Reprinted from an Arutz 7 broadcast on December 18, 1997
Let's talk about the Mordechai map. Why do I call it a "Mordechai" map instead of an IDF map? After all, the IDF drew it up. I say that because the map drawers had to base their map on certain assumptions. And these assumptions are, by their very nature, political ones.
And the key assumption which the map makers made was that the Palestinians would comply with whatever security arrangements they sign. That's why they think that Israel only need a thin security zone. After all, if the Palestinians only have pistols and assault rifles - and we can keep the security zone - somehow - hermetically sealed - little Israel is safely out of shooting range. Of course, if they have the simplest of Katyushas three kilometers is meaningless. But according to the agreement the Palestinians aren't supposed to have Katyushas.
I don't know if the IDF map drawers explicitly asked Mordechai - or anyone else for that matter - what assumptions they are supposed to make. But the responsibility for these assumptions still rests with Defense Minister Mordechai. He should have asked why in the world the map drawers think 3 kilometers is wide enough for a security zone. And when they answered him that the map assumes Palestinian compliance he should have sent them back to the drawing board. But he didn't.
Instead we have a map which basically provides a fig leaf for Mordechai and others in the "yihye b'seder" camp. I say the "yiheh b'seder" [it will be OK] camp, because, from the very start, Mordechai and his ilk have acted on the working assumption that Palestinian security violations can be ignored. That Israel should close its eyes and just keep marching down the Oslo path. Since, after all, yihyeh b'seder.
And so. We have a yihyeh b'seder map. But it's not called that. It's called the IDF security map. And Mordechai assures us that the IDF designed it to insure Israel's security. Again. I do not question the skills of the IDF map drawers. They did a fantastic job. The problem is the assumptions they worked under.
Consider a bridge designer. He may be the best designer in the world, but if someone tells him to design a bridge which can support one person at a time and then a hundred people stand on it the bridge will collapse. We already have experience with the IDF map drawers. All kinds of lines were inked onto the map of Hebron during the prolonged negotiations. And for all we know they might have made a difference if they were honored. But when the disturbances started many of the lines lost all meaning. The Palestinians opted not to comply.
I find this use of the IDF as a fig leaf troubling. If they are so generous in their assumptions when they draw maps, who knows what they are up to in the negotiations over security in Gaza Airport. After all, if you want to assume Palestinian compliance there is a very simple solution to the security issue there. Simply have all incoming passengers sign a declaration that they aren't carrying any weapons.
Sound farfetched? Let's not forget that both Labor and Likud governments consider it an achievement to get released terrorists to sign a piece of paper declaring that they will be on good behavior!
So when a politician tells you that the IDF gave their OK to something don't be so impressed. Ask what the IDF's working assumptions were. And what of Binyamin Netanyahu? Why is he involved in this farce? Some believe that Netanyahu, once again, is showing his inability to withstand pressure. But others see something considerably worse.
As one Netanyahu observer noted [slightly cleaned up], since rising up the ladder, Netanyahu has found no greater pleasure than turning around and spitting down on his supporters. He relishes the intrigues, the battles, the double crossing. These observers fear that Netanyahu may be so enthralled with the "game" of pushing through a deal that the ramifications of the program are only of secondary importance.
What happens now is anybody's guess. The nationalist camp now finds itself torn. Does it support Arik Sharon's map in the hopes of displacing the more reckless "yihyeh tov" map of Yitzchak Mordechai or does it split between Sharon supporters and those who find his map, which also cedes strategic high ground to the Palestinians, unacceptable. Only time will tell.
Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)