Dear Friends of Israel,
“Israel can risk abandoning the East Bank.” This statement was made by three, Israeli ex-generals in an interview published in the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli daily newspaper. The basis of their argument was that there is no threat of invasion from the east, because there is no significant Arabic army in that direction. Iraq’s military strength has crumbled and Iran doesn’t have enough troops to launch a ground attack.
It is in Jordan’s own best interest to maintain the strategic partnership with Israel, under the terms of the existing peace treaty. In the past, Syria probably considered Jordan as a potential staging ground for an offensive against Israel, but that threat has now passed as well.
Besides, the Israeli army has developed revolutionary capabilities – like never before – to observe enemy activity and launch a counter-attack from a great distance, if necessary. These developments have fundamentally changed the strategic thinking of the Israeli army.
All this raises the question, “What will happen, if Islamic or terrorist forces should cause Jordan’s circumstances to change, and Jordan becomes a launch point for an attack on Israel? In that case, said the generals, the advancing threat must be stopped before it ever gets close to the Jordan valley.
Another potential threat is that the East Bank might become a corridor for weapons smugglers and terrorist infiltration, similar to the Gaza and Sinai borders. This threat could be forestalled by stationing reliable troops, possibly NATO units, in the region. Israeli troops would of course patrol the border in the initial years, but that assignment would be passed on to international troops for a time, before eventually becoming the responsibility of Palestinian troops. That however, would not occur until Israel is convinced that the Palestinians are willing and able to protect the border.
Furthermore, the Israeli settlements in the East Bank could be relinquished, because they would no longer be useful to the Israeli army, but instead might be a threat. If the entire operation turns out to be a disastrous mistake, the entire East Bank could be reclaimed within 48 hours by a single Israeli division.
The greater risk is that the Palestinian state might utterly fail, and home-made rockets could be fired at Israel from the Palestinian cities. Then there would be no other choice, except for Israel to march back into those territories. That would carry a much greater risk than simply abandoning the East Bank.
Thus, it is now time for the Israeli government to determine whether it’s worth the risk to forge a peace treaty with the Palestinians. The reward for such a treaty would be the full, international recognition of Israel within the community of nations. Continuing with the current situation is actually a greater risk than abandoning the East Bank (see The Voice of the People on page ??).
The remarks above demonstrate the difficult decisions that the Israeli government must make in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, and how the location of the border is no longer the most important issue. There are, of course, fundamental differences of opinion between the military strategists and those who see the borders from a biblical / historical background. In fact, the location of the border is not easy to determine from a biblical – historical background, because it constantly changed throughout biblical history. Establishing the borders of the promised land is even more difficult, because those borders were never completely attained. Thus we must conclude that the borders of the Holy Land will be fulfilled in the coming reign of the Messiah (read more about this topic on page ??). The border location is not the most pressing issue at this time, but rather security and peaceful relationships. One thing that’s certain is that God will determine the borders in His time and in His way.
Trusting in Him who fulfills His promises, Shalom,