The following is a letter sent from Israel Policy Forum’s strategic partner in Israel, Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning him to stop the march toward West Bank annexation. CIS is a movement of over 290 high-ranking generals from the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet, and Israel Police who have concluded, based on their security expertise and experience, that West Bank annexation is deeply harmful to Israel’s interests. Prime Minister Netanyahu dismissed their letter.

The letter was translated by Israel Policy Forum.

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

Hundreds of members of the Commanders for Israel Security movement and many other senior members of the defense establishment wish to warn you of the dangers to the security of the state embodied in the unilateral steps towards the application of sovereignty in the West Bank, and call on you to stop these unilateral moves immediately.

Just as we pledged to stand up and defend any decision that would promote civil separation from the Palestinians while maintaining security control until an agreement is reached – a pledge we stand by today – we pledge to stand firm against annexationists whose ideological fervor overshadows their ability to clearly see the severity of the consequences.

As past high level commanders from the IDF, the Shin Bet, the Mossad and the police, experienced in fighting against our enemies in the struggle against terror and against all other security challenges, and after dozens of years of service by many of us in the West Bank, we all share the view that the application of the Israeli law in the West Bank – in whole or in part – outside of an agreement, will trigger a chain reaction, which will seriously harm Israel’s economy, its regional and international standing, and especially its security. We warn that what will start out as applying sovereignty (annexation) over a limited area will ultimately produce a situation where we are forced to take full control over Judea and Samaria, with its millions of Palestinian residents.

A decision by the Knesset to pass annexation legislation, even entailing partial annexation, can only be interpreted in the territories, in the Middle East region, and in the world as a national decision to slam the door on any future arrangement. While it is not possible to assess whether the Palestinian response to the end of hopes for a future agreement will be violent, it is up to those in charge of Israel’s security, and you as our leader, to acknowledge this possibility alongside the possibility of the collapse of security cooperation between Israel and the PA (which is praised by the Shin Bet and the IDF for its contribution to saving Israeli lives) as well as the paralysis of the PA. These developments will create a security vacuum, which will invite terrorists and criminals, including, of course, Hamas.

In order to prevent this process, there will be no choice but to deploy the IDF and the Shin Bet in the areas in which the PA is currently enforcing law and order. From then on, the State of Israel will be in charge of the lives of another 2.6 million Palestinians. Since it cannot be expected that this process will happen without the south flaring up, a takeover of the Gaza Strip is liable to bring about another two million Palestinians under Israeli control.

The magnitude of forces – regular and reserve – which will be required for this task will severely impair the IDF’s readiness to deal with the challenges of Israel’s main security threats: from Hezbollah and Hamas to Iran in Syria and elsewhere.

The severe damage to Israeli security will exceed these immediate situations, and will include the possibility of harming both the strategic depth of Israel beyond the areas in question and the regional strategic-security opportunities, which you have rightfully worked hard to build.

As security officials, we leave others to detail the destructive economic implications from the withdrawal of donor countries, and the new burden on the state budget and on every Israeli family of funding some five million Palestinians, as well as the moral problems and other implications for Israeli society, which will find itself directly governing millions of Palestinians and dealing with the possibility that the Palestinian struggle for self-determination will become a struggle for equal rights in the State of Israel, all without an exit strategy.

We do not claim exclusivity in understanding the circumstances and in analyzing the meanings, and we do not underestimate the opinion of those who disagree with us only because they are a small minority among former senior members of the defense establishment. However, those who have signed below are united in the assessment that this is an unprecedented step in its destructive implications for Israel’s security.

Therefore, the Israeli government will show a great lack of responsibility if it chooses to embark on this adventurous move before taking these three steps:

  • Instruct state institutions responsible for this subject to conduct a thorough and comprehensive examination of its implications for all aspects of national security
  • Submit the findings of the examination to public debate before a decision is made.
  • Since the issue was not at the center of the public debate on the eve of the last elections, it will let the people make the final decision via referendum.  

Just as the Knesset under your rule passed a Basic Law requiring a referendum in the event of relinquishing sovereign territory, so should, for the sake of the unity of the people, the application of sovereignty also be approved under the same conditions as in the Basic Law: Referendum.

We are available to you and to the authority of the state bodies to examine this issue, and we will make available to them the findings and the knowledge accumulated during the examination we have conducted – the most extensive one performed so far – regarding the full destructive implications of the annexation process currently under discussion.


Avidor Gideon, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Even-Zahav Yehoah, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Abarbanel Ike, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Agmon Uri, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Agmon Yoram, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Aharonishky Shlomo, Inspector General. (Ret.)

Ohayun Berti, Major General. (Ret.)

Olmert (Yermi) Rami, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Azulai Avner, רח”ט בדימוס

Ofir Aharon, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ofir Gabbay, Major General. (Res.)

Or (Mendy) Yaakov, Major General. (Res.)

Oron Yisraela, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ikar Roni, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ayalon Ami, Former Head of the Shin Bet, Major General. (Res.)

Eliya Shlomo, Brigadier General, (Res.)

Almog Avraham, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Almog Ze’ev, Major General. (Res.)

Assad Amal, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Appel Raffi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Arbel David, Head of Division

Arad Uzi, Former Head of the National Security Council

Arditi Dani, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Erez Haim, Major General. (Res.)

Erez Oded, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Erez Amichai, Head of Division (Ret.)

Erez Shaike, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ashkenazi Haim, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Asher Dani, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Baharav Yisrael, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Biran (Bikko) Ya’akov, Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Bachrach Mena, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben- Besht David, Major General (Res.)

Ben-Yosef Yochai, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben-Moshe Shmuel, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben-Besht Ben Zion (Benzi), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben Yehuda Ran (Rani), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben Yitzhak Uzi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben Natan Yehudit, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben Porat Mordechai (Motke), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ben Tzur Barak, Deputy Head of Division (Ret.)

Bendell Dani, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Bar Yehuda, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Bar-El Miki, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Berger Yaakov, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Barzili Yitzhak, Head of Division (Ret.)

Brey Yaakov (Jacki), Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Barkoz Oded, Head of Division (Ret.)

Bertz Oren, Head of Unit (Ret.) רח”ט

Barak Haim, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Barak Michal, Sub Warder. (Ret.)

Givoli Shaul, Major General. (Ret.)

Goldblatt Mark, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Gonen Yosef, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Gofen Haim, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Goren Ran, Major General. (Res.)

Goren Shmuel, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Gazit Shlomo, Major General. (Res.)

Giron Ruli, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Gal Reuven, Former Deputy Head of the National Security Council.

Gal Shlomo, Major General. (Ret.)

Gilboa Eitan, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Gross Ehud, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Granot Naftali, Former Deputy Director General of the Mossad.

Degol Omri, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Dagan Avinoam, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Davidov Oded, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Dotan Yishai, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Dotan Rami, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Dar Yitzhak (Dutzi), Head of Division. (Ret.)

Hadar Kimchi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Haran Yaakov, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Heskel Amir, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Vaks Shlomo, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Vardi Aharon, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Zohar Avi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Zonenfeld Rami, Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Zamir Avi, Major General. (Res.)

Zamir Zvi, Former Director General of the Mossad, Major General. (Res.)

Horev Amos, Major General. (Res.)

Haike Giora, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Chen Yosef (Yossi), Head of Division. (Ret.)

Hefetz Assaf, Inspector General. (Ret.)

Tiomkin Moshe, Major General. (Ret.)

Tiller Avi, Major General. (Ret.)

Tal Ilan, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Tal Alex, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Yossef Eyal, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Yaini Moshe, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Yaari Aviezer (Avi), Major General. (Res.)

Yitzhak Yair, Major General. (Ret.)

Yekuel Eli, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Yaron Amos, Major General. (Res.)

Yaron Ruth, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Yarkoni Eli, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Yatom Dani, Former Director General of the Mossad, Major General. (Res.)

Cohen Eli, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Cohen Yaakov (Kobi), Major General. (Ret.)

Cohen Shlomo, Fire Commissioner. (Ret.)

Katri Ron, Brigadier General. (Res.)

L.Y., Brigadier General. (Res.)

Levi Orwin, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Leder, Hezi, Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Lotan Rafi, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Levi Asher, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Levi Yossi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Lazarson Yishayahu (Shaya), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Lacher Yaakov, Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Livne Ariyeh, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Lidor Benny, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Lest Gabbay, Major General. (Ret.)

Liron (Tzeki) Yitzhak, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Leshem Yisrael, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Meir Shimon, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Morag Hemi, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Morag Ami, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Moran Ami, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Moshavi Avi, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Mizrahi Avi, Major General. (Res.)

Mizrahi Orna, Former Head o the National Security Council

Mizrahi Ilan, Former Head of the National Security Council

Midan Benni, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Meital Mordechai, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Malka Rafi, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Mantzur Dudu, Major General. (Ret.)

Maayan Michael, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Mitzna Amram, Major General. (Res.)

Meret Yachiam, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Ne’aman Benny, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Nave Gabbay, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Nave Avner, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Nave Avraham, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Noiman Mordechai (Moti), Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Nitzan Hen, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Sneh Efraim, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ivri-Soknik Moshe, Major General. (Res.)

Eylam Uzi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Eini Freddy, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Inbar Giora, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Inbar Menashe, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Poleg Tzvi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Paz Ilan, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Peleg Shlomo, Head of Unit. (Ret.)

Fellman Ariyeh, Former Head of the Shin Bet

Farhi Ben-Tzion, Major General. (Res.)

Perry Goli, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Perry Yinon, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Freilich David (Chuck), Former Deputy Head of the National Security Council

Tzedaka Dov (Poppy), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Tzur David, Major General. (Ret.)

Tzroia Yossi, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Kadmiel Doron, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Koren Ze’ev, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Keidar Moshe (Motzi), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Kitron Rafi, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Keinan Giora, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Knor Tzvi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Kennig Haim, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Karoza David, Major General. (Ret.)

Karyan Shraga, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Keren Aryeh, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Rabin Yitzhak, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Robovitch Haim, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Rodman Yoram, Brigadier General. (Ret.)

Revach Moshe, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Rothchild Dani, Major General. (Res.)

Romach Shimon, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Ron Elik, Major General. (Ret.)

Rona Aryeh, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ronen Amir, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Raz Gilad, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Raz Yaakov, Major General. (Ret.)

Raz Oded, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Ram (Furman) Giora, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ram Eliezer, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ramot Gilad, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Ramot Shifman Aryeh, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Reshef Amnon, Major General. (Res.)

Shabtai Shavit, Former Director General of the Mossad

Segev Yitzhak, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Sheder Yitzhak (Yichko), Major General. (Ret.)

Sadeh Menahem, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Shor Tzvi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Shchur Oren, Major General. (Res.)

Shchur Ran, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Shchuri Moshe, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Shacham Nisso, Major General. (Ret.)

Shiloh Dov, Deputy Head of Division. (Ret.)

Shalvi Udi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Shimhoni Ehud (Udi), Brigadier General. (Res.)

Snir Yossi, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Shaffir Hertzel, Major General. (Res.)

Shaked Nitzan, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Sharon Menahem, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Sharoni, Natti, Major General. (Res.)

Sarig Shaike, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Sason Yachiam, Brigadier General. (Res.)

Tomer Haim, Head of Division. (Ret.)

Tamari Dov, Brigadier General. (Res.)