They Say, We Say: "Israel can't trust the Palestinians"
We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.
You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.
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Does more land mean more security?
When it comes to Israel's security, Israel can't trust anyone else, especially not the Palestinians. That means the IDF has to stay in the West Bank.
Trust, while desirable, will never be the sole or even the primary basis for a peace agreement. Peace agreements, in the Middle East and elsewhere, require far-reaching verification measures and guarantees. These may involve both the parties to the treaty and third-party monitors and guarantors.
Even if Israelis were convinced that all Palestinians were prepared to embrace Israel, any peace agreement would still include comprehensive security arrangements to ensure that - no matter what might happen among the Palestinians or in the region - Israel's security would be protected.
This is exactly what Israel did in its agreements with Egypt and Jordan. Achieving a peace agreement will not be easy. It will require a combination of political will, courage, and leadership from all sides, including from United States. But it is not just a dream. Past negotiations have already narrowed the gaps between the sides. Agreements on all the issues on the table, including borders, security, Jerusalem, and refugees, while certainly complicated, are within reach.
The PA has demonstrated its ability to fight terrorism in the West Bank and to cooperate with Israel's security authorities, even with the West Bank still under occupation. Over the past decade, successive U.S. Administrations have, with the cooperation of Israel, supported efforts to revamp the Palestine Authority's security forces. This program has shown strong results, with PA forces effectively establishing law and order - and taking action against extremists - in areas under their control. Indeed, Israeli officials have repeatedly expressed satisfaction with the effort.
As part of a peace agreement, security cooperation would most likely go even further, including anti-smuggling measures, early warning systems and intelligence sharing. Likewise, subject to negotiations and the agreement of both sides, there is a possibility of the deployment of an international force inside the future state of Palestine. Such a force, located in the Sinai, played (and still plays) a role in the implementation of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. In the context of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, such a force could, for example, monitor the Jordan-Palestine border, in order to prevent infiltration of terrorists and the smuggling of weapons. It could likewise be present at points in the West Bank from which Israel perceives itself to be especially vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Moreover, under a peace agreement, the existing Israeli-Jordanian security cooperation would likely be strengthened and serve as an additional component in counter-terrorism efforts.
Finally, a peace agreement would have an important counter-terrorism value: it would strengthen Israel's ability to deter terrorist attacks. Israel's ability to inflict pain militarily, whether against Hizballah or Hamas, is unquestioned. Today, absent a peace agreement, Israel's right to do so is often challenged. Under a peace agreement in which Israel's borders are universally recognized and it is universally accepted that the occupation has ended, Israel's right to use force to defend its sovereign borders from attack will no longer be subject to any serious challenge. In this case, Israel's military deterrence will be exponentially stronger.