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April 22, 1983 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-22

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

Friday, April 22, 1983 35


“Walli, , Street Journal iBielgodes


(Editor's note: The fol-
lowing editorial ap-
peared in the April 19
Wall Street Journal
under the headline, "Be-
irut Normalcy.")
The force of it was stun-
ning. A car bomb in Beirut
blew up the American em-
bassy yesterday morning,
tearing away the front of
the building and collapsing
the reinforced concrete
floors like a deck of cards. At
least 63 people, some of
them American serv-
icemen, were killed. There
is one grisly saving grace
about modern-day Mideast
-politics: Whenever you get
your head too far into the
clouds, with dreams of
grand manipulations and
comprehensive peace, one
sort of explosion or another
will remind you of the
bloody impossibility of the
On the eve of the embassy
tragedy, the centerpiece of
the Reagan Administra-
tion's Mideast policy, its
plan to solve the problem of
the West Bank, was falling
into the trap that has gob-
bled up every
comprehensive-style peace
plan for the Mideast. The
Administration was trying
desperately to get Jordan's
King Hussein, as well as
any other available Arab
heads of state, to sit down
with the Israelis.
The king proved himself a
secure hostage to the dic-
tates of Yasir Arafat, who is
no more ready to give up his
status as a revolutionary
figure this time than he has
ever been. The peace plan
has suffered its predictable
BefOre that, the U.S.
military was complaining
that the Israeli soldiers in
Lebanon were harassing
our troops there. Top
civilian authorities
in the Pentagon in.
structed our Marine
commander to write a let-
ter saying so, then leaked
the letter and made it a
nasty little public inci-
dent. There was much
speculation about the Is-
raelis' possible dirty mo-
tives and ours.
In the course of the fight
the Israelis revealed one
reason for the constant ten-
sion: U.S. soldiers in Leba-
non were forbidden to estab-
lish the normal type of
liaison and communications
with their Israeli comrades,
apparently because of
someone's fear that Arabs
would regard this as un- .
seemly fraternization.
Hence minor conflicts over
sector responsibilities were
festering in wait of diploma-
tic solutions.
In the process of all this,
the Administration deliv-
ered insult after insult to
the Israelis. The President
sent a message to the Sy-
rians saying that the U.S.
might include the Syrians'
demand for the return of the
Golan Heights in any future
negotiations. Our Karen El-
liott House, in reporting
last week's fascinating
two-part series on the polit-
PrQsstiZeisAlAt P4Ille t9


bear on the Jordanian king,
was told that President Re-
agan had said he was will-
ing to risk loss of the Jewish
vote in 1984 to get the king's
cooperation-on the peace
The White House has, of
course, denied this bit of
political expansiveness, but
the credibility of the Hus-
sein meeting account was
strengthened by the
President's earlier threat to
hold up sale of F-16 fighter
planes to Israel until Israeli
troops are out of Lebanon.
The situation has also
turned slightly poisonous
within the U.S. govern-
ment; the President's ad-
viser for Jewish affairs
within the White House has
quit after discovering that
there is a big difference be-
tween being listened to in
the Oval Office and having
anyone take you seriously.
This everlasting
seesaw is by no means
new in U.S. diplomacy
towards the Middle East.
Almost since the forma-
tion of the state of Israesl
35 years ago, the U.S. has
combined its special rela-
tionship with Israel and
with attempts to try to
win the friendship and
confidence of Arab states
and mediate on Israeli-
Arab peace. No one can
say for sure that some
other policy would have
worked better, given the
conflicts of the area, but
the one the U.S. has fol-
lowed clearly has had
serious deficiencies.
Quite possibly the U.S.
has been victim to a danger-
ous illusion: that a broad
and stable peace is possible
in the Mideast and that we
have the power to bring it
about. In fact, Israel or no
Israel, the region is,going to
be victim to political insta-
bility for years to come; all
we can prudently do is to
choose the crucial points at
which we can mitigate the
situation in our own inter-
ests, keeping in mind that
our best chance for doing
that lies with maintaining a
close working relationship
with the one stable and
militarily effective democ-
racy in the area, Israel.
All this fooling around on
our part, with large prom-
ises and potential commit-
ments to shaky and mutu-
ally suspicious Arab lead-
ers, is dangerous.
There are Soviets in the
Mideast. They have just
reminded us of that by re-
stocking Syria with even
more advanced weapons
than the ones the Syrians
lost in the Lebanese war,
and sending in large num-
bers-of Russians to help man
them. Diplomatically, the
Soviets are there, too. This
time around they played a
crucial role in persuading

. Midetief sPollidyl I


Arafat and Hussein not to
bite at the Reagan plan. We
cannot casually stomp on
our allies in the region with
the Russians so eager to
make capital of the situa-
might be read by some as
just that much more evi-

dence that we have to do
more to redress Arab
grievances. There is
nothing in the record to
support such a claim.
Terrorism is the work of
Arab factions interested in
conquest, not peace, and
certainly no friends of the
U.S. The lesson we should

draw from the latest Beirut
horror is that grandstand-
ing and moralizing in such a
highly charged situation
are merely ways to court
It's time to get down to a
quieter kind of work, and
also to remember who our
friends are.

Body to Gather

Society of Michigan, Inc.,
will meet 8 p.m. Tuesday at
the Jimmy Prentis Morris
Branch of the Jewish Com-
munity Center. Refresh-
ments will be served.
Elley Meisler will show
slides from her recent trip to


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Litvaks Sought

A Connecticut man is
seeking Jews who immig-
rated from the town of
Oshmyana, Lithuania.
Persons with information
should write Raymond Mag,
247 Reservoir Rd.,
Newington, Conn. 06111. ,

2601 W. Big Beaver Road.Troy. MI 48084

R •+•i *

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