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March 30, 1984 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-30

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Friday, March 30, 1984


U.S., Israel, Lebanon, West Bank:
divergent policies at loggerheads


Special to The Jewish News


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Miami — The point of no
return is rapidly approach-
ing oil the West Bank and
the closer it gets, the less
hope there is for all, includ-
ing supporters of Israel in
the United States who
genuinely want to believe
that a peaceful future for Is-
rael based on an accommo-
dation with the Palesti-
nians and the Jordanians is
still achievable."
That is the conclusion
reached by Larry L. Fabian,
secretary of the Carnegie
Endowment for Interna-
tional Peace, in a review of
the year in the Middle East
appearing in America and
the World 1983, the special
annual review of American
foreign policy published by
Foreign Affairs, the quar-
terly journal of the Council
on Foreign Relations.
"Israel's ongoing West
Bank and settlement
policies," Fabian asserts,
"now pose an immense chal-
lenge to American
policymakers." Former di-
-rector of Carnegie's Middle
East program, he makes the
direct charge that "impor-
tant elements of those
policies have been con-
sciously framed in the past
five years to limit the scope
of any Camp David au-
tonomy agreement that
might be negotiated, in ef-
fect to pre-empt the possible
outcomes that the au-
tonomy negotiations of the
late 1970s and early 1980s
were intended to hold open,
at least in the American
The sheer scale of the new
settlement plans, says Fa-
bian, "will make their ulti-
mate success dependent in-
directly on the continuation
of present American aid
levels to Israel." No one
doubts, he adds, that "Is-
rael's economy, more than
ever before, can only man-
age with large infusions of
American assistance."
The historical momen-
tum of the changes on the
West Bank is now "so pow-
erful that it has become a
political fact in its own
right," he declares, pointing
out that the question now is
"whether the process of ab-
sorption has become — in a
practical sense — irreversi-
President Reagan's peace
plan of September 1982 was
based on a series of gambles,
according to the Carnegie .
Endowment director. The
first was a gamble that
King Hussein of Jordan
"would challenge a reluc-
tant and suspicious Israel
with a genuine negotiating
option, that he would be
Washington's lever against
an Israel whose Likud gov-
ernment was determined
never to relinquish the
West Bank." _
The assumption was that
after the Israeli invasion of
Lebanon, the time was ripe:
the Palestine Liberation
Organization was

weakened and Yassir
Arafat had lost his military
option, Syria had been be-
aten and humiliated, Prime
Minister Menachem Begin
could not last forever and
the Israeli public and the
Labor Party might be
amenable to a West Bank
compromise. "The Israeli-
Palestinian war in Leba-
non," he says, "must now
become the basis for an
Israeli-Palestinian peace."
The second gamble was
that "Israel's apparently re-
lentless drive to absorb the
West Bank could be stem-
med by the President's
peace initiative and even-
tually reversed by a suc-
cessful negotiating process.
Begin's last words on these
matters, Reagan was wa-
gering, might not be Is-
President Reagan's third
gamble in his peace initia-
tive, Fabian says, "was the
hope that the diplomatic
spotlight could be kept
pointed at the West Bank
and Gaza Strip which had
become the focal issue for
Washington's Arab-Israel
diplomacy since Camp
But this gamble, he re-
ports, was lost almost im-
mediately in the events that
followed the massacre of
Palestinians by Phalangist
militia in two Beirut refu-
gee camps.

Lebanon, he says,
"sucked Washington into
deeper - and increasingly
unmanageable commit-
ments, throwing American
Middle East policy away
from the central issues of.
Arab-Israeli peace and war
and into the multiple crises
of a country which had
never been a confrontation
By miscalculation and de-
fault ; " Fabian says, "Re
agan had encouraged a lin-
kage between the peace
plan and progress in Leba-
non; and in their way, Hus-
sein and other Arab leaders
had too, by insisting that
the peace process could not
get under way until Wash-
ington demonstrated its
credibility in Lebanon.

a resolution of the West
Bank problem "and was
prepared to slow down the
withdrawal negotiations so
that the Palestinian peace
process would not get off the
When it announced its
five-year plan for West
Bank settlement, Fabian
declared, "Israel's un-
equivocal rebuff to the Re-
agan plan was sealed not
merely with words but with
bulldozers and bricks and
mortar and macadam that
together are remaking the
map of the West Bank."
The writer does not think
highly of the new "strategic
cooperation" between Israel
and the United States
which he describes as "a
peculiar love feast" made
necessary by the fact that
Washington had "run out of
short-term leverage against
Damascus and wanted to
show clear evidence of joint
Israeli-American determi-
Israel, he declares, was
not prepared "to be Wash-
ington's sword against
Syria in Lebanon" and
Washington, for its part,
"made it plain that corn-
bined military operations
with the Israelis in Lebanon
were not in the cards." Both
sides knew, he says, that
"fundamental, perhaps
even irrevocable differences
remained between U.S. and
Israeli views on the overall
peace process and on the
West Bank in particular."

rebuff to the
Reagan plan was
sealed . . . with
bulldozers .. .


it was a trap," he asserts,
"that victimized the Reagan
initiative throughout early
1983. Those who controlled
events in Lebanon, espe-
cially Israel and Syria, were
given a veto over the peace
initiative which they both
opposed vehemently.
Presidential assurances
were not followed by urgent
diplomacy from Washing-
ton to keep the. Reagan in-
itiative alive."
(In a global review of
America's foreign policy
problems appearing in the
same issue, William P.
Bundy, editor of Foreign Af-
fairs, asserts that it was al-
ready clear by the end of
1982 that Israel saw the
link between an agreement
on the withdrawal of its
forces from Lebanon and re-
sumption of negotiations for

Thus, he asserts, "the so-
called strategic cooperation
boiled down to a genuine
convergence of important
tactical aims, immediate
diplomatic objectives and
mutual political needs,
cemented by the fact that
both countries' installations
in Lebanon had been sub-
jected to terrorist attack.
"There were to be new
understandings on techni-
cal military ventures of var-
ious kinds, as well as
enhanced intelligence coop-
eration. American aid was
to be more generous, and
Washington hoped that Is-
rael would ease its opposi-
tion to American arms sales
to moderate Arab states,
especially Jordan."
Israel's new Prime Minis-
ter, Yitzhak Shamir, "had
reason to be pleased that he
could show at home that Is-
rael's essential relationship
with the United States was
being and presumably
would be preserved under
Likud rule. Reagan had
reason to be comfortable in
the knowledge that he could
enter an election year with-
out the disadvantage of 'an

Israel issue' working
against him from Demo-
cratic Party challengers vis-
ibly eager to plan on such an
When Yassir Arafat and
President Hosni Mubarak
of Egypt publicly embraced
last December, after
Arafat's eviction from
Tripoli ; hopes were aroused
in Washington, Fabian
says, that Jordan would be
encouraged to preSs again
for a Jordanian-Palestinian
understanding to facilitate
negotiations over the West
Bank. But Syria's opposi-
tion, he says, was "as cer-
tain as anything can be"
and Israeli leaders said they
would respond by accelerat-
ing the settlement program.
"All of this," Fabian finds,
"left America's peace policy
dangling in a nether world
of high ambitions and low
credibility, a mix even more
unpromising at the end of
the year than at the begin-
Fabian is severe in his
criticism of Gen. Ariel Sha-
ron, the former Israeli De-
fense Minister. "The ar-
chitect of Israel's invasion
of Lebanon was also the ar-
chitect of Israel's immediate
postwar diplomacy," he de-
clares. Sharon "wanted to
dictate to Lebanon a peace
settlement that would jus-
tify in Israel the tragic and
costly war that he had
engineered. Sharon
envisaged a so-called new
order in Lebanon, a Maro-
nite Christian-dominated
state led by Bashir Gemayel
and allied with Israel. And
as nothing less than a self-
appointed nemesis for
Washington, Sharon also
wanted to demonstrate that
Israel did not need Wash-
ington as an intermediary
in Lebanon or concerning
the West Bank."
Sharon staked out his
claim with Bashir's sue.,
cessor, his brother Amin,
"narrowing the room for
compromise with Muslim
and leftist forces" and in-
sisting on "a fundamentally
political agreement with
Lebanon, a deal as close as
possible to a full and firm
peace treaty, coupled with a
strong Israeli security
presence in southern Leba-
This, Fabian points out,
was in conflict with Wash-
ington's objective: an
agreement that provided for
Israeli security, for an inde-
pendent and unified Leba-
non resistant to Syrian
domination and -remaining
in an Arab rather than Is-
raeli orbit.

Orthodox chair

New York — Rabbi
Simcha Krauss of Flushing,
N.Y. has been named
chairman of the 48th Na-
tional Convention of the
Rabbinical Council of
America, the largest Or-
thodox rabbinic group in the
The convention will be
May 28-31 in Lancaster, Pa.

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