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Summary: The Day After - Defending Israel without the Territories

Martin van Creveld

For Israel the occupation of the Gaza Strip and of the West Bank has grown to become an open sore which not only undermines the morals of its citizens but also ties up valuable resources. Today above all Israel is threatened by Palestine terrorism, and from the military as well as the political point of view, the construction of a wall is the right answer to this threat as long as it is accompanied by Israel’s withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.

The argument that Israel needs the Occupied Territories in order to have strategic depth has not been counting any longer for a long time. Compared with 1967 and 1973 when Israel was opposed by Arabian forces two and a half times stronger, today the balance of power has shifted in favour of Israel. Syria lacks support by Iraq; in addition to that its enemy, Turkey, has allied with Israel, and Iraq will not play any part as a factor of power for a long time The Jordanian as well as the Lebanon armed forces are too weak; this leaves only Egypt, which will not dare any passage at arms against Israel because of its reliance on US economic and military aid.

Israel’s defence will not be cheap, of course; on the contrary, innovative solutions will be required which will challenge both political leaders and the armed forces and the armaments industry. The Revolution in Military Affairs highly favours firepower instead of manoeuvre. Israel’s land forces should be able to take on any force a Palestine state is capable of setting up. The Gaza Strip almost does not represent a threat at all because of its cut off situation; thus any aggressor lining up in the West Bank will find himself opposed by an Israel pincer movement.

Israel’s partial withdrawal from the Occupied Territories will not solve the refugees’ problem, and will even cause new problems such as control over water; these topics, however, will not be dealt with in this paper.

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Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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