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

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.

Read more at Israel Hayom

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


An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy