In a televised interview at the end of January, Maj. Gen. (res.) Matan Vilnai, former deputy chief of staff, said bluntly that the Jordan Valley is militarily and strategically important, but louder he wondered why it should be annexed. In short, he and his good interviewers did not explain Kalman Libeskind And Aral Segal has the reasons for it, so I will do so instead.
First, setting a boundary. There have always been rumors in Israel, especially on the left, that Israel has no borders, and it is time for them to decide. And now the time has come and we can set a border in the east of the country. True, the Malines' intention is for an agreed border, but as far as they were concerned, it was a 1967 border - 10-7 km across the country's narrow waist - meaning "Auschwitz borders," as Abba Eban, who is not defensive, called them.
Although purely militarily the back of the mountain is important in the Jordan Valley for the protection of the coastal lowlands, the circumstances of the Jordan Valley plus the eastern slopes of the mountain back are a necessary replacement. The Jordan Valley, about 60 km from central Israel, also provides minimal strategic depth, which is critical for defense and maneuvering. A fixed eastern border as it has for many years a north-eastern border in the Golan - and we have not yet mentioned the potential for upheaval in our region.
Second, there is no danger to relations with Jordan. Contrary to statements, the Jordanian royal court prefers the presence of Israel and its army in the Jordan Valley regularly over the possibility of Palestinian control of the Jordan line, due to the large Palestinian majority (about 80 percent) in Jordan, and while the kingdom relies on a Bedouin minority, stable but with potential For upheavals.
It is true that the Jordanian royal court is protesting the application of sovereignty, but Jordan knows that applying sovereignty means that the Palestinians west of Jordan cannot risk the kingdom. To the discrepancy between the kingdom's public statements and its true perceptions, I became immediately aware of my relations with senior officials in Jordan.
Third, and perhaps more importantly. The annexation of the valley will finally pull the Palestinians back by reducing the territorial territory transferred to them in Oslo, demonstrating for the first time the cost of their stubbornness in the conflict. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, it has not paid any price for its direct and indirect support for terrorist acts and defiant political measures against Israel. It is time for the Palestinians to realize that their conduct in the conflict has prices and that the train will not wait for them. Reducing physical space will illustrate this most of all. Or then there might be some chance of a move towards a solution.
Brigadier General (Res.) Aharon LeBern is a former senior military officerFor more views of Aaron LeBern