A group of Israeli generals has called on members of Congress to support Israel's plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, within the framework of President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan.
HaBithonistim - Protectors of Israel, a group representing over one thousand reservist and retired Israeli security officers, including dozens of generals, penned two letters to lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, one to Republicans, and a second to Democrats.
The letter to Republicans reads as follows:
We applaud and welcome your recent letter to the Prime Minister of Israel “reaffirm[ing] the unshakeable alliance between the United States and Israel.” Due to the support of our most reliable ally, Israel is now embarking on a historic process to secure the State of Israel for generations to come, based on a realistic approach to the resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
As retired senior Israeli military, intelligence, and law enforcement officials, we are committed to securing Israel from external threats. Part of the arsenal that we benefited from during our service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was the reliable congressional support that Israel consistently received during both military and diplomatic conflicts. Your commitment to Israel’s wellbeing is not something we take for granted, and it is in that spirit that we ask for your continued support as we address what some of your colleagues have called “[Israel’s] push for unilateral annexation of
HaBithonistim – Protectors of Israel consists of more than one thousand reservists and retired senior IDF officers and commanders who have played prominent roles in Israel’s most recent battles, as well as many of the more formative conflicts in our history. Our movement brings together dozens of Generals, hundreds of Brigade Commanders, Battalion Commanders, and other senior officers in the IDF, Israeli Intelligence Services, Police and other national security officials. As leaders who have sworn to defend our country, who have made tremendous sacrifices and devoted our professional careers to this mission, we feel compelled to add our voice to the international debate on the impact of President Trump’s ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ and to share our perspectives on the impact this plan will have on Israel’s national security.
As a consistent supporter of Israel’s efforts to meet its security needs, we are certain that you will appreciate our assessment that the ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ represents the most ambitious plan for securing the State of Israel.
Security does not have the luxury of fantasy – it is, and must be, grounded in reality. The revolutionary aspect of the ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ is that it is based on the reality on the ground.
Resolving the ambiguity of Israel’s status in Judea & Samaria (the West Bank) will not only improve morale, it will provide our commanders with the necessary clarity to effectively secure the region. Every day that Israel does not clarify its long-term intentions in the region is another day that Israel comes under international pressure to retreat from the territory. Israel’s security needs present an almost incomprehensible challenge without the additional uncertainty created by international actors who do not have Israel’s best interests in mind. Hence, the immediate application of Israeli law to the communities in which Israelis live is among the highest national security priorities for the State of Israel.
The territory under discussion is inarguably critical to Israel’s security. Even the UN recognized that Israel’s borders before the Six Day War were not defensible. The Jordan Valley and its highlands create a 4000-foot virtual wall that protects Israel’s eastern flank, not only against a traditional military attack, but also against the flow of terrorists and weapons into the region. The Samaria highlands overlook 70% of Israel’s population and economic output, located a mere 12 miles from Ben Gurion airport, and at its narrowest point only 9 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.
No remote sensors, no matter how sophisticated, can protect Israel’s eastern frontier from invasion or infiltration. No system of security coordination with Palestinian or international forces can protect Israeli civilians from suicide bombers or missiles. And no paper peace can guarantee coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians so long as the Palestinians reject the existence of the nation of Israel and its right to its State in the land of Israel.
In that vein, the Vision for Peace recognizes that long term peace can only flourish if the Palestinians are demilitarized and that ultimately, Israel must retain control over all borders. This is an acknowledgement of reality with which HaBithonistim, a movement made up of security professionals, wholeheartedly concurs. Anything less would put the State of Israel at risk.
In short, the ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ represents the first realistic approach to actually creating a reality that guarantees Israeli security. For this reason, the ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ is one of many catalysts that have brought about the recent warming of relations between Israel and an impressive number of Arab countries. With the necessity to unite against Iranian aggression, and as a result of new opportunities for economic cooperation and cultural cross-pollination, it has become clear that these countries will no longer allow their desire for strengthened ties with Israel to be impeded by Palestinian obstinance.
We find ourselves at a rare and challenging juncture in our history, as we are amongst the first Jewish leaders in more than 2000 years tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Jewish Nation in the only Jewish State. We have returned to our historical homeland, the only land that has ever served as the place of Jewish sovereignty, and we are charged with ensuring that the Jewish People will not be exiled again. The ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ acknowledges this history and this mission and provides a roadmap that will enable our flourishing Jewish and democratic state to reconnect with our roots in a manner that transcends mere physical security.
As men and women who have devoted much of our lives to defending and protecting the State of Israel, and who continue to do so now that we are no longer in active service, we are confident that the path laid out in the ‘Vision for Peace to Prosperity’ will bring a much greater level of security and much good will to Israel, will transform the entire Middle East, and will greatly enhance the US-Israel relationship.