ISRAELI NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN POLICIES
ISRAELI NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN POLICIES
By Israel Shahak
Israel's Strategic Aims and Nuclear Weapons
from chapter 2
Syrian Cities and Relations with Saddam Hussein
Israel Versus Iran chapter
Israeli Foreign Policy after the Oslo Accord
Israeli Foreign Policies, August 1994
Israeli Policies Toward Iran and Syria
from chapter 8
Israel and the Organized American Jews
from chapter 11
The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the US and the Inman Affair
Israel's Strategic Aims and Nuclear Weapons
What Saguy says he is afraid of, is `a Syrian-Iranian alliance'. The exchange on this subject with his interviewer deserves to be quoted in extenso: `Question: Can an alliance of Syria with Iran serve as a substitute for an alliance between Syria and Iraq in the formation of the eastern front against Israel? Answer: There is a collaboration between Syria and Iran in plenty of things. It is going to be closer. Perhaps even in strategic weaponry, and the non-conventional ventures. Question: Is Iran helping Syria to obtain nuclear weapons? Answer: At this stage not yet. But when Iran itself becomes nuclearized, I cannot see how it can avoid cooperating [in this matter] with Syria. Such a prospect should worry us, even though it is still distant ... In ten years' time Iran will certainly become a decisive factor in the entire region, and as such an ever-present threat to its peace. This can hardly be prevented, unless somebody intervenes directly. It is quite probable that outside factors such as the US, alone or together with other states, would intervene to halt the progress of Iranian rearmarment. But a historical paradox is also possible: Iraq may rearm itself, with the effect of checking the growth of Iranian armed power.'
A long-standing Israeli custom commands the generals in active service to stop short of saying too much in interviews, but it lets semi-official experts or retired generals reveal the Israeli strategic intentions to the nation's elite in a more informative manner. The explanation of the crucial and most sensitive Israeli strategic aims,
Brosh must be presumed to aim his polemic at critics more prominent than those concerning themselves with health hazards, because he mentions some unnamed Israelis who are said by him to argue `that in view of what the foreign media report from time to time about the growth of Israel's nuclear assets, their further growth should be halted. Sometimes it is even being argued that somebody authorized or unauthorized might activate one or several Israeli nuclear warheads through either error or accident. Moreover, some argue that Israel's unremittent nuclear development only propels Arab countries, Iran and other Muslim states to equip themselves with all sorts of non-conventional, but primarily nuclear, weapons.' None of these apprehensions have ever appeared not only in the censored Hebrew press but, to the best of my knowledge, in the mainstream international press as well. All of them are nevertheless in my view quite justified. Not only is the prospect of Dimona one day becoming another Chernobyl something to be seriously discussed. The prospect of Gush Emunim ('The Block of the Faithful'), or some secular right-wing Israeli fanatics, or some of the delirious Israeli Army generals, seizing control of Israeli nuclear weapons and using them in accordance with their `knowledge' of politics or by the authority of `divine command'
Brosh hurries to admit to his readers that `not everybody who hates Dimona - whether in Israeli or abroad - hates Israel. On the contrary, a great many foreigners who perceive the Dimona reactor as an evil have an affection for Israel.' Yet the Israelis who `hate Dimona' are apparently not quite the same. Brosh is worried by their critique, especially since they are said by him to propose `that the Dimona reactor be closed' in order to be thereafter `accessible to international controls capable of proving to our neighbours that we no longer produce any fissionable substances'. Such a proof could be offered `to our neighbours' either in a gesture of good will or within the framework of a regional settlement. But while admitting the desirability of more frequent and thorough checks to preclude Chernobyl-like accidents, Brosh disqualifies `all other apprehensions of the enemies of Dimona as flunking the test of technical and political realities in our region'. We need to keep in mind that Israeli censorship has thus far prevented the publication of what `the enemies of Dimona' have to say. We know about their existence and their arguments only what their open enemy, Brosh, wanted and was permitted by that censorship to tell us.
Let me ignore Brosh's brief, superficial and in my view inaccurate presentation of the mentioned `technical realities'. Let me just mention that he highly commends `what goes under the name of the neutron bomb, developed by the Americans in the 1970s'. Let me concentrate on what, apparently reiterating the lessons learned from his mentors, he has to say about `the political realities in our region', in so far as they have a bearing upon Israeli nuclear power. Regarding the uses of Israeli nuclear weapons during a war, Brosh sees two major options. The first, `the last-minute option' is defined as `a scenario which in fact presumes that Israel will refrain from making any nuclear threats unless it is defeated by conventional weapons, or can realistically expect such a defeat as imminent, or is threatened by use of non-conventional weapons'. In this way `the Arab leaders can be denied a victory' by the threat of `the destruction of Arab civilization'. In my view, this can be interpreted as meaning that Israel has contingency plans for cases of extreme emergency which envisage a devastation by nuclear weapons of a considerable number of Arab urban centres and such crucial installations as the Aswan Dam (whose destruction was envisaged in Israel before 1973). This awful possibility needs to be faced, however horrifying may be the thought about its direct effects on the Arab world and indirect effects upon the entire world in terms of massive human
But Brosh does not favour `the last-minute option'. Being by no means a religious fanatic he does clearly realize that this option implies not just `the destruction of the Arab civilization', but also `our own national suicide'. He also has strategic objections against this option which can be conjectured to draw on the experience of the October 1973 War. He anticipates that the Arab leaders might attack Israel, not for the sake of defeating it but for other reasons. In case the attack turns militarily successful, `the last-minute option' might prompt the Israeli leaders, even the relatively sane among them, to a nuclear response. When dealing with the long-concealed events of October 1973 War, I documented that the Israeli Army High Command of that time, possibly including Moshe Dayan, favoured Israeli nuclear response against Syria, but were halted in doing so by Golda Meir, backed by Kissinger. Much as I abhor what Brosh says I have to admit that he is not the most extremist among Israeli expens anticipating the use of nuclear weapons.
Brosh's own proposals, which can be assumed express the views of the Israeli Security System, rest on the assumption that `it is preferable to competently elaborate a system of options which would include the instrumentalities of handling the problems arising from a potential massive missile or armoured attack against us, if it one day materializes, and which would prepare means to deter such an attack, or to foil it, if the deterrence fails'. He adds that pertinent Israeli `decisions should better not be dictated by outside factors', a transparent allusion to the US. This option should not be resorted to in his opinion, `as long as the threat to us comes from no more than a single, even if major, Arab state such as Syria' and if it involves onlyo the use of conventional weapons. He immediately stipulates, however, that `even in such a case, it would be preferable to leave the enemy befogged about our intentions'. Let me clarify, however, that in Israeli terminology, the launching of missiles on to Israeli territory is regarded as 'non
Still arguing against his unidentified opponents, Brosh contends that 'their is absolutely no connection between unremitting Israeli nuclear development and Arab, Iranian or Pakistani pursuits', in spite of the fact that Israeli nuclear weapons are, or at least may be, aimed at those countries. But Brosh goes even deeper in his arguments: 'Generally, in long-term security planning one cannot ignore the political factors. Israel must take into account, for example, that the Saudi royal family is not going to reign forever or that the Egyptian regime may change.' Precisely because of such political contingencies Israel must remain free to use or threaten to use its nuclear weapons. Brosh argues that `we need not be ashamed that the nuclear option is a major instrumentality of our defence as a deterrent against those who may attack us. The three big democracies have relied on the same deterrent for decades.' The very comparison of Israel's strategic aims with those of the US, Britain and France is an irrefutable proof of Israel's ambition to achieve the status of a superpower. But Israel can become a superpower only if it succeeds in establishing a hegemony over the entire Middle East. Meanwhile, there is one crucial difference between Israel and `the three big democracies'. The French, for example, pay themselves for developing their own nuclear power. The development of Israeli nuclear power is, by contrast, being financed by the US. Money for this purpose can be obtained only ,f Congress toes the line of the organized segment of the American Jewish community and of its various allies. And in the process, the American public must be effectively deceived about Israel's real strategic aims.
The Israeli grand strategy' has diverse strands. The task of blending them together into a single overarching concept was undertaken by General (Reserves) Shlomo Gazit in an article remarkable for its lucidity and forthrightness (Yedior Ahronnr, 27 .April). Gazit is a former Military Intelligence commander who often explains in the media the strategic aims of the Israeli Security System, or else provides apologias for what the public tends to regard as its blunders or failures. His article has two avowed aims. The first, common also to several other prestigious Israeli press commentators writing at about the same time, is to convince the public that what `we used to hear for many years, almost since the birth of the State, about Israel as a strategic asset for the US and of the free world', remains no less valid after the demise of the USSR and the termination of the Cold War than it had been before. Let me ignore a greater part of tis historical presentation of how and why Israel could become so wonderful a strategic asset in the past, except for a single point which contains something new. The point
However Gazit admits that the value of Israel's actually rendered services oC the Cold War period `did dwindle, perhaps even completely, as [the US] no longer needs to be prepared for war with the Soviet bloc'. This became apparent `over a year ago, when the largest military force since World War II assembled during the Gulf War in our own region, in the very heart of the Middle East. Israel was ignored when this war was fought. Moreover, hope was expressed and concrete steps taken for the single aim of precluding Israel's involvement in that war.' Gazit even admits why it was so: `due to what from the Israeli point of view is a very sad but salient fact, namely that (with the possible exception of Egypt which had signed a peace treaty with us), no other Arab state can be a party to any military or security-aimed alliance, if Israel is also a party to it.' This was why, explains Gazit, `the Israeli Army was not actively involved in the war against Iraq'. This was why the armed forces of the anti-Iraqi coalition were not stationed on Israeli territory, as a result of 'the Arab veto'. Expecting his readers to consequently ask, `What has still remained of Israel's traditional role as a strategic asset, then?', Gazit proceeds to lay bare the more decisive and lasting aspects of that role.
This is the second purpose of Gazit's article, even more important than the first. He believes, correctly in my view, that Israel still remains a strategic asset as it was in the past. His lucid explanation deserves to be quoted extensively: `Israel's main task has not changed at all, and it remains of crucial importance. The geographical location of Israel at the centre of the Arab-Muslim Middle East predestines Israel to be a devoted guardian of stability in all the countries surrounding it. Its [role] is to protect the existing regimes: to prevent or halt the processes of radicalization and to block the expansion of fundamentalist religious zealotry. Israel has its "red lines", which have a powerful deterrent effect by virtue of causing uncertainty beyond its borders, precisely because they are not clearly marked nor explicitly defined. The purpose of these red lines is to determine which strategic developments or other changes occurring beyond Israel's borders can be defined as threats which Israel itself will regard as intolerable to the point of being compelled to use all its militaryo power for the sake of their prevention or eradication.' In other words, the red lines are Israeli dictatorial ultimata imposed by it on all the other Middle Eastern states.
Gazit distinguishes 'three kinds of developments' among the processes of radicalization `which qualify as intolerable' [to Israel]. The first category is constituted by acts of anti-Israeli terrorism
The second category of the red line is applied in case of 'any entry of a foreign Arab military force on to the territory of a state which borders on Israel, i.e. practically Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.' (Although Egypt borders on Israel, it is not mentioned.) As in the previous case, Gazit is anxious to show that Israel has in such cases ;n benevolent concern for the stability of a given Arab regime: `An entry of a foreign Arab military force poses also a threat to the stability of the regime of the country thus affected, and sometimes also to the latter's sovereignty. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the Israeli red line which deters and prevents entries of foreign Arab military forces to countries neighbouring with Israel is also a stabilizing factor which really protects the existing states and regimes in the entire Middle East.'
The third category of the `red line' is in Gazit's view, and in mine as well, the most important. It is intended to preclude the developments which he defines as `threats of a revolt, whether military or popular, which may end up by bringing fanatical and extremist elements to power in states concerned. The existence of such threats has no connection with the Arab-Israeli conflict. They exist because the regimes [of the region] find it difficult to offer solutions to their socio-economic ills. But any development of the described kind is apt to subvert the existing relations between Israel and this or that from among its neighbours. The prime examples of such a red line are concerns for the preservation of Israel's peace treaty with Egypt and of the de facto peaceful cooperation between Israel and Jordan. In both cases it is Israel's red lines which communicate to its neighbours that Israel will not tolerate anything that might encourage the extremist forces to go all the way, following in the footsteps of either the Iranians to the east or the Algerians to the west.' Gazit backs this statement by mentioning the Israeli intervention in defence of the Jordanian regime during the `Black September' uprising of 1970. He discussed more extensively the developments in Lebanon in the wake of the outbreak of the Civil War in 1975: `When the Syrians were invited by some Maronites to intervene to stop the fighting and trounce the Muslims, they were at first deterred [by Israel] from advancing. When in the end the Syrian forces did advance, they clearly avoided anything which Israel could interpret as aberrant and thereby
According to Gazit, however, this form of `Israeli influence' may well extend beyond the Arab countries neighbouring with Israel: `Indirectly, it also radiates on to all the other states of our region. In almost all of them, some kind of radicalization is going on, except that the radical forces are deterred from pushing all the way through out of fear that their maximalism might prompt Israel to respond. Although no one would say so openly, I am positive that the regime of President Mubarak benefits from such an Israeli deterrence. If power [in Egypt] is ever seized by Islamic extremists, they will at once have to decide whether to recognize the peace treaty with Israel as binding or not. It will be a most difficult decision for them. If they do recognize the treaty, they will compromise their own ideology. And if they don't recognize it, they will at once have a war for which they cannot possibly be ready.'
In Gazit's view, by virtue of protecting all or most Middle Eastern regimes, Israel performs a vital service for `the industrially advanced states, all of which are keenly concerned with guaranteeing the stability in the Middle East'. He speculates that without Israel, the regimes of the region would have collapsed long ago. He concludes, `In the aftermath of the disappearance of the USSR as a political power with interests of its own in the region a number of Middle Eastern states lost a patron guaranteeing their political, military and economic viability. A vacuum was thus created, adding to the region's instability. Under such conditions the Israeli role as a strategic asset guaranteeing a modicum of stability in the entire Middle East did not dwindle o: disappear but was elevated to the first order of magnitude. Without Israel, the West would have to perform this role by itself, when none of the existing superpowers really could perform it, because of various domestic and international constraints. For Israel, by contrast, the need to intervene is a matter of survival.'
Let me recall in this context several facts of crucial importance. First, that speaking in the context of possible uses of Israeli nuclear power, Brosh revealed that Israel has contingency plans to be applied if `the Egyptian regime may change' or because `the Saudi royal family will not reign forever'. By comparing Gazit with Brosh, we can grasp better the nature of Israeli strategic aims. Israel is preparing for a war, nuclear if need be, for the sake of averting domestic change not to its liking, if it occurs in some or any Middle
However, as Gazit rightly points out, the USSR collapsed. As long as it existed it was a strategic factor of prime importance, because threat of Soviet intervention was to some extent deterring Israel from a direct and undisguised pursuit of hegemony over the entire Middle East. Now, as Gazir rightly observes, `a vacuum was created' which neither the US nor any other `industrially advanced state' can fill up, at least in Gazit's sense of the term. No faraway power will in the foreseeable future be able to invade a Middle Eastern. state, while using or threatening to use its nuclear arms in the process, only because it would dislike a domestic radicalization occurring within the internationally recognized borders of that state. Let us recall that even when Iraq persisted in its annexation of Kuwait, Bush could obtain only a slim majority in the US Congress in favour of opening the Gulf War. Can Congress be envisioned to approve an invasion of a Middle Eastern state in a mere response to a popular revolution there? The answer cannot but be either categorically negative, or at least anticipative of nearly unsurmoun2able obstacles that the US or any other Western power would in such a case have to cope with. There can be no doubt that in Israel, where even the Knesset doesn't need to be consulted before an armed aggression, no analogous obstacles exist. The Israeli government has the legal right to initiate a war, and it can be certain of an initial approval for it by a huge majority of the Jewish public, regardless of circumstances under which that war breaks out. In the past, whenever the Knesset was notified of an aggressive war already in progress, it would approve it enthusiastically, by a huge majority.
Knesset ratifications of the already ongoing wars actually occurred in 1967 and in 1982. But the best example of it, allowing us to probe deeper into the pattern of the Knesset's behaviour, is its ratification of the Suez War in 1956. After Ben-Gurion told the Knesset, on the third day of the war, that the war's purpose was `to re-establish the kingdom of David and Solomon' by annexing Sinai, our ancestral property `which is not a part of Egypt', as well as to liberate the Egyptians and the whole world from the tyranny of Nasser, the entire Knesset, with the exception of the four Communist MKs, got up and stood to attention to sing the Israeli national anthem. Only threats from Khrushchev and from Eisenhower eventually convinced Ben-Gurion to reverse himself on this score. Yet Ben-Gurion was a realist and he ruled over the Army with an iron fist.
Syrian Cities and Relations with Saddam Hussein24 September 1991
Here I will describe what probably was the first instance when the highest Israeli authorities actually contemplated the razing of four Syrian cities: Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia. The story which occurred during the October 1973 War is documented by Yigal Sama (Yediot Ahronot, 17 September 1991). Sama's facts are based on extensive documentation supplied by Aryeh Brown, the then military secretary of the Defence Minister, Moshe Dayan. Sarna's article contains an interview with Brown who defines himself as `loyal to Dayan, and trusting his judgement fully, both
Sama's article appeared on the Eve of Yom Kippur when analyses of the 1973 Yom Kippur War are customarily published by the Hebrew press. I Find it significant that no other Israeli war, such as the War of Independence and the Six Day War, duly commemorated as they are, receive even a fraction of printed space which the history of the 1973 War continues to receive. Sama himself fought in that war as a tank commander on the Syrian front. As for Sarna's personal attitude, he says that together with `a whole generation of Israelis, then traumatized to the core', he has since that war `acquired a split personality with half of it remaining in the past and the second half facing the future'. This can mean that the attitudes of the entire generation then changed. As Sarna says, that generation `now passes on the emotions then learned to their sons'. All Israeli politics from 1973 can best be understood as a reaction to the Yom Kippur War. That reaction, however, may assume antithetical directions.
The personality of Moshe Dayan needs to be taken into account here. I have always been very critical of Dayan, but I think that whatever can be said of his politics, there can be little doubt that, while the Israeli grand strategy precedes his time, he was also a master tactician, who invented the Israeli Army's doctrine of deterrence, along with other tactical innovations which still largely determine the Israeli Army's strategies and tactics, but above everything else in its attitudes towards the Arabs. Just before October 1973 Dayan was at the peak of his popularity, not only in Israel but also among the diaspora Jews. His popularity rested in my view mainly on his radiant confidence that Israel could retain the Territories conquered in that war indefinitely. He argued that the Arab states either would not dare attack Israel, or, if they did, their resounding defeat after a short war was assured.
Already on the second day of the Yom Kippur War (7 October), however, Dayan together with all other Israeli leaders realized that the war was going badly, w7th all their hopes for a rapid victory dashed. As Brown recounts, they nevertheless kept pretending to the Israelis as well as to the whole world (including their friend Henry Kissinger) that everything was going on according to the Israeli Army's plans. (A major carrier of this deception was Hayim Herzog, then the chief TV commentator and now President of the state.) The deception only aggravated the situation.
As Brown recounts it, on 7 October, at 11:45 a.m., 'Moshe Dayan and his chief military adviser General Rehavam Ze'evi (now the leader of the transfer-advocating Moledet (`Fatherland') party) already recognized the full dimensions of the (Israeli] defeat.' They came to this recognition in spite of being misinformed by some
`At the meeting (with senior officers]', continues Sarna, `instructions were drafted which even Brown considered devoid of all precedent.' In addition to orders to Israeli troops fighting the Syrians on the ground to destroy the Syrian Army without regard for their own casualties, they also included `the orders to find out by any means, including the most bizarre ones, what could be done' in order to defeat the Syrians rapidly. Brown explains to Sama that `it was Dayan who first advanced the idea that Syria must be crushed to pieces. When he talked about "the bizarre means", he meant to stress that anything was conceivable ... In the diaries of Brown from that time, the word "Damascus" from that moment onward begins to appear very frequently. Dayan, the Chief of Staff, the commander of the Air Force, all talked about Damascus. "We must smash Syria within the next 24 hours", said the Chief of Staff to the accompanying officers. "We have 400 tanks now fighting like hell. Therefore the Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia should be obliterated. I must do something dramatic enough to make Syria cry `Whoah!', to make them beg us `Please stop firing!' For that purpose I need something that will deprive them of all electricity, destroy all their power stations, and scorch their earth"'.
But in order to use such `bizarre means', Israeli generals needed an authorization by civilian authorities. The next day Dayan,
At this point Sama's narrative 6reaks for about seven to eight days. This may be due either to Brown's reluctance to talk or to a censorship ban. Judging by references to events on the Syrian front, the narrative resumes from 15-16 October. By then, Israeli commanders, instead of working alone as they did at the beginning of the war, were working in close coordination with Henry Kissinger. The planning aimed no longer at obliterating Damascus (other Syrian cities were no longer even mentioned), but at besieging or conquering it. Only some of the generals demanded sterner measures. The idea animating everybody was to conclude the war by a great victory in the style of the Six Day War, but on a larger scale.
One October night Dayan wrote an instruction: `I plan complete destruction of the Syrian army. If Damascus can be conquered, its conquest should be considered ... Our entry into Damascus could balance our retreat from the [Suez] Canal.' Next morning `the Chief of Staff asked for a missile of 40-km range to be launched on to Damascus. Dayan rejected that request.' We can make the conjecture that the missile which the Chief of Staff requested was not meant to have a conventional warhead. Then Dayan went to the command of General Rafael Eitan on the Syrian front to tell him: `Our aim is to reach Damascus. The conduct of the war depends on our ability to reach Damascus ... We should proceed toward it, attacking on a narrow front, and [then] make an assault on the city, so that they will be forced to beg us to refrain from conquering it.' Eitan is recorded by Brown as promising Dayan that Damascus would soon be conquered and as issuing the requisite orders at once, while Dayan watched to see what would follow: `After two hours the spearhead of the advancing Armour brigade commanded by Gener-al Lemer, reported having been hit by a Syrian anti-tank Corce. The Syrians awaited the Israelis in ambush and inflicted heavy casualties. Yet Dayan continued to think about the conquest of Damascus.' After several hours, when Lerner's brigade
Yet the same day Dayan promised Golda Meir to either conquer Damascus or at least reach its outskirts, and he repeated this at a government meeting. Then he went to the generals commanding the Syrian front. telling them: `Our troops need to advance no more than 5 or 7 km. From there we can reach Damascus which lies at the distance of only 25 km. further. This can be accomplished easily enough.' What he apparently expected was that after an initial offensive the Syrian Army would break apart and run away, in the same way as the Egyptian Army had done in 1967. In fact, his (and his generals') reasoning relied entirely on folk psychology: on their own preconceptions about `Arab mentality'. Theirs was a `strategy based on the presume~ psychology of the Arabs'. This strategy prevailed at the same meeting, when the commander of the Air Force, Benny Peled, proposed that Damascus be bombed from the air rather than conquered. Dayan responded: `The Syrians know that aircraft sows destruction but cannot conquer. But if we shell them with artillery, they will feel that we are about to conquer the city soon.'
But another factor also played its role. Brown records that `the State Secretary [Kissiryer] instantly receives the reports of all the movements of the Israeli troops. He is deliberately staying the political process in order to enable Israel to negotiate later from a more advantageous position. Kissinger is certain that Damascus will be conquered, to the point of having quipped to Dinitz [Israeli Ambassador in the US]: "As soon as you reach the suburbs of Damascus, all you will need for the rest is the public transport"'. He said it `ten days before the end of the war'. It was due to his interaction with Kissinger that Dayan insisted on `the conquest of Damascus within a few days'.
The role of Begin, then head of the Israeli opposition, was downright comical. Prompted by `the phone calls I keep getting from Sharon at the [Egyptian] front', Begin told Dayan that the conquest of Damascus was imperative `for the sake of liberating the Syrian Jews'. (He apparently meant those who would survive the bombing of Damascus.) Dayan dismissed him courteously. Dayan was still so sure that Damascus could at the very least be besieged by the Israeli forces that `he began to worry about what might happen to those forces in the vicinity of Damascus during the entire rainy season', i.e. the winter.
Sarna's story is ominous because the fundamental aims of the Israeli army top commanders can be presumed to remain the same and the folk psychology guiding their decisions can be presumed not to have changed either. The ideas of fighting Syria with nuclear weapons are unlikely to have been discarded. The recourse to nuclear weapons on Israel's part, whether for the sake of obliterating the four mentioned Syrian cities or of Damascus alone seems to have been prevented in 1973 by the opposition of Golda Meir and Henry Kissinger, both of whom preferred Israel to conquer Damascus by conventional means.
The middleman chosen by Saddam Hussein was `an American businessman of Arab descent ... Bob Abud. At present he is the president of the First City Bank of Texas. In the past he presided over the oil company owned by the multi-millionaire Armand Hammer ... He is 62, well-known for his good relations with some heads of Arab states, for whom he arranges personal loans on easy terms. He also maintains good relations with the Arab-American community. After twelve years of heading Hammer's oil company `Occidental Petroleum', he became president of a Chicago bank', where `he developed an interest in advancing the cause of peace between Israel and the Arab states' (Shiff, 6 November). It is not irrelevant to note that Armand Hammer, who is Jewish, has for many years been a fervent Israel supporter, a generous contributor to United Jewish Appeal (of the US] and a major investor in Israel, in addition to being used by Israeli diplomacy as a middleman in political ventures, for example arranging the immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel through his contacts with top Soviet leaders.
As Shiff reports it (5 November) the offer was made by Saddam Hussein, who proposed through Abud `to meet with Yitzhak Rabin, then [Israeli] Defence minister. The dates of two meetings, to be held in Europe were already fixed, although the Iraqis requested to reschedule them. A secret meeting between Rabin and the middleman was held in Philadelphia.' According to Shiff, Abud, `was held by the Israelis in respect, as somebody with useful connections. Considering this, Rabin expressed his desire to meet him in order to hear directly about the Iraqi proposal.' Prior to meeting Rabin, Mr Abud met several times `an Israeli businessman living most of his time abroad, Azriel Einav', known for having good connections within the Israeli Detence Ministry and other components of the Israeli Security System. When those meetings proved successful and the consent of Rabin to establish contacts with Saddam Hussein was obtained, an influential aide and personal friend of Rabin, Eytan Haber `was appointed as a go-between in charge of arranging the meetings' of Rabin with Saddam Hussein. When confronted by Shiff with the evidence, Haber responded that "`something like that" had indeed occurred', but refused to provide any further information.
The Philadelphia meeting of Abud with Rabin was held when the latter attended the opening of an Israeli Bonds convention in that city. Haber and the military secretary of Rabin, Kuti Mor were present during a part of the meeting with Abud. To prevent the press from noticing the meetings, Mr Abud `entered the hotel through the kitchen door and proceeded to Rabin's suite by a service elevator'. On the agenda was, first, `the proposal [of Saddam
Contacts between Israel and Iraq and the timing of various meetings were negotiated and renegotiated by Israel and Iraq through the above mentioned go-between during several subsequent months, `but when the tension between [Israel] and Iraq began to mount after Saddam Hussein's speech at the last February's conference of the Council for Economic Cooperation between Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen, the idea of meeting was shelved', apparently by Israel. Shiff (5 November) writes in conclusion: `Supposedly, the American businessman was reporting all the details of the negotiations to the White House.'
Israel versus Iran
24 February 1993
A major article by the political correspondent of A1 Hamishmar, Yo'av Kaspi bears the title that summarizes its contents: `Iran needs to be treated just as Iraq had been' (19 February 1993). The article contains an interview with Daniel Leshem, introduced as `a retired senior officer in the [Israeli] Military Intelligence, now member of the Centre for Strategic Research at the Tel Aviv University'. Leshem is known to be involved in forming Israeli strategies. His account of how Iran is going to nuclearize is too dubious to merit coverage here as are his lamentations that `the world' has been ignoring the warnings of the Israeli experts who
Hence Leshem believes that Israel should make Iran fear Israeli nuclear weapons, but without hoping that it might deter it from developing their own; he proposes `to create the situation which would appear similar to that with Iraq before the Gulf crisis'. He believes this could `stop the Ayatollahs, if this is what the world really wants'. How to do it? `Iran claims sovereignty over three strategically located islands in the Gulf. Domination over those islands is capable of assuring domination not only over all the already active oilfields of the area, but also over all the natural gas sources not yet exploited. We should hope that, emulating Iraq, Iran would contest the Gulf Emirates and Saudi Arabia over these islands and, repeating Saddam Hussein's mistake in Kuwait, start a war. This may lead to an imposition of controls over Iranian nuclear developments the way it did in Iraq. This prospect is in my view quite likely, because patience plays no part in the Iranian mentality. But if they nevertheless refrain from starting a war, we should take advantage of their involvement in Islamic terrorism which already hurts the entire world. Israel has incontestable intelligence that the Iranians are terrorists. We should take advantage of this by persistently explaining to the world at large that by virtue of its involvement in terrorism, no other state is as dangerous to the entire world as Iran. I cannot comprehend why Libya has been hit by sanctions, to the point that sales of military equipment are barred to it because of its minor involvement in terrorism; while Iran, with its record of guiding terrorism against the entire world remains entirely free of even stricter sanctions.' In true-blue Israeli style, Leshem attributes this lamentable state of affairs to Israel's neglect of its propaganda (called `Hasbara', that is, `Explanation').
Provoking Iran into responding with war or measures just stopping short of war, is also elaborated by many other commentators. Let me just quote a story published by Telem Admon in Maariv (12 February) who reports that `a senior Israeli', that is, a senior Mossad agent, `about two weeks ago had a long conversation with the son of the late Shah, Prince Riza Sha'a Pahlevi' in order to appraise the man's possible usefulness for Israeli `Hasbara'. In the 'senior's' opinion, `Clinton's America is too absorbed in its domestic affairs', and as a result `the prince's chances of reigning in Iran are deplorably slim. The prince's face showed signs of distress after he heard a frank assessment to this effect from the mouth of an Israeli.' Yet the `senior's' appraisal of the prince was distinctly negative, in spite of `the princely routine of handing to all visitors copies of articles by Ehud Ya'ari' (an Israeli television commentator suspected of being a front for Israeli Intelligence). Why? In the first place because `the prince shows how nervous he is. His knees jerked during the first half-hour of the conversation.' Worse still, his chums `were dressed like hippies' wohile `he kept frequenting Manhattan's haunts in their company and addressing them as if they were his equals'. The `senior' deplores it greatly that the prince has emancipated himself from the beneficial influence of his mother, `who had done a simply wonderful job travelling from capital to capital in order to impress everybody concerned with her hope to enthrone her son in Iran while she is still alive'. Her valiant efforts look to me as connected, to some extent at least, to the no-less-valiant efforts of the Israeli `Hasbara' before it had written off her son.
But what might happen if both Israel and Iran have nuclear weapons? This question is being addressed by the Hebrew press at length, often in a manner intended to titillate the reader with anticipated horrors. Let me give a small sample. In A! Hamishmar (19 February), Kaspi interviewed the notorious `hawk', Professor Shlomo Aharonson, who begins his perorations by excoriating the Israeli left as a major obstacle to Israel's ability to resist Iranian evildoing. Without bothering about the left's current lack of political clout, says Aharonson: `The left is full of prejudices and fears. It refuses to be rational on the nuclear issue. The left doesn't like nuclear weapons, full stop. The opposition of the Israeli left to nuclear weapons is reminiscent of the opposition to the invention of the wheel.' Profound insights, aren't they? After spelling them out, Aharonson proceeds to his `scenarios'. Here is just one of them: `If we established tomorrow a Palestinian state, we will really grant a sovereignty to an entity second To none in hostility toward us. This entity can be expected to reach a nuclear alliance with Iran
Let me reiterate that the Israelis are also bombarded ceaselessly with official messages to the same effect. For example, General Ze'ev Livneh, the commander of recently established Rear General Command of the Israeli Army said (in Haaretz, 15 February) that `it is not only Iran which already endangers every site in Israel', because, even if to a lesser extent, 'Syria, Libya and Algeria do too'. In order to protect Israel from this danger, General Livneh calls upon `the European Community to enforce jointly with Israel an embargo on any weaponry supplies to both Iran and those Arab states. The EC should also learn that military interventions can have salutary effects, as proven recently in Iraq's case.'
Timid reminders by the Hebrew press that Israel continues to have the monopoly of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, were definitely unwelcome to Israeli authorities. In Hodashot of 29 January and 5 February, Ran Edelist, careful to rely only on quotes from the US press, raised the problem of nuclear waste disposal from the rather obsolete Dimona reactor and of other possible risks of that reactor to Israeli lives and limbs. He was `answered' by numerous interviews with named and unnamed experts, all of whom fiercely denied that any such risks existed. The experts didn't neglect to reassure their readers that the Israeli reactor was the best and the safest in the entire world. But speaking in the name of `the Intelligence Community' Immanuel Rosen (Maariv, 12 February) went even further. He disclosed that the said `community' felt offended `by the self-confident publications of an Israeli researcher dealing with nuclear subjects. This researcher has recently been found by Ihe Intelligence Community to pose "a security risk", to the point of observing that in some states such a researcher "would have been made to disappear".' Ran Edelist reacted in a brief note (in Hadashot, 14 February), confining himself to quoting these revealing ideas of `the Intelligence Community', and drawing attention to threats voiced there. But apart from Edelist, the press of `the only democracy in the Middle East' either didn't dare comment, or was not allowed to.
The press is allowed, and even encouraged, to discuss one issue related to Israeli nuclear policies: to say how clever Peres was in pretending to agree to negotiate nuclear disarmament and then raising unacceptable conditions for entering any such negotiations.
But I do want to make some comments on ihe incitement of Israelis against Iran. I am well aware that a lot of expert opinions and predictions quoted here will sound to non-Israeli readers like fantasy running amok. Yet I perceive those opinions and predictions, no matter how mendacious and deceitful they obviously are, as politically quite meaningful. Let me explain my reasons. In the first place, I have not quoted the opinions of raving extremists. I was careful to select only the writings of respected and influential Israeli experts or commentators on strategic affairs, who can be presumed to be well acquainted with the thinking of the Israeli Security System. Since militarily Israel is the strongest state in the Middle East and has the monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, strategical doctrines of its Security System deserve to be disseminated world-wide, especially when they are forcefully pressed upon the Israeli public. Whether one likes it or not, Israel is a great power, not only in military but also in political terms, by virtue of its increasing influence upon US policies. The opinions of the Israeli Security System may mean something different from what they say. But this doesn't detract from their importance.
Relevant to this is the fact that Israeli policies bear the easily recognizable imprint of Orientalist `expertise' abounding in militarist and racist ideological prejudices. This `expertise' is readily available in English, since its harbingers were the Jewish Orientalists living in English-speaking countries, like Bernard Lewis or the late Elie Kedourie who had visited Israel regularly for hobnobbing on the best of terms with the Israeli Security System. It was Kedourie who performed a particularly seminal role in fathering the assumptions on which Israeli policies rest and who consequently had in Israel a lot of influence. In Kedourie's view, the peoples of the Middle East, with the `self-evident' exception of Israel, would be best off if ruled by foreign imperial powers with a natural capacity to rule for a long time yet. Kedourie believed that the entire Middle East could be ruled by foreign powers with perfect ease, because their domination would hardly be opposed except by grouplets of intellectuals bent on rabble-rousing. Kedourie lived in Britain, and his primary concern was British politics. In his opinion the British refused to continue to rule the Middle East, with calamitous effects, only because of intellectual corruption of their own experts, especially those from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at Chatham House, who were misguided enough to dismiss the superior expertise of minority nationals, particularly Jewish, from the Arab world, who alone had known `the Arab nature' at first hand. For example, in his first book, Kedourie says that as early as 1932 (!) the British government was misguided enough to grant Iraq independence (it was faked, but never mind) against the advice of Jewish community in Baghdad. On many occasions
The implications of the Kedourie doctrine for Israeli policymakers are obvious. First, Israel always seeks to persuade the West about what its `true' interests and `moral duties' in the Middle East are. It also tells the West that by intervening in the Middle East they would serve the authentic interests of Middle Eastern nations. But if the western powers refuse to listen, it is up to Israel to assume `the white man's burden'.
Another implication of Kedourie's doctrine, acted upon by Israel since the early 1950s already, is that in the Middle East no other strong state is to be tolerated. Its power must be destroyed or at least diminished through a war. Iranian theocracy may have its utility for the Israeli Hasbara, but Nasser's Egypt was attacked while being emphatically secular. In both cases the real reason for the Israeli threat to start a war was the strength of the state concerned. Quite apart from the risks such a state may pose to Israeli hegemonic ambitions, Orientalist `expertise' requires that natives of the region always remain weak, to be ruled always by their traditional notables but not by persons with intellectual capacity, whether religious or secular. Before World War I, such principles were taken for granted in the West, professed openly and applied globally, from China to Mexico. Israeli Orientalism, on which Israeli policies are based, is no more than their belated replica. It continues to uphold dogmas which, say in 1903, were taken for granted as `scientific' truths. The subsequent `troubles' of the West are perceived by the Israeli `experts' as a well-deserved punishment for listening to intellectuals who had been casting doubt on such self-evident truths. Without such rotten intellectuals, everything would have remained stable.
Let us return to the special case of Iran, though. Anyone not converted to the Orientalistic creed will recognize that Iran is a country very difficult to conquer, because of its size, topography and especially because of fervent nationalism combined with the religious zeal of its populace. I happen to loathe the current Iranian
Israeli Foreign Policy after the Oslo Accord
1 November 1993
The right word to describe the thirty-year-old dependence of Israeli policies an the US was coined by Davar's political commentator Daniel Ben-Simon, who speaks of the `former American tutelage' of Israel (18 October 1993). Ben-Simon's view is correct when he says that `until quite recently Israeli foreign policy was carried out according to the rules imposed by the State Department and the White House. Nothing was done in defiance of those rules. All former peace initiatives in the Middle East were launched by the Americans.' Yet Ben-Simon also says that `the Oslo Accord put Israel's patron to shame. While chiefs of the State Department were busily overseeing the progress of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington, Rabin and Peres closed the deal in distant Oslo. The US was notified of the Accord barely a few days before its finalization, as a gesture to spare them an overt insult, and in order to make it still possible for them to disburse money needed for its implementation.'
His conclusion, with which I again concur, is that `the main loser from this rapid increase in the Israeli power of diplomatic manoeuvre is the US. The Accord with the PLO which generated sympathy for Israel has also made it more confident of its power than it ever was.' Commenting on this new sell confidence, Ben-Simon elaborates that `some factions of major importance within Israeli establishment are quite satisfied with this weakening of the American tutelage', but `Rabin does not belong to them. Regardless of gains in the independence of Israeli policies, he still feels that the American protective umbrella over Israel is the best guarantee of its security.' Right now, however, Israeli foreign policy is noticeably different from what it was before, increasingly aiming at getting rid of `American tutelage'. This change, placed in a broader historical context, will be described here.
The politically prodigious and financially unprecedented support which Israel was receiving from the US since the early 1960s until this year has actually never determined Israeli policies entirely. To begin with, it superseded the period of frequent conflicts between
Israel's economic situation and its standing within the international community can also be reasonably supposed to affect the degree of Israeli dependence on the US. Whenever Israel is in financial straits (whether for economic or other reasons) and whenever its relations with other great powers are strained, its dependence on the US cannot but be on the rise. But whenever the Israeli government and the Israeli wealthy elite are financially well-off (even if the Israeli poor then get poorer) Israel's dependence on the US can be reduced, and Israel can then assume a more independent policy posture.
For example, the invasion of Lebanon resulted in an Israeli conquest of a relatively large territory and in Israel's deep involvement in Lebanese domestic affairs. The invasion was made possible by a long period of steady and enormous increases in the size of the Israeli Defence budgets, beginning in 1967 and continuing until 1984. But the occupation of Lebanon resulted in a bloody guerilla war in which Israel was defeated not only militarily but also economically. Nehemya Strassler, writing in Haaretz, (6 August) gave the following vivid picture of the resultant economic situation: `By the beginning of 1985 the Israeli economy was on the verge of collapse, which could lead to a collapse of Israeli democracy. The only way to avert it was by stopping the hyperinflation. The monthly inflation rate stood then at 15 per cent. The economy was in a shambles, the dollar reserves were already almost spent. The situation was grievous enough to make the Treasury contemplate the imposition of quotas on all imports to stave off the vanishing of all hard currency.' Being in such a
In my view, this state of affairs continued until 1992, all the shows of the Shamir government's defiance of the US notwithstanding. The Madrid Conference was convened through American efforts and was run openly by the US. In contrast to that, the signing of the Accord on principles on the White House lawn belonged in a show-business category, constituting a facade behind which we machinations were done by Israel without US knowledge or involvement. In contrast to 1985, the Israeli government now has plenty of money, due to US military aid of unprecedented magnitude granted by the Bush administration during and after the GulfWar, and to guarantees granted by the Clinton administration which are hardly used for their avowed purpose of helping absorb the Jewish immigrants from the former USSR. The fact of their being used for other purposes can best be seen from long lines of those immigrants before the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv looking forward to their return to Russia.
This is why the present situation is very different. Ben-Simon quotes the [Israeli] Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, as saying that `Israeli diplomacy extends all over the world. Israeli representatives are now welcomed in almost every capital and regarded by the international community as its equal members ... Rabin's recent journey to Indonesia can be seen as the culmination of this process of breaking the anti-Israeli taboos. After all, Indonesia is the largest Muslim state in the world, and yet Rabin's visit there was public. After the duly publicized deep Israeli penetration into China and India, Indonesia symbolizes the most radical change in Israel's international status.'
Israel also expects to profit from trade with countries such as China, even if such trade links displease the US. Of course, Israel is vitally interested in maintaining its influence upon the Clinton administration so as to prevent any reduction in the present levels of American aid and any serious US protest against its independent policy ventures. Israeli independence can work as long as Clinton remains ready to finance (or press other countries to finance) that 'independence'. Unless Israel soon acquires its own sources of income, its emancipation from American tutelage will remain contingent on the weakness and crassness of Clinton's foreign polices and on the recent remarkable gains in influence of organized US Jews upon his administration. The situation in this respect was well sumarized by Haaretz correspondent Orri Nir who reported (6 July) that `Clinton feels committed to the Jewish vote and even more to Jewish campaign donations', and that his administration `has ~ firm "Jewish connection"'.
`China is one of the main suppliers of weaponry to Iran, so the Prime Minister had a good reason to concentrate on this topic during his recent tour. For the same reason Israel has opened the channels for the talks with North Korea, without bothering about the angry response of the US administration to them. The purpose was to do everything possible to halt the non-conventional [that is, nuclear] arming of Iran. For this purpose, Israel is now willing to talk to any state, so as to leave Iran to its own devices, or at least to decrease its receiving any non-conventional armament supplies from anywhere in the world.' It can be taken for granted that in regard to Iran, Israel wants more than `leaving it to its own devices'. Nevertheless, it is perfectly credible that stirring up any conceivable country against Iran remains the guiding principle of the new and independent Israeli policies.
The case of North Korea may not be the most important, but it is typical. It was described by Nahum Barnea in Yediot Ahronot on 20 August, that is before the signing of the Accord with the PLO. Barnea informs us that in its `talks with North Korea conducted by the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry, Eitan Bentzur, Israel asked for stopping the sales of the North Korean Scuds to Iran and Syria. Like so many backward regimes, the North Koreans firmly stick to the myth of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. From this myth they draw a conclusion that via Israel they can easily win some access to America, and that this access may perhaps rescue their regime in an hour of dire emergency.' Complicated as the deal was, it was almost finalized. There was a third party to it, namely `a Canadian bank, friendly to Israel, very interested in the project.
But let me return to the story of the deal with North Korea. The secret negotiations were first discovered by the Japanese, who `became enraged and made a scandal' but had no power to stop them: `It had already been arranged that Bentzur was soon to meet the daughter of the almighty North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung and close the deal. The daughter is third in the North Korean hierarchy, right after the son.' At the same time `the Americans claimed that they had opened negotiations with North Korea on the nuclear issue. Consequently, they were upset over Israel's messing up. The Deputy of the National Defence Council Sandy Berger and the Deputy State Secretary Peter Tarnoff put pressure on Christopher to drive Israel away from North Korea. They argued that they themselves could press North Korea to sever its relations wiih Iran.' Probably because this happened right before the finalization and publication of the Oslo Accord, the Israeli government reluctantly agreed to cancel the deal with North Korea. Barnea draws two conclusions from that affair. The first is that `unfortunately, Israel does not believe that for the US Iran is as important as it is for Israel.' It can be construed as meaning that if Israel's primary aim is to neutralize the Iranian power, Israel needs to get rid of the American tutelage, at least to some extent. Barnea's second conclusion is that `the great [Israeli] fear that other states may yet realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are after all a myth - that the Jews do not rule over the US, but the US rules over the Jews - cannot be so easily dissipated. For if this calamity indeed occurs, it is going to be unbearable for us.' Indeed, the Israeli power has two components: one real, based on its own strength and its real influence within the US, and the other imaginary, based on its cultivation of anti-Semitic myths in various countries. Especially under Clinton, these two components are craftily blended.
The most important state whose interests Israel is now advancing against (at least avowed) US interests is Iraq. After many previous hints to this effect in Hebrew press, the well-informed veteran journalist Moshe Zak brought the affair into the open in an article entitled `Are we ready to make peace with Iraq?' (Maariv,
Let me comment here that Zak differs from Peres about Israeli relations with Iraq only on purely pragmatic grounds. For Zak, `a risk of a political confrontation with the US' or the persuasive power of Israeli arguments vis-à-vis gangster states like China and North Korea outweigh what in his view are problematic benefits, derivable from purchasing or reselling Iraqi oil. But Peres may know better that under the Clinton administration the US is not going co enter 'a political confrontation' with Israel no matter what the latter may do, or that an appeal to China or North Korea on grounds of `international solidarity' is bound to be useless. Since Zak has never joined any anti-Iranian propaganda campaign and since he writes under censorship constraints, my impression is that he is genuine in warning the Israelis against an alliance with Iraq, but cannot fully disclose his real arguments against it.
Israeli relations with Kenya and Eritrea seem to belong to the same category as its relations with Iraq. Hami Shalev and Yerah Tal report in Haaretz on 18 October, that the main aim of Rabin's visit to Kenya was `to coordinate ways to prevent the intrusion of fundamentalist Islamic forces into the Horn of Africa.
Israeli Foreign Policies, August 19948 August 1994
Let me proceed to discuss the strategic significance of the Israeli Accord with Jordan. It is both defensive and offensive. Jordan commits itself not to allow and third state's army to enter its territory. (But there is no mention of a possible entry of the Israeli Army into Jordan.) Most Israeli commentators understood this stipulation as precluding the threat of the so-called `Eastern Front', that is, of allied Arab armies attacking Israel from the east. Even though Israel's border with Jordan is more difficult to defend than its Egyptian border, the whole notion has in my view long belonged to the realm of fiction. With the Jordanian border secure and a firm peace with Egypt, only the borders with Syria and Lebanon remain hostile. They are relatively short, allowing for heavy concentrations of troops and fire, the preferred Israeli method of warfare. The prospect of so shortening the potential front line has been discussed for a long time in professional military magazines of the Israeli Army. But Israeli strategists are also keenly aware of the two-fold importance of the Irbid area of Jordan, located just south of the Golan Heights and Syria. By penetrating this area, the Syrian
Still, the most likely target of a possible Israeli armed attack is at the present moment Iran. Oren (Davar, 7 January 1994) views the agreement with Jordan primarily in that context: `The agreement is intended to establish a military alliance between Israel and Jordan and thus extend the boundary of Israel's military presence to the eastern tip of the Jordanian desert. Israel's undisguised military presence there, right on the border of Iraq, means that the route of its war planes to Iran will be hundreds of kilometres shorter.' Had they had to take off from Israeli territory, only the most advanced Israeli planes, practically only the F-15s, could reach Iran without refuelling in the air. A glance of the map of the Middle East will suffice to show that the Iraqi-Jordanian border area is alread7 quite close to Iran: close enough to let Israel use its plentiful older model planes (or missiles) for bombing raids on Iran after overflying the Iraqi territory. Oren does expect Jordan `to grant the Israeli Air Force the tight to overfly its territory, at least in emergency situations.' Sure enough, the use of Jordanian territory for a possible assault of Iran implies the existence of a tacit Iraqi complicity with Israel. Oren must imply no less than that when he says that once Israeli alliance with Jordan is fully operational, `Rafsanjani will be compelled to approach Israel with greater restraint than to date.' In more general terms Oren opines that `just as Israel had opened the flow of American dollars to Sadat and enabled the Egyptian Air Force to receive advanced planes from the US within no more than year and a half after Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, so the Rabin government which enabled Jordan to receive not a few US dollars, will feel entitled to use its agreement with Jordan not just for the sake of the military status quo, but in order to improve Israel's military strength considerably, to the point of letting the Israeli Air Force and eventually Intelligence reach the western boundary of Iraq.' In my view, this crucial change in strategic configurations in the Middle East either has already occurred or is likely to occur in the coming months.
I feel tempted at this point to digress in order to recount some new revelations about the past relations oC the Zionist movement and the State of Israel with the Hashemite regime in Jordan. A veteran of Haganah's Intelligence Service, Yo'av Gelber, recently published a book bearing the title The Roots of the Lily, (the lily being
A fuller cooperation between Israel and Jordan was revived by King Hussein in 1958, right after the revolution in Iraq in which his close relatives from the Iraqi royal family perished. As Oren puts it, Hussein `sent his Armenian Intelligence advisor to Israel' with dispatch. On the Jordanian side cooperation with Israel was carried through solely by the kingdom's Armenian or Circassian functionaries. Azarya Alon (Davar, 28 July) informs us that one unit guarding King Hussein is comprised solely of Circassians and considers this fact advantageous to Israel.
The Israeli alliance with King Hussein endured until 1965. Oren points out that, as subsequently revealed by declassified American documents, George Bush, acting in capacity of CIA Director had in that year offered King Hussein personal payment. Bush's scheme was considered in Israel hostile and it was recalled when he became President. But Hussein again became subservient to Israel before the `Black September' of 1970. After that date he became a virtual Israeli spy, as his grandfather had been. As is well known, it was he who in September 1973 forewarned Golda Meir about the incipient attack of Egypt and Syria on Israel, although he was not believed. Good relations have been maintained since, regardless of which party ruled Israel. As was reported by the Hebrew press
Let me now quote at some length an instructive portrayal of Israeli relations with Morocco by Daniel Ben-Simon writing in Davar (7 June). After gloating about how excellent the relations between the two countries have been, Ben-Simon admits that `the web of relations between the two states rests on the shoulders of a single individual: King Hassan II. Morocco's kindness toward Israel and all the Jews depends solely on his feelings ... Only a few thousand Jews have remained in Morocco: most of them in Casablanca where they are among the wealthiest people. Hassan II has highly appreciated the Jewish contribution to the development of his country. When the French left in 1954, the Jews tended to replace them in their occupations in industry and commerce.' Ben-Simon fails to understand that if the Jews `replaced' the French in Morocco with the effect of becoming very wealthy in the process, then the same grudges which ordinary Moroccans had had against the French and their role in Morocco are now likely to be revived against the Jews.
Ben-Simon continues: `Hassan II has a weakness for Israel. To many of his visitors he expressed his admiration for Israel's ability to turn wilderness into a fertile land. He does not hide his belief that Jews are cleverer than other nations, and that economic, social and cultural revolutions and progress were a product of Jewish genius. In the early 1970s, when the hostility between Israel and the Arab states reached its peak, he indulged in fanciful reveries about what could be achieved by blending Jewish genius with Arab capital. "If there is peace, the Middle East may in this way become the strongest power on earth", he used to say.' This sounds not unlike the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
But such visions for the future depend on a purely personal factor: `Hassan I1 is an absolute monarch, one of the few such still left in the world. All state affairs depends on his decisions and orders. In theoryo, Morocco has a constitution and democratic institutions. But their impact is very limited. In practice, everything is subordinated to his will. In the West, Hassan II succeeded in manufacturing for himself an image of an enlightened, open-minded, liberal, educated king who relies on democratic institutions. Consequently, the western countries would turn a blind eye to oddities of that democracy, and content themselves with the existence of many parties and periodic elections in Morocco.
`On several occasions, the King would berate his Western critics, "Do you want Morocco to become an Islamic state like Iran? Just say so", he would reply to queries about his misdeeds. Western countries do realize that they can ill afford another state resembling Algeria or Iran. This is why western governments prefer to turn a blind eve on whatever the King might do and speculate about what may happen after Hassan II. If he just retires he will be succeeded by the Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed. The Crown Prince is a very different character than his father, gentle, refined, with a penchant for romanticism. Some in the West would prefer the King to appoint his younger son, Moulay Rashid, as his successor. Like his father, Moulay Rashid is tough, determined to hold on to power at any price. He wants to be Crown Prince in order to assure that the country toes the pro-Western line. If Morocco remains a monarchy, its further rapprochement with Israel can be expected. If monarchy is abolished there, everything becomes possible. Then, the very survival of the tiny Jewish community in Morocco may also be in doubt. For in Morocco, everything depends on the will of our friend, the King.' I guess that `some in the West' is Ben-Simon's codename for Israeli Intelligence whose links with Hassan II have been notorious. But his whole treatment of Israeli relations with the Moroccan regime shows how much Israel and the organized Jewish communities in the Diaspora have always tended to support despotic regimes, especially in the Muslim world.
Let me return to Iran, on which Israeli foreign policies currently focus. Prior to the last wave of terrorist attacks on Jewish targets in Buenos Aires and London the situation in this respect was summed up by Aluf Ben (Haaretz, 12 July), whose article deserves to be quoted at some length: 'During the last two years the Iranian threat has been the central element in Israel's foreign and security policy. After the Gulf War ruined Iran's rival Iraq, Iran emerged more powerful than ever. Israel feared that Iran could aspire to regional hegemony and ruin the peace process by virtue of having nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, of building a modern air force and navy, of exporting terrorism and revolution and of subverting Arab secular regimes.' Let me observe that when (as
Commenting on a terrorist attack on Jewish targets, on 29 July, Uzi Mahanaimi wrote in Shishi: `The Iranians are now busy hiring foreign experts to make the little gifts they obtained fully operational. Is this perhaps why Israel vacillates about knocking the downtown of Tehran with all its might? Is somebody in Israel afraid that the madmen in Tehran may already possess the bomb? Is this the reason they cannot be touched? I hope things are not that bad. I find it absolutely clear that as long as the heads of the Iranians do not get whacked, and as long as Israel keeps playing its games with Hizbollah in Lebanon, our embassies cannot but continue to be blown up.' Mahanaimi has no doubt that the Iranians 'are responsible fot the bombing of our embassy and Jewish Centre in Buenos Aires'. He claims that `the proofs of this abound', but he mentions only one, namely that `through their Argentinian embassy the Iranians denied any connection with the outrage.' Why should the denial be a proof? Mahanaimi's argument runs as follows: `I know them bloody well. This is why I can say with confidence that had Israel reacted properly to the bombing of its embassy in Argentina two years ago, the Iranians would have thought twice before sending their saboteurs once again. After the first bombing in Argentina, it was the Commander of Israeli Military Intelligence who accused the Iranians of complicity, lot a journalist voicing his opinion, but the very Commander of Israeli Military Intelligence said that. Why did Israel do nothing then? After all, if Katyushas are fired upon the Galilee, Israel escalates almost to the point of a war. So why didn't we react likewise when our entire embassy was blown sky high? The Iranians have plenty of sensitive targets across
Ron Ben-Yishay (Yediot Ahronor, 29 July) says that `Intelligence sources estimate that one and the same hand in Tehran was behind the terrorist assault in Buenos Aires, the Hizbollah attacks in Lebanon and the two terrorist assaults in London': the operational medium being the `Iranian Intelligence officers masquerading as diplomats and working in all Iranian embassies the world over'. BenYishay claims that `until two weeks ago' Israel did nothing against Iran `except abuse it verbally', but now `many Israeli politicians, including the Prime Minister, believe that Israel should hit the Iranians right where it hurts.' Ben-Yishay does not seem to mean by that an armed attack on Iranian territory, but only a world-wide elimination of whomever Israel may 1abe1 as an `Iranian' terrorist. This transpires from his saying that Israel `should treat all Iranian terrorists as it treated the PLO's international terror after the 1970 Black September'. He refers to Israeli Intelligence then killing Palestinians and other Arabs (including some innocent people like a Moroccan waiter mistakenly identified as a PLO agent in Lilienhammer, Norway), but stopping short of doing anything more violent. Ben-Yishay says that `the dragon is already too powerful for Israel to slay it alone'. He hopes the western states will help Israel in its struggle against the Iranian dragon.
However, voices advocating some caution and moderation have resounded as well. Let me quote two. A Labor Party stalwart Shalom Yerushalmi writing in Maariv (3 August), admits that `in Lebanon Israel did commit against Hizbollah, the operational arm of Khomeinism some "eliminations" Iranian style, e.g the Sheikh Mussawi affair [murdered together with his family] or kidnappings, e.g. of Sheikhs Obeid and Dirani. It is not clear what Israel gained thereby, but there also have been massive bombardments of civilian populations. I Think we should stop playing such dangerous games.' Yerushalmi advises Rabin to follow in the footsteps of Shamir's judicious conduct during the Gulf War. Shamir then merely threatened that Israel would retaliate but didn't follow his threats through. But restraint toward Iran would, argues Yerushalmi, be even more advisable now than in the past toward Iraq. Iran is stronger than Iraq, larger in size and population. The war against Iraq was really `only a war against an insane dictator and a handful of his henchmen', whereas Iranians are in their majority `united in their support for the mad ideology hammered into their heads by the Ayatollahs'. Yerushalmi advises Rabin to ask the West to impose `some potent economic sanctions against Iran', paired with a propaganda campaign to the effect that Iranian nuclearization threatens everybody.
But Bar'el makes also some fairly keen observations about the nature of state terror, which deserve to be quoted at length: `Iran is a terror state in the same way as Iraq, Libya or Syria. But the list of terror states can be extended. Not so long ago Argentina, Chile and South Africa qualified as well by virtue of committing routinely political murders or terrorist assaults against dissenters living outside their borders.' Let me comment that Israel, and especially the Labor Party was chummy with the three regimes named here as terrorists. Rabin particularly cultivated close relations with the South African apartheid regime. Helped by his present
`Paradoxically, however, Afghanistan is not defined as a terror state. Instead, it is glorified by the US as a nation of valiant patriots who expelled the Soviet invaders. On the opposite side, the US seeks to overthrow Saddam Hussein not 6ecause his henchmen have committed lots of terrorist acts but because he poses a threat to US interests in the Middle East ... Fortunately for Israel, Iran is nowadays an easy target to be branded as a terror state ... Its diplomats have admittedly been found to be involved in some terrorist acts, but acts aimed only at exiled Iranian political dissenters. Iran is a fundamentalist state, but no more so than Saudi Arabia or the Islamic opposition in Algeria. Yet the US has the best of relations with the former and is perfectly prepared to parley with the latter.
'The crucial factor which helps uphold the definition of Iran as a terror state is the non-operational character of such a definition. By itself, the definition cannot authorize Israel to dispatch its Air Force to raid some targets on Iranian territory. Nor can it by itself warrant the imposition of economic sanctions on Iran, aggravating its economic plight. Intelligence experts commonly estimate that acts of retaliation directed against Iranian targets would hardly deter Iran while mounting trouble for Israel. A senior foreign intelligence source told me that in the absence of decisive evidence linking the recent terrorist assaults to Iran, the definition of Iran (or of any other state for that matter) as a terror state discredits a state advancing such a definition because it brings into relief the dismal failure of its intelligence. Talking of "decisive evidence", my interlocutor meant evidence as decisive as that found by the US linking the Libyan government with the terrorist act in Berlin discotheque.' This `senior foreign intelligence source' sounds as if he were an American.
Bar'el formulates an interpretation of what he heard from this presumed American intelligence source: `In other words, the more vague a given state's concept of the sources of terrorism, the more its intelligence can be faulted for incompetence. As the same source put it, "occasionally you may have good intelligence as in some cases
However, in spite of Israeli military censorship (recently more lenient), the Hebrew press has for years been full of pragmatically-minded criticism of Mossad and of stories about scandals and personal squabbles rampant among its high-ranking staff. This criticism became sharper after the last wave of terror revealed Mossad's incompetence. As Bar'el puts it, 'From the viewpoint of the terrorists the first recent assault in Buenos Aires is already the second terrorist success. For anti-terrorist struggle agencies, whether Israeli, Argentinian or otherwise, the successes of Argentinian terrorism must be particularly embarrassing, because investigations of the first assault [the bombing of the Israeli embassy] failed to yield any clue as to the identity of its perpetrators and because neither assault was preceded by specific advance indication that it was going to occur.' Similar views were widely echoed in the Hebrew press.
Ze'ev Shiff (Haaretz, 5 August), whose `connections' are in my evaluation better than Bar'el's goes farther in his criticism of Mossad, without sparing Military Intelligence either. According to him, `the latter's complete failure to penetrate Hizbollah's ranks was not its finest hour. With the exception of whatever could 6e learned through kidnappings, e.g. of Dirani, everything indicates that Israel knows very little about Hizbollah.' Shiff deplores the fact that `in the past it was much easier to penetrate the PLO organizations in Lebanon and thus obtain information, than is now possible to obtain information about Hizbollah, even by way of continual observation from distance.' Still, Shiff views Mossad as more incompetent than Military Intelligence, the proof being that within the two years which have lapsed since the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed `Mossad failed to learn anything about it.' In spite of lack of evidence, Shiff assumes that the embassy was bombed by `fundamentalists' who committed the
In pursuing its anti-Iranian campaign, Israel seems to aim higher than a mere Mossad operation. To all appearances, the conditioning of the Israeli public for the peace process is to be followed by an alliance with Saddam Hussein. A curious piece of evidence that such an alliance is in the cards is the complete silence of the Hebrew press, which for months already hasn't uttered a single word about the never-ending atrocities occurring in Iraq. The prospect of alliance with Iraq is already being mooted by Mossad veterans. Shmuel Toledano, a ex-Mossad senior who once served as the Prime Minister's Advisor on Arab Affairs and is active in politics, writes in Haaretz (7 August) that `if Israel is attacked from the east, the Jordanian army will at first try to contain the attack on it, thus giving Israel time to mobilize its forces to encounter the attackers.' This opportunity has, nevertheless, one hitch: `Something may yet go amiss in the Hashemite kingdom's interior, giving rise to unwelcome developments.' This is Toledano's elegant way of alluding to the possibility that the Hashemite dynasty may yet be toppled by a popular revolution. The remedy, as seen by Toledano, of an Israeli peace and alliance with Iraq, is the best way to protect the Hashemites from `unwelcome developments'. Although Toledano sees them as unwelcome to Israel, they could be no less unwelcome to Saddam Hussein. And the strategic value of Iraq to Israel would be no mean consideration either.
Toledano is well aware that in the way of making such an alliance `stands the US which thus far hasn't been favourably disposed toward any state seeking to circumvent the sanctions against Iraq, and especially to help Iraq emerge out of its international isolation.' `But', says Toledano, `President Clinton who now badly needs to shore up his domestic ratings, will perhaps be able to explain his approval of Israeli-Iraqi alliance as a step towards advancing peace in the Middle East.' Toledano wants 'Israel to obtain from the US the entry ticket letting Iraq rejoin the family of the civilized nations'. Toledano recalls that `Iraq still has accounts to settle with Syria for joining the [US-led] coalition during the Gulf War.' This is why `an Iraqi alliance with Israel is going to hurt Syria badly and reduce
It is fairly safe to predict the formation of such an alliance, overt or covert, in a not very distant future. It can be also fairly safely predicted that the Clinton administration will either overtly support or tacitly condone the whole scheme. What I cannot predict is whether the envisaged Israeli world-wide anti-terrorist drive will incline the Clinton administration to support Israel, Whatever happens, however, I find it likely that the peace process with Jordan is on Israel's part intended as a preliminary step to a violent contest with Iran.
Israeli Policies Toward Iran and Syria
1 October 1994
Here I am going to discuss the continuation and the results of the Israeli anti-Iranian campaign described before. I rely primarily on Aluf Ben (Haarerz, 28 September), whose article obviously echoes the views of highly-placed sources in the Israeli establishment, and in particular, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, in the way it presents the Israeli anti-Iranian policies up to the date of its publication.
It seems impossible to write about Israeli foreign policy in general, and Shimon Peres in particular, without bearing in mind Orwell's Ministry of Truth from his novel 1984. Ben reveals the hitherto unknown fact that under Peres the Israeli Foreign Ministry has had a `Peace in the Middle East Department'. Right after the Buenos Aires terror assault `Peres appointed the deputy-director, of this department, Yo'av Biran as a coordinator of Israeli measures against Iran', writes Ben, because `Israel instantly perceived this assault as a convenient opportunity' to form an anti-Iranian coalition. The fact that Israeli Intelligence has failed to establish any link between Iran and that terror assault, was of course no obstacle in this `convenient opportunity'. But one may ask a deeper question here: why do terrorist assaults have a tendency to occur exactly when their occurrence is for Israel a `convenient opportunity'? Leaving this issue aside for the time being, let me quote Ben who invokes `top-ranking [Israeli] politician' (possibly Peres) as one who `several days earlier briefed the more notable Jerusalem political correspondents' about the results of a worldwide campaign against Iran.
The campaign was to follow Rabin's strategy and Peres' tactics and to be carried out by Biran in `Peace in the Middle East Department'. Rabin and Peres agree that 'Iran is the greatest risk Israel has ever faced and a major threat to the stability of the entire Middle East.' This is due not only to `its support for terror and sabotage and its attempt to become nuclearized', but to its `being an examplar not only for Islamic fundamentalists but for other resistance movements in Arab countries'. Judging from myo familiarity with what goes under the name of Israeli strategic thinking, the reference to 'resistance movements' means that many
Israel and the Organized American Jews
Nir approves the fact that `the Washington-based leadership of AIPAC accommodates itself to changes on the political agenda of the new Israeli leadership', but, like a real Bolshevik, deplores AIPAC's inability to impose its authority over `the 55,000 AIPAC activists scattered all over the US whose accommodation to those changes is much slower. Unless the American Jews so accommodate themselves, they can in his view damage Israel badly, when `an administration with a "Jewish connection" as firm as Clinton's sits in the White House. Since Clinton feels so committed to the Jewish vote and even more to Jewish campaign donations, Jewish opinion has a great importance. A danger exists that the present US administration may stop heeding the voice of US Jewry as carefully as heretofore.' In order to avert this danger, Nir proposes several measures closely resembling the Nishma methods, like sending `people with authority in security affairs, plenty of generals', to educate the US Jews, because their prestige in the eyes of US Jews remains intact, while that of the Rabin government sadly does not.
A deeper, but still unsatisfactory insight came from the pen of Meron Benvenisti writing for Haaretz (l July). His opinions deserve to be quoted at length. After noting that `the Jewish American community' bears no less responsibility than anybody else for `the status quo' in the Territories, Benvenisti proceeds to describe this community's ways of influencing US policies. He recalls that `when the [US] mission headed by Denis Ross came to Jerusalem, a Hebrew paper [Maariv] described it as "the mission of four Jews", and gloated with pride while talking about the Jewish and even Israeli roots of all its members.' Other papers did likewise. The `Israeli roots' of those US diplomats comprising what went under the name of a `peace mission' included the fact that a son of one of them was said to be studying in a Hesder Yeshiva, to receive military training there. He was also said to be a sympathizer of Gush Emunim and was awaiting the opportunity to serve in the Israeli Army in the Territories. Benvenisti's comment is that `the ethnic origin of American diplomats sent here to promote peace may be irrelevant, but it is hard to ignore the fact that manipulation of the peace process was entrusted by the US in the first place to American Jews, and that at least one member of the State Department team was selected for the task because he represented the views of American Jewish establishment. The tremendous influence of the Jewish establishment upon the Clinton administration found its clearest manifestation in redefining the "occupied territories" as
"territories in dispute". The Palestinians are understandably angry. But lest they be accused of anti-Semitism, they cannot, God forbid, talk about Clinton's "Jewish connection". After all, for its own purposes, the PLO wants anything as much as to keep its lines of communication with the Jewish community in the US open, because it perceives that community as so formidably powerful. Let it be recalled that Arafat chose in 1988 a delegation of American Jews as a channel to publicize his decision to recognize Israel, because he 6elieved that only via them might he gain some legitimacy for himself.' Like the rulers of Third World countries whom I mentioned earlier, Arafat seems to have firmly believed in the myth of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Benvenisti acknowledges that `Israel benefits from Jewish influence', but he also points to the resultant dangers: `The uncontrollability of the American Jewish establishment, together with its presumption that it represents Israeli interests "better" than Israel's elected government does, should be a matter for concern because American Jewish leaders tend to be more hawkish than the present leaders of Israel are.' Benvenisti observes that `their involvement in Israeli politics was recognized long ago as legitimate.' He also discusses their increasing financial support for the Israeli parties and movements as a manifestation of legitimacy. Even more importantly he indicates the difference between Israeli Jews and organized US Jewry: `The Jewish community in Israel is a sovereign body, its membership is determined by binding state laws and it bears full responsibility for its fate in every walk of life. US Jewry is a voluntary body, has power only over those who choose co accept its authority and even this power is limited in scope. Whoever wants to 6ear full responsibility should come and bear it here. Those who prefer to bear only a partial or marginal responsibility are free to choose so, provided they do not demand for themselves a status they do not qualify for.' It is rather curious that after defining the American Jewry as `a voluntary body', Benvenisti deplores its `uncontrollability'. But in Zionism such paradoxes abound.
The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the US
and the Inman Affair11 February 1994
After Admiral Inman's announcement that he would not serve as Clinton's defence Secretary, the Hebrew press devoted a fair amount of space to the implications of that affair for Israel. The first responses expressed Israeli satisfaction. A good example is the comment of Yediot Ahronsot's Washington's correspondent Haim Shibi, who wrote that `every Israeli in Washington could but sigh with relief at the news of Inman's resignation' (20 January 1994). However, after a few days, deeper analyses of that event appeared, disclosing its implications for Israel, in particular in so far as its nuclear policies were concerned. Some articles on that subject, however, also discussed Israeli influence upon the US exerted via the Jewish lobby in that country. Most important were the articles by Amir Oren (Davar, 28 January) and Yoav Kami, published the same day in Shishi. Oren's article stressed the incompatibility between Inman's past policy recommendations and Israeli political aims, especially in regard to nuclear matters. Both authors, usually mildly critical of Israel's policies but never of its nuclear build-up, were very hostile toward Inman. Furthermore, Oren discussed in depth Pollard and Israeli espionage in the US, as having something to do with Israeli objections to Inman as a person and to his policy recommendations.
At about the same time the Hebrew press reported on the contents of the recently published book Critical Mass by William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem. Information contained in that book about Israeli nuclear power was assessed by Hebrew press commentators as accurate, even though its publication was attributed to the viewpoint of the US officials known for their objections to Israeli nuclear power and contingent policies. At the same time knowledgeable Hebrew press commentators discussed Israeli threats against Iran, including those of using nuclear weapons against that country. After reviewing the Inman affair as perceived by the Hebrew press, I will discuss other articles discussing Israeli nuclear policies and the points where they clash with the avowed (but seldom actually pursued) nuclear policies of the US.
Oren mentions a number of reasons why Israel loathed and feared Inman. The main reason he names is Israeli expectation that if Inman would be appointed the US Defense Secretary, he would be able to put into effect independent American inspections of Israeli nuclear armaments and their production process in Dimona. It needs to be recalled that by virtue of a secret agreement with the US reached during the first year of John F. Kennedy's term of office as president, the US to this day receives only such information about Israeli nuclear power as Israel is pleased to convey. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco Kennedy needed the support of the `Jewish lobby' and in order to get it, he sanctioned this curious agreement. Oren opens his article by drawing two horror scenarios which he regards as perfectly possible if US policies are ever influenced by Inman or somebody with similar views. In the first scenario a hypothetical
The second horror scenario anticipates an American attempt to use a spy aircraft to photograph the Israeli nuclear installations in Dimona `in January 1995' and Israeli hesitations over whether to bring it down. If Israel does bring down the plane, it wi11 be sure to antagonize the `Gentiles' [Goyim], even worse than in the Liberty affair of 1967, when Israel bombed the US warship Liberty inflicting heavy casualties. The scenarios lead Oren to the conclusion that, due to Inman's resignation, `the ghastly anticipations are not going to materialize'. The first scenario can no longer take place, because `by the coming December or at any other time the post of the US Defense Secretary can no more be held by the intelligence expert former Admiral Bobby Ray Inman.' More significantly, at the end of his article Oren says that if the US administration ever `weighs the utility of Dimona against the utility of American support of any other states, the Israeli government is sure to call up a general mobilization of all its friends in Washington. Israel will be pleased at such time about each of its enemies no longer in position to influence the administration or the Congress but also feel sorry about each Pollard and each "Liberty" [affair] for which it has ever been responsible. It will not regret Inman's absence, in spite of the fears that the latter may voice his views in the US media.'
Let me proceed to Karni. He says that `Inman's candidacy for the post of the Defense Secretary has raised the gravest apprehensions of the Israelis and the Jews.' It is reasonable to suppose that when saying `the Jews' Karni really means only those `American Jews' whom I defined as 'organized'. It is also reasonable to suppose that the organized American Jews did not remain idle when they had their `gravest apprehensions', but did something
Both Oren and Karni are nevertheless under no illusion that Inman is the only `enemy' left in the US Defense and Intelligence establishment. Karni provides a whole list of US Defense Secretaries whom he defines as mischievously hostile to Israel, among whom he names Caspar Weinberger as the most pernicious. He even attempts to draw a 'sociological profile' of an American Gentile who in his view is likely to become an `enemy'. Apparently Karni is a unaware that in drawing such `profiles' he follows in the footsteps of anti-Semites (and other xenophobes) who also used to draw `profiles' of Jews with the same purpose in their minds. It can be nevertheless presumed that his `profile' originates with sources close to Israeli Intelligence. It reads as follows: `The personal profile of Inman is from the Israeli point of view unpromising. He is a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, graduate of the best universities, a member of the elite clubs. He represents the kind of personality more similar to George Bush or James Baker than to Ronald Reagan.'
Oren is more subtle than Karni in his description of Inman's 'personality': `In spite of the absence of Inman in the future, Washington (and Texas even more) is still saturated with people born in provincial towns during the hard times. Such people tend to be motivated to rise up via the military services, most often via service in the Navy. Inman is merely one of such characters. Ross Perot is another, and one of their allies [he doesn't say who] is similar. Inman and Perot are highly intelligent and sly, but they have inferiority feelings due to their failure to achieve anything of significance. Whenever an individual of this type becomes a candidate for the US presidency or for a position which in the scale of authority almost approaches the presidency, such as the position of Defense Secretary, the problem becomes not just an domestic American one, but a global one. When an incumbent of either post perceives himself as a victim of an Israeli or Jewish plot, Israel cannot treat it as a joke.'
We can see how certain Americans are a priori defined by Israel (and by organized American Jews) as `undesirable', or worse, at least when they occupy positions of authority. For a comparison, it is worthwhile to quote Oren about the biography of a `desirable'
Yedior Ahronot's correspondents Tzadok Yehezkeli and Danny Sadeh (30 January), write in their review of the previously mentioned book Critical Mass that `Israel solicits money from wealthy Jews from all over the world for financing its nuclear weapons programs. This fundraising drive is directed by a committee comprised of 30 Jewish millionaires.' As usual, Jewish exclusivism and chauvinism are here exploited by Israel as a major tool of its policies. The impact of this practice can be a matter for discussion, but denials of its very existence, let alone denials of the right to discuss this matter, are in my view not only intellectually and morally offensive, but also preclude any informed inquiry into both Middle Eastern and American politics.
Karni clarifies that the mentioned restrictions imposed by Inman applied only to automatic sharing of all information. Israel could still make specific requests for information, however, which could
Let me again quote in this context Tzadok Yehezkeli's and Danny Sadeh's review of Critical Mass in Yediot Ahronot (30 January 1994). They write that `Israel is ever ready to launch its nuclear missiles on 60 to 80 targets. Those targets include sites in the Gulf, the capitals of all Arab states, some nuclear bases on the territory of the former USSR and some sites in Pakistan.' (I am convinced this is accurate.) It means that Israel must very much want to obtain US satellite information about the targeted area, a not-so-negligible part of the earth's surface. The existence of so formidable a nuclear power in Israel's hands cannot be convincingly attributed to its own research and development efforts nor to its role as a tool of American policies. On the contrary, a nuclear power of that magnitude must be presumed to run counter to US imperial interests. It is also doubtful, to say the least, if Israel by itself ever had the money for constructing nuclear power of this size, even when US financial help is taken into consideration. Nor can nuclear power of this extent be explained away by the usual excuse of `guarding against threats to Israel's very existence' or by nauseating misuse of the memories of the Holocaust. The only plausible explanation of the extent of Israeli nuclear power is that
Oren, who is a firm believer in Jewish influence on US policies (even if perhaps not as firm as Markus), provides some examples of its exercise that have to do with the person of Inman. Here, I quote him verbatim, interspersing the quotes with my own comments. 'Although Inman behaved with fairness and propriety towards Mossad and the Central Gathering Unit of Military Intelligence [of the Israeli Army], the shadow of the Liberty affair could always be sensed in the background. In the early 1960s, Inman had been a research and operation officer serving on behalf of [US] Navy Intelligence in the NSA [National Security Agency], which ran Liberty and its sister ships. The NSA was subordinated to the Pentagon and not to the CIA. It dealt with tactical intelligence, including the trailing of Soviet ships, but not with strategic intelligence. The US Navy has never reconciled itself to the closure of the Liberty file after its destruction by the Israeli Air Force, and has always perceived the timing of the Israeli attack as evidence chat Israel did it deliberately, in order to conceal from the Americans its decision to conquer the Golan Heights before a cease-fire could be put into effect through an American-Soviet agreement.' (This appraisal of Israeli intentions strikes me as perfectly accurate.) `True, Rabin, the then (Israeli] Chief of Staff, learned about this decision only after Dayan suddenly changed his mind from opposing to supporting the plan of that conquest, and issued orders to this effect directly to the Commander of the Northern Command, passing Rabin by. But Inman also recalls how three years later [in 1970] Dayan didn't hesitate to threaten the Americans openly and directly, telling them that if they ever dared to send a photo-taking aircraft over the Israeli bank of the Suez Canal, he was going to order to down it.' Let me comment, first, that I find Oren's
`During the Liberty, affair and thereafter, including the time when the CIA ship Pueblo was captured (but not destroyed) by the North Koreans, Inman was chief of the Department of Current Intelligence of the Navy's Pacific Command. He learned a lot there, enough to disbelieve in coincidences or at least in their frequent occurrence. This is why, while serving as a NSA chief during Carter's administration he refused to attribute to coincidence two other facts he then learned about. He first learned that the Carter administration had agreed under pressure to the appointment of Colonel Shlomo Inbar as the Israeli military attaché in Washington. That Inbar - previously the head of Research and Development in the [Israeli] Security System, then Commander of Communication Division [of the Israeli Army] and finally Commander of the Central Gathering Unit of the Military Intelligence [of the Israeli Army] - told directly his American visitors that providing Israel with any secret information it requests would lie in the best American interest because "anything you would refuse to share with us we will steal anyway."'
`The pig-headed Americans didn't then grasp the Israeli sense of humour. They understood it only when a Navy Intelligence employee, Jonathan Pollard, was caught red-handed while passing on to Israel precisely this kind of information which Inman had decided to withhold from Israel. Nevertheless, some Americans interpreted the link [between Inbar's words and Pollard's deeds] as purely coincidental. And interpreted likewise as coincidental were the links connecting Rafi Eitan, then the chief of the Ofiice for Scientific Contacts (LEKEM), who employed Pollard, with the [Israeli] Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, who had appointed Eitan and who rushed to Washington in order to complain against Inman and his orders.'
Karni recounts two more curious coincidences. The first is that among those to whom Sharon `complained' against Inman was no one else but Safire. The second is that shortly afterwards `Lieutenant-Colonel Aviam Selah was sent to the US for a lecture tour sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal and the Israeli Bonds organization. He turned out to he one of the pilots who destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, relying on American satellite information in the process. Selah once delivered a lecture to a group of stockmarket brokers, all of them Jewish, in the office of one such broker, William Stern. Stem was very impressed by Selah, in a way in which the American Jews typically tend to be impressed by Israelis who posture as war heroes and have photogenic cheeks. He was so impressed by Selah, that he rushed in great excitement to tell his
Oren continues: 'But Eitan ran Pollard with the explicit approval of four Defence Ministers and Prime Ministers, concretely Arens, Rabin, Shamir and Peres. The details of this affair must be known, among others, to General Danny Yatom [now the Commander of the Central Command], who at that time served as military secretary to Arens and Rabin and who in that capacity was drafting the minutes of their conversations with Eitan. All such individuals know how to use the rhetoric of the importance of the US support for Israel, but they also know what to do in order to risk the loss of that support. Of course, owing only to another fortunate coincidence, the (secret Israeli] Inquiry Committee headed by [the former Mossad Chief] Tzvi Tzur and Yehoshua Rotenstreich found it possible to absolve all [Israeli] politicians of all responsibility for the Pollard affair and to put all the blame on LEKEM functionaries.' Tzur was subsequently appointed as the Chairman of the Directors of the (Israeli] `Aviation Industries', owned by the Israeli government, and considered one of the most desirable government jobs in Israel. Rotenstreich already then held the post of the Chairman of the Censorship Committee, where he always was siding with the government. Rafi Eitan was not forgotten either. After helping sell Iraqi oil all over the world, he now oversees Israeli trade with Cuba and some of its agricultural development.
This story shows that Israel, by skilfully exploiting its influence within the US, manages to steer very far from becoming an American satellite. Sure, the fact that Israel has its value for American imperial interests also contributes to the same effect. This explains why, in spite of Israel's financial, and now lesser political dependence on the US, Israel can often afford to provoke the US in a manner that may be crude and arrogant. Oren understands that Israel's relative independence should not be undermined by crass displays of Israel's brashness but only because avoidance of such displays helps Israel maintain its independence more effectively. In his view, which, as will be shown below, is shared by the entire Israeli establishment, the extent of Israeli independence can be tested, indeed has already been demonstrated above: that if the US administration ever `weighs the utility of Dimona as against the utility of American support of any other states, the Israeli government is sure to call up a general mobilization of all its friends
The Inman affair and the publication of Critical Mass has brought the issue of Israeli's relative independence from the US into sharp focus. It would be instructive to review some past manifestations of this independence together with their impact upon regional politics. Let me begin with some quotations from what the Hebrew press wrote about Israeli nuclear power in 1991. Even then, boasts about Israeli nuclear power could be seen as a response to Bush's attempts to somehow limit lsrael's options in nuclear, and perhaps also missile, development. That response was described by the chief political commentator of Haaretz Uzi Benziman (31 May 1992). He attributed it, though, not straight to Shamir or Arens, but only to their `underlings', who `vented all their wrath at [Bush's] plan without even bothering to get acquainted with all its details ... [They] saw Bush's initiative as dangerous, amateurish, retlecting [Bush's] arrogance ... Laborites such as Rabin, were unanimous in unconditionally rejecting Bush's initiative, differing at best over how their rejection should be phrased.' Benziman explains it: `The fierceness with which the entire power elite of the State of Israel reacted to the new ideas of Bush cannot come as a surprise. Bush hit our softest spot. When he proposes to freeze the proliferation of weapons he is interpreted as trying to deprive us of our soul, of the last asset we have. When he proposes to prohibit installation of long-range ground-to-ground missiles he is perceived as threatening our very survival.'
Out of the important articles published in mid-October 1991 in Haaretz let me quote from those by Ze'ev Shifl' (15 October) and the nuclear expert Avner Yaniv (16 October). Shiff, admitting that he reflected the official Israeli viewpoint wrote: `Whoever believes that Israel eve: will sign the [UN] Convention prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons ... is daydreaming. There are no misgivings in Israel about the need to reject this convention with all firmness.' Yaniv substantiated the same conclusion by recounting the history of nuclear negotiations between the US and Israel from Kennedy's time. He wrote, `in so far as this subject matter is concerned the past is quite a reliable guide to prospects for the future.' According to Yaniv, `Kennedy was no less determined to prevent Israel from acquiring nuclear weapons than Bush is now.' But `both Kennedy and Johnson failed in all they wanted, to the point that in the end they found themselves, against their will helping lay foundations for the subsequent close and amicable cooperation between the US and Israel.' He concluded that as long as Israel follows the precedents of the past, the US, far from
Israel's insistence on the independent use of its nuclear weapons can be seen as the foundation on which Israeli grand stra2egy rests. The Oslo process changed nothing in this respect. Yoel Markus (Haaretz, 1 February 1994) quotes Rabin's first open reference to the putative Iranian threat `made on 20 January 1993 while answering in the Knesset a question of MK Efraim Sneh (Labor). Rabin said that "we are following with concern the Iranian nuclearization and attempts to develop long-range ground-to-ground missiles." His operational conclusion was that "we should precipitate the peace process in order to create an international machinery capable of responding to the Iranian threat."' Markus disapproves of what he interprets as Israeli threats to use Israeli nuclear weapons against Iran in the relatively near future. Obviously relying on the best Israeli Army and Intelligence sources rather than on his own understanding, he provides an estimate of `Iranian political aims [which] can be assumed to be ordered in importance as follows: A. Systematic conquest of oilfields. B. Undermining the present Arab regimes in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and of course, the subjugation of the Palestinian entiry to itself with help of Hamas. [The absence of the Syrian regime from this list is conspicuous.] C. The ultimate unification of 900 million Muslims of the world under its command, with a single theology imposed on all of them.' The difference between Markus' views and the policies Israel is now said by him to pursue is timing. In his view the time to fight Iran will come if and when the aboveestimated Iranian aims are achieved: `In the long range, if Iran ever comes close to fulfilment of its dreams io tum all Islamic states, from Algeria to Turkestan, into a single Khomeinistic empire, Israel would have good reasons to feel keenly concerned.'
There are good reasons for assuming that for the Israeli Security System in general and for Shimon Peres in particular the `peace process' is conceived of primarily as a tool to promote such mad strategies. The best recent summary of Peres' policies has been provided by Aluf Ben writing in Haaretz (23 January 1994). According io Ben, Peres agrees with `the heads of the Security System' that `at present there exist two main threats to Israeli and Middle Eastern security', namely `fundamentalist Islam and nuclear weaponry, in particular when held by Iran. But', continues Ben, `unlike the heads of the Security System, Peres does not want Israel to rely on the defensive, deterrent and offensive power of the Israeli Army alone, but wants to overhaul the [Israeli] concept of security'. His idea is that in the coming era of peace `Israel should be recognized as a legitimate player on the Middle Eastern playground', in the position to exploit its legitimacy for the sake
According to Ben, Peres proposes that Israel establishes `a regional alliance system which will operate as a single political entity', and which `will be powerful'. But `in contrast to NATO, which limited its aims to defending its members against the external Soviet threat, Peres' regional alliance system is meant to defend the countries of the Middle East from themselves, that is from the internal seeds of destruction, instability, religious and ethnic zealotry and the economic competition between its constituent parts.' Although Ben tends to agree with Peres' ideas, still, for the sake of clarity he comments: `Only one question Peres let remain unanswered: what will 6e the future of the Israeli nuclear arsenal which Peres has so often boasted he helped create?' In my view there are many questions which `Peres let remain unanswered', for example the obvious question about the geographical 6oundaries of the area to be included in his `regional alliance system'. Obviously, the states listed by Markus as threatened by Iran are planned to be included. But what about Syria and Iran, even after the `regional alliance system' settles its accounts with them? And what about Pakistan on which, as mentioned above, Israel's nuclear missiles are now targeted? It would be instructive io recall in this context that toward the end of 1981, Sharon made a public speech in which he cheerfully proposed that Israel's influence extend `from Mauritania to Afghanistan'. When so defined, the area may include Pakistan. In my view it can be reliably assumed that strategic aims which Sharon defined in so brutal a manner are the same as those pursued by Peres though the `peace process'.
Ben doesn't try to answer the question about `the future of the Israeli nuclear arsenal'. He says that in Peres' view `the "fog" enveloping the [Israeli] nuclear plans is a factor strengthening Israeli deterrence.' In my view there cannot be any doubt that plans for `Peres' regional alliance system' rest on the Israeli monopoly of nuclear weapons and has two aims, one offensive and the other defensive. The former is to fight Iran and its allies such as Syria, unless it passes over to the pro-Israeli camp. The latter is to preserve the status quo in the Middle East by protecting all regimes not labeled `fundamentalist'. Incidentally, since according to Peres, Israel's strategic aim is to maintain the existing regimes intact, `the
The plans of Peres imply a considerable Israeli emancipation from its dependence on the US (and marginally on Europe). In that respect they differ from the views of `the heads of the Security System' and from Israeli foreign relations as pursued to date. Some implications of Peres' views and of his disagreements with the Israeli commanders are clarified in another article by Amir Oren (Davar, 4 February 1994). Oren claims that `by choosing the channel of Oslo' as top priority for the pursuit of Israeli policies `Peres gambled by staking a lot on the PLO' as `against staking on the US', because he expected the PLO to help establish the `regional alliance system'. According to Oren, this explains Peres' indifference to the progress of peace negotiations with Syria, in defiance of US pressures to advance them. But The order of priorities of `the chiefs of the [Israeli] Security' is quite different. Their top priority is `to sever Syria's connection with all too many threats [to Israel] originating from Iran'. Oren quotes the commander of the Air Force, General Budinger, who last week said that the F-15-A warplanes which Israel had recently obtained from the US, in addition to `their ability to fly to Iran and back without refuelling', could also `operate efficiently within 50 per cent of the radius of their maximal outreach'. As Oren admits, this means the F-15-A warplanes `will be able to penetrate deep into Syrian territory, and cruise there for quite a while in search of their targets, whereas lower quality warplanes could at best bomb a target upon reaching it and then be forced to quickly return to Israel'. But, continues Oren, `this capability, though important, is still not as important as the capability of a F15-A warplane to reach Tehran and rain on it bombs which can improve the hearing of Iranian decision-makers.' The Israeli generals, whose views Oren can be presumed to echo also 'rely on security arrangements agreed upon with Jordan more than on any deals which could be made with a Palestinian entity'. Their criticism of Peres (described by Oren in detail but omitted here) and of his way of negotiating with Arafat is according to Oren attributable to much deeper differences over strategy, such as described here.
The idea of a `regional alliance system' implies the exclusion of the US from it and Israel's supremacy within it, backed by the latter's nuclear monopoly. Its avowed goal `to secure peace in the region' resembles all too closely similar claims of the imperial powers of the past, made for the consumption of the gullible. This is why Peres' plan can be viewed as an extreme version of Israeli imperialism. The nature of the relations between Israel and other states of the `regional alliance system' is described in another article by A1uf Ben
Apart from the question of whether all existing Arab regimes would want to join `an alliance' so transparently stewarded by Israel, one can also ask about the survivability of any Arab regime joining that `alliance'. I feel unable to answer this question. I am concerned, however, more with a third question: whether the US would be pleased by a unification of the Middle East under Israel's command - it could then influence this unified region only via its influence on Israel. Let me recall that through such unification, entailing an Israeli hegemony, Israeli financial dependence on the US and thereby the US's chances to influence Israel would be diminished. It seems also doubtful whether the US (or indeed Europe) would be pleased with the abolition of `economic competition' between states under `an alliance system' powerful enough to accomplish it. This is why Peres' plan can only be interpreted as assuming that Israeli influence upon the US, exerted through the medium of organized American Jews, is sufficient to outweigh US imperial interests. As I mentioned above, I do recognize the power of organized American Jews as quite formidable. But contrary to some Hebrew press commentators, I don't believe that it is sufficient to justify that tacit assumption of Peres. The organized American Jewish community may, as Oren hopes, succeed in protecting the independence of Israeli nuclear policies 6ut I doubt if they are capable of accomplishing much more.
I hope I have succeeded in showing that the role of `organized' Jews in the US in the affair of Inman's resignation touches on the deepest issues of Israeli grand strategy. I also hope I make it clear that the Peres' plans are in my view not only immoral and crudely imperialist, but also downright unrealistic, no matter how enthusiastic western commentators are about him. They represent an Israeli expansionist's utopia. In my view the plans of Peres are more morally reprehensible than the plans of the Israeli Security System: more nauseously hypocritical, and more pregnant with more disastrous consequences for the entire Middle East if any attempt is ever made to bring them about. I consider the imperial plans of the Israeli generals to be at least implementable, primarily because they pose less of a threat to the imperial interests of the US. Still,