They Say, We Say: Israeli needs the West Bank as "strategic depth."

They Say We Say 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?

They Say:

Israeli national security needs dictate that Israel retains all or most of the West Bank as "strategic depth."

We Say:

Territorial depth - particularly when measured in single miles rather than in tens or hundreds of miles - is almost insignificant as a buffer in an age of intermediate-range and long-range missiles. Israel's adversaries already have missiles that can reach every corner in the country. Keeping the West Bank does not provide Israel additional meaningful strategic depth with respect to such a threat. Furthermore, Israel doesn't need the West Bank as a buffer to fend off an invasion by foreign armies from the east, through the West Bank.

The probability of a land invasion from the east is extremely low, given the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq and Israel's longstanding peace agreement with Jordan. Even if this threat grew, for example due to an increase in extremist influence in the West Bank, Jordan, or beyond, the actual danger posed to Israel would still be low. The Jordan Valley is an excellent natural barrier, almost insurmountable for invading armies of tanks and mechanized infantry. Israeli military superiority, including the strongest and best-equipped air force in the region, would make any attempt to invade through the Jordan Valley suicidal for the invading forces. Israel's early warning capabilities, including satellites, are such that under no circumstances could Israel be surprised by a land invasion. Moreover, in the context of peace talks, Israel will insist on security arrangements that satisfy its need for early warning stations in key points in the West Bank - something to which Palestinian leaders have in the past indicated they would agree.