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The Risks of Israeli Withdrawal from the West Bank, by Col. Richard Kemp

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The Risks of Israeli Withdrawal from the West Bank – Col. Richard Kemp (Gatestone Institute)

During the last round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations involving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, American General John Allen drew up a plan to withdraw Israeli forces from the West Bank and hand over Israel’s forward defense to a combination of Palestinian Arab forces, international monitors and technology.

Given the range of existential threats emanating from, or through, the West Bank today, known and unknown threats that will developtomorrow, and the exceptional geographical vulnerability of the State of Israel, such a proposal is blatantly untenable. No other country would take risks with the lives of its people and the integrity of its territory by contracting out their defenses in this way – nor should it.

General Allen is now leading the American and allied forward defensive operations against the Islamic State. In the face of what he has defined as a “clear and present danger to the U.S.,” he is not recommending withdrawal of American forces back into the continental United States and reliance on Arab forces, peacekeepers and technology to protect U.S. interests. The reverse, in fact, is true.

The forward defensive measures necessary for other Western nations are necessary for Israel as well. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank – either now or at any point in the foreseeable future.

Through incessant rocket fire and the construction of a sophisticated tunnel system to abduct and massacre Israeli civilians on a large scale, Hamas in Gaza has just delivered another powerful object lesson in the consequences of an IDF withdrawal.

The writer was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan.

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