Return to Israel's 1967 Borders National Suicide?

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LATRUN, Israel - President Barack Obama's recent call for Israel to return to its 1967 borders has brought back bad memories and concerns for many.

Some people call the 1967 lines "Auschwitz borders," or the kind that could lead to another Holocaust. Others say such a move would be "suicide" for Israel.

"I don't think Israel will ever return to the '67 lines, but if somebody thinks this is a good idea, this is exactly the situation that will bring us the next war," said Reserve Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan.

Latrun overlooks the Ayalon Valley where battles have been fought since Bible times. From there, Arab gunners prevented Jewish travel on the only road to Jerusalem.

The 1967 lines are not far from Latrun. But times have changed. If israel withdraws to those lines its citizens would have to contend with rockets instead of bullets.

United Nations Resolution 242 promised Israel defenisble borders, but if Israel withdrew to the 1967 lines -- parts of the nation would only be 9 miles wide.

Between Tulkaram -- which is a Palestinian city -- and Netanya -- which is on the Mediterranean -- the distance is exactly the same between the John F. Kennedy and Laguardia airports in New York.

Israel's major roads as well as all planes taking off and landing from the main international airport would be in danger of rocket fire.

About 70 percent of the population and 80 percent of the Israeli industrial production is in that coastal strip.

Dayan says one of the main defenses of Israel is to maintain control over the Jordan Valley.

"The '67 lines are actually the undefensible border -- unsecured border -- and it's a temptation to attack you. The only candidate is the Jordan River -- the Jordan Bekaa," he explained. "It would provide Israel with a strategic depth of just 40 miles against ballistic missiles -- the same perimeter as U.S. naval carriers keep."

The Jordan Valley defense provides about a 4,000 foot natural mountain barrier between Israel and Jordan, to guard against conventional attacks from eastern countries like Iran.

A counter-terrorism blockade would also be created, enabling Israel to prevent rockets and other weaponry from entering the area.

"If it's not demilitarized, what will happen, exactly what is happening in Lebanon and in Gaza," Dayan added. "It's called high-projectile terrorism. You gather some thousands or tens of thousands of rockets, plant then in civilian areas, between houses of civilians areas and you shot it, you launch it."

Israel must also control airspace. A fighter jet can fly from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea in just four minutes, Dayan said.

He added that if Israel wants to survive with all that's happening in the Middle east, the country will have to base its security on defensible borders.

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