One of the greatest challenges in the peace process, should it be resumed at some point, is resolving Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank. Since the Israel Defense Forces left Gaza in 2005, Palestinians have fired into Israel over 8,000 rockets, killing 44 Israelis and injuring more than 1,600.
A damaged apartment building in Ashdod, following a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, in November 2012. (Image source: IDF) In addition, Gaza terrorists have seized every available opportunity for other forms of attack against Israeli soldiers and civilians including kidnappings, shootings, suicide bombs, anti-tank missiles and Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs].
Iran, sworn to Israel’s destruction, as are its Gaza-based proxies, has funded, armed, energized and directed both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. As we saw with the Israeli interdiction of the Iranian arms shipment aboard the Klos-C only last month, Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism continues unabated — even as the international community is rehabilitating its extremist regime.
Especially in a region and among neighbours that are becoming even more unstable, violent and unpredictable, Israel must ensure that in the event a Palestinian state should ever reach fruition, the West Bank does not become a second Gaza. The bloody consequences of that for the Israeli people would be far greater than from anything Hamas could hurl out of the Strip.
Kerry has proposed international troops to provide security against attacks on Israel from the West Bank. Few Israelis believe that they could rely on such a force to protect them. There are the historical precedents for the failure of peacekeeping forces in the region and beyond, especially when the going gets tough. And in the West Bank, the going would get very tough very soon and very often.
There is the criminal failure of the international community, as both accomplice and accessory before the fact, to make any meaningful effort to prevent endless salvoes of lethal terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians for over nine years.
Worse still, when Israel has been forced to respond to protect its citizens, it has been stabbed in the back by the international community, who have accused it of war crimes.
The UN’s ill-conceived and deeply flawed 2009 Goldstone Report, for example, amounted to nothing less than incitement to terrorism.
And then there is the spectacle that we have witnessed over the past few days, of the pusillanimous and equivocating international response to plans for an active and violent terrorist group to join the PA.
Confronted by world leaders who lack the moral courage to face down terrorists whom even they themselves have designated as such, Israel is entirely right in its assumption that when it comes to security it can rely only on its own moral strength and its own armed forces.
Originally published at Gatestone Institute.
About the Author: Colonel Richard Kemp, CBE, served in the British Army from 1977-2006. He was commander of British forces in Afghanistan and completed 14 operational tours of duty around the globe. He now runs a private security company in London and advises on defense and security issues. This article was adapted from his address last month to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ Joint International Conference.
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