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July 03, 1981 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-07-03

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64 Friday, July 3, 1981


AIPAC Report Defends Israel Air Strike at Osirak

(Continued from Page 2)

worst in the world, and has
so been described in State
Department reports.
Moreover, Iraq has been a
systematic supporter of in-
ternational radical ter-
rorism — with funds, train-
ing and arms.

What are France's mo-
tives in persisting in this
nuclear deal, in the face
of repeated U.S. warn-
ings and Israeli pleas?
Iraq supplies one-third of
France's oil. Moreover,
-France, is after the U.S. and
the USSR, the world's third
largest arms seller, and its
sales to Iraq and other Arab
states are enormous. There
is, in addition, a vast Arab
investment in France, and
enormous French exports to
the Arab world. France's
dealing with the Arab
states has resulted in a
boom for French civil
engineering and construc-
tion firms.

What are the chances of
France changing its pol-
icy on arms to Iraq?
In 1979, at U.S. urging,
France did try to persuade
Iraq to modify its purchase
of high-grade uranium; but
when Iraq insisted, France
acceded. Upon his appoint-
ment as foreign minister in
the new French govern-
ment, Claude Cheysson as-
serted that there is no ques-
tion of France's reneging on
its nuclear agreement with
Just one week before the
Israeli strike, President
Mitterrand assured Iraq
that France would supply
the reactor with uranium
fuel through its lifetime.

How heedful of human
life was the Israeli strike?
All American and other
intelligence estimates, as
well as French eye-witness
reports, testify to the great
care Israel took. A French
technician who witnessed
the raid from Baghdad
spoke of the absence of bomb
craters, indicating hits only
on the targeted reactor.
Bertrand Barre, the French
nuclear attache in Wash-
ington, noted that the fuel
had "gone critical" just days
before the raid; and that
there was no damage to the
uranium fuel because it was
stored in a smaller reactor
alongside Osirak. All of
which testifies to the surgi-
cal precision of the attack,
and to Israel's concern
about radiation in Baghdad
and environs.
Can the strike be com-
pared in any way to the
1976 Israeli rescue of hos-
tages at Entebbe?
They are comparable, in
three ways: 1) the exhaus-

tive intelligence required
for the enterprises; 2) the
meticulous planning and
the pinpoint execution of
the plans; 3) the life-
affirming spirit that ani-
mated the plans — so that
the missions were under-
taken to save lives — in one
case, of passengers; in this
case, to keep loss of life at a
minimum in the strike it-
self, and to prevent a nu-
clear holocaust that would
have destroyed multitudes
of Arabs as well as Jews if
the Iraqi bomb had become

Wasn't Begin playing
"electoral games" and
doesn't his desire for
electoral victory account
for the timing of the
In ordering the strike
when he did, Begin under-
took a wide range of mortal
risks: of — failure of the
mission; death of workers
and technicians; miscalcu-
lation resulting in explosion
of uranium and massive
radiation; embarrassment
of the U.S.; alienation of
President Sadat; outrage of
world opinion; coalesence of
Arab states and around
hated and feared Iraq; con-
sequent popular rejection
and electoral defeat in Is-
The politically prudent
thing would have been not
to strike. Only incontrover-
tible intelligence informa-
tion could have over-
whelmed such an array of

Doesn't this strike
demonstrate that Israel is
aggressive and expan-

In the attack on Osirak,
the Israeli planes deliber-
ately avoided hitting
Baghdad and other Iraqi
cities, the great Iraqi oil
wells, refineries and ports,
and all other military,
industrial and economic
strongpoints, military bases
or residential areas. How
does that jibe with aggres-
sive intent?
If Israel were expan-
sionist, it would have long
since moved its frontiers
beyond the narrow, cir-
cumscribed area that is the
historical Land of Israel. It
would, in that case, not have
given up the Sinai with its
oil wells, beautiful settle-
ments and sophisticated air
and ground bases and in-
frastructure. It would not
have withdrawn from a por-
tion of the Golan Heights
and permitted • its de-
militarization and UN

Why hasn't Israel, like
Iraq, signed the Non-
Proliferation Treaty?
Israel has not adhered to

the treaty because one of its
basic conditions has not
been met by its Arab
neighbors. That is — the re-
quirement in the preamble
of the NPT that all states
abide by the UN Charter
requirements to live in
peace with other member
states and refrain from
threatening them.
In short, the NPT cannot
be taken to apply in a state
of war such as Iraq openly
conducts against Israel, and
Israel would be foolhardy to
bind itself to commitments
— which it would honor —
in the face of aggressive
enemies who do not hesitate
to violate treaty obliga-
Israel has, however, sup-
ported UN efforts to prevent
nuclear proliferation. It
ratified the Partial Test
Ban Treaty in 1954 and the
treaty banning nuclear
weapons in outer space in
1977. Israel voted for UN
General Assembly Resolu-
tion 2373 in 1968, endorsing
the text of the NPT.
Moreover, Israel has re-
peatedly offered to
negotiate with its Arab
neighbors a treaty creating
a nuclear-free zone in the
Middle East.

Why doesn't Israel, like
Iraq, permit its nuclear
facilities to be inspected
by the International
Atomic Energy Agency?
The IAEA has shown
alarming ineffectuality in
its inspection procedures.
Iraq's nuclear deal with
Brazil, for example, is not
covered by the NPT and is
not subject to inspection by
the IAEA. It has frequently
been noted also that IAEA
inspectors think in terms of
large weapons in inven-
tories — rather than of one
or several small bombs of
the type Iraq is developing.
The political nature of the
IAEA should also be noted.
Iraq is its current chairman
and the PLO maintains ob-
server status.
Writing in the Brookings
Institution's "Non-
Proliferation and U.S.
Foreign Policy," Henry
Rowen and Richard Brody
warned that "Under the
present international rules,
nations can possess nuclear
explosive materials without
violating . . . the NPT-IAEA
The Washington Post of
June 16 points out a series
of profound weaknesses in
the whole IAEA system
which must weigh heavily
with any country like Is-
rael, faced as it is with
threats to its very existence:
"The treaty is written in
such a way that a violation
does not technically occur
until nuclear material —

uranium or plutonium — is
diverted from its approved
use. But this . may occur
within a few days of its in-
sertion into a nuclear bomb.
Since IAEA inspectors come
around only a few times a
year, the international
safeguards system amounts
to only an elaborate
counting procedure that re-
lies on the good intentions of
the parties being

. . Iraq's status as a
party to the NPT may have
been its greatest asset in its
apparent pursuit of a
weapons capability.
Whenever questions have
been raised about the wis-
dom of French and Italian
exports, Western govern-
ments, including the U.S.,
have repeatedly answered
them with reference to the
NPT. It should not go un-
noticed now that when he is
questioned about his own
intentions, Libya's Col.
Qaddafi answers in pre-
cisely the same way."

Doesn't Israel have a
bomb of its own and isn't
Iraq therefore justified in
developing its own?
The difference between
the two states is that Iraq
had sworn the total destruc-
tion of Israel, and Israel
seeks peace with Iraq, and
with all Arab states. If Is-
rael has a bomb, it has
threatened no one with it.
Iraq has not concealed its
intent to use all its weapons
against Israel.

Isn't the Israeli strike a
precedent for all nations
to act on their own to
bomb their opponents at
will? Would it not justify
India in a pre-emptive
strike against Pakistan,
the USSR against China,
the U.S. and the USSR,
each of whom has atomic
missiles trained on the
In 1977, Egypt invaded
Libya to end anti-Egyptian
terrorism. In 1978, China
invaded Vietnam "to teach
it a lesson" and to weaken a
strong Soviet ally on its
border. In 1980, Iraq in-
vaded Iran in order to estab-
lish its supremacy in the
Persian Gulf. In 1981, Libya
overwhelmed Chad, to ex-
tend its influence in north
and central Africa. Few pro-
tests and no condemnation
The Soviet Union still
stands as the aggressor in
Afghanistan, yet no UN
sanctions are imposed. Nor,
for that matter, against In-
dia, for exploding a "peace-
ful" nuclear device, in viola-
tion of agreements with
the U.S. and in defiance of
international nuclear
treaties, inspection and con-
When the U.S. undertook
the mission to rescue its
hostages in Teheran last
year, American planes vio-
lated the air space of several
countries before reaching
Iran. The U.S. and Iran
were not at war, nor was the
U.S. dedicated to Iran's ex-
tirpation, yet American
forces at the rendezvous


were prepared to shoot and
kill any Iranian opposition
they might have
States act, quite properly
and of necessity, in pursuit
of their national interest,
not because any precedent
has permitted them to do so.

Will not the strike
weaken U.S. effective-
ness as an honest broker
between Israel and the
Arabs, especially if it vet-
oes sanctions against Is-
rael, continues arms
shipments, and remains
committed to Israel polit-
ically and morally?
The U.S can play such a
role only if an Arab country
has evinced readiness to
make peace with Israel. It
was only on that basis that
President Carter was able
to mediate between Egypt
and Israel at Camp David.
The U.S. cannot otherwise
bring unwilling Arabs to
the negotiating table; thus
its role has not been under-
Israel has not engaged in
any aggressive acts, such as
those listed above. In the
strike at Osirak, it acted
with care and precision in
self-defense. Why should its
defensive 'actions be con-
demned, or viewed as
precedent-setting, when the
others were not?

Does the raid mean the
end of the U.S. hope for a
strategic consensus
against Soviet threats in
the Middle East?
The only states that ac-
cept this doctrine are Egypt
and Israel. The other Arab
states whom the U.S, has
sought to involve in this
strategy — most particu-
larly Saudi Arabia — have
rejected it out of hand. The
raid is irrelevant to the

Will the strike spur on
the Arabs to build the "Is-
lamic bomb"?
Perhaps. But it must be
remembered that Pakistan
and Libya, as well as Iraq,
have for years been trum-
peting this intention, long
before the strike. Indeed,
the raid might well give
them pause, to consider the
potential fate of any "Is-
lamic" bomb aimed at Is-

Doesn't this raid
weaken the Arab moder-
ates? Won't it lead all the
Arab states to solid unity
behind Iraq?
There are no "moderate"
Arab states (except for
Egypt) vis-a-vis Israel: they
all intend its liquidation.
They can be deemed moder-
ate only in relation to the
U.S. There is no rational
ground for, say, Jordan or
Saudi Arabia, to be
weakened, or to be
radicalized. Nor would it
serve their interests to turn
to Moscow more than they
already have. And long-
standing, volatile Arab in-
ternecine hatreds — Syria-
Iraq, Syria-Jordan, Libya-
Iraq, Saudi-South Yemen,
et al. — cannot be expected
to change in the long run,

for they stem from per-
ceived national interests
rather than from short-term

Won't the strike pro-
vide additional re-entry
points for the USSR into
the Middle East? Won't it
dilute attention from
Eastern Europe and pro-
vide the Soviets with
cover for whatever mis-
chief they may embark
on in Poland?
A group of Arab states —
Syria, Libya, South Yemen,
and Iraq — are already
associated militar4
politically with the U.
Others, like Saudia and
Jordan, are increasingly as-
suming a neutralist posture
between the two great pow-
ers, and it would not suit
their basic political inter-
ests to tie themselves to
Moscow. Other Arab states
will likewise steer a course
that will benefit their per-
ceived national interests —
as they have been doing for
There is nothing the
Western world might do to
deter the USSR from at-
tacking Poland, or to punish
it if it did, that it could not
do if the Israeli strike had
not taken place. This argu-
ment is a red herring, plac-
ing an undeserved onus on

Shouldn't Israel have
informed the U.S. and
Egypt in advance of the
Such advance notice
would have placed all par-
ties in an impossible posi-
tion. It would have forced
the U.S. either to approve
the raid or to place enor-
mous pressures on Israel to
desist; in either case, the
U.S. would have been ac-
cused of supporting the act.
And while the strike em-
barrasses President Sadat,
advance knowledge would
have embarrassed him even

Won't the raid jeopar-
dize the mission of Am-
bassador Philip Habib to
resolve the missile crisis
in Lebanon?

Why should Israel be
blamed when a serious Arab
League effort, just a week
earlier, had failed to resolve
the long-entrenched hostil-
ity between Syrians and
Lebanese, between Chris-
tian and Muslim Lebanese?

Would it not have been
preferable for the raid to
have been done secretly,
with no markings on the
planes, and with no sub-
sequent Israel
nouncement of the
Such a course would have
been both shabby and self-
defeating. Sooner or later,
the truth would have
emerged, and Israel would
have been condemned for
deception and duplicity as
well as aggression. Besides,
as Prime Minister Begin
said, the raid was an act of
self-defense of which Israel
need not be ashamed, nor
have undertaken like
"thieves in the night."

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