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Daniel Pipes has called attention to the many disastrous unilateral concessions (http://danielpipess.org/article/1916) that Israel has made to the Arab Palestinian terrorist "leadership" since 1992 (http://danielpipes.org/article/1916"), and the terrible price in dead, maimed and suffering people, not to mention a ruined economy that Israel has paid for these concessions. In return, Israelis have received no benefits whatsoever.
Pipes attributes this willingness of Israel's government to make these unilateral concessions to the vanity of Israel's prime ministers, eager to secure their place in history, by making peace with the Arabs. Without denying that Israeli prime ministers and other high officials of Israel are responsible for their decisions, it is essential that we accurately identify the motivations behind them. The single most important motive has not been the vanity of Israel's prime ministers, but relentless pressure from the United States, the European Community and the United Nations.
The modern state of Israel has always been on the receiving end of pressure from its closest ally. Even before Israel had declared its independence in 1948, it had to endure relentless pressure from President Truman and Secretary of State George Marshall to renounce independent nationhood and submit to a United Nations trusteeship. In 1957, President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai desert, which it had occupied in order to stop incessant terrorist attacks and an Egyptian blockade of its shipping, in return for an American promise to keep the vital Straits of Tiran waterway open to Israeli ships. When Egypt re-imposed the blockade ten years later, President Lyndon Johnson and his advisors claimed that they "couldn't find" his predecessor's pledge to Israel in US government files and declined to honor it.
When it became clear that Egypt and Syria were once again about to launch a massive attack on Israel in October 1973, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon applied brutal pressure on Prime Minister Golda Meir to refrain from a "preemptive" attack (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/N= SAEBB/NSAEBB98) and to allow the Egyptians and Syrians to strike first. The result was three thousand Israeli deaths. The inside story of the Yom Kippur war is found in Chapter 13 of The Final Solution Revisited. It is also covered on pages 308-313 (ref: Deane Rink, http://www.samizdat.com/rinkreview20.html) of The Secret War Against The Jews, by John Loftus (http://www.john-loftus.com/bookreview.asp)
"A few hours before the invasion, the White House belatedly alerted Tel Aviv that the nation was in deep trouble. An attack was coming on both fronts, but the White House insisted that the Israelis do nothing: no preemptive strikes, no firing the first shot. If Israel wanted American support, Kissinger warned, it could not even begin to mobilize until the Arabs invaded. Of course there was little the Israelis could do on such short notice anyway, so they caved in to American demands. No general mobilization was issued after the warning from the United States. The cabinet was still in emergency session when the attack came. Prime Minister Golda Meir was supposedly the person who overruled all entreaties from Defense Minister Moshe Dayan for immediate offensive action. She cited Kissinger's threats as the major reason." (p.310)
Later, when Israel finally got the upper hand in the fighting, the United States forced it to accept a ceasefire before the Israelis could win a complete victory. Two years later, President Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger (still the Secretary of State) forced the Israelis to withdraw unilaterally from the Suez Canal, even without a peace treaty with Egypt.
President Jimmy Carter pressured Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin to withdraw from the entire Sinai Peninsula in return for a peace treaty with Egypt. But Egypt has kept only a formal, 'cold peace' with Israel ever since, continuing to indoctrinate its people in hatred for Israelis and Jews, all the while arming itself to the teeth.
President Ronald Reagan and his advisors mounted enormous pressure on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 1983, before it had ratified its peace treaty with Israel. The US also pressed Israel to allow Yasser Arafat and his associates to flee Lebanon with their weapons, even though Israel could easily have killed or captured them. Syria was allowed to keep its troops in Lebanon, where they have been ever since. Twenty years of terror against Israel by both Lebanese and Palestinian groups have been the result.
President George H. W. Bush and his Secretary of State, James Baker, squeezed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to halt the settlement of Judea and Samaria by denying the Israelis the loan guarantees they needed to absorb a huge exodus of Jewish refugees from Russia. When Prime Minister Shamir politely but firmly resisted these pressures, he paid a political price; he was not reelected, and the Israel Labor Party, more pliable to US pressures, returned to office.
President Bill Clinton squeezed Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to agree to the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from large areas of Judea and Samaria (the so-called "Wye Agreements"), leaving many of the Jewish communities there surrounded by Arab-controlled territory and very vulnerable to attack. The list of instances of American pressure on Israel can go on and on.
But no administration has been more insistent on Israeli unilateral concessions to the Palestinian terrorists than that of our current President, George W. Bush. Mr. Bush and his Secretary of State, Condeleezza Rice, have demanded that Israel acquiesce in a Palestinian State. They have joined with the Europeans, Russia and the United Nations in a "Quartet" to demand Israel's withdrawal to the indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines (the so-called "Road Map"). They have extracted a promise from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to retaliate against the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, even though there is no possibility of peace as long as Arafat remains in control of the terrorist apparatus. Whenever Israel has sent troops into Arab areas in order to root out the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, the Bush Administration has demanded their quick withdrawal, before the Israeli soldiers could complete their mission.
George Bush recently endorsed the Gaza disengagement, the "Sharon plan". Then, the Arabs strongly protested and Bush caved and said that Judea-Samaria, including Jerusalem, will remain open to be negotiated between the parties. Within a few weeks of giving "assurances" to Sharon that the US would not demand a return to the 1967 lines, the United States joined with the other "Quartet" powers, in calling for "an end to the occupation which began in 1967," and in affirming support for the Saudi plan, which calls for a complete withdrawal to the 1967 lines and the "return" of the Palestinian "refugees" to Israel. Bush-Rice bend to Arab pressure and treat Israel with a double standard when it comes to terrorism.
The Bush-Rice State Department has demanded that Israel dismantle some communities in Judea and Samaria and strangle others with ultra-strict prohibitions on growth. And it has opposed Israel's attempts to include Israeli communities outside the 1949 armistice lines -- the so-called "Green Line" -- within its purely defensive border fence. These communities, including Israeli neighborhoods in Jerusalem outside the Green Line, have a population of over 400,000.
Herein lies Israel's dilemma: unless it acquiesces in US, European and United Nations demands that it make unilateral concessions to the terrorists and allow them to take control of territory adjoining its main centers of population, the United States could cut off all aid to Israel, on which it depends for the weapons it needs to survive. A strong Israel, unwilling to bend to pressure, might also face economic sanctions from the entire "international community", or even military intervention by the European Community, which is in the process of developing its own intervention force, independent of NATO and the United States. Israel is threatened with total international isolation if it resists the pressure for international concessions, while it must endure endless terror and murder against its population if it knuckles under to the pressure -- as, in fact, it has been experiencing since the present terrorist offensive began in September 2000.
American pressure is ever looming on Israeli leaders no matter what they say. Everything Israeli leaders do is with the US in mind. It may appear to be their decision, but behind the scenes, it is always made with US wishes as a consideration. The last word is always with the US administration. Nonetheless, Israel is still a sovereign, independent state and its government has the capacity to act independently when, and if, its leaders have the courage to stand alone in defense of its vital interests. The Israeli people have a right to expect their leaders to adhere to this standard of courage.
There are some instances where Israeli leaders refused to cave in to American pressure, and the sky didn't fall in. When US Secretary of State George Marshall warned Israel's future foreign minister, Moshe Shertok (name later changed to Sharett) against a declaration of a Jewish State, Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and the entire leadership of the new nation decided to go ahead anyway. Israel survived the American effort to strangle it at birth, and is still here. Years later, President John Kennedy tried to pressure Israel to abandon its nuclear program. Prime Minister Ben-Gurion resisted the pressure. As a result, Israel now has a nuclear deterrent. These examples prove that it is possible for Israel to resist unreasonable demands, even from the United States. Hence, its leaders are responsible when they cave in to unreasonable demands.
Basically, Israel is alone, as it has always been. The Bible says that Israel is a nation that dwells alone. In the end, Israel/Jews were, are and will be used as scapegoats, whether by Bush or other leaders, I am afraid. But what is worse, Jews are now lending a hand in the harassment of Israel. They are not resolute, proud and willing to defend the legitimate Jewish right to a homeland, not only historically, but in the present day, including the heartland of Israel, Judea-Samaria, Gaza, Golan and the Bashan, too.
In the end, Israeli leaders are responsible for the poor decisions they have made since 1992, whatever external pressures may have been brought to bear on them. But Israel's friends here in America and elsewhere can do more to help Israelis by demanding that their own governments halt the pressure on Israel than by casting the whole blame for the appeasement of the terrorists on the shoulders of Israel's government. It is up to the people of Israel to remove from office those leaders who have knuckled under to external pressures to appease their enemies; and it is up to us, as Americans, to replace leaders who have harassed our one true ally in the Middle East: Israel.
Rachel Neuwirth is a Los Angeles-based analyst on the board of
directors of the West Coast Region of the American Jewish Congress and
the chairperson of the organization's Middle East committee.
This article is a minor revision of an article that appeared in the
American Thinker July 7, 2004 and is archived at
Rachel Neuwirth is a Los Angeles-based analyst on the board of directors of the West Coast Region of the American Jewish Congress and the chairperson of the organization's Middle East committee.
This article is a minor revision of an article that appeared in the
American Thinker July 7, 2004 and is archived at
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