Israel is always under pressure

By Ted Belman

The US offers $30 billion in arms over the next 10 years. That’s the carrot.

UK blocks Israel arms deals

The British government has blocked almost one third of British military exports to Israel this year, citing possible threats to regional stability and fears the equipment might facilitate human rights violations.

According to official figures, the value of UK military sales arms to Israel declined by one third last year, and has fallen by a drastic 75 percent since 2005.

That’s the stick.

We don’t have to speculate on whether the US or the EU pressure Israel nor do we have to speculate on what the pressure is. It is obvious.

A quick review of what is a matter of record.

    1. In 47 the US placed an arms embargo on Israel that lasted until after the ’67 War.
    2. In ’56 President Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai by threatening to preventing American Jews from sending tax deductible money to Israel.
    3. After the ’67 war, France who was Israel’s primary arms supplier, reversed course and placed an arms embargo on Israel which is still in place today.
    4. In ’69 France would not deliver 5 Israeli missile boats stored in Cherbourg to Israel which had been paid for.
    5. During the ’73 war, Kissinger delayed resupplying Israel because he wanted Israel to get a “bloody nose” and demanded a ceasefire so that Egypt could “save face”.
    6. Europe would not allow the US to use its airfields in the resupply forcing the US to pay handsomely to Portugal for such rights.
    7. Reagan fought Sharon’s invasion of Lebanon in the early eighties and ultimately saved the Palestinians by taking them to Tunisia. He had agreed with the Arabs to save the PLO and ultimately to force Israel to take them back in, to set aside all of the Territories for a Palestinian state with no Israeli settlements and to return all the refugees.. (See Breakaway Ally: How Reagan’s 1982 Peace Was Drowned In Blood. This is highly biased but informative nevertheless.)
    8. Bush Sr forced Israel to attend the Madrid Conference in ’91 by withholding the $9 billion in guarantees needed to finance Russian immigration and absorption in Israel.
    9. In the late nineties, the EU threatened to rescind its free trade agreement with Israel if Israel didn’t exclude goods emanating from the territories.
    10 Israel was forced to accept the Roadmap despite its 14 reservations

I invite you all to add to this list.

The bottom line is that the US is committed to shrinking Israel back to the green line and has been since the ’67 victory. Any resistance Israel puts up is ultimately worn down by this US resolve and Israel’s lack of options.

One of the key ingredients to softening Israel up to allow for this plan is to protect the Arab terrorists who constantly attack Israel. Israel is not allowed to end the terror or to defend itself. They are forced to tolerate it. This is a key US weapon in getting Israel to accept the inevitable.

Those of us who think Israel can resist this pressure are dreaming. But dream we must.

August 15, 2007 | 15 Comments »

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15 Comments / 15 Comments

  1. Why is Olmert not taking heat from Israelis, the media and opposition MK’s?

    Israel seems quite powerless to do anything about the Olmert juggernaut. On the other hand, perhaps it is that as much as many here completely oppose Olmert and would prefer he stepped down or was forced to do so, most Israelis do support Olmert’s policies in line line with the Road Map and therefore do not have strong objections to Olmert’s pushing forward with meetings with Abbas or that those meetings could well end up in binding agreements on principles which will foreclose options in the future.

  2. Olmert and ‘Abbas Have Been Meeting to Craft Deal “Principles”

    A leading Israeli daily reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas have been meeting regularly in order to hash out an “agreement of principles” in advance of U.S. President George W. Bush’s Mideast summit slated for November. According to Yediot Aharonot, the two leaders have been focusing on the thorniest issues, including the status of Jerusalem and final borders – the issues that Olmert has been saying should be bypassed at the present time and left for final status talks. Media reports also indicate that Olmert told a group of visiting Democratic members of Congress that included in his talks with ‘Abbas is a possible exchange of territory – another topic that Olmert has vehemently denied is under consideration.

  3. I haven’t accepted what I was told at face value. I am still concerned that an agreement of principles will be binding if reached.

    My source advised

    no agreement would bind future options since the principle always used is: nothing is agreed until all is agreed. moreover, Abbas cannot agree to an agreement on things like ending the conflict or repatriating P refugees to WB/Gaza state any way so there will be no agreement

    I replied

    I must disagree. Every time there is an agreement on some things, i.e. the Roadmap, Israel is bound by its concessions (settlement freeze) though not everything is agreed. The Arabs are never bound, the Israelis always bound. We are expected to keep making more concessions for the same old unfulfilled promises. In this way Israel is now committed to a viable, contiguous state. That wasn’t part of Oslo. We are expected to also make gratuitous gestures.

    So if the parties were to agree to the ’67 borders with mutual exchanges of land to be determined, that would really bind us.

  4. Thanks Charles. I had read this and forgotten. There are just too many facts for me to keep clear in my mind.

  5. In an unusual diplomatic twist, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not urge US congressmen to fight a proposed massive US arms deal to Saudi Arabia, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni went to bat for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad in meetings with a delegation of Democratic US congressmen over the last two days.

    It’s clear (to me) that Berkeley and Hoyer were giving Olmert and Livni an opportunity to formally object to the Saudi arms deal and to nail Fayad for his payments to Hamas which could have led to Congressional opposition to further financial and military support for the PA. Instead, Olmert and Livni whiffed at the softball pitch.

  6. Charles, I concur with your comments including your wish expressed regarding Ted’s insider advice.

    I have read before that Olmert/Livni have refused support, but it is not clear to me what exact kind of support they have refused or the context within which that support was refused. Do you know?

  7. Bill

    I’m all for drawing attention to the fact that the US government continually compromises Israel’s security in pursuit of narrow and short-sighted self-interest. I have often called for Israel to make a direct plea to Congress and the 60 million American evangelicals in order to overcome toxic foreign policies formulated by the WH and State. This will never happen however, with the likes of Olmert/Livni in office who refuse political support even when it is offered. Israel needs a courageous and visionary government which can draft a plan containing minimum territorial, political, military, and economic stipulations that will ensure her long-term survival and then enlist the necessary power blocs in the US to lobby for and guarantee this program — with or without the support of the sitting president and his/her Secretary of State.


    I pray your source is correct. Even the process however, is dangerous because it creates expectations and sets precedents that some future Israeli government will have to meet.

  8. The Israelis are being suckered. Say that you will give everything and then in the end you will not have to do so, seems to be the spin being given to Israeli moves to place its head in a noose. Once the words have left your mouth, they become the basis for negotiations. There is no reason to put Jewish lives in jeopardy unless that is the goal. Like Baker, Olmert can say, “F… the Jews. They did not vote for me anyway.” Israeli politicians place the lives of the citizenry second to their careers, so they will say stupid things that will satisfy a flawed American policy in spite of the momentous and tragic events that will transpire.

  9. Tonight I had a conversation with an insider who tells me that neither the US administration or the Israeli government is putting any stock in the present process. Its all about appearances. But the US want Israel to play along and embrace Saudi Arabia and Abbas for show.

    This seems to suggest at this time Israel are working together as they need each other to deal with all the mutual threats; Iraq, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria etc.

    That would be the sensible thing for both.

  10. Charles, I concur with your views with one exception. If what is really going on behind the scenes is as Ted argues, then the way the Americans are playing Israel for America’s benefit risking Israel’s very existence must be put on display centre stage. If Ted’s theory is correct and there is good reason to think it could be, then America normally wilts under the spotlight of shame and that is the spotlight that would be shining directly into the eyes of the American administration.

    Jewish and non-Jewish pro-Israel groups would be outraged, or at least I hope they would be and that could well be the start of turning American Middle Eastern foreign policy around to be formulated based on facts and truths as opposed to American self interested delusions that America has thus far managed to force Israel to buy into.

  11. It’s difficult at best for Israel advocacy groups and politicians in the US to effect a change in the status quo when the GOI itself rejects this support. In meetings this week with various Congressmen, Olmert was given the opportunity to oppose the Saudi arms package but refused to do so. He also apologized for Fayad and his “computer error” in paying a year’s worth of salaries to Hamas.

    There are good people in Congress like Eric Cantor who continually go to bat for Israel only to be given the brush off by Israeli officials. Absent a PM with courage and integrity, Israel has no chance of fighting or reversing the State Department’s “a world without Israel campaign”.

  12. The first step to resisting pressure begins with actually resisting pressure. This applies to the Israelis, the Americans, and the EU.

    While the US is a powerful nation, its power is quite limited. It faces tremendous pressure from the Arabs, Russia, China, and the EU. The EU is under pressure from many of the same people the US is under pressure from.

    If one group, say Israel for example, will resist the pressure it will make it easier for the others to resist. Resistance begins with actually resisting.

    Also, there are unscrupulous elements within America, Israel, and the EU. These traitors have to be identified and exposed for the slime that they are. Once they are out of the way, resistance is less difficult, however, we should be under no delusions. For Israel, the US, or the EU to resist the pressure they are under will be VERY difficult.


    You are spot on. Make the case to pro-Israel advocacy groups to resist the pressure being placed upon Israel. You ask has this been tried? I know it has been tried to some extent, however, problems arise when the Israeli government makes bad decisions. As basic as this sounds, resistance begins with actual resistance.

    Stating the case to pro-Israel advocacy groups is a good starting point. They can in turn educate Americans on the nature of the Middle East conflict.

    I think Israel already has a domestic military industry, however, I think, for the long term, they should work to advance their domesitc military industry. The more they can be self-sufficient the more leverage they will have. A bit off topic, but other American allies, such as South Korea and Tawian, have developed quite impressive domestic arms industries. Israel’s is probably likewise impresive but the more they can build in Israel the better.

    Due to a combination of domestic political concerns and military neccessity the US and its allies will be fully withdrawing from Iraq very soon. American foreign policy after the Iraq withdrawl will be very different from how it is now. The most important difference is the US will not be as influential in world affairs as it has been. This means the US will have less influence in the Middle East “peace process.” This will mean the US will be not be able to pressure Israel to the extent that it often has in the past and since the US will not be in a position to pressure Israel as much as it sometimes has there will be less of an expectation around the world for the US to use its influence to affect Israeli policy.

    The upside to less American pressure is Israel will be in a better position to use its military more decisively in the defense of its vital interests. The downside is Israeli leaders will not be able to blame American pressure for failed policies that they themselves played a large role in developing.

  13. AFSI,CUFI,CAFI,AFSI to name a few, are all in favour of Israel keeping J & S. If the GoI commits to such a policy, then AIPAC and AJC will follow suit. Congress is also in favour of Israel keeping Jerusalem etc.

  14. Ted, what if your case is made to the major American Jewish organizations, pro-Israel advocacy and lobby groups and all American Jews? Would they turn a deaf ear? Would they be convinced? If convinced, would they act to turn American policy around and prevail upon the GOI and all Israelis to resist American pressure?

    I am not aware of the extent of the effort to so educate these various groups. Has it been tried and with what result?

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