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February 11, 1983 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-02-11

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

18 Friday, February 11, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Reagan Continues Historic U.S. Mideast Policy of Appeasement

By VICTOR BIENSTOCK

The policies currently
pursued by the Reagan Ad-
ministration promise to
make the United States the
major obstacle to the at-
tainment of peace in the
Middle East.
Washington — and this
Administration was not the
first to be guilty of the error
— has failed to understand
the underlying conditions
in that sorely troubled area.

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It has consequently failed to
perceive how best to protect
our own national interests
there.
Basically, our policy in
the Middle East is one of ap-
peasement. We have yet to
learn the lesson of Munich
that appeasement is not the
pathway to peace.
Our strategists tell us
that the Middle East, be-
cause of its geography
and its vast oil reserves,
is of vital importance to
us in any clash of inter-
ests with the Soviet
Union. Israel is the only
country in the entire area
which stands ready to
give the U.S. complete
cooperation and the use
of bases and facilities in
the event of need. It has
been likened to an un-
sinkable aircraft carrier
at our disposal if we need
it.
But we have not assigned
Israel any role in our
strategic planning to pro-
tect the Mideast oil reserves
and transportation routes
for fear of angering the
'Arab states whose security,
in the long run, depends on
us.
Further, we appear to be

ready to weaken this ally to
the degree that it might not
be able effectively to assist
us if the need should ever
arise, in order to. buy Arab
friendship.
We would, apparently, go
this far to appease the timid
sheiks of the House of Saud
who distrust their own
people and fear their jealous
brethren beyond the bor-
ders of Saudi Arabia more
than the threat from the
north. The Saudi regime.
has never willingly aided or
supported American policy
nor showed any willingness
to cooperate with us in or-
ganizing the defense of the
Persian Gulf area. In fact, it
distrusts us equally with
the Soviets.
Yet, put simply and
bluntly, the U.S. is acting
today as the obedient
agent of the Saudi regime
in seeking to impose a
solution of the Arab-
Israeli conflict that wilt
weaken us in the Middle
East by weakening a
trustworthy ally and that
will not solve the problem
but merely add another
discordant note to the
Middle East cacophony.
It is ironic; the Reagan

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Administration and its pre-
decessors have condemned
the Palestine Liberation
Organization as terrorist.
The Saudi regime, quiver-
ing in fear of a PLO attempt
to take over the kingdom as
it did Lebanon, pays hun-
dreds of millions in tribute
to Yasir Arafat and his con-
federates and takes the lead
in advocating the PLO posi-
tion on Palestine in order to
divert the terrorists from
the tempting target Saudi
Arabia represents.
Thus, from President Re-
agan down, we are in effect
working for PLO objectives
while denouncing the PLO
for terrorism. If Arafat had
the acumen and the guts to
proclaim tomorrow that he
recognized the right of Is-
rael to live in peace behind
secure, recognized borders
and agreed to meet the Is-
raelis at the negotiating ta-
ble, he would torpedo our
position in the Middle East.
But Arafat won't do that.
King Hussein of Jordan, on
whom Washington, closing
its eyes to his past record of
double-dealing, woos to re-
scue the Reagan Plan for a
Palestine settlement, won't
negotiate unless he first
gets what he wants. Saudi
Arabia wants the U.S. to de- -
liver Israel's head on a plat-
ter.
The fatal flaw in Wash-
ington's perception of the
Middle East situation is
that it believes the Pales-
tine question, which in it-
self is only one of the
many elements of the
-Middle East ferment, is
the root cause of the
Arab-Israeli conflict and
its belief that if that cause
were eliminated, the con-
flict would disappear. It
is not as simple as that.
The Arab leadership re-
gards Israel as an alien
element in the heart of the
Moslem world that has to be
extirpated. If it cannot be
destroyed, then it must be
kept isolated; it must not be
accepted and integrated
into the life of the Middle
East.
Much
the
same
feeling
existed
to
wards a Lebanon that
was in large part Christian
even though the Lebanese
Christians are predomi-
nantly Arab. The Lebanese

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Christians are a tiny minor-
ity in a vast Moslem sea and
the current Lebanese re-
gime feels it must establish
some kind of bond with the
Moslem powers surround-
ing it to ensure survival —
even at the expense of a
potentially fruitful rela-
tionship with Israel.
Right now we are subject-
ing Israel to a tremendous
amount of heat, including
unofficial threats by un-
named high officials to cut
off American aid to Israel.
We have let it be known
that Prime Minister
Menahem Begin won't be
welcome at the White
House as long as he con-
tinues to be "obstreperous."
We want Israel to agree
to give up elements it
deems vital to its security
without any assurance of
peace from its Arab
neighbors. We want Is-
rael to pick up and pull
out of Lebanon, bag and
baggage, without any
commitments for peace
nor any assurance that
PLO terrorists won't re-
turn to southern Leba-
non to harass Israeli vil-
lages and towns.
President Reagan greets
President Mubarak of
Egypt as a partner in the
quest for peace in the Mid-
dle East although Mubarak
has reneged on his com-
mitments to Israel under
the Camp David peace ac-
cords and has almost com-
pletely severed relations
with that state.
We are obsequious before
Hussein, promising him
planes, guns and dollars if
only he will come to the
negotiating table. We go to
every extreme possible to
satisfy the Saudi sheiks.
And we are getting nowhere
with these tactics.
If we want peace in the
Middle East, let Ambas-
sador Habib advise
President Gemayel to stop
treating the Israelis as lep-
ers and to negotiate with
them in good faith to estab-
lish a basis on which Israel
can safely withdraw its
forces with the assurance of
freedom from attackers
based on Lebanese territory
and a decent, neighborly re-
lationship.
Let Mr. Habib also tell
him bluntly that Ameri-

can troops will not be
stationed in southern
Lebanon to be sniped at
by PLO terrorists.
Let us make it clear to
Hussein that we are not
going to bribe him with the
guns and planes he
threatens otherwise to ob-
tain from Moscow and re-
mind him that he can miss
the bus once too often.
Let us tell Mubarak that
we expect him to live up to
the letter and spirit of his
peace treaty with Israel and
not to make it another scrap
of paper.
Let us tell all the Arab
states that we are not going
to destroy Israel to appease
them and that if they have
the legitimate demands and
claims on Israel, let them
meet Israel face-to-face over
the conference table and
settle their differences in
good-faith bargaining. Let
them remember that Israel
returned the Sinai Penin-
sula to Egypt in negotia-
tions, not under duress.
That is the path to peace.
There is no other.

Koch Defends
Position on Aid
to NY Homeless

NEW YORK — Mayor Ed
Koch has responded to
charges by Rabbi Marc
Tanenbaum of the Ameri-
can Jewish Committee that
the mayor was guilty of
"scapegoating" synagogues
when he suggested last
month that the Jewish
community was not doing
leensosugh to shelter the home-

The mayor's rebuttal was
broadcast over New York
radio station WINS-AM last
weekend. Rabbi Tanen-
baum, in a commentary'
,aired by the radio station
earlier this month, said
Koch was "suggesting that
Jews, unlike Christians, are
callous to human suffer-
ing."
The mayor, who made his
remarks concerning the ci-
ty's homeless in a speech at
the Stephen Wise Free
Synagogue, accused Rabbi
Tanenbaum of "playing fast
and loose with the facts."

The Arabs trace their de-
scent from Abraham and
Ishmael.

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