The Eastern Front: The gaps between Israelis and Palestinians over the putative eastern borders of a Palestinian state are already wide — both in terms of Israel’s presence in the Jordan Valley and how long withdrawal might take. The rise of the Islamic State will only make them wider. The presences of al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate — al-Nusra Front — on the Syrian side of the Golan and the hostage taking of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDOF) peacekeepers could easily foreshadow the type of things to come. And while the Israelis seem to be reacting coolly and calmly to this problem, the issue of a hostile presence on their longest and least defensible border with Jordan will be an issue. Israelis are already worrying about IS cells in the West Bank. Indeed they already have the Golan Heights. IS becomes another problem entirely in the contest of a deal on the West Bank that involves Israeli withdrawal. Jordan is stable — now. But who would have ever imagined an IS takeover of Iraq’s second largest city in a matter of hours or IS’s rampage in north-eastern Syria? The reality is that Israel’s demands for a continued Israeli presence and a lengthy withdrawal period will only harden further. Palestinians will be faced with unpalatable constraints on their control and sovereignty of the Jordan Valley and the border.
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