Why Israel Must Maintain Its Presence in the Jordan Valley

June 19 2020

While Dan Schueftan is skeptical about the benefits of applying Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank settlements, located mostly in the vicinity of Jerusalem, he believes that the Jewish state has much to gain from applying its sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. Otherwise, Israel would be left entirely unable to protect its eastern border:

In 2014 General John Allen, the security adviser to then-Secretary of State John Kerry, suggested a plan that was based on much goodwill yet little understanding of the conditions in the Middle East. . . . The plan included Palestinian sovereignty in the Jordan Valley. The answer to Israel’s security fears would be sensors, unmanned aircraft, satellites, and other technological devices. There was also talk of foreign troops, possibly American, being stationed along the banks of the Jordan River, and a possibility of a U.S.-Israel deal ensuring American support for unilateral moves by Israel when responding to threats on its security.

Establishing [sovereignty] in the Jordan Valley entails abandoning the delusional idea of Israeli and Jordanian security based on technology and foreign presence. What Israel needs is not information on threats and the hope that someone else will respond before it’s too late. Rather, it needs deterrence that comes with a good chance of prevention and an Israeli force that will neutralize threats when needed.

A scheme like the Allen plan is much worse than no arrangement at all. Without it, Israel acts “defiantly” against threats when it sees them, and foreign diplomats protest after they are successfully neutralized. Since decolonization in the mid-20th century, the fate of a foreign military presence in sovereign land of a hostile country has been grim. This scheme will postpone and [enfeeble] the Israeli response to perceived threats and will give the Palestinians an effective tool to damage Israel’s relations with the U.S.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Security, John Kerry, Jordan Valley, Peace Process

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine