WASHINGTON (JTA) – An American Jewish pro-Israel group is backing a tour of U.S. Jewish communities by former top Israeli security officials arguing that Israel is on a catastrophic path to obliterating the two-state solution.
Three of the dozens of former officials who belong to Commanders for Israel’s Security will meet with leaders of Jewish federations in Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston. The group, hosted in the United States by the Israel Policy Forum, a group that backs the two-state solution, also met Wednesday with U.S. Congress members and their staffs in Washington.
The three former officials touring the United States are Nimrod Novik, a former top adviser to Shimon Peres, the late Israeli prime minister and president; Col. Shaul Arieli, a former top negotiator with the Palestinians; and Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, a former Central commander.
The group is led by Maj. Gen. Amnon Reshef, a hero of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Commanders for Israel’s Security has published a 46-page study that argues that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is veering toward annexation of parts or perhaps all of the West Bank. It uses historical examples and economic and military analysis to argue that annexation would be a path to war, a crippled economy and Israel’s diplomatic isolation.
The study, “Ramifications of West Bank Annexation: Security and Beyond,” will be released in an expanded, 400-page version in coming months. Commanders for Israel’s Security is timing the report as a means of making the possibility of annexation an issue ahead of Israeli elections next year.
Reshef says annexation would be “reckless” and “lead to the end of the Zionist vision of Israel as a secure, democratic state with a firm Jewish majority for generations to come,” Reshef writes in the study.
Netanyahu has not counted out a two-state solution, but says Israel must maintain security control of the West Bank. A number of his ministers, led by Naftali Bennett, the education minister, have argued for annexing substantial portions of the West Bank.