Leading up to July 1, the original target date for Israel’s planned announcement of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and settlements in Judea and Samaria, a group of former Israel Defense Forces officers and security personnel published an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him to demonstrate leadership, ignore those who lack the courage and vision needed to make historic decisions and move ahead with the sovereignty plan.
Sadly, the greater the opportunity, the greater the number of those who oppose it. The long list of opponents to the sovereignty bid, especially among senior military commanders, can be split into two groups.
One adheres to a plan of separation from the Palestinians, withdrawing to the ceasefire lines of 1949 and using the security barrier (Highway 6) as the basis of an international border. This would forgo any claims to sovereignty beyond the Green Line, or in other words, would mean giving up our security and handing responsibility for it over to the Palestinians and the Jordanians, the ones who trumpet Arabs’ (nearly nonexistent) contribution to the security of Israel at every opportunity.
The other group realizes the security importance of the Jordan Valley and settlements in Judea and Samaria, but lacks the vision and courage to make decisions on behalf of the generations to come. “Why on my watch?” they say. “What’s wrong with the quiet?”
Our message to the people of Israel and the prime minister is clear—if we do not apply sovereignty and if we show weakness to our enemies and the world, the result will be growing pressure on us to carry out reckless withdrawals that will put Israel in existential danger in the future.
It seems as if everyone is an expert when it comes to explaining why a Zionist act that promotes Israel’s interests is causing opposition, but few are dealing with the question of what will happen if we fold and send the world a message that we are not determined to protect our national rights in the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria.
It’s vital to understand that the dangers in not applying sovereignty are many times greater than the specific challenge of dealing with the various ramifications of the move.
When it comes to those challenges, if sovereignty is applied, it is important to say that conditions will never be better for it to happen. The world is busy with economic troubles and coronavirus. Jordan expects its food supply to run dry in a year and a half, and when that happens, more people will die from hunger than from coronavirus, according to an interview with King Abdullah II in Der Spiegel.
Palestinian Authority officials fear that they will lose control, so they are being careful. It is time for Israel to send the P.A. a clear message that it can get along without them, as the P.A. could be replaced by local leadership. The future of Israel does not depend on P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, and it’s time for both us and him to realize that.
Once every 70 years, all the stars align in favor of Israel. Soon, these stars will be scattered. Who knows when, or if, they will align again? This is a time for determined, shrewd leadership that knows how to overcome all difficulties and do the right thing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this is what you were elected for. Do the right thing and instate full sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and settlements, and you will go down in the history of the Jewish people and be remembered for generations.
IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi is director of Habithonistim, a movement of Israeli security forces personnel advocating for Israel’s future security needs in a way that will enable its existence and prosperity for generations to come.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.