Israel Needs Defensible Borders–And Where Do They Stop?

A year ago neocons Richard Perle and Michael Rubin and the former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold and an Israeli general had a panel at the American Enterprise Institute, and released an elaborate booklet with colored charts inside, putting forward the idea that Israel needs defensible borders. Yes, Gaza was being given back, but there were hills in Judea and Samaria, as Perle put it—that’s the West Bank to most of us—that were within 15 miles or so of Tel Aviv, and so Tel Aviv is vulnerable to rocket attack. Ergo, Israel will need to command the ridgelines in any contemplated Palestinian state.

Of course since then missiles have been fired on the Israeli town of Sderot from Gaza, and, in the latest outbreak of violence, from Lebanon onto Haifa. A lot more than 15 miles. And of course Israel was attacked by Iraq in 1991 from a distance of 250 miles, and Iran is within 1000 miles, and threatening to get nuclear weapons. You can imagine the anxiety in El Paso and Detroit if the Mexicans and Canadians were committed to our destruction, or if we had become convinced that they were. As Perle pointed out, these same concerns were raised by Sen. Henry Jackson, 30 years ago. The anxieties never end, and neither does the violence.

Does any other state have a right to feel anxiety about its borders?