TODAY, as American, European, Russian and United Nations officials meet in Washington to discuss the future of the Middle East peace process, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, remains adamant that a peace deal premised on returning to Israel’s pre-1967 borders poses an unacceptable risk to its security.
He is right: the country’s 1967 borders are not militarily defensible. But his use of this argument to reject the only viable formula for Israeli-Palestinian peace — a negotiated two-state solution based on mutually agreed upon land swaps — is wrong, and it does not serve Israel’s security interests.
Israel needs peace with the Palestinians, and that will likely require a return to the 1967 lines with a few adjustments. These borders can be made defensible if they come with a security package consisting of a joint Israeli-Palestinian security force along the West Bank’s border with Jordan, a demilitarized Palestinian state and a three-way Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian defense treaty. Combined with such a package, the balanced formula President Obama outlined in his May 19 speech can give Israel the security it needs and deserves.