As he writes:
Nobody There But Us Facts On The Ground
“There is no ‘there’ there,” Gertrude Stein famously remarked of her Oakland, California birthplace.
The “there,” whose thereness is conjectural at best in the minds of half the Israeli populace, is Judea and Samaria. Its definition is also a matter of conjecture. When former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert contemplated the 98.1 percent of it he sought to lay at the feet of Mahmoud Abbas in the mother of all “confidence-building measures,” he thought of places like Yitzhar and Eli and Tapuach. Mr. Abbas, who has been scouting digs in Ma’ale Adumim, French Hill, Gilo, Givat Ze’ev and other Jerusalem neighborhoods for himself and his PA nomenclatura must find that amusing.
...The reddest of those lines, defining the absolute limits to Israel’s territorial flexibility, oddly enough were drawn not by the IDF but by the U.S. Defense Department, specifically in a June 29, 1967 memorandum prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) under its chairman, General Earle G. Wheeler . The memorandum, a terse two-page affair with a three- page appendix and a strategic map of Israel and its immediate neighbors, was prepared in response to the Defense Secretary’s request for a post-Six Day War assessment of the “minimum territory…Israel might be justified in retaining in order to permit a more effective defense against possible conventional Arab arrack and terrorist raids.”...the Joint Chief’s memorandum blows every Kadima argument for redrawing the map of Israel clear out of the water.
As stated by the Joint Chiefs, none of whom were reported to have been Zionists, “militarily defensible borders…based on acceptable tactical principles, such as control of commanding terrain, use of natural obstacles, elimination of enemy-held salients and provisions of defense in-depth for important facilities and installations” would require Israel to hold on to all of Judea south of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, key portions of the Sinai, the Golan Heights and more than half of Samaria, contiguous with a thickening of the Jerusalem corridor.
...Little wonder that the Joint Chiefs’ memorandum was buried under a “classified” blanket for 16 years after it was written, ignored by eight U.S. presidents. The concept of a PLO state to rule the areas enumerated as critical to Israel’s defense by America’s top military commanders may have been the handiwork of Israel’s unhinged Left, but as Smith points out, “the U.S. doctrine of withdrawal almost to the 1949 armistice lines led to Resolution 242 adopted by the UN five months after the Johnson administration received the JCS memo. The fact was that the military logic of Israel’s territorial defense requirements was of small consequence when compared with the need to pacify the Arab countries…” The JCS memorandum thus became the skunk at the garden party.
The skunk may have been locked away, but it refused to die. Lt. General Thomas Kelly, a diplomatically insouciant armored corps officer and one time director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, trotted it out for a public airing in 1991, shortly after the Gulf War. Kelly had the temerity to attach the label “critical terrain” to the mountains of Samaria and Judea as well as their approaches. “If an enemy secures these passes,” he declared, “Jerusalem and all of Israel becomes uncovered. Without the West Bank, Israel is only eight miles wide at its narrowest point. That makes it indefensible.”...
Would you like to see this as maps?
Slide show lecture here.