Israel Shouldn’t Forget Yitzhak Rabin’s West Bank Map

Jan. 13 2022

Pursuant to the Oslo Accords, the territory liberated from Jordan during the Six-Day War is divided into three zones, apart from Jerusalem: Area A, administered directly by the Palestinian Authority (PA); Area B, jointly administered by Israel and the PA; and Area C, to remain under Israeli control pending further negotiations. Together, Areas A and B are home the vast majority of the West Bank’s Palestinians, while Area C contains its entire Jewish population. Gershon Hacohen explains the different attitudes Israel prime ministers have taken to Area the last zone, and expresses concern over what it might do next:

The main difference between the post-peace deal maps proposed by the late Yitzḥak Rabin and those proposed by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert has to do with the role of Area C. On Rabin’s map, this territory was vital to Israel’s security outlook, whereas Barak and Olmert saw it as a “deposit” for a future agreement, to be handed over at the end of the process.

After more than 25 years, one can cast a critical eye over the vision of security for Judea and Samaria vs. the one that has taken shape for the Gaza Strip. Especially after the disengagement in 2005, Gaza came to be surrounded by a contiguous border that determined the operations of IDF forces deployed along it, with the separation being complete. . . . It has become a difficult military operation for the IDF to cross the border into Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.

This reality has led to the IDF losing its ability to operate deep in the Hamas-controlled area. In contrast, in Judea and Samaria—thanks to Rabin’s creative views, which led to the division of the territory into Areas A, B, and C—the IDF still has almost unlimited freedom to operate. Among other things, this led to the success of Operation Defensive Shield, [which ended the second intifada in] 2002 and still allows IDF forces to pursue terrorists and arrest them without sending in heavy forces.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Security, Oslo Accords, West Bank, Yitzhak Rabin

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship