I have always thought that the IDF's presence along the Jordan River must be a security component in every agreement with the Palestinians. This was entailed by the need to defend Israel from the east and guarantee the demilitarization of the West Bank.
Today, thanks to three developments, two of them technological and the third essential, these security needs can be protected in a way that will not clash with the Palestinian need for sovereignty, thereby impeding an agreement with them.
The first development is in the ability of the IDF, which it did not have in the past, to locate targets in very far ranges and destroy them with great accuracy. The second development is in the area of biometric identification and computer communication abilities of intelligence knowledge bases. Today terror suspects can be located in airports and border crossings, their information can be checked and they can be arrested, all within seconds.
The significance of these two technological developments is that any attempt to bring offensive weapons from Jordan into the boundaries of Palestinian state can be prevented with a fatal and accurate hit, and any hostile deployment against Israel on the eastern bank of the Jordan River can be targeted – all this without deploying armored IDF divisions along the Jordan River. This can be done, if necessary, without very few hours.
The other significance is in the ability there is today to prevent the entry of terrorists into the West Bank through quick and certain identification. When we take into account the ability to stop hostile forces in identification and hit ranges of tens of kilometers, and the sophisticated control ability in border crossings, the Israeli presence along the Jordan Valley border can be reduced to such small dimensions that the Palestinians will be able to digest.
But technology is not enough for shaping a new security reality required for Israel's defense. The third development, the political one, is the one which allows a new security perception on Israel's eastern border. What has been clarified in recent years beyond any doubt is that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan share the same enemies: The global Jihad, the Salafi organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood which Hamas is part of – all of them together and each one pose a concrete, dangerous threat to the Hashemite Kingdom, to the Palestinian state and to the State of Israel.
The acknowledgement of the shared enemy has yielded productive security cooperation between Israel and Jordan and between Israel and the Palestinian Authority's security forces. The political leaderships in Israel and the Palestinian Authority refuse to admit to it publicly, each for its own internal reasons. But in closed forums, the heads of the Israeli defense establishment compliment the cooperation with the PA's security forces. This cooperation is in danger each time the chance for a peace agreement wears out.
The main opponents among us of every permanent agreement with the Palestinians raise the banner of the old school, which was right at the time, of deploying IDF divisions along the Jordan River, as an imperative condition for the permanent agreement, thereby seeking to thwart the agreement by using a security argument around which they can generate wide national agreement.
If the new abilities of the IDF and intelligence system are integrated into a three-way security coordination system – Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian – it will be possible to reach an agreed settlement on the eastern border, which will be safe for Israel and accepted by its neighbors. An agreement based on existential interests shared by the three states is immeasurably more efficient than foreign forces which are not defending their own country here.