Security / Assessing the Status Quo II
Most Palestinians reject the territorial approach to security because they feel that Israel’s presence in the West Bank threatens their own security and inhibits the establishment of a viable, contiguous, and sovereign Palestinian state.
Israeli Case for the Status Quo
Many Israelis continue to support the territorial approach, arguing that it gives Israel maximum flexibility to combat terrorism, guard the Jordanian border, and provide security for settlements. They contend that Israel’s borders without most of the West Bank would be “indefensible.”
Israeli Case Against the Status Quo
However, some of the fiercest arguments against the territorial approach come from Israel’s security establishment. Defense experts note that Israel won two wars in 1949 and 1967 without a West Bank land buffer, and since then, Israel’s qualitative military edge has increased, and the strategic advantages of holding territory have decreased. Experts argue that control of the West Bank harms counterterror efforts more than it helps — fueling Palestinian hostility, and undermining the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian moderates. In the long-run, this delicate balance could prove unsustainable, forcing Israel to retake financial and security responsibility for West Bank Palestinians.
Lastly, Israel’s control of the West Bank complicates growing relations with Arab states, inhibiting regional cooperation on mutual security concerns. And it is used as an excuse by extremists around the world to incite hostility against Israel.