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March 01, 1974 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-03-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Purely Commentary

If Warriors Can Shake Hands and Exchange Niceties
on the War Front, Why Can't Diplomats? . . Conflicts
Unending, Yet Hope Springs Eternal for Mideast Peace

By Philip
Slomovitz

An Historic Photo ... A Lesson to Israel's Antagonists of Peace Possibilities

Retaining the photo on the left as a memento of history-making occurrences in the embattled
Middle East, all contending factions—Arabs especially—are invited to study it and to learn its great lesson.
It shows an Egyptian and an Israeli shaking hands when the disengagement was agreed upon, when
the withdrawal of Israel's troops commenced from territory within Egypt that was occupied by the Is-
raeli army.
The returnees went over the asphalted causeway that stretched across the canal — the sensational
bridgehead that caused international concern over the cement obstruction erected over the Suez Canal. It
was the same causeway, under Israel's control for 129 days, over which our journalists' mission was trans-
ported when we returned from Egypt with the army escort on our three-hour stay there with the Israelis
as a temporary African army.
The smiles are real, the handshake earnest. It was marked by impressive good will. It meant the
end of another conflict and it represented a hope that another war would be averted.
It also should be interpreted as a hope for peace, as a signal of the commencement of a riE
era that will bring blessings for Egyptians and Israelis alike; and once that happy era is introduced it
would inevitably assure progress for the entire Middle East.
This photo was snapped across the Suez. Your commentator was in that area three weeks before
the final withdrawal of Israeli troops from Egyptian soil. The Israelis in khaki, carryin g
guns, lolling in the sun with nothing to do but assure protection for an invading army that had no desire
to remain on foreign soil, had one desire: consummation of another Exodus from Egypt!
They wanted to go home, to their families, to their jobs and their businesses. They wanted peace.
"Habaita," homeward, they kept pleading and hoping. And when they left Egypt they painted their re-
turning tanks with the slogan: "Shalom Africa! Lo l'hitraot"—peace to you Africa, not to see you again!
It is because they wanted peace, and they made no secret of it. They told it to the Egyptians with
whom they fraternized. Their attitude was and remains a lesson for that entire area, for mankind—for the
Arabs!
The handshake and smile in this photo has a message to the entire Arab world: that which was
possible between Egyptians and Israelis is possible for all Arabs, indeed, all Jews! Why not pursue the
task to achieve it? And why not start NOW!

Threats of Hard Times for Israel Counteracted by Hopes for Better Days

Soon the Geneva talks will start. By that time there may be a positive—a
human—response from Syria regarding the prisoners of war. The tensions will surely
renew, and the puzzle will be phrased again: is peace possible?
Writing to the New York Times recently from Paris, C. L. Sulzberger made
this comment:
"The fact that Henry Kissinger broke the logjam in the Middle East is in
itself no mean accomplishment, but it would be a mistake to confuse this feat in
any way with peace. Even in the simplest sense of absence of war, peace is not
yet on the horizon.
"Secretary Kissinger did produce by his indefatigable energy what one
French newspaper called a demi-success for Egypt (after its demi-defeat on
the battlefield) and a demi-defeat politically for Israel after what had been,
militarily, a demi-victory.
"President Sadat has managed to dislodge the Israelis from considerable
territory seized in 1967, which is in itself a justification for his politics of fight-
ing and negotiating. The United States, for its part, has gone far toward re-
establishing at least a partial credibility among the Arabs."
The situation is viewed in the fashion of Egypt having scored a victory in
the October war. The fact that Israel had occupied 560 square miles of Egyptian
territory did not matter. The collapse of what has since been proved to be a
mythical Bar-Lev Line was to Sadat's credit.
It didn't matter for the prestige of Egypt that what had actually occurred
in Israel was another "miracle" that the Jewish state survived the Yom Kippur
attack was one of the most amazing results of 'a tragic war. The Syrians on the
Golan Heights had used as many tanks as Gen. Bernard Montgomery had used
against the Germans in the Battle of El Alamein in World War II. But the Israelis
were the victors. In 1967 Syria used 450 tanks against Israel, in 1973 the Syrians
put into action 2,700 tanks. The heroism of individual Israelis is being depicted
as the most amazing in warfare.
Similarly, the Egyptians used 1,000 tanks in the 1967 war, and in 1973 the
Egyptian army was supported by 2,600 tanks. Egypt had 680 planes in 1973 as
compared with her force of 250 planes in 1967. Yet Israel survived.
Will there be 'a showdown? Perhaps there is greater hope for peace than

Senators Knowland and Johnson:
When They Warned Ike on Sanctions

The death of former U. S. Senator William F. Know-
land served to revive recollections of an experience with,
the man who had been Republican floor leader in the
Senate when his party was in the ascendancy and who
was minority Republican leader when the Democrats re-
gained control of the Senate in 1954. It was in 1957, after
the Sinai Campaign, when President Eisenhower de-
manded Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai 'Peninsula and
forced the then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to
accede to his demands.
Ike had threatened sanctions against Israel. It was
necessary to act, and some of us were assigned the task
of contacting Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, then majority
Democratic leader of the Senate, and Senator Johnson.
Your commentator then met Knowland for the first time.
He was assured by the California senator, contact with
whom was made for him by former U. S. Senator from
Michigan Homer Ferguson, that he would not let Israel
down.
Senator Johnson, who was later to become President
of the United States, and Senator Knowland went to
President Eisenhower with a warning not to threaten little
Israel with sanctions; that if he enforced such a threat
there would be bipartisan condemnation and he would not
get support for his foreign aid program.

2—Friday, March 1, 1974

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

ever, in view of the negotiations that have commenced, because Israel- and Egypt
conversed on the embattled borders.
Proof of hopeful signs may be gleaned from an article in the New York
Times by Sana Hassan, a Harvard PhD candidate who is the daughter of Mahmoud
Hassan, Egypt's ambassador to the U.S. from 1938 to 1948. In her analysis of pros
and cons, of just claims and errors on both sides, Miss Hassan concluded as follows
about Israelis and Egyptians:
Neither of us have been absolutely right, both of us share the responsibility
for the Middle East tragedy: Both the Arabs, who did riot empathize sufficiently
with the Jewish plight and failed to recognize that the Jewish claim was of
equal moral validity with their own, and the Zionist settlers, who either ignored
the Arabs out of moral myopia or were aware of their presence but felt their
interests could justifiably be sacrificed for the sake of creating the state of
Israel. Both the Israelis who after 1967, out of distrust and greed, lapsed in
their peace initiatives, and the Arabs who initially were reluctant to meet the
Israelis half way kid have all along refused direct negotiations.
"This is our opportunity for a lasting, viable peace, provided that Israel's
armed might, which was once a successful means of establishing her right to
existence and bringing the Arabs around to recognizing her as a state, does not
become an end in itself. There was a time when Israel could claim she had no
choice but to rely on arms. She could not have peace and so she focused ex-
clusively on security. Now, for the first time, she can have both—she can have
security through peace."
One- dare not be too optimistic. Yet, to treat matters as hopes abandoned
would be criminal and cruel.
There are many obstacles to peace—the Arab animosities, the energy crisis,
the antagonism of some of the world powers, notably France. An expose in a
recent issue of Forbes Magazine truly exposes a demoniacal role, surely one in
relation to Israel.
A recent report of happenings in Damascus was headlined in a local news-
paper as: "Syrians Promise Israel a Hard Time." All Arabs are promising hard
times. But there are still the American objectives, and there are our unending
hopes for better days. They have sustained us in the past. Let's look to a better
era for Israel, for the Arabs, for all mankind.

In his much-heralded television address, President
Eisenhower toned down his intended threats and the sanc-
tions warning was eliminated. It was sharp enough, but
the leaders of both parties rendered Israel a great service
at the time.
(President Eisenhower's pressures on Israel during
Operation Sinai are judged 'as the worst blunder in his
entire career. Arthur Krock stated it bluntly while ex-
pressing general admiration for Ike).
It was interesting to read this week, in the report
about the Islamic conference held in Lahore, Pakistan,
that President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt spoke of a change
in U. S. attitudes toward Israel. He' was quoted by N. Y.
Times correspondent Bernard Weinraub as saying about
the United States:
"I think they are changing. I have had more than
four or five meetings with Dr. Kissinger and I think I
can feel it, that there is a change, especially after the
very dark era of Johnson's administration."

In view of the experiences we who had a role in
Israel's defense had with Senators Knowland and John-
son, this statement may suggest a puzzling continuity in
American attitudes, in spite of the interpretation given by
Sadat to his talks with Kissinger. After all, we are, his-
torically, dealing with bipartisan American friendship for
Israel. Sadat can feel 'and hope negatively toward Israel,
while we retain faith: American friendship for Israel will
not be betrayed.

.

Martha Griffiths' Consistent Role

-
Both as private citizen, then as judge and for the
past 20 years as a member of the U. S. House of Repre-
sentatives, she has been consistently liberal.
During her services in Congress, she has supported
aid to Israel and has backed the Jewish state in t
struggles for security.
As in many other matters, Congresswoman Griffiths
was fearless and principled. She has earned the gratitude
of all her constituents for services performed in the best
interests of our country.
It is not too early to think of a successor, and her
congressional district will be well advised to be cautious
and not to yield to opportunists. It'll be all too easy now
for candidates for the job to pose as friends of Israel,
as civic minded, as liberals. Already, however, one of the
mentioned candidates, a former Detroit official, may
need to mend an earlier attitude. When he was in Israel
he refused to be photographed: there are more Arabs
than Jews in Detroit, was the preferred explanation. A
wise politician, however, is one who does not base his
thinking on special privilege but on justice. He had gone
to Israel out of interest in a highly developed and pro-
gressive society. Cultural and economic advancement for
Israel can and should be a benefit for the entire area—
Arabs as well as Jews. Those who fear to face this truth
have no place in our nation's highest legislative ranks.

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