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From the book:
Open Secrets

By Israel Shahak

Israel's Strategic Aims and Nuclear Weapons
chapter 2

Syrian Cities and Relations with Saddam Hussein
chapter 3

Israel Versus Iran chapter
chapter 4

Israeli Foreign Policy after the Oslo Accord
chapter 5

Israeli Foreign Policies, August 1994
chapter 7

Israeli Policies Toward Iran and Syria
chapter 8

Israel and the Organized American Jews
chapter 11

The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the US and the Inman Affair
chapter 12


 Israel's Strategic Aims and Nuclear Weapons


General Saguy fully shares the notion of a threat to Israel's very survival: `Syria has always been and still is a threat to the security and very survival of the State of Israel', the reason being that `Syria continues to arm itself.' This statement is documented by a long list of Syrian weaponry purchases without mentioning Israeli ones. Saguy does admit that Syria is afraid of Israel and that its armament is motivated by the wish `to confront the Israeli strategic [i.e. nuclear] weaponry, which the Arabs believe Israel possesses'. He also admits that Syria is afraid of a massive Israeli invasion of its territory: :According to the Taif Agreement [between Syria and Lebanon] Syria is allowed to keep the bulk of its armed forces in the [Lebanese] Baalbek area. The Syrians believe that such a deployment can be an answer to an Israeli attempt to outflank Damascus [from the north] in the event of a war.' Let me comment on this. As is known, the area between Damascus and the Golan Heights is heavily fortified but no fortifications seem to exist north of Damascus or along the Syrian-Lebanese borders. Since outflanking a fortified defence line has been the Israeli Army's favourite method of attacking, Syrian fears appear to me well-grounded.

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, concerning the role of nuclear weapons in overall Israeli strategy was left to Oded Brosh. Brosh begins by saying that some Israelis are now raising the question whether `Israeli nuclear power' helps or obstructs a transferral of the regional conflict to diplomatic channels. This he deplores, since the very phrasing of this question in such terms `introduces a bias in favour of the recent opponents of Israel's nuclear option, while casting a negative light on the supporters of this option'. He is particularly virulent against some unnamed advocates of an `appeasement' in the form of only 'a limited use of Israeli nuclear power, referred to as "the last-minute option"'. Those obscure remarks may refer to the bare beginning of a belated but at least serious discussion of the health hazards contingent on the existence of nuclear installations. Brosh's article was indeed, `balanced' in Haaretz by another article, printed right next to it which for the first time in Israel's history reported how people had organized themselves in protest against health hazards stemming from the existence of a civilian nuclear installation in their neighbourhood. But without any attribution, Brosh also refers to claims, still unattributable, to the effect that `Dimona might yet become another Chernobyl'. He concedes that `the responsible authorities indeed need to test again and again' their precautionary measures, forgetting that 'the authorities responsible for Chemobyl also claimed that they had been recurrently testing their precautions. He leaves unanswered the question of who in Israel can be authorized to test the testing undertaken by unnamed `authorities'.

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' cannot be precluded either. In my view the likelihood of the occurrence of some such calamity is growing. We should not forget that while Israeli Jewish society undergoes a steady political polarization, the Israeli Security System increasingly relies on the recruitment of cohorts from the ranks of the extreme tight.

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 casualties and the long-term effects of radioactivity. 1'he likely existence of such plans needs to be considered jointly with a passage about `somebody authorized or unauthorized [who] might activate one or several Israeli nuclear warheads through error or accident'. A juxtaposition of the two passages adds to both clarity and horror. By 1992, Israel already abounds in Jewish religious zealots whose influence within the Security System is growing steadily. Gush Emunim or the followers of any extremist Hassidic rabbi are quite capable in my view of activating such scenarios even in peacetime for the sake of thus advancing their Messianic prophecies which by definition imply that God will protect the Jews from any injury and inflict devastation on Gentiles alone.

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 conventional', regardless of whether they are equipped with explosives or poison gas.

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 is this: `Israel proposed to the .American armed forces that in the event of a war [with the USSR] it might provide the Americans with a variety of services, namely harbour, resupply, storage, medical treatment and hospitalization services.'

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 originating from the territory of another state. Gazit is forthright enough to say that Israel retaliates against a given state not only in its own defence, but more in the best interest of an .4rab government concerned: '.An Arab government allowing a terrorist organization to run free, creates a monster which sooner or later will turn against it. If it does not take steps to halt any development hostile to itself and to re-establish its total control, it will eventually cease to rule its own country.'

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 violating its red line.' It is well known (at least in Israel), that Syrian advancement had culminated in the 1976 siege of Tel El-Zaatar and the massacre of the Palestinians there. The massacre was perpetrated by Falangists supported by the Syrian army, with Israel fully approving. Senior Israeli Army officers were then spotted as observers in the Falangist camp, located in the vicinity of where the Syrian troops were stationed.

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 Eastern states. At some time after the fall of the Shah it was disclosed that in the last days of his regime the Israeli Army planned to dispatch its elite units to Tehran in order to relieve the hard-pressed Iranian generals, except that Begin, in a display of relative moderation refused to okay the venture.

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. Under the new conditions of `a vacuum [which] was created' by the demise of the USSR, and by the increasing vulnerability of the US, Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East which it has always sought covertly, without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones. Contrary to what Gazit, Shuval or other Israeli spokesmen say, however, this venture is not being undertaken for the sake of benefiting the West. The West is comprised primarily of Gentiles, and Israel is a Jewish state whose sole purpose is to benefit Jews alone. Israel's search for hegemony stems from its own time-honoured ambitions which now dictate its strategic aims.




 Syrian Cities and Relations with Saddam Hussein
24 September 1991

Numerous translations of mine from the Hebrew press envision, from time to time, a `pre-emptive' Israeli war as likely and as directed against Syria, which has been long regarded by Israel as its enemy number one. Particularly relevant in this context is the 18 February 1991 speech by Yitzhak Rabin (as the head of opposition) to the Labor Knesset faction. Rabin's speech contained three crucial points. The first point was that Israel was doomed to live forever in war, or under the threat of war with the entire Arab world, but at this point of time especially with Syria. The second was that in all its wars Israel `must assume an essentially aggressive role, so as to be in the position to dictate the terms of a conclusion'. Prerequisite to that is `a further increase of the offensive power of Israeli Air and Armour forces needed to achieve a quick victory'. The third was Rabin's criticism of Arens (then the Defence Minister) for letting Iraqi missiles hit Israel: `What had we told them (the Arabs]? If you send missiles on Tel Aviv, Damascus will be turned into a ruin. If you send missiles also on Haifa, not only Damascus but also Aleppo will cease to exist. They will be destroyed root and branch. Without dealing only with missile launchers, we will devastate Damascus.' Various Israeli commentators, e.g. Uzi Benziman and Reuven Padatzur of Haaretz and Ya'akov Sharett of Davar, understood these words as intended to mean that Israel had already threatened Syria (and other Arab countries as well) with obliteration of its cities by nuclear weapons.

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 during that war and on other occasions'. Significantly, Brown also says that he owed his quick rise in rank to Dayan.

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 generals, especially the commander of the Southern Command responsible for the Suez front, Gonen (alias Gorodish) who `kept reporting favourable developments only'. Shortly afterwards Dayan reported his conclusions to several Israeli ministers and then to Prime Minister Golda Meir. The next day (8 October), counterattacks by fresh Israeli forces, were, according to Brown, `predicated on the Air Force's false reports of smashing successes'. No wonder the counter-attacks ended up in another defeat, more decisive than the defeats of the previous day. Although at the session of the Israeli government held on the evening of that day Dayan did not reveal the extent of the defeat, he was well aware of it. On a piece of paper guarded by Brown he sketched guidelines to be followed during the next several days. After summarizing the adversities on the Egyptian front he wrote there: `Everything possible should be done to terminate fighting on the Northern [Syrian] front at once, so that we have only one [the Egyptian] front to cope with.' He decided to discuss this with the Chief of Staff, David Elazar. Next morning he met senior officers to whom he presented another argument for terminating the war against Syria `at once': `I expect traumatic reactions when the Israelis discover the truth.' As subsequent developments showed, in this respect Dayan was a good prophet. Possibly, the crucial consideration underlying his subsequent decisions was to prevent Israelis from learning the truth.

`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, accompanied bc Yigal Alon [a renowned Palmach commander in 1948 and Cormer Foreign Minister] `who backed him', held an early morning meeting with Golda Meir. Sarna does not know what transpired there, except for the outcome. No permission to use `bizarre means' was granted. Instead, `the Air Force was instructed by the Chief of Staff "to smash Syria"' by conventional means. The government which met later that day was informed that during the air raid on Damascus taking place simultaneously, `all targets had already been hit'. Only after the ministers dispersed, a report arrived `that only some targets had been hit, among them the Soviet cultural center'. Damascus was not obliterated by conventional means. The Air Force attributed its failure 'to heavy cloud'.

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 retreated and began reassembling, `Dayan radioed Lerner: "I want to tell you that it you reach the gates of Damascus with speed you will vindicate our loss of the [Suez] Canal." At the same time, however, he received s report from the Chief of Staff: "I cannot reach Damascus." Dayan answered: "I now want to reach the vicinity of Damascus, rather than the city itself. It will suffice if they say to the Russians: "Help us to get rid of the Jews"'.

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, who served all that time at the front, records that the aim of conquering Damascus was passed on to the troops. `In fact, the [Israeli] forces in the Golan Heights were already exhausted and unable to break through the [Syrian] defence lines separating them from Damascus. Still, the goal of conquering Damascus raised the morale of the troops, their faith in the continuous attack and their ability to be always able to advance toward designated targets'. Yet he reflects: `I now think that distances on the Chief of Staff's maps must have seemed short compared to the slowness of our advances and to the scale of our casualties in human lives and also in armour which we suffered for each of 100 meters we have traversed ... As a tankist advancing on "a narrow front" towards Damascus, I recall how distant we were from the city, how dispirited while watching their defence lines, how worn out by their continuous mortar shelling of our night encampments. The attempt to conquer Damascus was unreal but at the same time it was essential because it restored our morale after our war-machine broke down'. This is indeed a telling testimony of ignorance of the Israeli warlords about the conditions their own soldiers were fighting under. To all appearances, that ignorance has deepened since.

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.


Past contacts between Israel and Saddam Hussein 10 November 1990

In the middle of the present Gulf crisis it is worth recalling that until a few months ago Saddam Hussein persistently offered to make peace with Israel on the latter's terms. One of his attempts took place about a year ago. The then Defence Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was during one of his visits to the US then approached with an offer that he meet Saddam Hussein. Information to this effect appeared in two articles by the senior strategy and military correspondent of Haarerz, Ze'ev Shiff, who in matters of historical fact can be considered quite reliable (Haaretz, 5 and 6 November 1990). Interestingly, Rabin refused to either confirm or deny the revelations, after Haaretz accorded them publicity by printing them or. its front page.

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 Hussein] to meet in order to talk about reconciling the interests of the two states', and, the second, means of averting an Israeli attack on Iraq which was rumoured to be under preparation: `Rabin accepted the proposal to meet Saddam Hussein at a location to be determined, but rejected the proposal to include a PLO representative during part of these talks.' After this agreement, Mr Abud suggested in the name of Saddam Hussein, that `Rabin may be invited to a meeting in Baghdad', instead of a meeting in Europe. There is no information about how Rabin responded to this interesting suggestion, except that he `opined that all leads toward peace with all the Arab states deserve to be examined'.

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

Since the spring of 1992 public opinion in Israel is being prepared for the prospect of a war with Iran, to be fought to bring about Iran's total military and political defeat. In one version, Israel would attack Iran alone, in another it would `persuade' the West to do the job. The indoctrination campaign to this effect is gaining in intensity. It is accompanied by what could be called semi-official horror scenarios purporting to detail what Iran could do to Israel, the West and the entire world when it acquires nuclear weapons as it is expected to a few years hence. A manipulation of public opinion to this effect may well be considered too phantasmagoric to merit any detailed description. Still, the readers should take notice, especially since to all appearances the Israeli Security System does envisage the prospect seriously. In February 1993 minutely-detailed anticipations of Iran becoming a major target of Israeli policies became intense. I am going to confine myself to a sample of recent publications (in view of the monotony of their contents it will suffice), emphasizing how they envisage the possibility of `persuading' the West that Iran must be defeated. All Hebrew papers have shared in advocacy of this madness, with exception of Haaretz which has not dared to challenge it either. The Zionist `left' papers, Davar and A1 Hamishmar have particularly distinguished themselves in bellicosity on the subject of Iran; more so than the right-wing Maariv. Below, I will concentrate on the recent writings of Al Hamishmar and Maariv about Iran, only occasionally mentioning what I found in other papers.

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 alone know all the truth about what the Muslim state<_ are like. However, his proposals for the reversal of the progress of Iranian nuclearizatior. are by all means worth of being reported. Leshem begins by opining that the Allied air raids had very little success in destroying Iraq's military and especially nuclear capabilities, but, owing to Allied victory on the ground, UN observers could succeed in finishing the job. Harping on this `analogy', Leshem concludes: `Israel alone can do very little to halt the Iranians. We could raid Iran from the air, but we cannot realistically expect that our aerial operations could destroy all their capabilities. At best, some Iranian nuclear installations could in this way be destroyed. But we couldn't reach their major centres of nuclear development, since that development has proceeded along three different lines in a fairly decentralized manner, with installations and factories scattered widely across the country. It is even reasonable to suppose that we will never know the locations of all their installations, just as we didn't know in Iraq's case.'

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'). He nevertheless hopes that Israel will soon be able `to explain to the world at large' how urgent is the need to provoke Iran to a war.

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 at once. Suppose the Palestinians open hostilities against us and the Iranians deter us from retaliating against the Palestinians by threatening to retaliate in turn against us by nuclear means. What could we do then?' There is a lot more in the same vein before Aharonson concludes: `We should see to it that no Palestinian state ever comes into being, even if Iranians threaten us with nuclear weapons. And we should also see to it that Iran lives in permanent fear of Israeli nuclear weapons being used against it.'

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. An example of this is Akiva Eldar's coverage in Haaretz (19 February), of Rabin's excoriation of Egypt on television a few days earlier. Rabin scolded Egypt for suggesting that a Middle East regional nuclear disarmament agreement would be desirable. Eldar comments that `The Prime Minister is known to loathe anything that relates to Egypt. Aiming at Boutros Ghali, he said [in a public speech]: "What can you expect of him? Isn't he an Egyptian?" Rabin is particularly averse to Egyptian insistence that the Middle East should be completely denuclearized. Peres, by contrast, favours using Egypt as an intermediary in various diplomatic pursuits, while recognizing that Cairo's reminders on the subject of Dimona obstruct his real mission, which is to mediate between Egypt and the grand man in Jerusalem.' Therefore, after `Egypt recently invited Israel to a symposium that "would deal with both conventional and non-conventional armed confrontations", a high level discussion was held in the Foreign Ministry on how to pretend to accept the invitation and then "to decline it elegantly". The solution was to communicate to Egypt the Israeli agreement in principle to attend the symposium on three conditions: that it be chaired by the US and Russia; that its agenda be unanimously determined by the chairmen and all the participants; and, most interestingly, that nothing be discussed unless the presence of all other Arab states, not just of Syria and Lebanon, but also - hard to believe - of Libya and Iraq, be assured in advance. In this way, any conceivable discussion of nuclear affairs was effectively precluded.' I find it superfluous to comment on Eldar's story.

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.

But there is more to it. Fantasy and madness in the doctrines of the Israeli Security System are nothing new. At least since the early 1950s those qualities could already be noticed. Let us just recall that in 1956 Ben-Gurion wanted to annex Sinai to Israel on the ground that `it was not Egypt'. The same doctrine was professed in 1967-73 with elaborations, such as the proposal of several generals to conquer Alexandria in order to hold the city hostage until Egypt would sign a peace treaty on Israeli terms. The 1982 invasion of Lebanon relied on fantastic assumptions, and so did the 1983 `peace treaty' signed with a `lawful Lebanese government' put in power by Sharon. All Israeli policies in the Territories are not just totally immoral, but also rely on assumptions steadily held and advocated without regard for their fanciful contents. It will suffice to recall how Rabin together with the entire Israeli Security System perceived the outbreak of the Intifada first as an Iranian manipulation and then as a fabrication of western television and press. They concluded that if the Arabs are denied opportunities to fake riots in order to be photographed, the unrest in the Territories could be suppressed with ease.

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 during his recurrent visits to Israel, from the 1960s until his death, Kedourie would assure his Israeli audiences (one of which I was a member) that Iraq could `really' be still ruled by the British with ease, under whatever disguises it would be convenient to adopt, provided the grouplets of rabble-rousers would be dealt with by a modicum of salutary toughness. That, the opportunities for education would be restricted so as not to produce a superfluous number of intellectuals, prone to learn the western notions of national independence. True, Kedourie also opposed the idea of exclusive Jewish right to the Land of Israel as incompatible with his imperialistic outlook, but he favoured the retention of Israeli permanent rule over the Palestinians. The rather incongruous blend of Kedourie's ideas with the Land of Israel messianism is already an innovation of Israeli Security System vintage.

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 regime, but it doesn't hinder me from immediately noticing how different it is from Saddam Hussein's. Popular support for Iran's rulers is much greater than for Iraq's. After Saddam Hussein had invaded Iran, his troops were resisted valiantly under extremely difficult conditions. All analogies between a possible attack on Iran and the Gulf War are therefore irresponsibly fanciful. Yet Sharon and the Israeli Army commanders did in 1979 propose to send a detachment of Israeli paratroopers to Tehran to quash the revolution and restore the monarchy. They really thought, until stopped by Begin, that a few Israeli paratroopers could determine the history of a country as immense and populous as Iran! According to a consensus of official Israeli experts on Iranian affairs, the fall of the Shah was due solely to his `softness' in refraining to order his army to slaughter thousands of demonstrators wholesale. Later, the Israeli experts on Iranian affairs were no less unanimous in predicting a speedy defeat of Iran by Saddam Hussein. No evidence indicates that they have changed their assumptions or discarded their underlying racism. Their ranks may include some relatively less-opinionated individuals, who have survived the negative selection process which usually occurs within groups sharing such ideologically-tight imageries. But such individuals can be assumed to prefer to keep their moderation to themselves, while hoping that Israel can reap some fringe benefits from any western provocation against Iran, even if it results in a protracted and inconclusive war.




 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 the US and Israel in the 1950s. These conflicts flared up during the Suez affair of 1956 when Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw unconditionally not only from Sinai but also from the Gaza Strip. Since the early 1960s, however, Israel has wielded tremendous influence within the US, and it was capable of turning that influence to its advantage. Owing to this, `American tutelage' has never worked perfectly, as Israel did occasionally pursue policies not in accord with US interests. Even more than that: by exploiting its influence on the Congress and the US media, Israel could occasionally force the US administration to reverse its policies completely. When the Carter administration announced its accord with the USSR as its policy programme for the Middle East, which was not to the taste of the Begin government, the latter dispatched its then Foreign Minister, Dayan to the US. Within three days, Dayan succeeded in making the Carter administration ignominiously reverse itself. Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, the Camp David negotiations, the Israeli-Egyptian peace and the 1982 invasion of Lebanon can all be seen as contingent upon Dayan's humiliation of Carter in this affair.

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 shambles, Israel was shunned by all major Third World states. Given such realities, Israel's dependence on the US couldn't but stand at its highest.

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"'. Whatever financial benefits Israel expects to derive from its foreign policy ventures, their chief aim undoubtedly remains the neutralization of the power of Iran. To all appearances, Israel would like to overthrow the present Iranian regime and replace it with another one, upon which Israel could maintain an influence comparable to that it had upon the regime of the late Shah. It is again Ben-Simon who described it aptly: 'There is a latent factor behind Rabin's visits to two major countries on his route, that is, China and Indonesia. It is the Israeli fear of Iran. Once the Israeli top establishment came to the conclusion that Iran is the most dangerous enemy not just of Israel but of the entire Middle East, it has spared no efforts to disseminate this conviction abroad. Before departing to China the Prime Minister said that the real purpose of his visit was to explain to his hosts how terrible was the danger posed by Iran to the entire Middle East. "I intend to clarify to them how dangerous Islamic fundamentalism is, not just to Israel and all its neighbours, but also to the world at large", said Rabin in his interview with Davar, only one day before he embarked for China.

`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.

The bank proposed to consider an investment of $500 million on the sole condition that the North Koreans sever all relations with Iran.' The expression `friendly to Israel' may be safely presumed to mean that it was controlled by Mossad. The readers of the Hebrew press realize that at least since the 1960s Israeli foreign affairs are quite often run with the help of financial institutions or individual wealthy businessmen, usually but not necessarily Jewish, who act on orders from Mossad as a quid pro quo for the state of Israel's support for their private business deals. This was the pattern to be observed in the Irangate affair.

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, 28 October). He thinks Israel is indeed trying to establish friendly relations with Saddam Hussein's regime, his evidence being the words of Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, uttered in the course of an interview with the leading Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram. Peres said there that `Israel is ready to make peace with any Middle Eastern state with the exception of Iran.' Zak comments, 'Can this be true? Are we ready to make peace with Saddam Hussein, in defiance of sanctions imposed on him by all the states of the world? Will Israel be involved in an Iraqgate, responding to Iraq's frantic search for a hole in the wall erected by the Free World around Saddam Hussein?' Zak speaks of `an old Israeli delusion' contributing to its siding with Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. His crucial argument, however, is that any evidence of good Israeli relations with Iraq will undermine current Israeli efforts to convince states like North Korea, China or `some European states' to stop arming Iran. He nevertheless concludes his article by formulating an argument in favour of what in my view can only be interpreted as the existence of an Israeli alliance with Iraq: `Some Arab oil states have already suggested through go-betweens that they may sell oil to Israel even prior to the signing of the Accord with the PLO. After discarding their erstwhile delusions that the7 will ever be able to prevent oil from reaching Israel, they arc already prepared to se11 their oil tn any purchaser. Therefore, Iraq's possible offer to sell oil to Israel should not be regarded as worth risking a political confrontation with the US. Iraq is not doing us any favour by such an offer, whereas for Israel the main thing is to keep international solidarity with states fighting terrorism.'

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. Highly





 Israeli Foreign Policies, August 1994
8 August 1994

The scope of Israeli foreign policies can be said to be truly worldwide. This is especially the case when, in the wake of recent terrorist assaults against Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires and London, the Israeli government professed the eradication of all such terror in the entire world as its aim. At the same time, however, due to Israeli automatic attribution of responsibility for all those assaults to Iran, Israeli foreign policies are also firmly anchored in the region of the Middle East. It can even be conjectured that the primary purpose of the Washington treaty with Jordan recently signed by Rabin and King Hussein was not so much to make peace as to seek to use Jordanian territory for action against Iran. And the same purpose was by no means absent from the `peace process' pursued earlier with Arafat. Here I will deal with the Israeli antiIranian propaganda campaign which is being intensified: its policy context clearly being the Middle East in the widest possible meaning of that term, that is, extending from Afghanistan to Morocco, the Muslim republics of the former USSR included.

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 Army could out(lank the Israeli troops deployed in the Golan Heights. By penetrating the same area, however, the Israeli Army could outflank the bulk of the Syrian Army, entrenched in its fortifications opposite the Golan Heights, and speedily advance toward Damascus. Now, the Israeli military alliance with Jordan (which is what the agreement with that country amounts to), precludes the former prospect while enhancing the likelihood of the latter. All too clearly, it poses a major threat to Syria.

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 the emblem of Israeli Military Intelligence), which heavily relies on documents declassified only in recent years. According to Gelber, King Hussein's grandfather, Abdullah, was recruited as a spy for the Zionist movement in the early 1920s, soon after being appointed `Emir of Trans-Jordan' by the British. He was instructed to spy on all sorts of Arab leaders, but his main task was to spy on his British masters. Heaps of documents depict Zionist intra-agency squabbles over whether Abdullah's demands for payment for each rendered service should be fully respected or subject io some bargaining, the late Moshe Sharett being a consistent advocate of the latter. All payments to Abdullah were in cash directly delivered to him. Other intra-agency disputes were over Abdullah's occasional demands to be paid not in banknotes, but in gold coins. In addition to .his, one of Abdullah's wives was put on the Zionist pa7roh to spv on her husband. Gelber boasts that the British discovered the whole scheme only after more than twenty years, in 1946. Their reaction was not only to offer Abdullah more money than the Zionist movement could possibly pay, but also to give more military aid for Abdullah's army. Most importantly, however, they dangled before him a vision of becoming king of `the greater Syria' - Syria, Lebanon and Palestine together. This displeased Ben-Gurion greatly, and relations between the Zionist movement and subsequently the State of Israel with Jordan dwindled to a coordination of policy directed, as Oren defines it, `against their common enemy, Palestinian nationalism'.

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 on the occasion of the present Washington Accord, Shamir had met King Hussein in London even during the Gulf Crisis, in November 1990, in order to assure him that unless Iraqi land forces are let into Jordan, Israel was not going to invade it, even in the case of it launching hostilities against Iraq. The present Israeli-Jordanian alliance is therefore the crowning point of decades of thinly disguised cooperation.

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. Hassan II fights like a lion to maintain this image. It was not too easy, after books appeared depicting his regime as one of the most obscurantist in the world. A French journalist Gilles Perrault wrote a book documenting the outrages committed by the King's regime, in the first place the atrocities in treating the regime's opponents. The King not only banned the book, but also sought to prevail upon President Mitterrand to do the same in France. Regardless of whatever Mitterand might have wanted, the French law precluded the possibility of his satisfying the King.

`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 plenty of other evidence shows) Israel `after the Gulf War' decided that Iran was its enemy number one, the latter was still exhausted after the lengthy war with Iraq and hadn't yet begun its nuclearization. Really, Israeli enmity toward Iran stemmed from the fact that it `could aspire to [the] regional hegemony' to which Israel aspires. `Last year Rabin said that Iran was the main threat to Israel's security. The Chief of Staff Ehud Barak described the monster of Tehran as the most terrible danger to peace in the whole world. Why? Because Iran undermines political stability in the Middle East, because it opposes the flow of oil to the developed world and because it wants to upset the cultural equilibrium between the West and Islam. "The Iranian regime poses a danger to the very foundations of world order", said Barak.' I believe the quote from Barak is authentic, but I don't know where he said it. Certainly, it has never been published before. Although I don't disregard the dangers such utterances may entail, the spectacle of an Israeli general concerned about the potential upsetting of `the cultural equilibrium between the West and Islam' strikes me as having its comic side as well.

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 their country. Hitting them could make the Ayatollahs think twice before they play with fire next time.' And so on and so forth.

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. Even more interesting are the views of some components of Israeli and apparentlyo also US intelligence as relayed by Tzvi Bar'e1 in Haaretz (24 July). Contrary to the quoted commentators who believe (presumably after being briefed by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office) that Iran was solely responsible for the Buenos .Sires and London terrorist assaults, Bar'el quotes `a senior Israeli Intelligence source' as telling him that `the working presumption [of Israeli Intelligence] is that the assault was committed by local terrorists hired for pay, the moneyo being traceable to Hizbollah. The same source claims that the Iranian connection amounts only to political and economic patronage Iran bestows on Hizbollah: "I presume that under different political circumstances Israel could blame Syria or Libya in the same way as it now accuses Iran. In the same way it was once customary to blame the former USSR for standing behind terrorist acts which gained international publicity".' Bar'el contrasts this point of view with Rabin's and Netanyahu's views. Rabin `rushed to announce that Iran was responsible. After a while, without retracting the first version, he pinned the responsibility on Hizbollah.' Incidentally, this seems to be Rabin's jafon de parler. When the Intifada had just broken out he rushed to blame Iran and Libya for their `exclusive responsibility' for it. This stupid falsehood was then, for some time, elevated to the rank of Israeli propaganda line. Rabin's mendacity borders on the pathological, even more so than Sharon's or Shamir's. The western media only show how biased they are when they fail to document Rabin's systematic lying. Netanyahu surpasses even Rabin in mendacity. According to Bar'el, Netanyahu opined that `Iran, Hizbollah and Syria were equally responsible.' A record in lying, however, has been attained in this affair by the Israeli Chief of Staff, Ehud Barak. He is reported by On Levy (Davar, 3 August) to have said that `the intelligence community of the entire world knows for sure that Iran stands behind the terror.' Dissenting from Rabin, Netanyahu and Barak alike, Bar'el reports that `Israeli Intelligence has so far failed to find evidence linking the Buenos Aires terror with any of the three factors', that is, with `Iran, Hizbollah and Syria'.

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 Defence Deputy Minister Motta Gur, he advanced the ties with Argentinian and Chilean juntas. 'Still', continues Bar'el, `some states can be said to be more terroristic than others. At the present moment, by far the most terrorist state in the Middle East, and perhaps in the entire world, is Afghanistan. As estimated by various intelligence experts, most subversive and terrorist acts against Arab regimes were committed by veterans of the war against communism, or of the tribal war continuing to grip that country till this very day. The Afghan government and other authorities maintain training programmes in terror for the cohorts of volunteers who for this very purpose come to Afghanistan.

`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 in Lebanon. But then you are catching individual criminals, not states. When your intelligence is rather poor, you bomb wide areas, but not close to the borders of Syria, in spite of the obvious fact that without the latter Hizbollah couldn't move a finger. You also take care to spare the Lebanese state machinery as far as possible, even though the Hizbollah are represented in the Lebanese parliament".' After his observations of American Intelligence, Bar'el returns to Israeli Intelligence: 'The problem, as indicated to me by my intelligence source, is that when political authorities choose to put blame for terror on a country according to what under given political conditions may be convenient, intelligence work is bound to suffer. It is because those authorities then want to find "proofs" of what they have already assumed, instead of looking for genuine proofs showing who was really responsible for a given terrorist outrage.'

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 recent assault. But he denies that responsibility for these bombings can be pinned on any state and he backs this conclusion by a finding reached by some unnamed intelligence bodies that explosives used in Buenos Aires and London were manufactured from locally available raw materials, `which means that the explosives were not smuggled in by any embassy'. He concludes that `Israel is not in a position io claim that the terrorists have been dispatched by a single agency. It does not know who are their leaders.' None the less, Shiff says that `we need a lot of Israeli operations of the same kind which were used against Palestininian terrorism in the 1970s, only superior in quality.'

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 its bargaining power. At the same time let us not forget that Saddam Hussem owes a moral debt to Arafat for supporting him fervently throughout the Gulf War and paying a high price for that support. Now Arafat wants as many Arab states to make peace with Israel as possible. But he must be particularly interested in making Iraq do so, simply because Iraq has been so friendly to him. Besides, Iraq may then help him negotiate with Israel. And the Palestinians will then see that Arafat is not isolated.' For all such reasons, Toledano defines the alliance with Iraq as lying in `Israel's existential interest'.

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.




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 Middle Easterners (not necessarily Arabs) take pride in the fact that Iran has not succumbed to American diktat for nearly twenty years. This proves to them that resistance to US policy schemes in the Middle East is possible and conflicts with Israeli attempts `to convince' everyone concerned that resisting the US is an exercise in futility; and that, since Israel has US support, resisting Israel is futile as well. Iran provides the best evidence to the contrary. Rabin's strategy was `to push the US and other western powers into a confrontation with Iran' because if `Israel confronts Iran on its own, it may get involved in a religious war against the entire Muslim world'. To forestall this danger `Israeli propaganda [Hasbara] was ordered to depict the rulers of Iran as "a danger to peace in the entire world and a threat to equilibrium between Western civilization and Islam".' Peres exerted himself towards this aim by `sending his personal representatives to capitals of states in the world at large, in order to first announce that Israel and Jordan had reached an agreement and right thereafter to demand that the state concerned should stop giving credits to Iran and radically reduce the volume of trade with it, until it ceases supporting terrorism and gives up attempts to nuclearize'. Peres' representatives were also instructed to say that Israel was highly critical of any state willing to reschedule Iranian debts. The chief of Tender in Israel's eyes was Germany 'which the was first to sign with Iran a debt-rescheduling accord', but Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland and South Korea were by no means blameless in Israeli eyes either. Let me omit Ben's reports about the course of this campaign, except to report on the behaviour of Iranian diplomats attending international conferences who, to Israeli regret, didn't behave in conformity with expectations. The Israeli diplomats had instructions to accuse Iran of 'undermining the peace process', expecting Iranians 'either to leave the hall during our speeches or else to corroborate our allegations by admitting that they indeed opposed the peace process'. Instead, the Iranian diplomats used to listen to Israeli representatives' accusations and then take the podium to argue that the word `peace' has plural meanings. If by using that word Israel means to withdraw from all territories conquered since June 1967 including East Jerusalem and South Lebanon, Iran will by no means oppose it. The Israeli diplomats couldn't but refuse to answer the Iranians straight. Instead, they quoted some admittedly provocative interviews Iranian politicians had previously given to the western press. That was answered by an assertion that the interviewers `didn't understand what they had been told' and by reiterating the request to discuss the peace that could be brought to fruition by a total Israeli withdrawal.




 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 Affair
11 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 Ahrorsot'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.

Let me first express my view on the actual scope of `Jewish influence in the US' and its capability of bending US policies so as to suit Israeli interests, also in matters nuclear. Some of the best informed and most widely read Hebrew press commentators (who are quoted in this book), perceive the scale of that influence as hardly limited by anything and as extending upon large areas of the world. One of the most prestigious of Israeli commentators, Yoel Markus (Haarerz, 31 December 1993) recently spoke of the 'courtship' of Israel by various states, concluding tl:ai `ihis courtship has nothing to do with the peace process: its only reason is the entire world's recognition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as true. When the US is being ruled by an administration as favourably disposed to Israel as the present one, conviction spreads in every state that the only way to America's purse leads via Israel. It is as if this accursed book were not written by an anti-Semite, but 6y a clever and far-sighted Jew.' I myself would perceive the scope of that influence as more restricted. Although it is obviously very considerable, and although Israel is doing its best to sustain and augment it, actual Israeli influence upon the US still falls far short of the mythology of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Its scope cannot 6e measured exactly, but it can be estimated, albeit with the help of guesswork. True, any knowledge, no matter how approximate, of the extent of Jewish influence upon the US policies is hard io obtain. The topic is taboo in the US (although not in Israel), with all major American Jewish organizations exerting themselves to maintain the taboo, often with the help of philosemitic Christians, who delude themselves that by gagging discussion of Jewish affairs, and in particular about Jewish chauvintsm and exclusivism, they `atone' for the Holocaust. Reliable knowledge about Israeli influence, as about any other taboo subject, can be arrived at only after the interdict is lifted and the subject is freely discussed.

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 US Defense Secretary is, `in December 1994', gloating to his subordinates, that 'after the US succeeded to force North Korea to limit its nuclear programme, and after its first success in negotiations with Iran concerning the same matter, "we must now concentrate all our attention on India. Pakistan and Israel. Since our dispute with the CIA is not yet resolved, I decided to instruct the Defense Intelligence Agency to begin gathering independent information about advances in Israeli nuclear armaments, so that after subjecting the data to our analysis, we would provide the President with our well-informed assessment of the situation". Then the former Admiral cleaned his glasses, laughing sardonically. "Although the person responsible for the conclusive Intelligence evaluation is their friend, we can at least show the Israelis that we have eyes and ears."' It is fair to assume that had a US paper published such a caricature of a hypothetical Israeli Jewish defence minister, it would be accused, not without reason, of anti-Semitism. It is virtually certain, however, that no press commentator in the US will accuse Oren of being anti-Gentile.

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 concrete to relieve them, which means that they did play a role in events leading to Inman's resignation. When discussing the role of the New York Times columnist, William Safire, whom Inman named his main enemy, Karni says: `Satire is but one in a group of Jewish columnists and publishers who wield enormous influence over the American media, and who are prepared to automatically defend every Israeli policy measure, except for the peace initiative of the Rabin government which they were quick to condemn and to consign to the grave.'

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' American, namely William Safire: William Safire loyally served an anti-Semitic president, Nixon, because he was free to be more impressed by Israeli military might, long before he became a New York Times columnist. Safire's best friend, the CIA Chief, William Casey, was at the beginning of Reagan's administration forced to accept Inman as his Deputy ... Fortunately, Safire didn't regard his New York Times columns as equivalent to a monastery. An Israeli who toward the end of the 1970s served in Washington and was then year after year invited to Safire's home for a meal ending the Yom Kippur fast, was surprised to discover that the number of Safire's guests, all Jewish with high standing cither in politics or Washington's media, was increasing each year. There was even talk that no one not born of a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism according to Halacho would be admitted to Safire's table, even though it meant that Henry Kissinger, if invited, would have to choose between his wife (who is a Gentile] and Safire. Inman knew that Safire always worked in tandem with Casey and that Casey always worked in tandem with Israel. Casey's relatively authoritative biography informs us that in the spring of 1981 he met Yitzhak Hofi, then Mossad Chief, for the purpose of making a deal. Casey undertook to provide [Israel] wich satellite-derived information about the Iraqi nuclear reactor, in return for Hofi's undertaking to restrain AIPAC in its opposition against the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. Some time later Safire vociferously denounced the restrictions imposed by Inman on automatic transmission [to Israel] of American intelligence information about Iraq and Libya.' Incidentally, the terms of the deal between Casey and Hofi conclusively prove that AIPAC (and presumably other American Jewish organizations as well) operates under the command of Mossad, and that it could be used by the Israeli government just as it uses Mossad.

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 be either approved or rejected, but which seem to have in most cases been approved. What apparently irked Safire and his Jewish pals, was the very fact that Israel had to request information from the US. Karni nevertheless says chat information about what was going on `within the radius of 250 miles from the Israeli borders continued to be automatically shared with Israel'. According to him, a problem appeared `in 1982 when Yasser Arafat moved his residence from Beirut to Tunis, thus leaving the area within which all information from the American [satellite] cameras was to be instantly passed on to Israel'. This was the reason for Israel's displeasure with the 250-mile limitation. In all probability, this limitation was eventually rectified. Still, as long as it existed, the 250-mile radius meant that information was automatically conveyed to Israel about goings on in all of Jordan, hefty chunks of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, and part of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, countries like Libya or Pakistan lay outside the area in question, which worried the Israelis, especially since automatic transmission of intelligence from outside of the radius was discontinued after the Israelis destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Karni informs us, I believe accurately, that `what particularly worried Jerusalem was that Inman didn't convey to Israel any information about the nuclear projects of Iran and Pakistan.' In my view the anti-Iraqi posture of Israel was a momentary deviation from the consistent pattern of seeking to maintain good relations with Saddam Hussein, in recognition that Israel's main enemies have been first Iran and, next in line, Pakistan, for the simple reason that both states are bigger and stronger than Iraq.

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 Israel acquired it with at least some help of its `Jewish friends' in the US and of some Jewish millionaires all over the world. Yehezkeli's and Sadeh's information about `the nuclear bases on the territory of the former USSR' fits well with what Geoffrey Aronson, relying on US State Department sources, reveals about the Pollard affair in the Christian Science Monitor (27 January). He writes that according to `unanimous response' from these sources, what Pollard had betrayed were `this country's most important secrets', namely `information relating to the US targeting of Soviet nuclear and military installations and the capabilities and defences of these sites'. This seems in accord with Israel's global aspirations based on the extenc of its nuclear power. Aronson's sources say that much of che intelligence passed on by Pollard `was unusable by the Israelis except as bargaining chips and leverage against Ihe United States and other countries' interests'. In view of this fact Aronson conjectures that Pollard's intelligence was used by Israel for deals with Moscow consisting of `trading nuclear secrets for Soviet Jews'.

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 information's perfectly accurate, and second, that I find it most significant that the US, possibly due to the influence of Safire and Kissinger over Nixon, then gave in to Dayan's threats so supinely.

`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 cousin all about him. That cousin happened to be a junior officer in the US Naval Intelligence and his name was Jonathan Pollard. Pollard shared the excitement and asked to meet Selah.' Karni is biased in favour of Pollard and willing to twist evidence accordingly, due to which the sequel of his story brings nothing new. Nevertheless his story of a quickly arranged meeting between an Israeli lieutenant-colonel on a busy tour and an American Jew working for US Intelligence bears in my view all the marks of truth.

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 in Washington'. The two crucial areas which Israel wants to maintain its independence from the US are its nuclear power and its influence within the US itself.

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 imposing any nuclear limitations on Israel, would be in the end bound to contribute to Israel's nuclear strength.

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 of promoting its grand strategy. According to Peres, in the Middle East there is no room for nuclear deterrence as it was used in the Cold War, because `the enemies of Israel are not as rational as the rulers of the US and the USSR were, to the point that under The influence of the Ayatollahs they may court disasters for the entire world.' Let me recall in this context how in 1984 Peres saved the career of that paragon of rationality, Ariel Sharon, and how he was sustaining for years that ultra-rational movement, the Gush Emunim. And he still main2ains fairly good relations with both.

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 abolition of the economic competition' as envisaged by Peres can be presumed to be effected not through the mechanism of referendums and parliamentary elections, but through a diktat, in all probability backed by the Israeli nuclear monopoly.

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 (Haarezz, 11 February 1994). Ben quotes the first director of the Israeli Institute for Development of Weaponry [RAFAEL], Munya Mardoch, that `the moral and political meaning of nuclear weapons is that states which renounce their use are acquiescing to the status of vassal states. All those states which feel satisfied with possessing conventional weapons alone are fated to become vassal states.' A transparent implication of that view is that by insisting on its nuclear monopoly, Israel aims at reducing all other Middle Eastern states to the status of its vassals, probably hoping for approval of such a state of affairs by the US.

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 but 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, those plans are also symptomatic in that they reflect two most Part V cherished Israeli ambitions: the ambition to reduce its dependence on the US, especially in the nuclear domain, and the ambition to exploit their thus enhanced independence for the pursuance of Israeli grand strategies. Peres' plans articulate those two ambitions in the most extremist manner possible. But what is most dangerous are the ambitions themselves rather than any of their articulations.




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