Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is Now The Time For Israel To Take Back The Philadelphi Corridor?

It's not as if it's a new idea:
Wikipedia has background on the Philadelphi Corridor and its significance:

The Philadelphi Route refers to a narrow strip of land, 14 km in length, situated along the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt. Under the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979, the buffer zone was controlled and patrolled by Israeli forces. After the 1995 Oslo Accords, Israel was allowed to retain the security corridor along the border. One purpose of the Philadelphi Route was to prevent the movement of illegal materials (including weapons, ammunition and illegal drugs) and people between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Palestinians, in cooperation with some Egyptians, have built smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphi Route to move these into the Gaza Strip.

...Following Israel's disengagement from Gaza, Israel transferred authority for the Philadelphi Route to the Palestinian Authority.

...Since the Battle of Gaza (2007) the Philadelphi Route has been controlled by Hamas.[emphasis added]
Map from Wikipedia, "Philadelpi Route"
While the importance of Israeli control of the Philadelphi Corridor is understandable, so too are the reasons against Israel going in and taking back control from Hamas.

In the article mentioned above, Dr. Lerner reviews the arguments and the responses:
Fact: The only way we can effectively put a halt to the terror operations organized from the Gaza Strip is to retake the Philadelphi Corridor with a workable width instead of 100 meters separating between Sinai and the Gaza Strip..

Some quick answers to the arguments for postponing the move:

Argument #1: We should not act before the elections in Egypt as it would undermine our relations with the temporary military regime controlling the country.

Counter argument #1: We should act before the elections in Egypt when the temporary military regime is still controlling the country since we are clueless as to who will be in charge in Egypt after the elections. It could very well be considerably more dangerous for Israel-Egypt relations to re-take the Philadelphi Corridor after the elections in Egypt.

Argument #2: We should wait until after September developments with the Palestinians.

Counter argument #2: Today the Gaza Strip is inside Israel’s security envelope and Gaza is not a sovereign entity. The potential diplomatic and other consequences of re-taking the Philadelphi Corridor after the declaration of a sovereign Palestinian state are magnitudes more dangerous and complicated than today.

Argument #3: We should wait until we have more Iron Dome batteries in place.

Counter argument #3: Already today the range and quantity of the Palestinian rockets is such that they can readily target areas not covered by the additional Iron Dome batteries slated. Postponing this operation only makes it easier for the Palestinians to try to keep pace with Israeli defense measures.

Retreating from the Philadelphi Corridor was a terrible mistake in judgment for which we have paid dearly, The time has come to correct this costly error.
So is retaking the Philadelphi Corridor one of the options being considered by the Netanyahu government?
And if it is, will Israel be able to counter the inevitable argument not listed by Dr. Lerner: the worldwide condemnation?

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1 comment:

NormanF said...

The unspoken argument is retaking the Philadelphi Corridor would be an admission that the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and dismantling the Gush Katif communities was a disaster for Israel.

An Israeli return to Gaza would necessarily involve repopulating such a strategically vital area with Jews. And it would reveal the settlements are indispensable to Israel's security.

After six years of rocket fire and terrorism from Gaza, Israel has learned a very costly lesson.

There is no way to remove Jews anywhere without endangering them in any part of Israel. That unpalatable lesson still has to sink home with Israel's branja before Israel will retake the Philadelphi Corridor.