A post by Maynard
You’ve heard the ongoing debates about where the final borders of Israel should be set. These discussions are usually phrased in terms of how much land changes hands, as if Israel’s purpose is simply to have more land. But the vital pursuit isn’t land for its own sake, but control of land that’s strategically defensible. Topography makes all the difference in the world. You want natural barriers to make it difficult for the other guy’s tanks and armies to move into your territory.
A river makes a good barrier; this is why you hear of bridges getting blown up in wartime. No bridges means no large-scale invasion.
Also, you want to control the adjacent mountain ranges. The high ground gives your artillery the range to hit anything that approaches you from the low or flat ground; meanwhile you’re out of range for the approaching military to shoot back.
You may think that natural barriers are obsolete in this era of aircraft. A jet or sophisticated missile can go over or around a mountain. But, although the missiles may play a role, they’re expensive and can be countered by an air defense. The war is ultimately settled by control of the ground. If you can keep the invading army out, your nation will survive the missiles.
Keep these factors in mind as you watch this video, which lays out topographical and strategic details. Note that the 1949 armistice lines set the northern borders of Israel at the base of the mountain ranges that make up the west edge of the Jordan Rift Valley. You can see more details on this topographic map.
The problem with that 9-mile waist we hear about isn’t merely that it’s narrow; it’s that the land is indefensible. Those 9 miles are a flat coastal plain. If the enemy controls the adjacent mountain ridge, then they can gather their forces in the hills and sweep down rapidly to the sea, cutting Israel in half. Israel must retain military control of the high ground to prevent this from happening. This is also the reason that Israel retains the Golan Heights in the north.
The article attached to this video: Why Obama’s Proposal is a Suicide Note for Israel.
A bit of history to make the point by analogy. You’ll recall that, in the negotiations leading up to World War II, Hitler signed the Munich Agreement with England’s then-Prime Minister Chamberlain. This treaty gave Germany control of a portion of Czechoslovakia, Sudetenland, in exchange for Germany’s pledge that its territorial ambitions were fulfilled. Less than a year after making this hollow promise, Germany invaded Poland, and WWII began.
Take a look at this map of European topography. Note, in particular, the flat land between Germany and Poland, as opposed to the mountainous border with Czechoslovakia. Germany rolled into Poland very quickly, because there was nothing to stop the tanks. On the other hand, the Sudetenland was defensible territory, and an invasion would have been very difficult, even for the mighty Germans. The irony is that England and France handed over the land that Germany couldn’t easily seize, and then promised to defend the land that they had no way to stop Germany from grabbing. That’s why Germany moved so successfully into the war; because they were given a winning hand by English leadership that was as brainless as it was spineless.
Israel can’t afford to be pushed into abandoning a defensible Sudetenland in favor of an indefensible Poland. That would be a pathway, not to peace, but to suicide.