Encouraging Israel not to Settle; Encouraging Iran to Go Nuclear

PM rejects U.S. guarantees in exchange for renewing freeze
U.S. reportedly incensed over PM’s rejection of a draft letter that would have extended moratorium on West Bank settlement construction.
By Barak Ravid, HAARETZ 01.10.10

The United States is reportedly incensed over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of a draft letter that would have extended the freeze on West Bank settlement construction, formulated by advisers to the U.S. and Israeli leaders.

The letter, written by U.S. President Barack Obama’s advisers and by Netanyahu’s and Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s adviser Isaac Molho, would have had Israel freezing construction in the settlements for another 60 days in exchange for unprecedented U.S. political and security assistance. Senior American officials said they were frustrated by Netanyahu’s conduct in the affair.

“We’re not buying the excuse of political difficulties anymore,” a senior U.S. official told his Israeli counterpart. “The Americans said Netanyahu’s conduct is humiliating the president,” said a senior European diplomat who met with senior U.S. officials in New York last week.

The details of the letter were revealed by senior researcher David Makovsky on the website of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

According to the report, the letter included benefits crucial to Israel’s security that Netanyahu has been demanding for years. For example, the United States pledged to support Israel’s position on stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan valley after the establishment of a Palestinian state, in order to prevent weapons smuggling.

The United States also would not ask Israel to further extend the building moratorium and would pledge that the issue of settlements would be dealt with only as part of final-status talks with the Palestinians, the letter reportedly said.

The United States also reportedly would veto any UN Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year, would upgrade Israel’s defense capabilities after the peace agreement, and would increase security assistance.

This reportedly would include providing Israel with advanced fighter jets and early warning systems, including satellites. The U.S. also would start talks with Arab countries toward a regional agreement vis-a-vis Iran.

Obama adviser Dennis Ross, who is the moving force behind the letter, is believed to have encouraged Obama to change his policy toward Netanyahu in order to come off as friendlier. Ross reportedly worked with Barak and Molho on the letter during the UN General Assembly in New York.

The White House yesterday denied that Obama sent a letter to Netanyahu, but did not deny that the United States and Israel worked on a letter.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to answer any questions on the subject.

According to a source involved in discussions of the letter, Netanyahu agreed to the talks conducted by Barak and Molho in New York, but began to backpedal in two phone calls with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday night.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said he appreciated the letter but could not accept the American proposal because it included a two-month extension of the construction moratorium, which he said would damage his public credibility.

According to an Israeli source involved in the details of the affair, Ross was very insulted by Netanyahu’s conduct and considered it “treason.”

To head off a possible public confrontation following Netanyahu’s rejection of the letter, Ross and White House Middle East adviser Dan Shapiro met Tuesday in Washington with a large group of Jewish senators and congresspersons to report on talks with Israel and the draft letter.

According to a source informed about the meeting, Ross said the administration was surprised that Netanyahu had turned down the draft. To increase pressure on Netanyahu, Ross reportedly passed on the draft to Makovsky, who published it online Tuesday night.

According to a senior Israeli official, the “guarantee letter” may now be off the table and the Americans may be formulating a different solution to allow continued negotiations.

On Tuesday morning, Netanyahu met with U.S. envoy George Mitchell. Mitchell met yesterday with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and will meet with Netanyahu again today.

Meanwhile, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton landed yesterday in Israel and will mee
t with Netanyahu today.

According to news agencies, the Arab League, which was to meet Monday to decide whether direct Israeli-Palestinian talks should continue, has put off the meeting until Wednesday, giving another 48 hours for Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Syria: Mideast peace process dead
2010-09-29

New York – The new Middle East peace talks are a “dead letter” because of Israel’s renewed settlement building in occupied Palestinian territories, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Tuesday.

“In Israel there is much talk about peace yet the drums of war continue to sound,” Muallem told the UN General Assembly.

But he offered to resume mediation talks with Israel that have been brokered through Turkey.

Feltman: We have important differences with Syria… (mideastwire.com)
September 28, Asharq al-Awsat

“Feltman added saying: “Washington is trying hard to achieve global peace in the region. This means that we should also be more active on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks while carrying on with our efforts on the Palestinian-Israeli track.” Asharq al-Awsat asked Feltman why there was no scheduled joint press conference after the meeting, to which he said: “There is no backdrop for this issue since Secretary Clinton did not hold a joint press conference after the bilateral meetings that she has conducted in New York with many world leaders and representatives.” As for the US Department of State, its spokesman said that the meeting with Al-Muallem represented a rare opportunity to proceed with dialogue with Syria in regard to the peace process and the latest developments in the Middle East region.

According to the JTA, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is not interested in reviving talks with Syria where they left off under his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.

Those talks, mediated by Turkey, operated under the assumption that Israel would return the entire Golan Heights, the strategic plateau captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, should a comprehensive peace be secured. Netanyahu says he will only restart talks with no preconditions and has suggested that he is not willing to return the entire Golan.

“The secretary affirmed our objective of comprehensive peace in the Middle East, which includes the Syrian track,” the State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said in a conference call with reporters. “Foreign Minister Muallem was very interested in pursuing that, and there was a pledge that we would develop some ideas going forward on how to proceed.”

How U.S. Jews Strangle Peace Talks
by Peter Beinart

Is Syria ready for the “Muslim Brotherhood Initiative”?
Akif EMRE in World Bulletin

WSJ(9/28) US Woos Syria In Mideast Peace Push
2010-09-27 (From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL) By Jay Solomon

NEW YORK—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intensified American efforts to woo Syria into backing the U.S.’s Middle East strategy, holding her first direct meeting with her Syrian counterpart in a bid to find common ground on Iran, Lebanon and the Arab-Israeli dispute.

But Damascus’s top diplomat, Walid Moallem, in an hourlong interview Monday, voiced opposition to many of the Obama administration’s top regional initiatives, and expressed skepticism about the prospects for renewed Syrian-Israeli peace talks.

Mr. Moallem said Damascus would oppose United Nations efforts to issue indictments to support the U.N. investigation into the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a crime some Lebanese officials have blamed on Syria.

The Syrian diplomat ruled out any further cooperation with a U.N. probe into evidence that Damascus had been covertly developing a nuclear reactor along the Euphrates River before Israeli jets bombed the site in 2007.

Mr. Moallem said the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, discredited itself last week by failing to approve an Arab-led initiative that seeks to place Israel’s nuclear infrastructure under IAEA safeguards.

“It is discredited, the agency,” Mr. Moallem, 69 years old, said in the interview in a mid-Manhattan hotel. “It shows how much politics is inside their work. But more, it shows double-standard policies.”

Damascus has for years denied any role in Mr. Hariri’s death, as well as accusations that it was seeking to develop nuclear weapons in cooperation with North Korea.

Senior U.S. officials have increasingly sought to engage Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a bid to gain Damascus’s support on a range of Mideast issues, as well as to weaken its strategic alliance with Iran. Syria and Iran partner closely in arming and financing the main Arab groups fighting Israel—Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Syria also has close ties to many of the political factions currently seeking to form a new Iraqi government.

U.S. officials believe a resumption of direct Israeli-Syria talks over the status of the Golan Heights region—a process that broke down in 2000—could diminish Syrian support for Hamas and underpin the separate Israeli-Palestinian peace track.

State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, said later Monday Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Moallem discussed a range of regional issues and that Mrs. Clinton “expressed her commitment to securing a comprehensive peace.” Mr. Crowley said Syria’s foreign minister voiced his own government’s interest in peace talks and that Washington and Damascus “would explore ways to move the process further.”

Still, Mr. Moallem said he believed a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace would be doomed without Israel’s commitment to first freezing any new construction in disputed territories. He said any direct talks between Syria and Israel could begin only after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to restoring the Jewish state’s borders with Syria to the pre-June 4, 1967, lines. “So the land is ours. And it’s not up for negotiation,” Mr. Moallem said.

The Syrian foreign minister stressed that following such a commitment on the Golan, Damascus would be prepared to discuss joint security and water arrangements, as well as normalization of diplomatic ties, with Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu’s government has said it won’t enter into talks with Syria that have preconditions. Israel also says Syria has been transferring increasingly sophisticated long-range missiles to Hezbollah, a charge Mr. Moallem denied.

Lebanon remains an issue of tension between Washington and Damascus. The U.S. has strongly voiced its support for the U.N. completing its investigation into Mr. Hariri’s murder, as well as trying those indicted for the crime at a U.N. court in The Hague.

Mr. Moallem alleged Monday that the U.N.’s work in Lebanon has been irredeemably “politicized” and that Damascus has received word that members of Hezbollah were soon to be formally charged with the murder. He said that such developments risked plunging Lebanon into a new round of sectarian strife and that the U.N.’s investigation should be replaced by a purely Lebanese investigation to ensure fair treatment.

“We are convinced that a condemnation of the prosecutor of this court against Hezbollah will be a factor of disturbance in Lebanon,” Mr. Moallem said.

The U.S. and Syria also could clash diplomatically this fall over the nuclear-proliferation issue, as the Obama administration has indicated it would press for the IAEA to have the powers to launch a “special investigation” of Syria’s alleged nuclear infrastructure.

Such a move, if pursued by the IAEA’s director general, could result in Syria facing a U.N. Security Council censure, and possibly sanctions, if it doesn’t comply with the agency’s requests for documents and visiting rights.

Mr. Moallem said Syria, as a signatory to the U.N.’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, would continue to allow the IAEA to visit Damascus’s research reactor, which is included in his country’s formal cooperation agreement with the U.N. body. But he said the IAEA wouldn’t be allowed to return to the Euphrates site.

“They know that this case is baseless,” Mr. Moallem said. “Of course, to have a nuclear program, a military one, we need to invest billions of billions of dollars. We are not advocating a race for nuclear weapons in the region, on the contrary.”

The Syrian diplomat said Mr. Assad has grown disappointed with the pace and scope of President Barack Obama’s administration’s effort to rebuild ties with Syria over the past 18 months.

The White House’s special envoy to Syria, George Mitchell, has visited Damascus and outlined ways that pervasive American sanctions on the Middle East country could be eased to facilitate high-tech trade and the shipment of spare parts for airplanes, according to U.S. officials. But so far, Mr. Moallem said, these steps have had little impact inside Syria.

“Until today—nothing,” he said.

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate resists deportation from Israel – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Allawi in Sryia, Tells Iran to Stay Out of Iraqi Politics

Source: VOA

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has called on Middle East leaders to stop Iran from interfering in Iraqi politics. He made the call in Syria Wednesday, following a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Allawi said he had asked Iran’s allies, which include Syria, to send the message to Tehran.

Syria’s Assad to visit Iran this weekend: SANA, AFP

The news of the visit comes only days after former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi said he asked Syria to persuade Iran to keep out of his protracted battle for the premiership with incumbent Nuri al-Maliki following March 7 elections.

It also precedes Ahmadinejad’s visit later this month to Lebanon, where Iran’s ally Hezbollah is locked in a bitter war of words with Prime Minister Saad Hariri about a UN-backed court’s probe into the assassination of his father, Rafiq Hariri, in 2005.

The new Saudi arms deal: Encouraging Iran to Go Nuclear
By Stephen M. Walt Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Foreign Policy

The Obama administration is about to propose the sale of more than $60 billion worth of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia. Apart from providing an obvious boost to the U.S. defense industry, the clear purpose here is to send a message to Iran. As an unnamed U.S. official stated a few days ago, “We want Iran to understand that its nuclear program is not getting them leverage over their neighbors, that they are not getting an advantage. . . We want the Iranians to know that every time they think they will gain, they will actually lose.” In short, the sale is “mainly intended as a building block for Middle East regional defenses to box in Iran.”

I get all that, although it seems like an awful lot of weaponry to “contain” a country whose entire defense budget, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, is only $10 billion.

But my real question is this: if our primary goal is to discourage Iran from developing nuclear weapons, then might this new initiative be counter-productive? Doesn’t it just give Iran an even bigger incentive to get a nuclear deterrent of its own? Think about it: if you had a bad relationship with the world’s most powerful country, if you knew (or just suspected) that it was still backing anti-government forces in your country, if its president kept telling people that “all options were still on the table,” and if that same powerful country were now about to sell billions of dollars of weapons to your neighbors, wouldn’t you think seriously about obtaining some way to enhance your own security? And that’s hard to do with purely conventional means, because your economy is a lot smaller and is already constrained by economic sanctions. Hmmm….so what are your other options?

Comments (25)


1. norman said:

As long as Israel is not suffering for denying the Palestinians their rights and Occupying Arab land , there is no chance that Netanyahu or any Israeli leader to accept a settlement , THEY DO NOT HAVE TO ,

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October 1st, 2010, 10:02 am

 

2. GK said:

The Arab world is suffering from unstability and division which is causing Israel not to seriously negotiate for peace! Iraq does not have a government (Reason: Iran wants its own men in control). Lebanon is unstable (Iran wants its men: Hizballah to control the country). Yemen is suffering from a mini-civil war (Iran wants the world to know that it can create chaos anywhere anytime it wants). Palestinian can not even meet to discuss their difference. PA in West Bank and Hamas in Gaza (Iran does not want them to). So, if you analyze the above, you will notice that Iran is the cause of the problems which means it does not want the Palestinians and the Israelis to have peace!!!

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October 1st, 2010, 11:08 am

 

3. Ghat Al Bird said:

GK conclusions is strangely familiar to the neocon/zionist groups that want the US to drop bombs on Iran and/or invade it.

My take is that Lebanon is unstable due to 2 factors US meddling and the fact that the several of the Chrisitan politicians cling to the notion that the majority of the Lebanese population is still largely Christian.

Iraq is in a mess due to the GWB’s desire to change regimes by invading the country. The Iraqi economy, its infrastructure is now worse than it supposedly was under Saddam Hussein. There are close to a million dead and hundreds of thousands of crippled. All due to the invasion directed by the US.

The author of #2 above expects everyone to overlook the facts that Israel has been stealing the lands, crops and other property of Palestinian Arabs for the past 60 years and still occupies Syrian territory.

#2’s main purpose is obvious and that is to create division in the Muslim/Arab world.

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October 1st, 2010, 1:27 pm

 

4. why-discuss said:

GK

THIS IS THE REAL VERSION

The Arab world is suffering from unstability and division which is causing Israel not to seriously negotiate for peace! Iraq does not have a government (Reason: USA wants its own men in control). Lebanon is unstable (USA wants its men: Hizballah NOT to control the country). Yemen is suffering from a mini-civil war (USA wants the world to know that it can create chaos anywhere anytime it wants). Palestinian can not even meet to discuss their difference. PA in West Bank and Hamas in Gaza (USA does not want them to). So, if you analyze the above, you will notice that USA is the cause of the problems which means it does not want the Palestinians and the Israelis to have peace!!!”

In addition, the USA is the blind ally of Israel, so arabs have no chance except by hanging on to IRAN instead of the USA lackey KSA!

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October 1st, 2010, 1:33 pm

 

5. why-discuss said:

Is Iran starting to flex its muscles after been inundated by sanctions and provocations? Is Afghanistan next ?

Iran’s allies winning over the USA in Iraq.

‘The Sadrists present on Friday did not explain their drastic and sudden swing, but in a statement two days ago, issued from Iran, where he is studying theology, Mr. Sadr himself sounded a pragmatic theme.’…

…They are poised to wield influence they have not had since they withdrew from the previous government in 2006. A prominent role in Iraq’s next government for the Sadrists would be a setback for the United States, whose invasion and occupation installed the country’s new democracy.

…they ( Obama administration) made it clear that they did not favor including the Sadrists, who are closely allied with Iran and oppose the presence of American troops.

Diplomats and military commanders here have already signaled an interest in maintaining a close security relationship with Iraq as it rebuilds its armed services and solidifies its still-fragile democratic institutions. While many Iraqi political and military leaders have expressed support for that, the Sadrists remain opposed to what they call “a foreign occupation.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/world/middleeast/02iraq.html

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October 1st, 2010, 2:07 pm

 

6. Badr said:

Found this interesting to link to.

Syria hopes to bridge costly development gap

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AYN AL-ARAB, Syria (Reuters) – Only the old Berlin to Baghdad railway separates the Syrian town of Ayn al-Arab from Turkey’s Mursitpinar, but the contrast between the two sides of the track is so stark they could be on different planets.

Read the full article here.

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October 1st, 2010, 2:43 pm

 

7. Ghat Al Bird said:

Interesting events in the Sarah Palin quest to become President of the US in 1012.

According to a website named ” jews sans frontieres” a group named “jews for Sarah” has been formed in the US and pledges made to endorse and fully support Sarah Palin because one of her pledges if elected is “to invade Iran.”

In one of his last commentary on SC SHAI stated that 85% of American jews voted for Obama. Given the emergence of this group Mr. Obama will be lucky if he receives 10% of the vote he received.

http://jewsforsarah.com/

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October 2nd, 2010, 3:45 pm

 

8. Shai said:

Ghat,

Sounds like an extremist group of Jews that is certainly not representative of American Jews. Btw, I didn’t say 85%, I said 78%. Most American Jews did not support Sarah Palin, and I doubt most ever will.

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October 2nd, 2010, 4:10 pm

 

9. 5 dancing shlomos said:

how does one measure an israeli freeze that is partial.

Feltman: We have important differences with Syria… (mideastwire.com)
September 28, Asharq al-Awsat

“Feltman added saying: “Washington is trying hard to achieve global peace in the region.

feltman-the-zionist forgot to tell us his “we” means israel/jewry.

global peace through bombings and occupations.

tell us more feltman.

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October 4th, 2010, 11:49 am

 

10. Ghat Al Bird said:

SHAI.

Apologize for adding an extra 7% to your estimate. By the way just read that Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post is an avid admirer and supportive of SP and the Tea Party.

But then no one is perfect.

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October 4th, 2010, 11:58 am

 

11. Shai said:

Ghat,

I’m in touch with the Jewish community in the U.S., and believe me, most do NOT support that redneck Alaskan Palin. Give them (the Jewish Community) a little bit more credit than that… 🙂 Btw, the Jewish Community has changed its stance towards Israel over the years. It is traditionally pro-Israel of course, but during the 1st Intifada, for instance, it began to question and criticize Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Then came the 2nd Intifada, and the wave turned, and the community was far less critical of Israel, adopting and embracing the new world evil, Terrorism.

Now, the tide’s changing again, not in favor of continued Israeli policy of Occupation. There is a reason J-Street gained so many members so quickly. Though not yet the size or strength of AIPAC, but absolutely challenging it over all issues, and providing a real alternative for Jewish Americans. I would not be surprised if AIPAC is getting weaker nowadays, as worldwide criticism of Israel and its policy shifts into higher gear.

Don’t count on Palin getting a majority of the Jewish vote. Alaska will have to become a desert-state first.

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October 4th, 2010, 12:33 pm

 

12. Akbar Palace said:

I’m in touch with the Jewish community in the U.S., and believe me, most do NOT support that redneck Alaskan Palin.

Shai,

Please don’t let factual information interfere with Ghat’s preconceived notions. Although I have no issue with Sarah Palin, I think she’s a “lightweight”, and I agree, most American Jews don’t like her (poll data, not opinion). Most American Jews voted Obama/Gore, not McCain/Palin, and most American Jews were against our involvement in Iraq.

Then along comes our most liberal American president in recent memory, which over 3/4 of American Jews voted for, with the most concilliatory stance towards the Arab world, and guess what? The Arabs don’t reciprocate. They still hate us. It’s no surprise they continue to wait for a “more appropriate” US president or the 13th Imam, or whatever comes first.

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October 4th, 2010, 6:54 pm

 

13. Norman said:

Ghat,
most American Jews hate and fear Christian fundamentalist more than the fear Palestinians and Arabs ,
AP , Arabs do not hate Jews they just hate what Israel does to the Palestinians , i assume you hated what Germany did to the Jews , we do too but that was not the Palestinian fault ,

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October 4th, 2010, 9:06 pm

 

14. Shai said:

AP,

Speaking of factual information and preconceived notions, look how even our “smartest” leaders at the time misread our enemies’ moves, misread their motives, dismissed their initiatives, and as a result led us all to catastrophe. In those days, “catastrophe” meant 2,500 dead and thousands more injured. In today’s terms, god-knows how many that will be.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3964029,00.html

But what’s more important to notice, is how we seem to STILL suffer from those same preconceived notions. Even today we say “The Arabs still hate us…”, with the obvious unstated “They want to destroy us…” And again we dismiss all their initiatives, demand peace-by-capitulation, and lead our people to catastrophe.

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October 5th, 2010, 2:26 am

 

15. Akbar Palace said:

“Preconceived Notions” vs. Reality

Even today we say “The Arabs still hate us…”, with the obvious unstated “They want to destroy us…”

Shai,

I’m confused, are you saying the Arabs didn’t want to destroy Israel in 1973? IMHO, Dayan’s “fashla” was one of many examples as to why Israel needs to keep a sharp eye on her borders and preempt if necessary.

OTOH, our peace treaty with Egypt and Jordan have shown that not ALL “Arabs hate us”. Neither does my Arab friend at work.;)

Norman,

My Arab friend and his family don’t hate Israel. They would like to visit.

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October 6th, 2010, 6:54 pm

 

16. Ghat Al Bird said:

AP seems to have overlooked what the ex bar bouncer from Moldava and now Foreign Minister of the only democracy in the ME told the UN. That the only solution is for Israel to get rid of ALL the Arabs living in Israel as a start to continuing the highway to peace.

Poor AP is confused, “WE” have been killing Arabs and Muslims on a daily basis for the past ten years in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and “WE” still want them to love us the way the ex-bar bouncer from Moldava loves the Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank.

Did not some Rabbi in Israel go on record as stating that, “one million Arabs are not worth the fingernail of one Jew?” Sounds like love with no preconceived notions.

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October 6th, 2010, 8:30 pm

 

17. Shai said:

Akbar,

“I’m confused, are you saying the Arabs didn’t want to destroy Israel in 1973? “

No need to be confused. We have the record today (we’ve had it since right after the 73 war). We already know that Egypt had very limited goals (a thin strip of the Sinai, just beyond the Suez canal), and in fact surprised Syria by NOT continuing beyond this goal. Syria wanted to retrieve the Golan. “The Arabs” in 1973 did not want “to destroy Israel”. And the fact that you’re still confused, in this year of 2010, demonstrates perfectly the preconceived notions I claimed most Israelis, most Jews, and I would guess also most non-Jews still have about 1973, and about “The Arabs” in general. And specifically towards Israel, of course.

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October 7th, 2010, 1:15 am

 

18. Norman said:

Shai, This one for you ,

Home News Published 02:12 07.10.10 Latest update 02:12 07.10.10 Let’s party like it’s 1973
Nothing has changed in 37 years. Israel has the same arrogant hubris and the same obstinate resistance to any prospect of a peace agreement.
By Gideon Levy
The act of atonement in which we are engaged over the recently declassified documents from the Yom Kippur War is nothing but a hollow pagan ritual. Suddenly we learn that Golda Meir considered ordering an “insane” operation against Syria and said the world was “contemptible;” defense minister Moshe Dayan called for abandoning wounded soldiers in the field and was thoroughly depressed; and Israel Defense Forces chief of staff David Elazar tended to lie to the public.

We love to indulge in discussing the blunders of 1973, imagining that they belong to the ancient past. All the responsible parties are dead, but the topic is still alive and kicking. The winds of 1973 blow hard today, and nothing has changed. The fact is that today, when each of Golda’s pronouncements and Dayan’s proposals are headlines once again, nobody remembers another error from this period, a much more critical mistake, by the same gang, made when it squandered the opportunity, in the early 1970s, of reaching an agreement with Egypt. Had a real lesson been learned from the Yom Kippur War, the scandal would have been attributed to this missed chance for negotiations – the same error that is being made today.

In the early 1970s, there was a genuine prospect for peace with Egypt. President Gamal Abdel Nasser agreed to the Rogers Plan, to which all subsequent peace proposals bear a striking resemblance, and even invited World Jewish Congress head Nahum Goldmann to confer with him. Golda blocked the meeting and ridiculed the idea, and Dayan declared, “Better to have Sharm el-Sheikh without peace.” The rest is history: Israel always prefers war to peace, and if there is no choice then we’ll make peace after a war, never before. Peace with Egypt, the withdrawal from south Lebanon and recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization, all took place only after blood was shed, never before.

Nothing has changed in 37 years. It’s the same arrogant hubris, the same obstinate resistance to any prospect of an agreement, the same failure to recognize that only peace will save us from another defense minister who sinks into an existential depression while warning of an impending holocaust. What’s the point of this festival of 1973 war documents and this retroactive dance of death? Why look back, if on the day the settlement building freeze ended the settlers did a remarkably accurate imitation of the dance of arrogance that preceded the 1973 war?

There is no difference between the Plymouth Valiants driven by the lords of Israel in those days, the generals who went to Tel Aviv restaurants where their photographs decorated the walls, and today’s torpor. The same drunken blindness is at play, even if the cult of the generals has since been curbed. Nasser sought peace in the early 1970s, and Bashar Assad, Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League are knocking in vain at Israel’s closed door in 2010. We mocked and turned a deaf ear then; we mock and turn a deaf ear now. We have examined photographs from parties in those power-drunk days and failed to find a hint of sobriety, or even a hangover, today. Look at us then and see us today. The fun and games continue, and the state shouts for joy, now as then.

Clip and save the bread and circuses: National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau promising power stations on the occupied Golan Heights and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz promising a railroad on the occupied West Bank, just as Dayan and Shimon Peres promised a “deep-water harbor” at Yamit. It’s the same story – the jubilation over natural gas discoveries, the roars of joy over the bulldozers in the settlements, the blunt indifference to world opinion, the apathy to the ills of the occupation, the obsession with trivialities, the gossip columns that bow to the rich and powerful, the small screen that keeps us from knowing what is really happening and the smokescreen of complacency that shrouds it all. Clip and save, and when the next scandal over a failure of leadership arises, in much less than 37 years, once again we won’t be able to pretend to be shocked and surprised.

Take the Home Front Command public service message in which a cute soldier tells actress Tiki Dayan not to hurry, she can continue to fry her schnitzels. Listen to the soldier, in her voice: Keep pounding those chicken cutlets, thin, just the way we like, there’s nothing urgent.
Print Page Send to a friend Comments Share Text Size +|- Follow us on Twitter Become a Haaretz.com Facebook friend This story is by:

Gideon Levy

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October 7th, 2010, 3:49 am

 

19. frenchphilosopher said:

Why has no-one explored the growing links between Thierry Meyssan and the Iranians? Nine years after the publication of his seminal book, 9/11: the Big Lie, he has been defending Iran in a series of articles which accuse the Americans of posting disinformation about the country’s election on Twitter and of insisting that adulterous woman in Iran are no longer put to death by stoning.
One possible cause is that the super wealthy Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who control a third of the country’s economy, have just sponsored Monsieur Meyssan to the tune of one million dollars to produce a long overdue fresh literary masterpiece
The book – I know not the title but that it is to be published later this month – deals with the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafiq Hariri back in 2005. Why such a historical event? Except to say that Meyssan claims his book will contain evidence that the state of Israel – the No.1 enemy of Iran – was behind the murder.
Exactly what this proof will be we await with interest – particularly as Hezbollah said a similar thing two months ago. In that case it produced aerial photographs it says it downloaded from an Israeli drone showing Israel had been tracking Mr Hariri long before his assassination. Sources in the Middle East say Meyssan will expand on that – though he will have not be testing this evidence with any form of independent verification.
Hezbollah has also been doing a good job of minding Meyssan from his new base in Beirut, in particular for his frequent forays, totalling six months, into Iran to write and research his book, as well as showing it chapter by chapter to his paymasters.
One feature which will remind those familiar with Meyssan style is that he will say the attack on the Lebanon prime minister as by a missile and not the car bomb which everyone else (excepting Hezbollah says). Mons Meyssan said that the Pentagon was hit by a missile and not by American Airlines 77 – this despite scores of witnesses to the crash.
Let us hope for Meyssan’s sake this account is not demolished in quite the same way that this last book was.

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October 7th, 2010, 10:38 am

 

20. Akbar Palaces said:

Shai’s Odd History Lesson “Demonstrates Perfectly”

Shai states:

“The Arabs” in 1973 did not want “to destroy Israel”. And the fact that you’re still confused, in this year of 2010, demonstrates perfectly the preconceived notions I claimed most Israelis, most Jews, and I would guess also most non-Jews still have about 1973, and about “The Arabs” in general. And specifically towards Israel, of course.

From Wikipedia on the Yom Kippur War:

By October 8, Israel was beginning to encounter military difficulties on both fronts; despite advances in the Golan, Syrian air defense systems were taking a high toll of Israeli planes, and in the Sinai, the Israeli effort to break through Egyptian lines with armor had been thwarted.[160] It became clear by October 9 that no quick reversal in Israel’s favor would occur and that IDF losses were unexpectedly high.[161]

On the afternoon of October 7, an alarmed Dayan told Meir that “this is the end of the third temple”. He was warning of Israel’s impending total defeat, but “Temple” was also the code word for nuclear weapons.[162] Dayan again raised the nuclear topic in a cabinet meeting, warning that the country was approaching a point of “last resort.”[163] On 8 October, Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen 20-kiloton-of-TNT (84 TJ) tactical atomic weapons for Jericho missiles at Hirbat Zachariah, and F-4 aircraft at Tel Nof, both nuclear-capable. These were prepared for use against Syrian and Egyptian targets.[162] They would be used if absolutely necessary to prevent total defeat, but the preparation was done in an easily detectable way, likely as a signal to the United States.[163] Kissinger learned of the nuclear alert on the morning of October 9. That day, President Nixon ordered the commencement of Operation Nickel Grass, an American airlift to replace all of Israel’s material losses.[164] Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kissinger told Sadat that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear.”[162]

Israel suffered between 2,520[19][14][216] and 2,800 killed in action.[13] An additional 7,250[217] to 8,800[13] soldiers were wounded. Some 293 Israelis were captured.[218] Approximately 400 Israeli tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled but returned to battle after repairs.[21] A major Israeli advantage, noted by many observers, was their ability to quickly return damaged tanks to combat.[98][219] The Israeli Air Force lost 102 aircraft: 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War

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October 7th, 2010, 10:46 pm

 

21. Shai said:

Akbar,

I see that you’re still confused. This is part of why you’re confused – you see facts, but misinterpret them. If to you “to destroy Israel” means to capture and hold a thin strip of the Sinai, and to do so by killing anything along the way (including infantry, armored units, artillery, and planes), then I agree with you, Egypt wanted “to destroy” anything Israeli that stood in her way to achieving her goal. But if to you “to destroy Israel” means also to conquer all of Israel, to reach Tel-Aviv, etc., then you are wrong. Many, who think like you, cannot distinguish between limited goals, and unlimited ones. They cannot differentiate between capturing only part of the Sinai and stopping, and aiming at meeting the Syrian forces in Tel-Aviv. But it is now well known (and nothing in your Wikipedia links contradicts this) that Egypt had very limited goals. She did NOT aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. She DID aim at destroying anything that stood in her way of reaching her LIMITED goals, which are now well known.

It is also well known in Israel, and it is being reconfirmed nowadays with the release of the archives, that Dayan was suffering from extreme depression and paranoia during those early hours of the war. He had so underestimated the strength of our enemies, that the strategic surprise caused him to view the attack as “the destruction of the 3rd temple” (your notion of ‘to destroy Israel’). Someone wrote not long ago, that if there was any REAL deception that took place in the October 73 war, it was Egypt’s deception of Syria, who thought that Egypt would continue much further into Israel. Egypt stopped, not because Israeli forces forced her to, but because it had limited goals! It is also well known, that even after Egypt accepted the American call for cease-fire, three times over, Israel continued to destroy Egyptian forces deep inside Egyptian territory (while Egypt’s 2nd Army had long stopped inside its limited territory capture in the Sinai).

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October 8th, 2010, 5:47 am

 

22. Honest Patriot said:

Shai, we need your comments on http://www.qifanabki.com
Hope all’s well

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October 8th, 2010, 6:41 pm

 

23. Shai said:

Akbar,

Let’s see you defend this one… The Jewish Republic of Israel…
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-jewish-republic-of-israel-1.318135

Honest Patriot,

Nice to hear from you! Will try to hop into QN’s place. Super-busy nowadays…

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October 10th, 2010, 6:07 am

 

24. Badr said:

Something to ponder over: 5 Myths about Middle East peace

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October 10th, 2010, 2:45 pm

 

25. Norman said:

Badr,

The only way for peace in the Mideast is either war and war until one party wins or Binding Arbitration ,

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October 10th, 2010, 5:08 pm

 

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