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April 29, 1983 - Image 80

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-29

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

80 • Friday, April 29, 1983


Report and Commentary on the Beirut Massacre

Israel Inquiry Commission's Report: Text and Eban Comment

The text of what has been
termed "the Yitzhak Kahan
Report," the inquiry' con-
ducted after the tragedies in
the Sabra and 6 Shatila
camps, is now made avail-
able in a hard-cover volume
appearing under the title
"The Beirut Massacre." It
has just been issued by the
Karz-Cohl Publishers of
New York.
The documentary speaks
for itself, appearing in the
corrected English transla-
tion over the signatures of
Israel Supreme Court
President Kahan and the
two other members, Aharon
Barak, also a Supreme
Court justice, and Yona Ef-
rat, major general (reserve)
in the Israel Defense Forces.
The American-published
edition assumes special im-
portance in the 12-page in-
troduction by former Israel
Foreign Minister Abba
Eban, who distin-
guished himself as
statesman and orator,
emerges here as a bril-
liant reporter. His intro-
duction is a thorough
analysis of the "Peace for
Galilee" occurrences. It
must be viewed also as a
criticism of the Begin-
Likud policies. There-
fore, his ideological in-
terpretation of Israel's
traditional war-peace
policies, with emphasis
on the views of the Labor
Alignment with-which he
is associated, are impor-
tant. On this score he
"The two alternative ap-
praisals of PLO intention
were matched by two con-
flicting attitudes in the Is-
raeli political system. One
viewpoint held that the
cease-fire was tenuous, pro-
visional, and perhaps, even
harmful since it enabled the
PLO to grow stronger with-
out fear of harassment. This
view was strongly held in
the top army command and
was known to be shared by
Defense Minister Ariel
"The other view was that
while a cease-fire lasted it
ought to be preserved, since
nothing is inevitable until
after it has occurred and
since whatever deterrents
and restraints had pre-
vented PLO violence for a
year might well exist undi-
minished for another year
and, therefore, for a third
and fourth.
"Just as there is a
dynamic in war, so is there a
dynamic in an absence of
war. When the disengage-
ment agreement had been
signed with Syria in 1974
few were optimistic enough
to predict eight uninter-


rupted years of tranquility;
yet this had ensued.
"The spokesmen for
this 'wait and see' ap-
proach included the
leaders of the Labor
Party. During the month
of May and up to June 1,
the Israeli press was car-
rying articles and inter-
views from General Yit-
zhak Rabin, General
Chaim Barley, and the
party leader Shimon
Peres expressing reser-
vations about any de-
spatch of Israeli forces to
Lebanon for military ac-
tion unless or until a
major provocation came
from the PLO itself,
"Peres, Barley and Rabin
are three names without
which no one can write the
history of Israel's defense
establishment. Peres had
been minister of defense,
Rabin had been chief of staff
and, later, prime minister,
and Barley had been Israel's
senior tank commander be-
fore becoming chief of staff
after the Six-Day War of
"With this massive mili-
tary, authority on their
shoulders the Labor trio had
personally told. Prime
Minister Menahem Begin of
their belief that the peace of
Galilee should be assured
by the cease-fire,
supplemented by convinc-
ing deterrent strength.
"Deterrence is the key
word. Here we come up
against a doctrinal conflict
that has split Israel and the
Zionist movement down the
middle for a half-a-century.
It concerns the question of
armed force in the solution
of the national predica-
ment, more particularly,
the predicament created by
Arab hostility.
"From the outset, the
Labor movement, which
established the Israel De-
fence Forces under
David Ben-Gurion's

leadership in 1948, was
not a pacifist movement.
Faced by an implacable
and ferocious Arab hos-
tility with genocidal
overtones, to have denied
the principle of armed re-
sistance would have been
to invite the victory of
aggression. To be a
pacifist in the Middle
East is to have an in-
teresting but brief exist-
"Yet the classical Israeli
approach to armed force was
always restrained. Golda
Meir had spoken of the doc-
trine of 'ein brera' — war
when there is no choice; war
when you must, not when
you can; war as the last, re-
luctant resort when all
other possible remedies
have been exhausted. This
implies a reactive approach
whereby war is chosen only
when an attack has been
launched or is clearly im-
"Under this traditional
doctrine Israel has been
willing to make war only
when a refusal to make it
would have endangered its
territorial integrity, its sov-
ereignty, or the lives of its

"A corollary of this re-
active approach has been a
principle of limited war.
This involves using less
than one's total power to
achieve something less than
the total destruction of the
adversary. Israel's wars al-
ways ended when it would
have been physically possi-
ble to push the fighting
"Behind these restric-
tive criteria lies a cau-
tious or pessimistic view
of what war can achieve-
when it goes beyond its
preventive function. War
can prevent; it cannot
create. It can prevent an
enemy from destroying
your life and home and
thus enable history to
continue on its course.
But it cannot construct
new textures of relation-
ship or create the har-
monies and mutual inter-
ests necessary for the es-
tablishment of a -new and
better international or-
"This means that it 411.1*
be replaced and succeeded
as soon as possible by poli-
tics and diplomacy, which
move by persuasion, not
Describing the Shatilla-
Sabra occurrence as "a
gruesome pogrom," the
Eban view is that limited
aims should be applied in
Israel's defense methods.._
Because "a larger place" is
given in the Likud-,

Revisionist programs, Eban
criticizes the mystique
heroism of Begin and his
associates. He assails their
resort to martial tactics,
stemming from earlier
encouragement of unofficial
armies. He recalls that the
Revisionists "even 40 years
ago did not shrink from per-
sonal assassinations and at-
tacks on predominantly
civilian Arab targets."
Thus, Eban pursues the
inquiry conclusions of
criticizing Menahem Begin,
even if it is done mildly. The
Eban essay is certain to
arouse resentment. It may
infuse more criticism.
"The Beirut Massacre" is
a volume that will elicit an-
ticipated interest and also
concern. Thus, this volume
is both a craved-for report as
well as an instigation to
further disputes within
Jewish and Israeli ranks.

* * *

Eban. Major
Participant in New
M.E. Peace Movement

Abba Eban's criticisms of
the Begin government and
his role in the peace move-
ment draw attention with
the announcement that he
has been named chairman
of the international
presidium of the newly-
formed International Cen-

ter for Peace in the Middle
Former Chief Justice
Chaim Cohn of the Israel
Supreme Court is the hon-
orary president of the
group, which has headquar-
ters in Tel Aviv.
Members of the peace
center include Rita Hauser,
Rabbbi Arthur Hertzberg,
Philip Klutznick, Prof.
Seymour Martin Lipset and
Ranni Harry, Schulweis.
David Shaham, as
executive director, ex-
plains the purposes of
this International Center
for Peace in the Middle
East as follows:
"The International Cen-
ter for Peace in the Middle
East is a non-party, non-
sectarian and non-profit
organization. Its aim is to be
the focal point for peace-
oriented scholars, commu-
nity leaders, professionals,
businessmen and any
others in Israel and abroad
wishing to be involved in
the active promotion of the
search for peace in the Mid-
dle East — regardless of na-
tionality, ideology or reli-
gious or political affiliation.
"Its purpose is to under-
take policy-oriented re-
search and discussions in
order to develop concrete
recommendations and pro-
mote activities and educa-

tional plans directed
towards the achievement of:
• a comprehensive peace
in the Middle East;
• full solution of the
Israel-Palestinian con-
flict by mutual recogni-
tion, self-determination
and coexistence;
• extrication of the Mid-
dle East from Super-Powq
rivalries and the arms race,
both conventional and nu-
• freedom of conscience
and religious tolerance;
• equality of social, cul-
tural and political rights —
individual and collective —
for religious and national
minorities; and
• regional cooperation
aimed at developing the
area for the benefit of all
its peoples.

The names Klutznick,
Eban, Hertzberg, Lipset
have already aroused much
dispute on the Israel-Arab
issues. It is well therefore,
in discussing the Eban
views on the peace aims in
the Middle East, that these
relationships should be on
the record.
In any event, they relate
to the former Israel foreign
minister's views on the
Kahan Inquiry Commission


Friends Aid the Aliya Process


World Zionist Press Service

JERUSALEM — Settling
into a country is an ongoing
process, not a one-time act.
Often you only realize how
rooted you are in Israel
when you meet a newer
immigrant who has just ar-
rived and is exclusively
studying Ivrit and watching
the 9 p.m. news — to im-
prove his Hebrew, not be-
cause he's so concerned
about our country's situa-
Each hurdle, such as find-
ing a job, a home and even
buying appliances, is usu-
ally suffered only once and
all the hassles, delays and
bureaucracy one encounters
are non-repeatable events.
Thus, once completed, you
can get on with the business
of living.
One of the critical stages
in aliya is finding a commu-
nity and friends. Not just
the convenient friends who
help you to collect your child
when you can't get to the
kindergarten, but the ones
who stay in touch with you
and worry about you in
times of stress and need.
During the past year,
reserve soldiers have
been required to serve up
to 90-days military serv-
ice instead of 42. This
additional burden places
enormous pressures on
those left at home — olim
and veteran Israeli
families alike. Army serv-
ice is not an easy feature
of life in Israel, rather
something to be borne
stoically. But it is here
that real friends matter.

When I found myself in
this situation with my hus-
band away in Lebanon, I
was very aware of suppor-
tive friends. Friends who of-
fered to do my shopping
when I was too worried to
notice that there wasn't food
in the house; who invited
me and my four children for
dinner during the week
when everyone is busy, and
not just at weekends, when
they had time. Those who
rang up at night after the
news broadcasts when one
is at a desperately low ebb,
in order just to chat, to let
you know you are not alone.

As new immigrants one
has inflated expectations of
a new country and there is a
tendency that when things
do not run smoothly to
blame it on Israel: "This
wouldn't happen back
home" is an oft repeated
remark. However, it's pre-
cisely when the going be-
comes tough and people
rally round and genuinely
care that you begin to know

how much you belong and
wouldn't want to be living
anywhere else.
Probably the best way of
integrating into Israeli
society is through a com-
munity, to some degree or
other organized, as this pro-
vides a framework for in-
teraction with others.
Through a group one can af-
fect and influence a wider
circle. However, becoming
part of a community is not
something that happens to
an immigrant immediately.
It involves being in a posi-
tion where one is suffi-
ciently settled to be able to
give to society.
When we say "commun-
ity" this is meant in the
broadest terms— it could be
religious-oriented, politi
cally inclined, the AACI
and similar associations.
Though it really isn't a
bed of roses, the effort gives
high returns in terms of
satisfaction and fulfillment: ,
In short, aliyah is a very 4

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