Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is playing with fire. And Israel is getting burned.
Over the past week, it has been widely reported that the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government are conducting secret negotiations regarding future Israeli land surrenders to the Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem. According to the reports, the Obama administration has presented Netanyahu with a plan whereby Israel will cede its rights to eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to the Palestinians and then lease the areas from the Palestinians for a limited period.
The reports on the length of the lease vary. Some claim that the White House is offering a seven year rental. Others claim the Americans are offering Israel to lease Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley for several decades before relinquishing them completely.
Netanyahu has reportedly accepted Obama's proposal in principle. The only remaining dispute is the length of the lease. Netanyahu is demanding that Israel be permitted to lease Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley from the Palestinians for somewhere between forty and ninety-nine years. The Americans foresee a shorter timeframe.
The fact that these discussions are taking place is deeply disturbing both for what they tell us about the Obama administration's view of Israel and for what they tell us about Netanyahu's wisdom and character.
By calling for Israel to cede the Jordan Valley to the Palestinians, US President Barack Obama is ignoring the most fundamental reality of the Middle East: Israel is besieged by its neighbors who seek its destruction. Without the Jordan Valley Israel would become the modern day equivalent of Czechoslovakia stripped of the Sudetenland in 1938. It would be utterly indefensible.
None of Israel's neighbors have accepted Israel's right to exist. The absolute majority of the Arabs in all of the states neighboring Israel wish to see Israel destroyed. By relinquishing the Jordan Valley Israel would effectively be committing national suicide by inviting an invasion it would be incapable of staving off.
This is the truth today and given the depth of Arab hatred of Jews, in all likelihood, it will remain the case in forty years and in 99 years. At any rate, Obama's suggestion that Israel entrust its future to an unsubstantiated hope that the Arab world will be fundamentally transformed is both ignorant and dangerous.
As for Netanyahu, he has no right to gamble away Israel's future. He has no right to commit future generations to strategic suicide on the basis of Obama's strategic myopia.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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