OpinionMiddle East

Blinken says Israel must be nine miles wide to be secure

That was bad enough. But he added insult to injury by also pressing Israel to make a series of concessions that would go above and beyond what the Oslo Accords require.

The Oslo Accords Map of the West Bank, 1995 (Area C is in gray). Source: Center for Israel Education.
The Oslo Accords Map of the West Bank, 1995 (Area C is in gray). Source: Center for Israel Education.
Stephen M. Flatow. Credit: Courtesy.
Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow is president of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995, and author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror. (The RZA is not affiliated with any American or Israeli political party.)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that in order for Israel to be secure, it must return to being nine miles wide, as it was before 1967. Is he right? Are narrow borders safer than wider ones?

Speaking to the AIPAC policy summit on June 5, Blinken said that “a two-state solution—based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps” is “the best way” for Israel to achieve “security.”

The concept of “mutually agreed swaps” is meaningless. It would require both sides to agree, and since the Palestinian Authority has said that it will never cede one inch of “Palestine,” the likelihood of such “swaps” is zero. Which means that the Biden-Blinken solution is, very simply, to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel “based on the 1967 lines.”

In the years that Israel was confined to those “1967 lines,” the Jewish state was nine miles wide along its central coast. That’s narrower than Washington, D.C., or the Bronx, N.Y.

On the eve of the 1967 war, as Arab troops began massing on Israel’s borders, Israeli mothers residing along the coast kept their children home from school. Why? Because they knew that the country could be cut in two by a Jordanian tank column in just minutes, and they didn’t want their children to be trapped on the other side.

Imagine living with that kind of terror every day—again.

No wonder that then-Foreign Minister Abba Eban invoked Auschwitz when speaking of those lines. As Eban later explained to The Jerusalem Post (Aug. 13, 1993), the 1967 lines were so dangerous that they represented “the approaching stage of genocide.” When Arab armies prepared to attack in 1967, “the ‘final solution’ was at hand,” Eban said.

When the fighting was over, the Soviets demanded that Israel go back to the 1967 lines. Speaking at the United Nations, Eban responded “that a people that has suffered the agonies of Auschwitz is not likely to take such suicidal advice.” In an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel (Nov. 5, 1969), Eban reiterated: “The June [1967] map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz.”

Blinken’s demand, at the AIPAC conference, that Israel go back to the 1967 lines was bad enough. But he added insult to injury by also pressing Israel to make a series of concessions that would go above and beyond what the Oslo Accords require.

Blinken denounced Israeli “settlement expansion” while not saying a word about Palestinian Arab settlement expansion. The Oslo Accords do not prohibit Israel from expanding Jewish communities in the 60% of Judea-Samaria it controls or creating new communities there. 

And he chastised Israel for its alleged “disruption of the historic status quo at the holy sites,” an obvious reference to Jews praying at the most sacred site in Judaism: the Temple Mount. Yet he said nothing about the Palestinian Authority refusing to prevent the constant Palestinian Arab violence against Jewish worshippers at the Tomb of Joseph.

Blinken criticized Israel’s “continuing demolitions of homes.” Yet even Israel’s left-leaning Supreme Court has authorized the dismantling of terrorists’ houses as a way of deterring terrorism. And the U.S. government itself sometimes seizes criminals’ property, including their houses.

He warned against “the evictions of families that have lived in those homes for generations,” a reference to the eviction of illegal Arab squatters. Yet every government in the world evicts people who are living illegally in property that doesn’t belong to them.

In short, the secretary of state has offered Israel and its supporters some really bad advice. Withdrawing to nine-mile-wide borders will make Israel less secure. Prohibiting Jewish construction while tolerating Arab construction is an outrageous double standard. Ignoring Palestinian Arab violence against Jewish holy sites encourages more violence. Opposing the seizure of terrorists’ property undermines the war against terrorism. Tolerating illegal squatters undermines the rule of law.

And none of Blinken’s advice would increase the possibility of achieving a genuine and durable peace with the Palestinian Arabs. That will come only when the P.A. ceases its antisemitic hate education and raises its children to embrace coexistence and non-violence—something which, incredibly, the U.S. leader did not even mention.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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