West Bank Terror Shows Why Separation from the Palestinians Won’t Bring Peace

Sept. 7 2022

On Sunday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a bus transporting Israeli soldiers through the Jordan Valley—wounding seven, two of them seriously. The attack, Gershon Hacohen argues, is evidence of the flaws in conventional thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which presumes that terrorism is the result of the Israeli presence in territories outside the 1949 armistice lines:

The Palestinian Authority has long lost its control over its cities and it is only thanks to the proactive posture of the IDF and Shin Bet that Jenin and Nablus have not become another Gaza. The new terrorist threat should have Israel rethink its overall rationale guiding its policies since the Oslo Accords have come into effect in 1990s. Almost 30 years since they were supposed to usher in a new era of peace, it is incumbent upon us to undergo a paradigm shift by scrutinizing the flawed assumptions on which they were based.

The first rationale was that a separation from the Palestinians was a prerequisite for any resolution of the conflict. The fact of the matter is that in northern Samaria the IDF pulled back from Jenin in 1996. In 2005, several Jewish settlements were uprooted in northern Samaria. In both cases, this only turned the area into a terrorist hotbed only drew Israel back time and again in order to protect Israelis on the coastal plains.

It is also hard to deny that the IDF withdrawal only strengthened the terrorist elements there, much like the Gaza disengagement turned that enclave into an even greater threat to Israel. Thus, terrorist hotbeds are the direct results one must wonder: perhaps separation is anything but a solution?

The second assumption: any risk that is entailed in pursuing the path of the Oslo Accords was calculated and reversible. . . . What has unfolded in the Gaza Strip over the past few decades—along with the new trends in Judea and Samaria—has been a rude awakening. Just look at how the efforts to reestablish the Jewish settlement in northern Samaria have been met with opposition by Israeli security officials (who are taking their cues from their U.S. counterparts). This shows that as far as the international community is concerned, Israeli withdrawals are irreversible.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Oslo Accords, Palestinian terror

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy