Pressuring Israel

Daniel Pipes has called attention to the many disastrous unilateral concessions that Israel has made to the Arab Palestinian terrorist "leadership" since 1992, 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 Straight 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 U.S. 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 and to allow The Egyptians and Syrians to strike first. The result was three thousand Israeli deaths.

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 U.S. 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 Bush 41 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
U.S. 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, Colin Powell have demanded that Israel acquiesce in a Palestinian State. They have joined with the Europeans, Russia and the United Nations 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.

The Bush—Powell 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 construct a border fence, a purely defensive and non—lethal weapon, in order to protect its people from the murderous
terrorists.

Herein lies Israel's dilemma: Unless it acquiesces in U.S., 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.

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 them 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 writer based in Los Angeles

Daniel Pipes has called attention to the many disastrous unilateral concessions that Israel has made to the Arab Palestinian terrorist "leadership" since 1992, 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 Straight 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 U.S. 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 and to allow The Egyptians and Syrians to strike first. The result was three thousand Israeli deaths.

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 U.S. 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 Bush 41 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
U.S. 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, Colin Powell have demanded that Israel acquiesce in a Palestinian State. They have joined with the Europeans, Russia and the United Nations 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.

The Bush—Powell 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 construct a border fence, a purely defensive and non—lethal weapon, in order to protect its people from the murderous
terrorists.

Herein lies Israel's dilemma: Unless it acquiesces in U.S., 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.

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 them 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 writer based in Los Angeles