in time the “Era of Fire”, in light of the amount of missiles and rockets we face as a constant threat. There are about 170,000 rockets and missiles that threaten Israel. The fighting in Syria, as well as operation ‘Pillar of Defense’, has resulted in a slight decrease. However, it will increase again. For the first time the enemy now has the ability to hit Israeli cities hard.” Major General Kohav continued adding, “We cannot continue to call Hezbollah a terror group. They have over 100,000 rockets and missiles, some of them advanced. The same can be said of Hamas. The line between a terror organization and a military organization continues to blur. Today, Israel is threatened with warheads that contain half a ton of explosives – but also warheads that contain 900 kilograms of explosives. Our enemies are working on procuring weapons systems in the air and on the sea to break through our Air Force and Navy. IAF pilots can no longer move freely toward their targets and have to dodge missiles that threaten them.” When one adds the growing confrontation in Syria drawing jihadist radical terrorists from throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds, this only adds to the threats sitting on Israeli borders.
By making sufficient concessions, conceding sufficient territories, uprooting near unbearable numbers of Israelis from their homes and communities, capitulating to surrender eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and Western Wall along with numerous other holy sites thus placing them beyond our reach and disallowing any hope to again visit and pray at these places, and whatever else Secretary of State Kerry and the Palestinians determine is a necessity to consummate a peace accord, Israel will be setting herself in a position where her ability to defend herself will be compromised and the need to do so made horrifyingly imminent. Add to this the almost guaranteed escalation by Iran and her proxy armies in all of the surrounding lands and you have the makings of an escalating conflagration which nobody can predict with any degree of certainty how far it will eventually evolve into. The position being thrust upon Israel in the name of peace will not produce a lasting peace and has only the slightest of chances of producing even one year of relative quiet before the flames of war engulf the region. The words of warning given by Winston Churchill speaking about the declaration by Neville Chamberlain when defending the signing of the Munich Accords in 1938 pronouncing that it had produced “peace in our time,” to which Churchill replied, “(They) had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.” Today Secretary Kerry is playing British Prime Minister Chamberlain and Israel is still searching for her Winston Churchill, may that quest soon find fulfillment and give us all hope.