How Israel’s Arab Triangle Came to Be

Feb. 20 2020

In an interview with an Arabic-language television station on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he would not cede a cluster of Arab villages, known as the Arab triangle, to a Palestinian state as called for in the U.S. peace proposal. The authors of the plan hoped that the area, which abuts Samaria and has an Arab-majority population, could be exchanged for territory of a roughly equal area in the West Bank that will be annexed by Israel. The people of the triangle, however, wish to continue living in Israel and have protested vociferously. Raphael Bouchnik-Chen explains the secret negotiations between Israel and King Abdullah of Transjordan (now Jordan) that created the enclave:

In the course of the fighting between May and July 1948, the Arab Legion had cut off the Wadi Ara road—the direct link between Tel Aviv and the Galilee—and entrenched itself firmly in the hills above it to the northwest. The Israeli delegation had instructions to do all it possibly could to have the Arab Legion retreat to the southeast of this road and leave it in Israeli hands. As it stood, the Legion had the IDF by the throat in that region, forcing traffic to move down longer and more roundabout routes.

The Israeli government was prepared to pay for the recovery of Wadi Ara, and the assumption was that the price would be high. Surprisingly, the king agreed without hesitation to withdraw his troops several miles to the southeast. To the king, who was keen to reach an agreement with Israel, the road his Legion had cut led from nowhere to nowhere. In his view, he was not really losing anything by conceding it, and it could be worthwhile to make a gesture toward Israel.

The agreement was signed on April 3, 1949. Immediately thereafter, King Abdullah annexed the West Bank and changed the name of his country from Transjordan to Jordan.

The [peace proposal] claims that “these communities, which largely self-identify as Palestinian, were originally designated to fall under Jordanian control during the negotiations of the armistice line of 1949, but ultimately were retained by Israel for military reasons that have since been mitigated.” In fact, the armistice lines with Jordan were the outcome of intensive bargaining with King Abdullah that led to a territorial “deal” as a compromise.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli history, Israeli War of Independence, Jordan


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy