Lt Col (res.) Yaron Buskila
Lt Col (res.) Yaron BuskilaIDF Spokesman

About two years ago when I was serving in the IDF, I was asked to escort the U.S. Marine Corps Armored Infantry Commander while he was visiting the country.

We met near Sderot and took a look at a nearby hill located between the southern part of Sderot and the northern border of the Gaza Strip, one mile from the city's first line of houses.

As we stood on the hill, I explained and showed the curious general about the security complexity the IDF faces in defending the city of Sderot in its proximity to the Gaza border.

There was marked shock on his face; he held a map he'd brought with him ahead of time, looked at it and scrutinized it while intermittently scanning the narrow space before his eyes. For several minutes he tried repeatedly to make the image in front of his eyes conform to the map he held in his hands and he said to me: "I prepared myself for this visit for a long time and read much material and heard various briefings and learned explanations, but until I stood on this hill I didn't understand the impossible complexity required of the IDF to protect the city of Sderot. It's just impossible."

President Donald Trump's Deal of the Century seems to have been written without standing on the hill and without understanding the area and the impossible complexity to be imposed on the IDF in the future when it is required to protect Jewish communities in the remaining Judea and Samaria territory, as well as those that will be in proximity to the planned border of the future PA territory according to the outline of the American plan.

In fact, it is doubtful whether the plan has been examined by experienced military personnel who presented to the President and his aides the enormous security failures inherent in it.

If I could give a title in English to the security features of the plan, I'd quote a line from Fugees' familiar song Killing Me Softly, because the program simply describes a continued state of strangulation imposed upon dozens of Jewish communities that will remain in enclaves deep within Palestinian territory, lacking access to full security control of the IDF, which will, in fact. be faced with a real inability to protect them effectively.

The plan is based on the idea of ​​creating territorial contiguity in 70% of Judea and Samaria territory that will be entirely the responsibility of the Palestinians, bordered on all sides, including the eastern border bordering the Jordan Valley, and dozens of Israeli communities with no territorial contiguity, approached by way of narrow entrance corridors that the IDF will need to protect without strategic depth, maneuvering space, or dominating areas so essential to their defense.

If something in the above description sounds unintentionally familiar, there is considerable resemblance here between Gush Katif settlement deployment plus the challenges of defense and movement in Gaza post the Oslo Accord and before the disengagement plan, and the future situation described in the current plan.

Any differences are actually only topographic. One need not have a phenomenal memory to remember that then, as well, territories were handed over to the Palestinian Authority under a mutual trust agreement that ended in the outbreak of the Second Intifada, at which point Palestinian policemen aimed their weapons at IDF soldiers and Israeli residents, and turned movement on the roads toward their communities into death-traps.

We must not repeat the mistakes of the past and place our confidence in those who have already violated signed agreements and demonstrated their true intentions. Providing security to the home front of the State of Israel and settlement requires creating Israeli settlement contiguity from southern Judea and Samaria to the country's north and operational control based on IDF force mobility throughout the settlement area and within and beyond its borders.

The plan must be based on clear military principle where the IDF has full freedom of action and is not in a stance of passive absorption. IDF freedom of action is a precondition for ensuring IDF ability to provide a real security response that will maintain defensive stability. That will also serve the Palestinian Authority and prevent a reality in which Hamas soon takes over the government as it did in the past, and creates another terror state along borders that stretch over 800 kilometers.

We are at the beginning of a complex and challenging period. As soon as the U.S. President finishes dealing with his country's internal challenges he will turn to us, open his dusty maps again, and strive to advance his plan.

State leaders at present must bring Trump and his aides up to the hill to lift their eyes from the map and give them binoculars with lenses that see into past events and the dangers of the future, to ensure that the security of the people of Israel is not given to those looking for an opportunity to destroy us, but to the Israeli Defense Forces, which will ensure stable and uncompromising security.

IDF Lieutenant Colonel (res) Yaron Buskila is Secretary of the Security Movement

Translated by Mordechai Sones