Thursday, May 26, 2011

The 1967 Line

There's been a lot of talk recently about the lines of 1967, most of it not helpful, and some of it vague. Politicians, journalists, pundits, bloggers and most everyone else much prefer generalities to particulars. Here's an attempt to be specific and grounded.
(Map taken from the CIA World Factbook)

The original line was drawn in 1949 during the armistice talks between Israel and Jordan. They mostly reflected the reality of military positions at the end of the war of 1948, but with one major change. The Israelis, fearing that the extreme narrowness of their country would repeatedly entice their neighbors to attack it, demanded that a strip of land along the northwestern edge of the Jordanian-held West Bank be handed over to them, in return for an area to the west of Hebron. The area, known till this day in Israel as The Triangle, contained a series of Arab villages, from Um el-Fachem at its north-east down to Kfar Kassem at the south-west. The Americans demanded that Israel promise not to force any of the villagers out of their homes, and Israel agreed, and today there are hundreds of thousands of their descendents, Israeli citizens all, living in the area. A very detailed map of the region can be found here, put up by the University of Texas, but since it's so detailed it is a bit cumbersome to navigate. It's worth the effort, however.

At the time, in 1949, the line, along with the rest of Israel's borders, was explicitly and contractually defined as an armistice line, not as a border, since the Arab states were not willing to officially recognize Israel's existence, and perhaps they wished to have legal grounds for changing the lines later on. For all I know, Israel may have had the same thought. The importance of the matter, however, is that all sides agreed the line was not permanent.

This line is variously referred to as the Green Line, the 1949 line, and the 1967 line (meaning June 4th 1967).

At its narrowest point, the distance between Kalkilya on the West Bank and Israel's coast north of Kfar Shemaryahu is 8.54 miles, according to the ruler function of Google Earth. Israeli politicians of all stripes like to talk about Israel's narrow waist, even those among them who propose to relinquish control of most of the West Bank. On the other side, Palestinians and their myriad supporters demand that Maale Adumim, a very large settlement east of Jerusalem, must be dismantled, since it cuts the West Bank in two; the distance between the town of Maale Adumim and the Dead Sea is 9.69 miles if you use the definition of the Geneva Initiative folks, and 8.82 miles if you measure from the easternmost structure in the industrial area to the east of town. There is however a significant difference in that Israel has repeatedly indicated that there will be a north-south road under Palestinian control to the west of Maale Adumin, under or over the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim road, so that Palestinians will not need to go all the way around Maale Adumim when traveling from Ramallah to Bethlehem. Actually, quite a bit of its length is already paved.
(Pardon my rather clumsy cartographic additions, but you get the idea).

My apologies in advance to all friends of Israel for the myth-busting I'm about to engage in, but honesty forces me to it: Nowadays there is no serious Israeli politician who suggests Israel annex the Palestinian town of Kalkilya and its tens of thousands of people; indeed, the security barrier, commonly accepted in Israel as an approximation of the line Israel is comfortable with moving back to, follows the Green Line here. This means that Israel essentially accepts it will return to that narrow waistline of 8.54 miles.

This is not to say the entire argument is farcical. It isn't. Israel has serious threats to worry about should it relinquish military control of the West Bank; but that particular, eye-catching slogan, so convenient for sound bites, isn't one of them.

The dangers of relinquishing military control of the West Bank are as follows:

An Arab army will attempt to sever Israel at its narrow waist along the coastal plain.

Palestinian forces - regular or irregular - will infiltrate along the line, and given the tiny distances they'll be able to reach Israel's main cities within minutes and wreak havoc.

Palestinians will be able to shoot directly at numerous targets in Israel's populous heartland.

Palestinians will be able to shoot mortars and short-range rockets at numerous targets in Israel's populous heartland.

Israel will lose its ability to collect human intelligence about terror cells in the West Bank.

Rather than controlling the West Bank, Israel will have to defend itself along a long and twisted border much of it in hilly terrain.

Israel will lose most of its control over the aquifer that supplies much of the water to the coastal wells.
The Palestinians will have the legal right to demand some of the water of the Jordan Basin.

These threats are of varying quality. The first, regarding an Arab army, can be fended off through two measures. First, the Palestinians will not be allowed to have a full-fledged army. If they ask the Europeans, this will be a blessing for them, since armies are extremely expensive things to have, but if they insist having an army is essential to sovereignty they should be reminded that Germany (both of it) was allowed only a limited military between 1945 and 1991, and got along quite well, and Japan's military was also limited post 1945. So no, having an army is not an essential prerequisite for sovereignty.

Second, Israel demands a military presence along the Jordan River, to the east of the West Bank. This presence is directed at anyone to the east of Palestine who might be tempted to use it as a launching pad for an invasion of Israel. There is total unanimity among all Israel's security types that this presence is essential, though Netanyahu has recently been hinting it need not require Israeli sovereignty. Perhaps the Jordan Valley will be sovereign Palestinian territory in which Israel has contractual rights to a military presence. I admit I'm personally skeptical. Modern armies being the cumbersome things they are, I don't see how one could arrive on the West Bank suddenly, unannounced, and launch an attack on Israel. Not to mention that no Arab army has tried the full-fronted assault method since 1973, probably for the good reason that it's a harmful exercise. In any scenario Israel will need a powerful and threatening military for the first three or five generations after making peace with all its neighbors, but I don't see why a few thousand troops along the Jordan make much difference. There's a major road down there from Jerusalem, and another can be built from the north, and if there's to be a war IDF forces will be there long before Iraqi or Iranian or Emirati divisions arrive.

Water: this is a serious matter, but ever less so. At the moment we're preparing to lay the fifth major pipeline from the coast up to Jerusalem (if I'm not mistaken), which will be unusual in that for the first time it will draw its water not from coastal springs but from desalination stations. There isn't enough natural water in Israel/Palestine for the 12 million people who already live here, and there's not going to be any more, either. Israel already operates major desalination plants, while holding the world record for recycling water; this trend will have to continue no matter what. I don't have the exact numbers at hand, but Israel already supplies some of the water the Palestinians use, and will probably supply more as their numbers grow, no matter who controls them politically. This means water will be a Palestinian weakness, not a threat against Israel. Anyway, the entire subject is one that can be resolved with money, and need not cost human lives.

Which leaves us with the various threats of low-level Palestinian violence. These are serious. In 2002-2004 Israel needed to reoccupy the entire West Bank, re-build its intelligence sources and networks, and also construct the security barrier; only then was the bloody 2nd Intifada defeated. Its ongoing control is the reason no kassam rockets or mortars are shot from the West Bank, while many thousands have been shot from Gaza. Moreover, only a fool, or perhaps a Swedish foreign minister, would believe that by signing a peace agreement with some Palestinians, there will remain no Palestinian individuals or groups willing to shoot at Israeli civilians from the shelter of civilians towns and villages; those Swedes and other EU fellows will conspicuously not fly into Ben Gurion airport if they ever remotely fear that their plane could be shot down as it comes in to land at the airport which is within range of Palestinian gunmen with easily portable shoulder missiles. Until someone comes up with a way to assure Israel this danger is not acute, I don't see how it will relinquish military control of some sort over the West Bank. Which is not to say that Israel might not move all its civilians back to a line, say that of the barrier. Which brings us to the matter of the settlers.

The real reason Israel insists it cannot go back to the Green line is a combination of security to the east of the airport, and the existence of large settlements, most of them quite close to the Green Line. No official maps have ever been made public, obviously, since the negotiations have never reached completion, but here are a number of plausible approximations. First, the Taba negotiations of January 2001:
This comes from Le Monde, and refrains from showing that Israel apparently offered some ground inside the Green Line in return for some of the areas it demanded in the West Bank. In any case, since most of the 2nd Intifada happened after the talks at Taba, it clearly didn't happen because Israel was unwilling to dismantle most of its settlements. In case the map isn't clear, everything in either hue of green was to be Palestine.

Here we've got a projection of what Ehud Olmert apparently offered the Palestinians in September 2008, a proposal they never even responded to. The triangles are settlements to be dismantled. (source)

A cursory glance tells us Olmert wasn't trying to create "defensible borders", since the crazy lines reaching up to Kdumim and Ariel, deep into the West Bank, can't really be defended. But we can see how he wanted the line away from the airport (to the west of Jerusalem), and he wished to uproot as few settlers as possible and was willing to pay with territory from within the Green Line. Some of that territory would have made the Gaza Strip noticeably larger, which may have been one reason Abbas never responded: Gaza is Hamas-land, and why would he want them to gain anything?

Finally, here's the line proposed by the Israelis and Palestinians from the Geneva Initiative.
There are no security considerations here at all, with the possible exception that Israel retains its half of the no-man's land east of the airport. The only consideration is to leave Israeli settlers in their place, if they are within a very few miles of the Green Line; in return, the Palestinians get equal territories from Israel. If you compare their map with that of Olmert inch by inch, as I have, there are the obvious differences of Ariel and Kdumim, but there are also less obvious ones such as dismantling Efrat (15,000 people) because it's to the east of Route 60 from Bethlehem to Hebron, dismantling the industrial zone of Maale Adumim, and other things like that. Even in the Geneva Initiative map, however, a majority of Israeli settlers don't move.

No matter which map you use, from Taba onwards, the Palestinians get all of the Gaza strip (they've already got it), and just about all of the West Bank, with compensation for what they don't get. I think this demonstrates quite clearly that the inability to reach an agreement isn't about Palestinian sovereignty, which the Israelis have long since agreed to, nor about the size of Palestine. Ariel and Kdumim may still be a noticeable sticking point, but they're not the reason for the lack of a peace treaty. Those would be Jerusalem and the right of return or its corollary, Israel's demand to be recognized as the Jewish State. This has been the case for at least 11 years, if not 45, or 63, or 100.

A personal comment: if I had my druthers, I wouldn't have Israel offering empty areas in the foothills west of Hebron or along the Gaza Strip. I would undo the mistake of 1949, when Israel took over the villages of The Triangle, which in the meantime have turned into cities. If the sense of partition is to divide the land along ethnic lines, then that should be what is done. The Palestinians with Israeli citizenship in the Galilee, the Negev, Haifa and Jaffa all live too far from any line to be transferred to Palestine, and they are welcome to remain Israelis. Yet by moving the populace of the Triangle from Israel to Palestine, without ever physically moving any of them a single inch, the Palestinian minority inside Israel will drop significantly from its current 20.5%. Since the Palestinians will not allow there to be any Jews at all in Palestine, this seems a reasonable proposition. The reality, however, is that in the occasional case where Israeli politicians moot this idea (Sharon in 2004, for example, and Lieberman since then) they are always received with howls of protest, and marked as fascists, racists,  brutes and evil. The Palestinian Israelis, you see, are eager for their nation to have its own state, but they don't want to live there. They want to live in Israel.

Which isn't surprising, if you think about it. Given the choice, who would prefer otherwise? Would you?


aparatchik said...

If the arabs won't allow and Jews in "Palestine" why not do a population swap as well as a land swap?

If not, what makes you think the arabs of the Triangle will want to give up their Israeli citizenship?

Claudio said...

Absolutely brilliant, Yaacov!

A must-read for everybody who claims to be qualified to comment to this subject. Anybody who refuses should shut up.

Dimitry said...

Actually, to an extent, those "low level" threats constitute existential threat to Israel. While Israel wouldn't be destoryed by them, how long would it take for Israeli economy to collapse if Qassams, grads and katyushas start falling in Jerusalem, Ben Gurion airport and the coastal strip?

Dimitry said...

By the way, you can find the maps presented at Camp David and those that represent Clinton parameters, as drawn by Dennis Ross in his book, on this page

Menachem Mendel said...

I remember that in the Yom ha-Atzmaut issue of the Jerusalem Post in either 1986 or 1988, Gen. Shlomo Gazit was interviewed about a witdrawal from the West Bank. I am fairly sure that he mentioned the possibility of having the Arab cities in the Triangle become part of a Palestinian state. I keep looking for a copy of that issue in some file cabinet of mine, but to no avail.

AKUS said...

Glad to see you using the word "lines" rather than "borders', which is a common mistake when referring to the Armistice Lines, specially by Israelis, which is particulalrly detrimental to israel's case.

See my commentary on this at:

NormanF said...

Israel needs to annex the entire Jordan Valley and make it a sovereign part of Israel.

In return, the rest of Yesha including the Little Triangle can be part of the Arab State.

The only Arab city I would see Israel annex would be Hebron. I can't see Israel ever leaving it in alien hands. Too much Jewish history and roots there.

Lee Ratner said...

I am actually sympathetic to NormanF's belief that Hebron should remain under Israeli sovereignty. I think this is unfeasible because it is too far from the border of Israel and the WB. Either Israel will have to annex much of the sorrounding area or Hebron will be an Israeli enclave surrounded by a hostile state. Neither is a particularly attractive option.

It is not necessary to annex the Jordan Valley. Israel can get water from desaliation and we still have Lake Kinneret and the headwaters of the Jordan. This is enough to establish indirect control over the Jordan River. Nor is the Jordan Valley necessary for security purposes.

Ideally, Israel should keep all of Jerusalem and give the WB to the Palestinains, including the settlements. The Israelis who live in the WB will be compensated with lots of money and rehoused elsewhere in Israel. The Palestinians can do what they please with the buildings in the settlements. This is the cheaper and more likely option.

Silke said...

This is the cheaper and more likely option

and especially appealing is the cheapness as to the amount of human misery it will create - but so what it is only Jewish/Israeli human misery.

BTW at Goldberg's I read a post yesterday that strikes me as just as callous when it comes to this. Something is wrong here:

so much co-feeling for Haitians and Japanese and so little for co-Israelis?
The official position of this blog (yes, we have official positions here) is that the settlements should be fought as if there was no such thing as anti-Zionism, and anti-Zionism should be fought as if there were no such thing as the settlements. This, I think, reflects the centrist position. A centrist on the question of Israel believes that the settlements represent a corruption of Jewish ideals, but that Israel remains the physical manifestation of a righteous cause. The right, of course, believes that settlements are an expression, not a corruption, of that cause. The left, on the other hand, believes that settlements are a manifestation of Zionism's true nature. I disagree with that argument strenuously. But I will say this, though: The left position on this question has the wind at its back.

Mind you I have no opinion on what would be the right thing to do, it is none of my business. But I definitely have an opinion on the language in which it is discussed.

From afar I'd much prefer that Israelis who got into settling Judäa and Samaria together would get out of it together. At least on the face of it it would create a lot more credibility in the ethics department in the widest possible sense.

Anonymous said...

Yaacov -

Thank you for this post. A few questions.

1) These proposals closely follow the 1967 lines, so why was everyone carrying on so much about Obama saying a settlement would be based upon the 1967 lines, when a settlement based upon 1967 lines has been offered?

2) It seems to me the issue is not what is or isn't a defensible border, the issue is that Israel needs, and will continue to need, defensible borders. None of this matters if the goal is not an end to the conflict. Are Palestinians committed to an end of the conflict or not?

3) Why would the Arabs of the Triangle agree to be part of the country with a less developed economy and social service system, a more corrupt government?

4) Has anyone given serious thought about the so-called "Right of Return" in pragmatic terms? What about the millions Arabs with refugee status in the countries outside of Israel and the territories who are denied citizenship? Would they be forcibly evicted from the host countries (and would that violate the Geneva Convention)? What if they didn't want to move to Palestine? Would they have no path to naturalization? Would the nascent Palestine then have responsibility for millions of citizens outside its borders?

5) A moot point. Or may I the word "moot." I know you have talked about the usage of the word "moot" previously. There are 2 usages in dictionary that are nearly contradictory in meaning:

a) to present or introduce (any point, subject, project, etc.) for discussion.


b) to reduce or remove the practical significance of; make purely theoretical or academic.

Where I live, (east coast US), the English speakers use almost exclusively the 2nd definition. In fact, I didn't know the first definition until this morning when I looked it up so I could understand the end of your post.

I think this is unfortunate, as we have no other single word to elegantly say the first definition, whereas we have several words that fit the latter definition.

Would anyone like to comment on how it is used in the rest of the English speaking world?

Have a wonderful shabbat.


Anonymous said...

Darn. I meant to write "May I moot the word 'moot'"


Lee Ratner said...

Silke, oh please. Having the Israelis move from the WB back to Israel proper will not create a lot of unprecedented human mysery. They will be given places to live and compensaton for lost property under First World Standard. The move is only going to be that of a few miles.

Fragola said...

Hi Yaakov, thank you for this interesting article with the very illustrative maps.

As far as the "wasteline of Palestine is concerned, I would say it is 0,0 km, since they have no territorial continuity, as opposed to the 1947 map, where Israels wasteline was around 0.

I have an idea to solve the refugee problem: There are around 500'000 settlers in the West bank now.

Why not let them build a few more units, and then give there houses to the 700'000 refugees who left Israel in 1947/48?

This kind of solution would benefit everyone:

1) The settlers can't sell their houses when they withdraw and most likely will be compensated by the state of Israel as was the case in gaza.

2) The palestinians would stop objecting to building activity, which is good for their economy anyway.

3) The refugee problem would be soldved, since they would get real estate equivalent to or even better than what they left.

As for the territorial switches, I see a slight problem with those, because I doubt the territories proposed to the palestinians are equivalent to what they give up.

Take the bit next to gaza: I'm not so good at israeli geography, but this looks pretty much like desert to me...

Anonymous said...

Most of the refugees who left in 1947-8 must be dead by now.

It will soon be reasonable to offer a Right of Return to the surviving refugees, but not to their descendants.


Silke said...

will the communities be moved as communities?

if not it will create misery.

Jeffrey Goldberg said that they had created lots of community stuff. Me thinks that is an indicator that there is togetherness

But go ahead, after all they are your people and not mine and you don't have to move and they are very different from the small community people I've met which are so very very different from urban me.

Will kids still be in the same classroom with the kids they are used to ? Will the elderly still bicker about life on the park benches with the other elderlies they are used to? But who cares, their new homes will probably have nicer tiles so they better be content and grateful.

Silke said...

last I looked "they" were according to UNRWA website 4.6 million.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lozowick, I'd like to hear your opinion on Dan Shueftan's new book : 'Palestinians in Israel – The Arab Minority’s Struggle Against the Jewish State'

Kind regards


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Silke said...

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Anonymous said...

In terms of threats from armies, the first thing that would happen if Israel withdrew to the 1967 borders is that *bunkers* would be built along them. Large, peaceful, non-military bunkers under every hospital, school and mosque. For Israel to prevent this process by force would require a complete re-occupation, which would constitute an aggressive war under international law. Once they were built, missiles and other weapons would be smuggled in to them, 'without the knowledge' of the Palestinian government. For Israel to prevent this process by force would require a complete re-occupation. And so on.

Barry Meislin said...

Are Palestinians committed to an end of the conflict or not?

Of course they are.

Of that there should not be, at this stage, any doubt.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic

This short article greatly clarified for me the stakes right now and where Obama's speech puts the US.

I initially came away from the speech thinking in glass-half-full terms, and I've been back and forth on the subject since then, but the matter is now settled for me. As with the settlement issue, Obama has staked out a position that Abbass cannot possibly retreat from. He has endorsed a "land without peace" formula, so why should Abbass settle for anything less.

It's tricky. To me, this initially looked like the interim agreement that Bibi wanted, and I favored it. But I was wrong, Bibi was right to react as he did, and the outcome is bound to be a very dangerous one.

Silke said...

read without help I understood Obama's idea in that way that if everything else is solved. Jerusalem and refugees are on the table and have to be balanced against eachother i.e. leaving Israel with quite an either/or.

Either keep all of Jerusalem and accept all of the refugees plus all their descendants and all their familiy members who must be allowed for humanitarian reasons (one can't leave auntie alone uncared for in foreign lands n'est-ce pas)

Or give up on Jerusalem and be spared the refugees or any idiotic scenario in between.

i.e. he said quite clearly that Israel can't have both but has to give one to "them".

Is building up such lose lose scenarios what they teach community organizers to aim for in the US?

Jerry said...

Better yet: all West Bank Palestinian cities, towns and villages reconnect to Jordan, where they rested contentedly between 1948-67. Jordan comprises the 78% of Mandatory Palestine sliced away by the British nearly 90 years ago and has a Palestinian population majority now. With 2 existing Palestinian states, Jordan and Gaza, why a third?

Anonymous said...

I believe wanting to swap the Triangle makes you a far right racist like Lieberman no? ( note sarcasm )

Frankly, with the Palestinians is never ever about borders. They want all of Israel. Personally, I can't see what the Palestinian leadership get out of peace and a state. Right now they get billions, a large portion of which disappears in corruption, no responsibility and weapons from people who hate Israel. Why change that?


Anonymous said...

I just had a crazy idea:

Why not decide the partition plan by letting the inhabitants of each area vote?

It could work like this:

a) Separate the *whole* land (Gaza + Israel + West Bank) into lots of small partitions, so that...
...each partition contains at most *one* town, village or settlement.
...the sum of all partitions covers the whole land.
...the border between adjacent partitions is placed in such a way as to fairly reflect the partition's relative population ratio.

b) Let the inhabitants of each partition vote whether they prefer to be part of Israel or Palestine.

c) Define the preliminary border between Israel and Palestine in such a way that each partition will be part of the nation which got more votes from the partition's inhabitants, with, for both nations, corridors being added between any territorial "islands" which may have emerged.

d) Give the two governments a certain period of time to (if they want to) negotiate mutually agreed land swaps based on the preliminary border lines of step (c). For example, they may want to swap some of the aforementioned territorial "islands". If they don't agree on any swaps, than the border of step (c) is how the border will stay.

e) After the period for negotiations & adjustments has ended, the border lines will be considered permanent, no matter what.

Failure of one party to accept the border at step (d) would be considered an act of war (allowing the other party to legally respond with military force) and a breach of international law, forcing UN troops to temporarily occupy the offending nation and help enforce the new border.

I know it's crazy.
But why shouldn't it be possible, *in principal*?

Logical Joe said...

You talk of moving the settlers as if they were pawns on a chess board. The Israeli government has yet to solve the issue of having moved and but not resettled those Israeli citizens that were forcibly removed from Gaza. These Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, sometimes described as the West Bank, are attached to their homes, farms, communities, the State of Israel and the religious land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael. Yet, for an ephemeral peace, a peace that no seriously thinking individual believes will last any reasonable amount of time ( I present Gaza as a prototype of peace with the Palestinians), you are proposing that the Israeli government should alienate a large segment of its dedicated citizens; citizens that it must rely on. That is a proposal that creates internal fractures that could take a century or two to heal.

I could just as easily propose that all Arabs be removed from all territories that will remain as Israel. You will tell me that such a solution is absolutely dastardly and cannot and should not be implemented. Yet that is what is being proposed for the Jews.

Any solution requires that these populations be left in place, with their respective citizenships attached to their respective countries, Jews to Israel and Arabs to a Palestinian entity.

Silke said...


your proposal makes my paper-pusher heart rejoice, all those index cards, all those chart tables, all those deliberations - I envisage heaven on earth for all so inclined.

All those fights which will break out even in the very first steps about all those border cases - like you draw a line but one man in this quarter has lots of land in the neighbouring where he has no voting rights, he'll protest, the protest will seem reasonable, he'll get a split vote based on property maybe? ;-)

As best I know referendums were quite the fashion after WW1 ... nuff said ...

No matter how much heat the Brits get for it, drawing straight lines seems to me in retrospect as reasonable and as conducive to war or peace as any other method.

The other day I heard on radio that the Netherlands and Germany have a still unsolved border dispute, I forgot from how far back, but it is something whether there is a border in the Dollard or on land and if yes where. In case of conflict the Dollard is far from unimportant.

Anonymous said...

@Logical Joe:

Why do you think it's unfair towards Israeli settlers? The rules would hold equally for all.

Most of the large Israeli settlements would probably win the vote for Israel in step (b), unless there live many Palestinian Arabs very close to the settlement.
So they would officially become part of Israel, unless the Israeli government decides to swap that land in step (d). (No one says they have to!)

Isn't this exactly what you want?


The partitioning of the land into small partitions could be left to a mathematical algorithm which divides it according to fair rules (like the ones I described above, under step (a)).

Regarding the case where e.g. an inhabitant of a Palestinian partition owns land or property which now becomes part of an Israeli partition: So what?
Germans can also own property within the Netherlands, and Dutch people can own property within Germany (to stay with your example).

Y. said...

Every single argument in the post is wrong.

First, the fact that various Leftist PMs (which are known for their security failures) lied to the voters and proposed plans far beyond their mandate (heck, Olmert was explicitly elected on the premise that 'there's no one to talk to'), is not a reason for the right-wing which represents the vast majority to accept these plans. It is especially not a reason to accept their judgment on security, and very especially no reason to start the negotiations with a pre-made and dangerous concession by accepting these lines.

Second, the idea that Israeli forces could reoccupy an area and use that as a defensive zone is a joke.
* If Israel did that it would be considered the aggressor, and Israel's own action would be used as justification to dismantle any would-be peace accord. It would take a single false alarm to have this happen. If Israel does not respond from fear of this scenario, than Arab forces could beat the IDF to the lines.
* It is a trivial matter for those which control the terrain to render it unsuitable for defense (unmarked AT mines and ditches in the 'right' places, civilian demos to stop the IDF from entering etc.), and Israel could do nothing about it. See [1] for a refutation of a very similar argument regarding the Golan by (reserves) Major-General Eiland. All of his arguments work just as well to your non-defensive line.

Third, low level Palestinian violence is far more than a threat to Ben Gurion airport. The entire center is threatened. Without demanding massive revisions to 67' lines, Israel could not deter it. After all, if the enemy seeing fighting pays (or at least does no harm), it has no reason to stop. What would Israel do? Re-occupy? On the other hand, if territorial changes are done in favor of Israel, the risk of losing more territory after a future war could deter the enemy.