Friday October 9, 2015
Israel Hayom
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Jordan Valley sovereignty bill sparks political storm
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Zvika Fogel

We cannot give up the Jordan Valley

A short memory often causes us to make the same mistakes. Failing to learn from experience is stupid. Combining these two things could engender an existential threat. The recent talks over the expected withdrawal from the Jordan Valley have been causing me to lose sleep. We're at the cusp of an existential threat and we're allowing it to develop, uncontrollably.

We withdrew -- or to put it more dramatically, we abandoned -- south Lebanon, and in less than five years Hezbollah capitalized on that lawlessness to establish a terrorist state, which has become a constant menace to northern Israel. We withdrew -- or to put it more mildly, we conceded -- our presence in the Gaza Strip, and in less than five years, Hamas managed to establish a terrorist state that jeopardizes Israeli security from the west.

The revolution in Egypt and the subsequent military vacuum allowed Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida, in less than five years, to build themselves up in the Sinai Peninsula, threatening our country from the south.

The internecine Syrian war and the military vacuum left in its wake have given those very same terrorist organizations direct access to the Syrian Golan Heights.

Just imagine what could happen if we withdraw from the Jordan Valley.

Would the Jordanians be able to control Judea and Samaria as the Egyptians have controlled the Gaza Strip, preventing weapons and terrorist masterminds from penetrating its borders? Are the Jordanian authorities strong enough to prevent a revolution or an internal conflict from erupting?

Is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who hasn't been able to stop terrorism from reaching Tel Aviv from Judea and Samaria, going to be able to stop al-Qaida and extremist Islam from reaching the West Bank through Jordan?

The only answer to this question, based on memory and experience, is this: We have to wait and see, we need time to decide who to trust. Until the Palestinians prove their ability to battle terrorism -- and terrorism is also a threat to the Palestinian Authority -- we cannot give up an inch of our security. We cannot afford to have to fight terrorism at home.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel is a former chief of staff of the IDF Southern Command.

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