Van Creveld, a military historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, argues that Israel can properly defend itself by withdrawing from the West Bank, erecting a fence running "more or less" along the 1967 border, then using high-tech weaponry to insure against future attacks. Indeed, he is lyrical on the subject of fences: "cutting the chain that binds the fast, elegant, Israeli frigate off the leaking, barely seaworthy Palestinian barge will enable it to focus [its] energies on a single task, i.e. developing the country."
This makes sense at one level, as fences separating the two Koreas and the two Cypruses have worked for fifty and thirty years respectively. Why should a fence not serve to protect Israel? Because a great many Arabs still wish to annihilate the country and will not be deterred by a mere barrier. The author belittles this intent, dismissing it as a "simply false" notion, unrealistically asserting that "the worst days of ostracism appear to be over" for Israel. In reality, the desire of some 250 million Arabs to destroy Israel remains in place, even as the Jewish state's international isolation grows deeper.
Van Creveld also ignores the impact of the last unilateral Israeli withdrawal, in May 2000 from Lebanon. It did not solve problems but invited more Hezbollah attacks and likely precipitated the Palestinian war that began in September of that year. Indeed, many analysts point to the Lebanon withdrawal as the event that convinced Yasir Arafat that violence could also induce Israel to cough up the West Bank and Gaza.
Despite this error of judgment, Van Creveld is a knowledgeable scholar who makes some valuable points. He shows that topography, infrastructure, and Israel's superior military force render the West Bank and Gaza vulnerable to a lightning Israeli conquest. This makes Israel, he claims, one of the few countries that can defend itself even without a buffer once troops are withdrawn from enemy territories. That Israel is the pioneer in Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), which can drastically reduce the threat of potential military advances across the West Bank, makes such a step the more possible. And Israel could retain a strong missile deterrent against threats from the West Bank by moving some of its arsenal to sea, which would put its missiles in submarines and away from the threat of attacks.