Ronen Zvulun / Reuters Israeli soldiers stand atop tanks in the Golan Heights near Israel's border with Syria, March 19, 2014.

Israel: Borders and Security

Neither the Department of Defense nor any agency of the U.S. government bears any responsibility for the opinions expressed herein, which are entirely those of the author.

"Israel," as Mrs. Meir put it, "is entitled to defensible borders." But where might such borders be drawn? The lines on which Israel's army stood at the end of the war of June 1967 seemed formidable, but have disappeared into history. The U.N. Security Council, in its celebrated Resolution 242 of November 1967, visualized that "secure and recognized boundaries" might be placed essentially along the lines obtaining before the outbreak of the June hostilities. Although it has refused to "draw maps," Israel has made it plain that the old lines will not do, in part owing to security concerns. But genuine security depends on regional accommodation, which the Arab states say cannot occur until all of the occupied territory is returned. All parties agree that some kind of demilitarization arrangement in returned territory would be needed in any overall settlement, but little serious public attention has been given to ways in which comprehensive demilitarization might be useful as a security safeguard in the context of comprehensive territorial return.

Today, Israel continues to hold something like 90 percent of the territory taken in 1967; that it has evacuated as much as 10 percent is one of the concrete achievements of the current "step-by-step" diplomacy. But this diplomacy seems to have lost momentum, and, in any case, has produced harmful side effects, including a new, and perhaps shortsighted, kind of demilitarization. Israel's borders are now anything but "secure and recognized"; defense of the present lines seems to require the attainment of new levels of sophistication in an arms race, the cost of which Israel can no longer shoulder alone. We even hear claims that Israel's security may soon require that it move to the stage of nuclear confrontation with its Arab adversaries.


Things looked a great deal different as the dust of the June War settled, for it seemed

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