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February 24, 1984 - Image 54

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-02-24

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54 Friday, February 24, 1984


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(Continued from Page 53)
the Soviets. The West once
supplied arms to the Shah of
Iran which he did not need
and which did not help him.
Now Khomeini has them.
Anyone enthusiastic
about how moderate the
Saudis and who wishes to
strengthen them with
modern arms should ask
himself: Why does this
"friendly" country refuse
to join in the Israeli-
Egyptian peace as a third
party? Only that could
prove its moderation and
its alleged stabilizing
function in the Middle
Had the German gov-
ernment prepared the arms
deal on this precondition, it
would still remain ques-
tionable but it would appear
in a different light and
might make sense. If
Riyadh, even with excellent
arms from the West, still
remains too weak to make
peace with Israel, then just
another risk would be
created, but not a chance.
Don't German politicians,
dreaming of this arms deal,
shudder at the thought that
young Israeli soldiers might
lose their lives in the muzzle
flash of a German tank? Are
German politicians not
alarmed by the thought that
the super-rich oil states
with their billions can buy
obedience and submissive-
ness almost anywhere in
the world, while the demo-
cratic state of Israel with its
suffering of the past and its
distress of the present is
faced, because it is poor,
with a German policy of al-
leged expediency? A policy
at the expense of Israel?
It is only with disgust
that I remember Willy
Brandt's government to
have prohibited freighters
from sailing with arms for
Israel when she was in
acute danger of being de-
stroyed in the Yom Kippur
If now Saudi Arabia is
to receive German arms,
one should listen to what
Israel's former ambas-
sador to the UN, Gideon
Rafael, said, "The gov-
ernment of the Federal
Republic which under-
standably does not wish
to be engaged militarily
in the Middle East —
neither in the peace keep-
ing force in Lebanon nor
in the Allied rapid reac-
tion force in the Persian
Gulf — should meticul-
ously refrain from the
rivalry of supplying arms
in the Arab-Israeli con-
flict. Germany owes this
not only to her past but
also to practical political
considerations of the
Part of these praCtical
political considerations is
that Bonn, by arming the
Saudis, would not only de-
stroy confidence on the part
of four million Israelis but
also the hopes that many
millions of Jews all over the
world, particularly in the
U.S., have been focusing on
Germany. A worldwide loss
of credibility would be the
consequence of such a disas-

trous error.
As a German who in all
humility received the dis-
tinction of being awarded
the title "Keeper of
Jerusalem," I wince when
reading in the Israeli paper
Maariv: The German chan-
cellor had appeared on his
trip "indifferent, impatient,
colorless, without inspira-
tion and like a wall."
I do not share this
assessment. But I could not
help sharing it if Israel's
desperate warning of a
German arms deal with the
Saudis should go unheard.
The label "Palesti-
nians' right to self-
determination," often
thoughtlessly used by
Germans, falls into the
same category, too.
Palestinians have never
been a people in the sense
of being a nation and they
never had a state of their
own. But today they have
one: Jordan. Why should
they establish another
While appreciating the
misery of the Palestinian
refugees — something
never rectified by the rich
Arab countries but rather
aggravated — one thing is
certain: A second Palesti-
nian state of the kind re-
quested would be led by the
forces of Arab terrorism.
Franz Josef Strauss said
during his visit to Israel in
1980: "It is not possible for
Israel to give her military
positions on the West Bank,
certainly not in the next five
Under the Israeli gov-
ernment Arabs enjoy peace
and tolerance. Never before
in the history of the Middle
East have their religious
rights been protected so ef-
fectively, have their work-
ing and earning conditions
been so energetically im-
proved as in Israel today.
While they used to fight

poverty hopelessly with a
wooden plow, they now har-
vest a good crop with Israeli
tractors, and their delegates
sit in the Knesset.
Furthermore, there is
that unreflected "argu-
ment" that who as a Ger-
man pleads for self-
determination of his
people should also de-
mand it for the Palesti-
nians. Had we tried to
push for self-
determination by hijack-
ing planes, kidnapping,
bomb assassinations and
killing of hostages, prob-
ably everyone would say,
we had forfeited our
claim. Our pledge to st-
rive for self-
determination with
peaceful means has
never been accepted by
the Palestinians as their
way. For this and other
reasons the two cases are
not comparable.
I am not talking about
one-sided rigorous taking
sides with Israel, but about
justice. That is where Ger-
man obligations to the state
of the Jews stem from. The
criteria of justice can be
found when one looks at
what has been, what is and
what shall be.
In this context ethics
range higher than expe-
diency which, well under-
stood, has the benefit of
coinciding with ethics. It is
Heaven's grace that our
people should be able to
make good for the unbeliev-
ably heavy guilt of the past.
If we miss this gracious
chance, our past would fat-
ally overtake us again, our
national dignity would
break apart.
What is at stake, what
must not be lost, can best be
said with a word of Bis-
marck: "When the leader of
a people hears the rustle of
God's robe, he must reach
out and grab an end of it."

Mubarak Assures Berman
on Egypt-Israel Relations

Egypt, in the long run, is in-
terested in improving its re-
lations with Israel but its
short term priority is to re-
turn to the Arab fold, ac-
cording to Julius Berman,
chairman of the Conference
of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organ-

Berman held a press con-
ference here Tuesday to re-
port on his talk with
President Hosni Mubarak
of Egypt in Cairo Monday.
He said that despite the
"cold peace" between Egypt
and Israel there are ongoing
contacts between the two

He noted as an example
that Mubarak will send a
message this week to Pre-
mier Yitzhak Shamir on
Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Egypt has also agreed to
allow the resumption of the
search for the bodies of fal-
len Israeli soldiers in Sinai,
Berman said, but Mubarak
sees that as "humanitarian"
and not a political gesture.

Mubarak asked Be-
rman to reassure the Is-
raelis his good intentions
toward Israel. But Be-
rman pointed today to
"Egypt's escalating con-
ditions" for the return of
its ambassador to Tel
Aviv. Those conditions
are Israel's withdrawal
from Lebanon, move-
ment in the autonomy
talks and a resolution of
Egyptian-Israeli border
dispute in the Taba
region. Egypt recalled its
ambassador when Israel
invaded Lebanon in June

Berman said there was no
doubt that Egypt does not
want war with Israel. He
said Mubarak denied re-
ports that he had told King
Hassan of Morocco last year
that he considered the
Camp David accords "dead."
On the other hand, the
Egyptian President did not
appear overly perturbed by
the fact that the king had
circulated the story, Be-
rman reported.

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