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TILTING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON continued from...

TILTING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON continued from... image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
January
Year
1975
OCR Text

TILTING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON continued from page 11 Since 1967, and increasingly since 1970, Israel has pursued a policy that is suicidal for any small power surrounded by enemies that it cannot ultimately conquer. ing a serious blow to the Palestinians. During this period, Kissinger is reported to have taken over the conduct of Middle Eastern affairs directly, and the second option was adopted. Is rael moved towards annexation, not as an explicit policy, but nevertheless quite def initely and plainly. There was much talk about the "historie rights" of the Jewish people to the West BankJudea and Samaria, in Israeli parlance. After some conciliatory moves by Hussein, these claims were advanced with increasing clarity, even in official statements. It was also made clear that the Golan Heights, now virtually free of Arabs apart from the Druze, would remain permanently part of Israel, and the Gaza strip as well. In the South, Bedouins were expelled from the Rafah región southwest of Gaza in preparation for Jewish settlement. Plans were discussed for a deep water port (Yamit) in that area. The administrative boundaries of Jerusalem were greatly extended, and all-Jewish settlement areas established. Settlement was accelerated throughout the occupied territories. Israef undertook systematic exploitation ofthe oilfields of the Sinai península. These policies plainly implied ultímate de facto annexa tion, and this conclusión was spelled out fairly clearly in the "Galili protocols," adopted as part of the electoral program of the dominant Labor Party in August 1973. Needless to say, all of these moves were undertaken with tacit American support, as part of what should no doubt be called the "Kissinger Plan," in contrast to the rejected Rogers Plan. During the same period, Egypt made repeated efforts to regain its position as American al ly, even expelling Russian advisers, but these moves met with no response. These Israeli-A merican policies were undertaken under the guise of "security"-every act of every state is motivated by "security." But the claim is not very convincing. On simple grounds of secur ty, Israel would be as well served by the conditions of the Rogers Plan as by thinly defended borders which are a constant provocation. Reserve-General Mattityahu Peled, formerly of the General Staff, has been particularly insistent on this point in internat Israeli debate, and his arguments are quite persuasive. He has aruged that "security" is being used as a cover for territorial expansión. This too seems a convincing hypothesis. The policy option adopted by Israel and the United States under the "Kissinger Plan" in fac.t maximized the security risks, since evidently Syria and Egypt would not accept this outconie. But the risks were considered slight, on the assumption of Israeli omnipotence and total Arab ineptitude. As much as any single individual, Kissinger is responsible for the tragic war of October. All the more ironie, then, that the American press, in its mindless adulation of this dangerous and confused man, should now be lauding him for his brilliance in patching up the conflict short of a still greáter catastrophe. When the assumptions of US-lsraeli policy were proven false by the October events, and when Saudi Arabia was mpelled to initiate the oil politics that raised the threat noted earlier, Kissinger was forced to shift American policy towards the Rogers Plan, which, for all of its serious inadequacies, and inequities- in particular, its silence on the Palestinian issue- would probably have prevented war. Since 1967, and increasingly since 1970, Israel has pursued a policy that is suicidal for any small power surrounded by enemies that it cannot ultimately conquer. The policy of annexation entailed the risk of repeated war, henee eventual disaster, since Israel can only lose once. It also led to reliance on a sinqle suDerDOwer and diplomatic isolation, since annexation proceeded in defiance of nternationcl opinión. A foretaste of the future, given such hazardous diplomacy, can be seen in the current Cyprus turmoil. The United States was virtually the sole support for Greek fascism. The immediate US reaction indicates that Kissinger must have given at least tacit support to the idiotie attempt of his Greek clients to bring Cyprus under Greek rule in the coup that overthrew Archbishop Makarious. When it became clear that Turkey would noMolerate this outcome, and that its military conquest could not be stopped, Unites States policy took a noticeablé "tilt" towards the bigger battalions, and the Greek Cypriots were sold down the river. All that remains is for Kissinger to spend a few months commuting between Athens and Ankara, arranging a partition short of nuclear war, to the cheers of the political analysts in the press.' As matters now stand, Israel s under American control. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have re covered their preferred position as American clients, with all that that name implies. Iran a firm American ally, is rapidly becoming one of the world's major military powers. Disrupt ive forces, such as the Palestinians, face hostility on all fronts, though their appeal to mass opinion in the Arab countries places certain limits on the measures that can be taken against them. The región is becoming a kind of Latín America, a network of mutually hostile states subject to reactionary forces within and linked directly to the United States. One can imagine a settlement, more or less along the lines of the Rogers Plan, that might provide the grim form of "stability" that seems to be Kissinger's ideal. However, the sytem is now highly unstable. Israel is digging in its heels, moving to incorpórate the occupied territories. It will take considerable American pressure to force it to re lax its grip. If this pressure is applied, Israel will have no recourse. But the pressure will be applied only if the oilproducers insist, and as already pointed out, they have some stake in the preservation of Israeli power. Still, it is not unlikely that they will insist. There is currently much talk in the Israeli press of preemptive war. One can see the logic. Israel cannot remain in a state of permanent mobilization, for economie reasons, and cannot tolérate a war of attrition. The Arab economie blockademay become more effective as Arab economie power becomes more influential internationally. It is reported that Syria is being heavily armed by the Soviet Union, now that Egypt has shifted allegiance. Israel would no doubt be willing to accept some compromise with Egypt in the Sinai and a return of portions of "Judea and Samaria" to Jordanian control, but only external force will compel it to move toward the kind of settlement that Syria and Egypt, at least, are likely to accept. If there is another war, it may well bring long range missiles and possible even nuclear weapons into operation, and it it quite impossible to see tne consequences. If short-run stability is imposed, the most that the Palestiníans can hope for is a mini-state subject to Israeli and Jordanian control. Israel will remain a Jewish state, that is, a state based on the principie of legal and institutional discrimination against non-Jews. For the Jewish population, there is a high level of democracy, by world standards. But the foundations of state policy place strict limits on Israeli democracy, as the facts indícate. Thus, more than ninety percent of the 1967 territory of Israel is, by law, owned in perpetuity by the Jewish people. Non-Jewish citizens may not lease, rent, or work on these lands. The Law of Return grants automatic citizenship to Jews, and excludes Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes. All-Jewish settlement areas are developed, with no protest from liberal opinión; imagine the reaction if all-White settlement areas were designated by law in New York City. Arab political expression is controlled, and, in past years, Arab dissidents have been jailed or committed to house arrest for long periods without formal charge, and in some cases, expelled. Internally, Israel can hardly avoid religious domination of social life, regardless of ipopular feelings about the mat ter, since some principled basis must be established for distinguishing the privileged majority from other citizens or from stateless Arabs in Israel-a. growing category, since statelessness is inherited, contrary to Standard practice in the Western democracies. A Jewish state can no more be a functioning democracy than a Christian state, or a White state, or an Arab state. This much must be clearly understood. A Palestinian state, f is is established, will be no better than a mirrorimage, perhaps even a distorted image, given its subordination to its hostile neighbors. But although such an outcome will be a bitter one for the people of the Middle East, it may very well accord with the basic principies of American policy in the región, if only Kissinger-style "stability" can be maintained. The latter is not too likely. Internat conflicts are severe and there is no reason to expect them to subside, under foreseeable political conditions. Hostility and antagonism will only be exacerbated as the various states of the región stand armed to the teeth, driven by irredentist forces and mutual hatreds. A Jewish state can no more be a functioning democracy than a ChrJstian state, or a White state, or an Arab state.