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January 07, 2015

USA Today Op-Ed on Israeli 'Buffer Zone' Needs Remedial Thinking

In a USA Today commentary, “Do Buffer Zones Deter Wars?” (Dec. 29, 2014) Lionel Beehner writes that such zones "maintain the uneasy peace between Israel and Egypt and Syria over the past few decades." But “the one place in the Middle East with no real buffer … is within Israel itself, which is partly why violence with the Palestinians rekindles every few years.”

Are there "real buffers" in Syria? Iraq? Yemen? Libya? Never mind.

One hundred and twenty miles of largely unpopulated Sinai Desert, hosting a U.S.-led multinational observer force, does buffer Israel and Egypt. Israel occupies the Golan Heights, separating it from and looking down on a relatively unpopulated part of Syria.

But anti-Israel violence by Palestinian Arabs rarely comes from “within Israel itself.” Israel’s West Bank security barrier, which was a response to suicide bombers of the second intifada, plus checkpoints, good intelligence and occasional raids usually buffer Israel against terrorism from the well-populated territory that begins where suburban Tel Aviv and eastern Jerusalem stop.

What periodically rekindles Israeli-Palestinian violence? Contrary to Beehner, it's not the lack of a buffer zone. At fault are the genocidal intentions of Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, and repeated rejections of a "two-state solution" if it means peace with Israel as a Jewish state by the Fatah rulers of the West Bank.

Though not without its critics, Edward de Bono's influential and commercially successful book Teaching Thinking appeared 39 years ago. Beehner, a member of USA Today's board of contributors, Ph.D. candidate at Yale University and editor of the start-up online journal Cicero, apparently hasn't read it yet.

(USA Today declined to publish a shorter version of the above as a letter to the editor.)

Posted by ER at January 7, 2015 03:52 PM

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