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January 10, 1992 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-10

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Isolating Israel
Won't Work



It's not diffi-
cult to see why
Israel is feeling
paranoid these
When Jerusa-
lem delayed the
opening of the
peace talks in Washington
last month, the Shamir
government was roundly
criticized; now, when the
Arab delegations delayed the
second round of the talks, it is
the Shamir government
again that is blamed, this
time for approving the expul-
sion of 12 Palestinian leaders
of Fatah and Hamas, two
murderously anti-Israel ter-
rorist groups.


Pleasing the Bush
administration (or
American Jews, for
that matter) is not
No. 1 on Israel's
list of priorities.

On Monday, the Bush ad-
ministration took a leading
role in the United Nations'
condemnation of Israel for
the expulsions, the harshest
criticism of Israeli policies
ever made by the U.S. in the
Security Council.
Washington had two
reasons for participating in
the U.N. blitz: to mollify the
Arab delegation in hopes of
coaxing them back to the
peace table, and to make
clear to Israel that this ad-
ministration is fed up with
Israeli intransigence and
means business.
Not surprisingly, the U.S.
actions will probably
backfire. Israel, having been
unanimously condemned by
the United Nations with the
full support of its strongest
ally in the world, will only
stiffen its resolve, convinced
once more that it must look
out for its own security and
survival rather than rely on
The same reasoning ap-
plies to recent controversial
decisions on allowing Jews
to displace Arab tenants in
the Silwan neighborhood of
east Jerusalem and the re-
quest for $10 billion in loan

guarantees, which will soon
come to a head in Washing-
Israel is saying it will do
what is best for Israel; the
rest of the world is saying
that Israeli actions are the
major obstacle to Mideast
So if you're feeling uncom-
fortable about Israel's in-
creasing isolation and un-
popularity here and around
the world, get used to it. It's
only going to get worse.
Some American Jewish
leaders are grumbling about
the poor timing of Israel's
actions, but that's beside the
point. The timing is never
good for Jerusalem to incur
the wrath of Washington.
The more basic issue is how
far Israel should go — if at
all — in sacrificing its
security to make peace with
the Arabs.
That applies not only to
land, as in "land for peace,"
but to expelling Palestinians
who have a long record of
leadership in terrorist
The fact is that since the
peace talks began in Madrid,
there has been an escalation
of terrorism, leading to the
deaths of several Israeli
soldiers and civilians. Israel
says it has a legal obligation
to protect its citizens.
Other nations say Israel's
action violates the Fourth
Geneva Convention, but
Israel's Supreme Court has
held that while mass depor-
tations are prohibited under
the Article, the expulsion of
individuals as a security
measure is permitted.
It should be noted that
each Palestinian ordered ex-
pelled can appeal, first to an
advisory committee attached
to the regional commander
and subsequently to the
Supreme Court. No such
legal protection applied to
the 300,000 Palestinians
driven out of Kuwait in the
wake of the Gulf War while
the world did not even blink.
(If the latest Israeli expul-
sions are carried out, it will
make a grand total of 74 Pa-
lestinians evicted since the
beginning of the intifada in
December 1987.)
But it's almost demeaning
to defend Israel's actions by
pointing to the old double
standard, the hypocrisy of
the rest of the world in con-
demning Israel's expulsion

Artwork from the Los Angeles Times by Richard Milholland. Copyright* 1991, Richard Milholland. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

orders without mentioning
the escalation of terrorist at-
tacks against Israelis.
If Israel's goal is to please
Washington, it is making
some serious mistakes, fall-
ing into Arab traps by ap-
pearing intransigent.
But pleasing the Bush ad-
ministration (or American
Jews, for that matter) is not
No. 1 on Israel's list of

priorities. Even higher
comes convincing its own
citizens that it is protecting
them from terrorists and
maintaining its sovereignty,
while seeking to make peace
with the Arabs.
For the peace talks to be
successful, the Bush ad-
ministration would do far
better to pacify the Israelis
with assurances and loan

guarantees, since the Jewish
state is being called on to
make the most critical con-
Instead, it appears that the
cycle of pressure from Wash-
ington and resistance from
Israel will continue, driving
the two allies further apart
and increasing the chances
of failure in the peace



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