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March 19, 1988 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-19

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

I OPINION I

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Stones

Continued from Page 10

Mikhail Gorbachev is a good-
hearted peace maker.
America is so powerful that it
has survived such extreme
criticism although it has suf-
fered foreign policy reversals
that cost other people dearly.
But, Israel is smaller and
far more vulnerable. Sur-
rounded by nations denying
her right to exist and far less
dwarfed by her power, Israel
could end up isolated and
endangered.
The wrong lesson is to
blame the American govern-
ment for not being more ac-
tive in Middle East
diplomatic initiatives up to
now, or to let the protagonists
stew in their own juices
rather than risk American
prestige on a peace initiative.
The right lesson will be for
the United States to harvest
both the fruit of its alliance
with Israel and its responsi-
ble friendship with the Arab
side all these years. America
alone can give Israel the con-
fidence and Arab nations the
realism to trade territories for
a real peace. But it will take
persistence, firmness and
leadership to bring the par-
ties to the bargaining table.
The ultimate outcome of
this situation will depend on
a higher quality of leadership
emerging on all sides. The
wrong lesson is to go back to
business as usual.
The cost of whatever policy
is chosen has gone up. By
standing pat, Israel risks
creating a Beirut or Northern
Ireland on the West Bank.
Severe responsses to such

security threats could lead to
a radical polarization in
Israel, since a good part of the
Jewish citizenry opposes
harsh policies.
If the Palestinians do not
commit to a peace policy that
respects Israel, they risk a
permanent occupation. The
likely outcome would be a
triumph of their most
retrograde elements and a
permanent disruption of the
education and moral values of
their youth.
Although the costs will be
high, it is a time for
statesmanship. True leaders
will admit weaknesses and
risks on both sides. Never-
theless, they will insist that
now is the time to initiate
policies which will take
decades to accomplish.

Arab autonomy or a
demilitarized state is not the
maximum dream of either
Israelis or Palestinians. But,
the possible dream, realized,
is far sweeter and more life
sustaining than the impossi-
ble dream, unrealized. Mak-
ing room for the needs of the
other can turn the direction of
history from civil war to civil
peace.

The wrong lesson is that a
leader is too human to under-
take historic steps that en-
danger his day-to-day
political survival. The right
lesson is that most of the
great breakthroughs in
history were accomplished by
every day leaders who reach-
ed beyond themselves and
earned their immortality.

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12

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 1988

Can Any Peace 'Ilreaty
Survive Arab Instability?

MORRIS J. AMITAY

Special to The Jewish News

W

ith the history of
violent changes in
the Arab world
since Israel's creation, it is
not unreasonable to ask
whether any Middle East
peace agreement between
Israel, the Palestinian Arabs
and Israel's neighbors could
be considered more than a
scrap of paper. Even the most
cursory review of the inherent
instability of the Arab
regimes in the region offers
ample justification for
pessimism.
Islamic fundamentalism re-
mains a long-term threat to
Persian Gulf states as the
conflict still rages between
Iran and Iraq. How and when
this blood war, which has
already produced one million

casualities will end is
anybody's guess. Conven-
tional wisdom until recently,
as demonstrated by the
Irangate revelations, was that
Khomeiniism would not
necessarily survive - Kho-
meini. But the mullahs con-
tinued control over Iran
seems assured even after the
Ayatollah goes to his eternal
reward. The Hazbollah (Army
of God) movement already
ensconced in Lebanon will
undoubtedly seek to create
radical change in other parts
of the Arab world.
In Syria, President Assad,
for years reported not to be in
the best of physical health, is
chronically vulnerable to a
violent overthrow, given his
own minority Alawite affilia-
tion. Who can predict with
any certainty who will come
after him?
In Jordan, the durable Hus-

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