Imagine if Canada or Mexico had armed attackers that were always working on coming over the US border into Texas or Washington. Would the United States simply open their arms or allow them to wreak havoc on border towns? It is so hard to fathom any of this because the United States is a place that feels very safe due to the Atlantic and Pacific.
But since 9/11, nobody should continue to make the mistake of thinking that the United States is immune from attack. Israel is a small country with militant neighbors all around it – in a rough neighborhood. There is nobody in Israel who lives under any illusion that Israel can leave their borders unguarded. For more than 3 decades, Israel’s northern border has been a rough border with various militias dominating Lebanon’s south. Perhaps the greatest challenge of Israel is the fact that it’s neighbors are not stable. Israel can have a peace treaty with Jordan. But one day, Israel could wake up to a reality where Iraq overtakes Jordan. That is why regional diplomacy is so critical in order that Israel keep as many of it’s cards available for use when they need with whomever they can cooperate.
10-15 years ago, Israel would not have thought of cooperating with Saudi Arabia or Egypt. But today, things are better on that front. Anything Israel can do to boost the moderating elements in the Middle East is a positive step that should be encouraged. But, ultimately, Israel has learned the most important lesson of the Holocaust – that the Jewish people can never allow themselves to rely on others for their safety.