Israeli PM Lapid is endangering Israel’s defensible borders

by Ezequiel Doiny

On July 14, 2022 Arutz 7 reported “As part of a package of “good will gestures” Israel is planning to make to the Palestinian Authority in advance of the state visit of the US president, the Israeli government announced that it will approve six masterplans for Palestinian Arab settlements in Area C of Judea and Samaria, plans which the Regavim movement says will cut off Jewish communities.  

“The package will include approval of hundreds of existing illegal structures, alongside territorial expansion of Arab settlements consisting of thousands of dunams. The Arab village of Batir, located between Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood and Gush Etzion, will be granted a permit for no less than 518 illegal structures as well as expansion of the village by some 3000 dunams – an area comparable in size to the city of Ariel. 

The plan will effectively cut off Gush Etzion from Jerusalem and severely compromise the security of the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem Tunnel Road.  Another plan, in Eastern Gush Etzion, will approve the expansion of Kisan by 615 dunams, severely limiting access for Jewish communities of eastern Gush Etzion and any possibility for future growth. 

“Similar plans for the village of Pakiks will cut off the Jewish community of Negohot in the South Hebron Hills area.  Approval of Municipal Masterplans (Tab”a) are also planned in Binyamin and Shomron, including a plan that jeopardizes the very heart of Samaria, near Highway 5 between Ariel and Revava. Another plan up for approval is Hizme, adjacent to Jerusalem’s Pisgat Zeev neighborhood, where expansion by hundreds of dunams will bring the village even closer to Israel’s capital. 

 “This is a catastrophe that must be averted – immediately,” says Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim. “Saar, Shaked, Kahana, Elkin,Hendel, Orbach – you were elected on right-wing votes because you promised to protect the Jewish settlement enterprise. You handed Yair Lapid his seat in the Prime Minister’s office, and you are the reason Benny Gantz is Minister of Defense. It is your responsibility to block this insane plan to whitewash thousands of illegal structures that will cut off Jewish settlement blocs from Jerusalem and give permanence to the criminal Palestinian takeover of Area C.”

Lapid’s willingness to surrender Area C seems to be in part because of pressure from the EU. Amb. Alan Baker wrote in the JCPA “Recent policy decisions by the European Union regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute indicate profound contradictions, double standards, and hypocrisy.  Being signatories as witnesses to the 1991-3 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, together with the United States, Russia, Norway, and Egypt, the EU took upon itself a responsibility to encourage the parties to observe the obligations and commitments encapsulated in the Accords and ensure that they would be duly honored and followed by the parties…

In the 1993-5 Oslo Accords, the PLO and Israel agreed to divide the governance of the territories pending the outcome of negotiations on their permanent status.

They agreed that the parts of the territory highly populated by Palestinians – denominated as Areas A and B – would be under the jurisdiction and control of a “Palestinian Authority” established by the parties for that purpose. They also agreed that the remaining parts of the territory, containing Israeli population centers and military installations – denominated as Area C – would be under the exclusive military and civilian control and jurisdiction of Israel.

They agreed that in their respective areas of control and jurisdiction, each party would legislate and govern according to its own procedures, laws, regulations, and orders including the areas of planning, zoning, and construction.1  
Accordingly, EU projects dedicated to development, agricultural, and other forms of assistance intended to contribute to “Area C and Palestinian state-building” and the 2021 Oxfam initiative financed and sponsored by the EU – “Promotion of Inclusive Agricultural Growth to Ensure Improved Living Standards and Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in Area C of the West Bank”2 – can only be pursued with the agreement of and in coordination with the Israeli Civil Administration, which, pending any further agreement between the parties, is the agreed-upon governing authority in Area C.  
By the same token, EU initiatives for roads, water, and infrastructure, municipal, educational, and medical projects in the area must be coordinated with Israel.  In light of the responsibilities of the EU as a witness to the Oslo Accords, any official directive by the EU to mobilize and activate “national and international stakeholders through ad-hoc influencing actions on land rights to challenge the Israeli planning and permit regime in Area C” clearly and openly seeks to undermine and violate the agreed-upon responsibilities and jurisdiction by Israel in Area C.3  

If the EU entertains genuine concerns about Israel’s planning and permit policies in the area or about the manner in which Israel governs the area, including Israel’s policies with regard to building Israeli communities, the EU has the prerogative, as a witness to the Oslo Accords, to actively raise such concerns with Israel and to express its views.  However, deliberately encouraging the Palestinians to defy and undermine Israel’s authority in Area C runs counter to the spirit and word of the Oslo Accords and violates the EU’s status as witness to the Accords…

Official EU policy as set out in policy papers dated April 2013 issued by the EU Directorate-General for External Policies4 and in January 2019 determines that “Area C is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and part of any viable future Palestinian state. All EU activity in the West Bank is fully in line with international law.”5  Here again, the EU is at variance with its obligations as a witness to the Oslo Accords.  By determining that the territory, or any part thereof, is “occupied Palestinian territory,” the EU is prejudging the outcome of the agreed negotiation process between Israel and the PLO set out in the Oslo Accords on the issue of the permanent status of the territory…”

It seems Lapid is willing to sacrifice Area C in part for fear of EU’s sanctions but the EU is becoming more and more irrelevant and its capacity to inflict sanctions is now highly diminished. On July 14, 2022 Julian Conradson reported in the Gateway Pundit that the European economy is teetering on the brink of oblivion “It’s no secret that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has continued to wreak havoc on the economy all across the globe. Beginning with crippling tariffs that eventually backfired and strengthened Putin’s war effort, then progressing to the full-blown funding of a proxy war to protect the globalist empire’s hegemony, the United States and its allies in Europe continue charging full steam ahead in an effort to keep the Russians in check and their plans for the great reset humming along – no matter the cost.  Well, now that we are months into this mess, and billions of dollars deep to boot, the entire charade is falling apart at the seams, with Russia continuing to assert its military dominance over the former Soviet territory. Not only that – but the tariffs and restrictions placed on Russian goods and energy has completely backfired, especially in Europe, as the continent is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas and other resources to sustain itself.

Nevertheless, Western leaders are not abandoning ship. In the US, Biden and the DC Swamp just green-lighted yet another 1.7 billion in taxpayer funds for Ukraine this week, bringing the total committed by the US to a staggering ~$60 billion.

European leaders are similarly holding firm. However, the country is on the verge of hitting a critical tipping point as Russia is actively in the process of completely cutting off the continent from its supply of natural gas.  This week, Russia began its scheduled 10-day shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which currently supplies the bulk of Europe’s natural gas supply. After just one day, the flow of gas has ground almost completely to a halt, with less than 5% of NS 1’s capacity currently being utilized, according to Bloomberg. To compound the issue, the shutdown comes at a time when Europeans have been hammered by skyrocketing energy costs and inflation across the board.

Although the shutdown is for routine maintenance, there are serious fears that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine could derail the pipeline from coming back on when it’s scheduled to do so – on July 22.  According to Bloomberg, the financial markets are not waiting around for the potential “doomsday scenario” that could see Europe lose access to over 50% of its natural gas supply. They are preparing for the worst, and, unfortunately, “the worst” might not be the end of the road in this situation. Either way, if Russia cuts off the tap, the results will be catastrophic.  Economists on Wall Street and within UBS, a leading multinational investment firm, claim that even the worrisome projections of economic collapse could just be the tip of the iceberg, the final result could “easily” lead to more of a “negative” outcome.  In short, the European economy is teetering on the brink of oblivion.

From ZeroHedge:  
“As such, DB’s Jim Reid said that July 22, the day gas is supposed to come back online, could be the most important day of the year…  …Here is a sample of what Wall Street expects to happen [if Russia cuts the gas supply for NS 1]:  European stocks plunging 20%. Junk credit spreads widening past 2020 crisis levels. The euro sinking to just 90 cents, before a full-blown recession slams the world’s 2nd biggest economy…  …In an analysis this week (available to pro subscribers), UBS economists laid out a detailed vision of what they see happening if Russia halts gas deliveries to Europe: It would reduce corporate earnings by more than 15%. The market selloff would exceed 20% in the Stoxx 600 and the euro would drop to 90 cents. The rush for safe assets would drive benchmark German bund yields to 0%, they wrote.  ‘We stress that these projections should be seen as rough approximations and by no means as a worse-case scenario,’ wrote Arend Kapteyn, chief economist at UBS. ‘We could easily conceive economic disruptions that lead to more negative growth outcomes.’”

“In response to the situation with Russia, the Euro has taken a shellacking on global markets and has dropped to levels not seen since the early 2000s. On Wednesday, fears of the impending natural gas crisis pushed the Euro down even further, achieving parity with the US dollar, which hasn’t happened since 2002…”

Surrendering Area C to the Palestinians will endanger Israel’s security. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser explained in the JCPA “Israel has a very narrow width and a small population compared with that of its current and potential adversaries. It lacks strategic depth and its armed forces have to rely on reservists to be able to perform its mission, especially in time of war. Its most densely populated areas are very close to territories populated by people who have been exposed to ongoing hate indoctrination against it. The topography along the center of the country includes a mountain ridge that overlooks and dominates the coastal plain in the west and the very deep Jordan Valley in the east. The regimes and countries around Israel suffer from inherent instability

and some of them are failed states. Some of Israel’s enemies are determined to wipe it off the map. Moreover, some of these enemies, especially Iran, have vast resources and are able to acquire advanced weaponry either through arms purchases from leading arms producers or through local production. All of these components have to be taken into account while drawing Israel’s defensible borders.

“It is true, of course, that Israel has impressive military capabilities, but if they are not deployed in the right locations, their effectiveness may be significantly compromised. For example, Israel’s military deployment has to enable it to thwart attempts to bring in weapons (including rockets and drones) and trained terrorists or foreign military forces to the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank from across the Jordan River.

“This mission cannot be accomplished without Israel being able to deploy its forces in areas close to the river and on the eastern slopes of the mountain ridge dominating the Jordan River valley for purposes of observation and intelligence gathering that are necessary for permanent early warning and to thwart such attempts before they cause any damage. This will allow Israel to distance its population centers and critical infrastructure from these possible threats. In addition to “boots on the ground,” Israel will require full control over the airspace above the entire territory of the West Bank as well as control of the electromagnetic spectrum to guarantee that it is able to deal effectively with any threat.

“This does not mean that this deployment can hermetically prevent any infiltration of the border, but it should guarantee that any attempt to cross into the territory from the east, even if it is part of multi-front hostile activities, is met by sufficient power in time to prevent any considerable damage to the security of Israel and its population, even if the early warning is not perfect. Moreover, Israeli military presence has a strategically important effect on deterrence and stabilization beyond the eastern border.

“There have been various suggestions and creative ideas raised to establish a border along the 1967 lines with some local changes and to replace Israel’s military presence in some of the critical areas with foreign forces or to rely on electronic detection devices alone. However, this cannot provide Israel with adequate defense. Israeli forces have to be present on the ground to take immediate action against imminent threats. Israel cannot rely on foreign forces, and detection devices can at best give some early warning or signal in real time that the border has been penetrated, but these devices cannot do much about it. The idea that Israeli intelligence collection assets will be deployed in strategically important locations but access to these locations will be through Palestinian-controlled areas, is simply not feasible.

“The same is true when it comes to preventing terror and other military threats from within the territory controlled by the Palestinians. If Israel deploys its forces more or less along the ’67 lines, it is not going to be able to protect its main cities and infrastructure and collect the information necessary for that purpose. Moreover, it is not going to be able to prevent significant deliveries of arms to the Palestinian-controlled territories or the local production of various weapons inside these territories.

“The argument that Israel’s armed forces are much stronger than the Palestinians and therefore it can afford to move to less defensible borders in the context of a peace agreement – and if this agreement is violated by the Palestinians Israel can recapture the territory – is baseless too. First of all, under such conditions, the Palestinians will be able to accumulate a considerable number of arms and military capabilities before they trigger hostilities, and once they do, recapturing the territory is going to be very costly in terms of casualties, not only to Israeli troops but also to the Israeli civilian population and critical infrastructure. Fighting a hybrid force that has both terror and conventional (and perhaps unconventional) capabilities that is fighting behind human shields is a huge challenge for every modern army. As long as many Palestinians continue to support the plan of fighting Israel in phases over time and regard the complete defeat of Zionism as their ultimate goal, any such moves that enable this are extremely irresponsible. The case of Gaza is an illuminating precedent, as are Afghanistan, Vietnam, Lebanon, Sinai, Somalia, and other arenas.”To sum up, the only border that may be regarded as defensible for the central region of the State of Israel is the Jordan Valley, with Israel maintaining military control of the eastern slopes of Judea and Samaria mountain ridge and of the main roads leading from west to east to enable free movement of Israel’s armed forces to the border area. This should go along with Israeli control of the airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1967, General Earle Wheeler, clarified that to have defensible borders, Israel’s boundary must be along the commanding terrain overlooking the Jordan Valley.”

If a Palestinian State is formed in the West Bank, Jordan will not be able to prevent weapon smuggling and Hamas will attack Israel from the West Bank as it does from Gaza.

According to recent polls Hamas is the most likely successor of Abbas (who is 87). On June 29, 2022 World Israel News reported “A new poll of Palestinians in the Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip released on Tuesday shows that the Islamist organization Hamas has edged ahead of Fatah, the PLO’s main nationalist faction, in terms of public support, though backing for both groups is in decline.  The survey conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) revealed that 33 percent of Palestinians believe that Hamas should be leading the Palestinian struggle, with only 23 percent opting for Fatah under its current leader, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has clung to his post since 2005.”

If a Palestinian State is created in the West Bank, Hamas is going to take power and most of the Jordanian population and political leaders will be sympathetic to the Palestinian government. If the Hashemite King tries to prevent weapon smuggling into the West Bank, the Jordanian population and the Jordanian Parliament will revolt against the King.

Contrary to Egypt, the Jordanian government does not have the popular or political support to oppose Hamas. The Hashemite Kingdom will not have the political or popular support to prevent weapon smuggling into the West Bank if a Palestinian State is formed there.

Once Hamas takes power in the West Bank it will attack Israel from the West Bank as it does from Gaza. The Palestinian Media Watch translated an interview by one of Hamas founders Mahmoud al-Zahar to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam in which he said “transfer what it has [in Gaza] or just a small part of it to the West Bank, we would be able to settle the battle of the ‘final promise [to destroy Israel] with a speed that no one can imagine…[Some] have said Hamas wants to create an Islamic emirate in Gaza. We won’t do that, but we will build an Islamic state in Palestine, all of Palestine…”

Lapid is endangering Israel’s defensible borders and surrendering Area C in part because of pressure from the EU but the European economy is teetering on the brink of oblivion and the EU is more and more irrelevant.

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