Amid the latest wave of Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks, international condemnations of Israel and assorted other controversies, a significant recent development has received scant attention—the attempt by Palestinian Arab terrorists to shoot down an Israeli plane.
It happened on April 2, when an Israel Air Force cargo plane flew over the city of Jenin. Terrorists on the ground shot at the low-flying Hercules C-130J aircraft. Video posted on social-media networks was adorned with the boastful caption, “Soldiers firing on a Zionist army plane while it was flying over a Jenin refugee camp.”
In accordance with the Oslo Accords, Jenin has been under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority since 1995. Yes, the same Oslo accords that require the P.A. to use its American-trained and American-armed security forces to stamp out terrorist groups in P.A. areas. Yet somehow, armed terrorists were able to shoot at an Israeli plane over Jenin without being interrupted or arrested.
We don’t know why the plane was not hit by the terrorists’ gunfire. Maybe the terrorists had bad aim. Maybe their weapons were not sufficiently sophisticated. But we know for sure that if a “State of Palestine” is ever created, there will be many more such attacks, undoubtedly with catastrophic results.
Those who advocate creating a Palestinian state always speak in generalities and slogans. “Two-state solution” is their favorite mantra. What they never want to discuss is exactly where the borders of that state would be—and what the consequences for Israel would be.
The reason they don’t like to talk specifics is they know that when Israelis think about the specifics, they are reminded how dangerous such a state would be for Israel’s survival. The Jenin shooting incident illustrates that threat.
Any Palestinian state would certainly have to include the areas that the P.A. currently controls. After all, the P.A. is not going to give up any of its current territory, and Israel is not going to invade and reoccupy any of it. About 98% of the Palestinian Arabs reside in the cities that the P.A. controls.
Those cities include Jenin. Right now, because the P.A. is not a sovereign state, Israeli security forces periodically enter Jenin and other P.A. cities in pursuit of terrorists. They catch terrorists, seize their weapons and hit their safe houses. If the P.A. becomes the “State of Palestine,” the Israelis will not be able to do that. Meaning that the terrorists in Jenin will be able to acquire much more substantial weapons, such as shoulder-fired rockets—the kind of rockets that can take down an airplane.
It’s also important to remember that because of the location of some of the P.A.’s cities, the creation of a Palestinian state means that Israel will be just nine miles wide at its midsection, as it was before 1967.
The fourth-largest Palestinian city, Tulkarm, and the fifth-largest city, Qalqilya, are nine miles from the Mediterranean Sea. That’s where the border of “Palestine” will be. Meaning that Israel won’t even be as wide as Washington, D.C., or the Bronx, N.Y.
A harrowing anecdote from 1967 illustrates what it’s like to live in a country that is just nine miles wide. On the eve of the Six-Day 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 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.
And with those narrow borders, the terrorists in Jenin will not be the only ones able to target Israeli planes. Terrorists located in central “Palestine” would be just a few miles from Ben-Gurion International Airport. Every airplane landing or taking off at Israel’s largest airport will be in danger.
So don’t be fooled by slick slogans about a “two-state solution.” The day a Palestinian state is created, Israel would be trapped within indefensible borders, facing terrorists able to take aim at its planes every single day. The Jenin incident this month is a reminder of the horror that awaits.
Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”