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Why Israel Cannot Withdraw from the West Bank or the Golan Heights, by Colonel Richard Kemp (JCPA via Mosaic)

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Mar. 22, 2016

Withdrawing from the West Bank or the Golan Heights would leave Israel vulnerable to a degree that no military commander of any other nation would allow, Richard Kemp argues, and Western leaders who encourage Israel to withdraw are to be condemned. What’s more, Kemp urges, “Israel must resist the pressure to conform to Western norms of hesitancy and refusal to deploy the necessary military force” against those who seek to destroy it.

Retired British Col. Richard Kemp condemned the international community for pressuring Israel to show military restraint on its borders, saying that such calls are hypocritical and “the biggest threat” to Israel. Kemp, who commanded British forces in the Middle East, said that Israel faces enemies on all sides and “cannot possibly, possibly at any stage” withdraw its military from the Golan Heights and the West Bank. He pointed out that Israel is fighting “in isolation,” whereas Britain and America “always fight with allies,” and said that Western calls to show restraint in such a dire security situation were “unrealistic” and hypocritical. “Many members of the international community, including the U.S., the E.U., other organizations, other countries, [are] desperately keen to tell Israel what it must do, but they certainly would not consider taking the same action in respect to themselves,” Kemp said.

He compared the threats Israel faces today to the threats facing Britain in the 20th century. The English, he said, did not respond with restraint, and would not respond with restraint if faced with similar threats today. “Britain was faced with that situation back in 1943-44. We didn’t just sit back and watch,” Kemp said. “We pummeled the hell out of the Nazis, who were developing rockets. We killed numerous innocent civilians in destroying the V-1 program because we had no choice, and that’s what we would do today as well, I’m sure.” Kemp said that today’s Western hesitancy to fight those who “need to be fought,” especially when compared with the “unmitigated determination and violence” of jihadists and the Islamic State, assures that the West “can’t win.”

Western pressure on Israel to conform to this very norm of restraint, Kemp said, is “the biggest threat to Israel.” He urged Israel not to replicate Western hesitancy or to give in to international pressure. “In exactly the same way that Israel must resist all of this pressure … to get out of the West Bank [and] get off the Golan Heights, Israel must also resist the psychological pressure, and the political and diplomatic pressure, to conform to Western norms of hesitancy and refusal to deploy the necessary military force to attack the enemy that it faces,” Kemp said.

Click here for 5 min. video of speech to JCPA

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