To my Mother—1887-1975

The United States has become the main front in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is not to say that the United States has for the past three decades been far from the center of the struggle in the Middle East. What has happened, however, is that the United States itself has become the center of the struggle. The climactic change took place during the October war.

Until October 1973, the Arabs and particularly the Egyptians had counted on the Soviet Union to rescue them if an attack on Israel misfired and landed them in serious trouble. That also seemed to be the case between October 20 and 27. But we now know more about the events of those days about which, it is clear, we were initially misinformed, if not misled. They have a direct bearing on the new American role, assumed without official announcement and little public awareness.

A bare outline of the main events is necessary to understand what we were led to believe and what actually happened.

On October 15, after ten days of desperate resistance, a small Israeli force crossed the Suez Canal and turned the tide of battle. Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin arrived in Cairo the next day. Kosygin returned to Moscow on October 19 convinced that the Egyptian forces faced disaster and urgently required a cease-fire. The men in the Kremlin quickly decided to summon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Moscow. Kissinger, then preparing to go to Peking, consulted only with former President Richard Nixon, who had other things on his mind—Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and the resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson followed on October 20. The Soviet messages had as yet contained no threats and had merely expressed concern that events might get out of hand. Nevertheless, Kissinger abruptly postponed his trip to China and rushed off with unseemly, if not unnecessary, haste to Moscow at 1 A.M. on the 20th.

The biography of Henry Kissinger by Marvin and Bernard Kalb—for which Dr. Kissinger gave generously of “his time and his knowledge”—states that President Nixon gave Kissinger “power of attorney” during this mission to Moscow.1 If this was the case, Kissinger alone was responsible for the hasty submission to the Soviet demand for an immediate cease-fire. In return, Kissinger obtained a Soviet concession to get negotiations “between the parties concerned” started immediately after the cease-fire, in line with Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Kissinger then flew to Israel where he extracted an agreement in principle to his deal with General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces were completing the encirclement of the Egyptian Army’s III Corps estimated at 20-40,000 men. A cease-fire resolution was rammed through the UN’s Security Council on October 22. On the night of October 24-25, however, a worldwide alert of U.S. forces was called, ostensibly to warn off the Soviets from carrying out a unilateral operation to rescue the encircled Egyptian III Corps. The alert was called off on October 26 and the Israeli government agreed to permit a relief convoy to get through to the trapped Egyptians the following day.



At the time, we were led to believe that Soviet threats had saved the Egyptian III Corps and that the American alert had saved the Israeli forces from Soviet intervention. Disconcerting hints that there might be more to the story soon came out of Israel, but they were at first hard to interpret. Former Israeli Chief of Staff General David Elazar said that Israel had been “forced” to let a supply convoy through to the encircled Egyptian troops.2 But who had done the forcing? Former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan explained that “the provision of food to the Third Army was not done by us as a humanitarian gesture but because we had no choice in the matter. Or, to be more precise, the alternatives to allowing the food convoy through were, in our judgment, still worse.”3 But what were the alternatives? Former Prime Minister Golda Meir was reported as saying that Israel allowed the food convoy to go through in order to avoid a crisis with the United States.4 What crisis?

Bit by bit, the full story began to emerge.

In the spring of 1974, just before his appointment, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told an American interviewer that “on the one hand the U.S. put its forces on the alert, and on the other warned Israel it might be alone if the war did not end.” He was asked: “Which was a threat?” Rabin replied: “You can say a threat or you can say a reality, it doesn’t matter.”5 The Kalbs’ biography of Kissinger claimed to know what was in the latter’s mind on October 23, 1973, the day he returned to Washington: “Kissinger resolved that he would stop the Israelis and save the III Corps and thus guarantee a military stalemate.”6 Other Americans were also let in on the secret. Professor William E. Griffith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Reader’s Digest made known that Washington, not Moscow, had “forced Israel to allow relief convoys to pass through its lines to the surrounded Egyptian III Corps.”7 Foreign Affairs of October 1974 published an article by Professor Nadav Safran which casually referred to “the United States’ forcing of Israel to open a supply line to the beleaguered Egyptian III Corps.”8

Finally, Dayan decided to clear up the mystery on December 19, 1974. In a lecture at Bar-Ilan University at Ramat Gan, Israel, he disclosed:

The Americans, in order to smooth the way with the Arabs, confronted us with an ultimatum to the effect that, if we would not enable the [Egyptian] Third Army to receive food and water, we would find ourselves in a political conflict with them [the Americans].9

The State Department decided that it was best not to comment on Dayan’s remarks. Whereupon Dayan repeated the story in greater detail in an interview with Terence Smith in the New York Times of January 26, 1975. Two of the questions and answers are worth giving in full:

Smith: In a recent lecture, you charged that the United States threatened in October 1973, to fly supplies in to relieve the encircled Egyptian Third Army if Israel refused to allow food and water through the lines. What actually happened there?

Dayan: The U.S. moved in and denied us the fruits of the victory. It was an ultimatum—nothing short of it. Had the United States not pressed us, the Third Army and Suez City would have had to surrender. We would have captured 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers and Sadat would have had to admit it to his people. We might only have held them for a day and let them walk out without their arms, but it would have changed the whole Egyptian attitude about whether they won or lost the war. It would have given us more cards in the practical negotiations.

Smith: Would the Soviets really have intervened as the Americans said they would at the time?

Dayan: I don’t think so. Not over the Third Army. If we had tried to take Cairo or Aswan, yes. Do you remember the U.S. alert on October 24? They thought the Soviets were going to land an airborne division near Cairo and link up with the Egyptians to try to drive us from the west bank of the canal. The Soviets were worried about Cairo and Aswan, not saving the Third Army. It could have made a big difference if we had been permitted to force them to surrender. The American move didn’t help anything.

Again, no effort was made in Washington to deny Dayan’s story.



It was, then, an American “ultimatum” to use American forces to resupply the Egyptians and to face the Israelis with the prospect of fighting Americans, not a Russian ultimatum to use Russian forces and face the Israelis with the prospect of fighting Russians, that compelled the Israeli government to submit. It is entirely credible, as a recent study of the war asserts, that the American alert of October 25 was one of the signals “aimed against Israel as much as they were aimed against the Soviet Union” in order to convince Israel that further developments “would have grave implications for American interests far beyond the confines of immediate hostilities.”10 The trail of events was so carefully concealed that a reconstruction of the October 1973 events in the New York Times a month later never so much as hinted at such American pressure on Israel.11

The American threat might conceivably have been justified by a Russian threat. But it is no longer clear what the Russian threat was or, whatever it was, how it should have been met. The Russian message on October 24 urged joint U.S.-USSR enforcement of the cease-fire and, if the U.S. refused, raised the possibility of Soviet forces acting alone. Secretary Kissinger’s reflex was evidently far more drastic than the reaction in the Pentagon or in Israel. The demand for the worldwide, phase-three American alert came from him. In the Pentagon, the Soviet messages were considered an initial test of American nerves and policy, to be taken seriously but not precipitantly. The Israelis, who had most at stake, were least unnerved. They held out until the 27th and then capitulated to an American, not a Russian, threat. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Lucius D. Battle, has offered the opinion that “the Brezhnev note of October 24 did not strike me as threatening as earlier flares signaled it to be. Compared to Russian notes I have read in past years, it was relatively mild—at least as reported in the press.”12 We might be able to judge for ourselves how threatening the situation was if Secretary Kissinger had kept his word to “make the record available.” Unfortunately, he changed his mind, and only our children or grandchildren may know how embarrassing the record may be.

In effect, the October war made it possible for Secretary Kissinger to pose as the savior of both sides. When the Israelis were in trouble, the American resupply effort made it possible for them to continue the battle on a scale commensurate with their needs. When the Egyptians were in trouble, American pressure on Israel enabled them to avert a defeat which would have fractured the Egyptian army and shaken the Sadat regime. Throughout the Nixon years, the administration had been straining to achieve “even-handedness.” By force of circumstances, that blessed state was reached in practice in October 1973.

The change in the American position during and after the 1973 war can be gauged only by looking back at what American policy had been. Some historical perspective is needed before we can go on to the present.




The ostensible reason for the 1973 war was bound up with the Arab territories occupied by Israel. Before we consider what should be done with these territories, we need to remember why and how they were occupied in the 1967 war.

It was a war which, as I have shown in a previous article, originated in proposals made ten months earlier by the highest Egyptian military officials with the deliberate intention of violating the status quo—which they knew could not be carried out without another war.13 It was a war for which the Soviet Union had supplied the ostensible provocation by spreading a phony story in May 1967 to the effect that Israeli forces had massed for attack on the Syrian frontier—which the Egyptians knew to be false.14 It was a war which the Egyptian leader, President Gamal Abdel Nasser, said was being waged because “Israel’s existence in itself is an aggression.”15 It was a war touched off by an Egyptian blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat at the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba—a traditional act of war. It was a war which demonstrated that Israel could not rely on an American “commitment” given by President Eisenhower in 1957 dealing precisely with the eventuality of such a blockade.16

If ever a war was deliberately provoked, it was provoked by Egypt in 1967. Even Arab commentators have harshly criticized Nasser for having been too vainglorious and overconfident in his challenge to Israel. Yet Arab and Soviet propaganda has unremittingly characterized this war as a pure and simple Israeli “aggression.” This charge was so clearly threadbare and self-serving that it was never accepted by, nor even put to a vote at, the United Nations as a basis of its determination on the war. Yet so successful has this Arab-Soviet propaganda been, as memories have dimmed, that James Reston could write in the New York Times of January 31, 1975, of friends of Israel who have urged her “to give up territory occupied by aggression”—an expression for which he expressed regret a week later. Mr. Reston, however, was not the first American who should have known better than to charge Israel with “aggression” in 1967. In his first pronouncement on the Middle East in 1970, Senator J. William Fulbright used exactly the same term on the floor of the Senate.17 If it was to Mr. Reston’s credit that he soon recognized his mistake, one cannot ignore it as a symptom of how much has been forgotten since 1967.



Let us consider the question of the occupied territories in a general way.

The history of the world could be written in terms of the history of territories occupied—and annexed—as a result of wars. The Arab world would never have reached from the Euphrates to the Atlantic if it were not for vast invasions, conquests, occupations, and absorptions. But that was a long time ago. No self-respecting American historian has failed to wince at the way in which a huge chunk of Mexico was occupied and annexed in 1846 and the Philippines in 1898-99. But that was in the 19th century. In the lifetime of the present generation, Soviet Russia has occupied and annexed 272,500 square miles of territory—an area as large as Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran combined—as a result of World War II, much of which had not even belonged to Czarist Russia. But that was three or four decades ago. At this very moment, as a result of a Greek provocation—which, however, was considerably less than that of Nasser in 1967, inasmuch as Turkey itself was not threatened—Turkey has occupied and taken over almost half of Cyprus, with barely more than a tired groan from the rest of the world.

My point here is not that occupation of foreign territory is something to be encouraged and approved. My point is that the Israeli occupation is being singled out for moralistic abuse as if it were unheard of and did not have more justification than almost any other. Power, not morality, obviously determines whether or not occupation can be gotten away with.



Let us consider another vexing problem—the Palestinian refugees.

A recent study, The UN and the Palestinian Refugees, starts with this sentence: “Political refugees, of whom there have been many millions since the end of the Second World War, are the tragic product of an incompatible juxtaposition, whether of faction, class, religion, ideology, or nationality.”18 Here at least we are immediately confronted by a critical fact—the Palestine refugee problem is part of a much larger refugee problem and should be seen in terms of that larger problem. An official U.S. estimate put those who fled or were evicted since 1945 from the Communist countries alone at over 25 million.19 A British source has estimated that as many as 35 million refugees have been successfully resettled since 1945.20 The Arab refugees constitute a small fraction of this huge shift in population. The number of Arab refugees was put by the Special Political Committee of the General Assembly in 1956 as somewhere between 705,000 and 725,000. The highest figure, based on registrants for UN relief and obviously inflated by false registrations and other factors, was 1,344,567 in 1967.21 Terence Prittie, the British writer, has concluded from a survey of the available statistics that the figure should be about 700,000.22 Inasmuch as about 600,000 Jewish refugees fled from Arab countries, the two tend to offset each other. Even if Arab refugees should be estimated at one million, they would represent a relatively small portion of all post-1945 refugees.

These hordes of refugees should have outraged the conscience of the postwar world. That is not the point here. I want to stress something else—that only one kind of refugee has been made a political weapon to destroy the state from which he fled. The point has been well made by the Rev. Dr. Douglas Young, President of the American Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem. He recently drew attention to the fact that the propaganda to get Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return is “contrary to all treatment of all refugees throughout the whole world in the last 10 or more years. Never are refugees moved. Always are they assimilated in their host countries.”23

There is something suspicious and ominous about a world which permits one rule for refugees from a Jewish state and another rule for refugees from all other kinds of states.

In his 1970 speech, Senator Fulbright admitted that Israel was being asked to do something no other state had ever done. This is how he put it: “It is natural enough for Israel to resist the honor of being the first modern military victor to be obliged to abide by the principles and specifications of the United Nations Charter, especially when the greater powers who dominate the Security Council have set such a wretched example. Be that as it may, the principle is too important to be cast away because of the hypocrisy or self-interest of its proponents.”24

In short, all the self-interested hypocrites have a right to ask of Israel what they would not dream of doing themselves.




Let us now consider the problem of the occupied territories more concretely. Again, the starting point must be the 1967 war.

The war was fought because, among other things, Egypt tried to close off the Gulf of Aqaba at Sharm el-Sheikh; Syria used the Golan Heights to shell the Israeli settlements below; and Jordan divided Jerusalem so ruthlessly that Jews could not visit their holy sites and cemeteries, which were in any case demolished or defiled. Nasser was overconfident precisely because the existing borders seemed to make Israel so vulnerable in a three-front war. The waist of Israel just north of Tel Aviv was less than a dozen miles wide—the distance it would take at this point to throw the Israelis into the sea.

Six days later, the Israelis had a defensive frontier on the Suez Canal, all along the Jordan, and atop the Golan Heights. At first, the Israelis expected to cash in their victory for a firm peace. As Dayan put it, in a much derided phrase, he was waiting for a telephone call from Cairo. The meaning was plain: Egypt had always refused to negotiate with what it considered to be a weak Israel; now it might decide to negotiate with a strong Israel. Dayan was disappointed. The Arab answer was given at Khartoum in August 1967: “No peace, no recognition, no negotiations.”

Nevertheless, in November 1967, both the Arabs and Israelis accepted Security Council Resolution 242. For our present purposes, it is merely necessary to recall its main provisions. Essentially, it provided for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from “territories”—not “all the territories”—occupied during the war in return for giving Israel an end to belligerency and “secure and recognized boundaries.” It was a “package deal,” as Lord Caradon, the British member who sponsored it, has recently reminded us.25 In effect, the parts of 242 were linked together to make “a balanced whole,” to be enforced together or not at all. When the Arabs now demand total Israeli withdrawal and the Israelis demand a state of peace or at least non-belligerency, we are still within the bounds of 242, which has never been revoked or renounced.

Resolution 242 never achieved its purpose mainly because the Arab states and their Soviet patron insisted on breaking up the “package deal.” Inasmuch as they were interested solely in Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, they cut down the whole problem to a simple case of Israeli “aggression” which made the Arabs the only aggrieved party to the dispute. This line totally ignored the fact that it had been the understanding of the British and Americans that at least “insubstantial” or “minor” modifications should be made in the pre-war boundaries in order to give Israel a greater degree of security.26

But 242 was not yet finished. The Brezhnev-Kissinger deal of October 21, 1973, which was adopted in the UN the following day as Resolution 338, resurrected 242 by calling for its implementation “in all its parts.” In addition, 338 went somewhat further than 242 by also calling for “negotiations”—that dread term—“between the parties concerned.”



Several other things which happened between the 1967 and 1973 wars deserve to be better known and need to be taken into consideration for an understanding of the problem of the occupied territories.

Immediately after the 1967 war, according to Professor Nadav Safran, Egypt was prepared to go along with a formula worked out by Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko to exchange Israeli withdrawal for a termination of belligerence. Algeria, however, sharply protested and the other Arab states rallied behind it. Nasser backed away from the proposal. Professor Safran believes that the same “outbidding” resulted in the “Three No’s” at Khartoum. If he is right, Dayan was not so far wrong in thinking that there might have been a telephone call from Cairo.27

In February 1968, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson told Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon that Britain was suffering most from the blockage of the Suez Canal. Allon conferred with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol—who had from the first considered the occupied territories a dubious blessing—and they agreed that Britain would secretly approach the Egyptians in Cairo to see whether they would be willing to reach a partial settlement with Israel for the purpose of reopening the Canal. The Egyptian reply was negative. Other efforts were made in the same direction by Pietro Nenni of Italy and Secretary of State William Rogers—all with the same negative result.28

In September and October 1968, the United States assured Egypt that, if it would negotiate with Israel, the United States would support the phased but total return to Egypt of the Sinai territory on condition that a peace settlement should be reached and the area demilitarized. This proposal was accepted by Israel and rejected by Egypt.29

In February 1971, a disengagement agreement to enable Egypt to reopen the Suez Canal came up once more. According to then Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco, Israel informed the United States that it was willing to engage in talks for an interim Suez Canal agreement to be held without any preconditions under the aegis of the United States. The plan fell through, Sisco said, because the Egyptians insisted “on prior commitment to total evacuation from Egyptian territory.”30 In effect, Egypt could have had some form of disengagement along the Suez Canal in 1971—which is all that Egypt has now—without a war.

A dovish plan worked out before the 1973 war by the present Israeli Foreign Minister, Yigal Allon, was designed to grant Israel the greatest possible increment of additional security commensurate with the least possible transfer of Arab territory. There is no need here to go into the details of Allon’s plan, which gave away too much for some Israelis and too little for others; it would probably get more support today.

The point is that there has never been, even remotely, an Arab effort to present an analogous plan for even a minimal territorial compromise. Israeli doves have had such a hard time because they have had no one but themselves to be dovish with.*

A “compromise” would obviously mean that Israel could not keep all of the occupied territories and that the Arabs could not get all of them back. It is possible to oppose Israel’s keeping any of the territories or the Arabs’ giving any of them, but then it is impossible to speak of a “compromise.” The sponsors of Resolution 242 actually thought of a minimal compromise according to which only “insubstantial” or “minor” territorial changes would be made. No matter how these relative terms might be interpreted, something had to change or the idea of a compromise was meaningless.

Some idea of change was also built into Resolution 242’s requirement of “secure and recognized boundaries” for every state in the area. This provision could only mean that Israel did not have such boundaries before the June 1967 war. Whatever “secure” boundaries may mean, they could not mean exactly the same boundaries as had prevailed previously.

A great deal of casuistry has been expended on the subject of secure boundaries. It is frequently and solemnly said that there is no such thing as absolute security, as if anyone would ever do anything at all if life were a matter of absolutes. One advanced thinker has gone so far as to assure Israel that “it would be equally indefensible if it stretched from Tripoli to Beirut.”31 The distance from Tripoli to Beirut is about 1,500 miles; the distance from Qalqilyah in the West Bank across the narrow waist of Israel to the sea is about 10 miles; the distance from the Golan Heights to the valley below in Israel is virtually nonexistent. Would anyone dare to tell the Russians that their vast expanse of territory gives them no more security than if they were compressed into Israel’s narrow space? Boundaries can surely give Israel—and any other country—more or less security, though they certainly cannot provide absolute security by themselves. In Israel’s case, there is the added factor that an increase of relative security may have an absolute value in the event of a life-or-death battle.

If “insubstantial” or “minor” territorial changes were all there were to the problem, they would not be beyond the wit of man. A compromise could entail a very small portion of the occupied territories.

After June 1967, Israel occupied about 47,000 square miles of former Arab territory, of which the Sinai represented approximately 95 per cent. The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights account for about 3,000 square miles, of which the West Bank alone makes up about 75 per cent. Israel has always made known that it was not interested in retaining the Sinai indefinitely. The West Bank is a much more difficult problem, about which I will have more to say later. If we omit the West Bank provisionally and concentrate on the neuralgic points which gave rise to the 1967 war, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, the Golan Heights, and Jerusalem, the changes would actually be “insubstantial” or “minor” by any definition. A few territorial changes amounting to a tiny fraction of the 47,000 square miles of occupied territory would make a great deal of difference to Israel and vastly less difference to the Arabs, so long as every inch of ground is not considered sacred.

What really stands in the way is something far deeper and more intractable. Israel insists on holding on to the occupied territories unless it gets something for them. The Arab states insist on getting back the occupied territories without giving anything for them. This is the basic dilemma, not relatively small pieces of land.

One can understand a hard-boiled, cynical approach to the effect that Israel should give up the occupied territories in return for little or nothing because it does not have the power to do otherwise. But the unctuous, sanctimonious attitude that pervades so much of the commentary on this issue smacks—as former Senator Fulbright intimated—of hypocrisy or self-interest.

In his column of January 21, 1975, James Reston asked this question: “And who are the friends of Israel anyway—those who urge her to give up territory occupied by aggression [later changed to “force”] or those who urge her to hold on to everything she has?” It was in every sense the wrong question. For all but an extremist fringe, the real question, as matters stand today, is whether the friends of Israel should urge her to hold on to anything. It is the friends of the Arabs who should be asked whether to urge them to hold out for everything.




Until October 1973, American policy seemed to be clear and firm in important respects. It was not, as Arab propaganda liked to pretend, unequivocally and unconditionally pro-Israel. On the contrary, the Nixon administration from the first sought to move over to so-called evenhandedness in its policy. The Rogers Plan of December 1969 was explicitly intended to be “a balanced” policy (emphasis in original). By that it was meant that there should be an exchange between Israel and Egypt—Israel to withdraw its forces from Egyptian territory and Egypt to make a “binding commitment” with all “the specific obligations of peace spelled out” and “worked out between the parties.”32

Assistant Secretary Sisco, the main American spokesman, held fast for the next three years to three principles—Israeli withdrawal with insubstantial territorial changes; direct Arab-Israeli negotiations; a binding peace agreement. In November 1972, for example, he spoke of Resolution 242 in the following terms: “It did not call, as you know, for total Israeli withdrawal to the pre-June 5 [1967] lines. The whole assumption of Security Council Resolution 242 was that the final lines would be negotiated between the two sides.” In February 1973, he said: “The United States has never seen itself as either a substitute for an agreement between the parties or a substitute for the actual process of negotiation itself.” In May 1973, he still maintained: “Finally, there is the myth that peace can be made by proxy; that powers not party to the conflict, acting independently or through the United Nations, can somehow substitute for negotiations between the parties themselves.”33

One thing seemed clear: from January 1969 to October 1973, the United States stood steadfastly for Arab-Israeli negotiations and some form of quid pro quo as the only way to arrive at a lasting peace agreement. Anything else, such as a U.S., Big Four, or UN “guarantee,” was considered supplementary to such an agreement and even capable of doing more harm than good if it was intended to act as a substitute for it. An outside guarantee, Mr. Sisco said, could add “as a minimum, an important psychological and political support for the agreement between the parties,” but no more.34

Now we are in the midst of an influential, persistent campaign to change this policy in favor of some form of “imposed peace” based on some kind of “guarantee.” This idea is not a new one, but it was not taken seriously until after October 1973.

A UN-Big Four trial balloon was sent up in 1969 by Charles Yost, former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Morocco and deputy representative at the UN. If the contending parties could not themselves very soon come to a settlement, he proposed that the UN, with the backing of the U.S., USSR, Britain, and France, should take the initiative “to break the logjam.” Where guarantees belonged in Mr. Yost’s scheme was not clear because he also wrote: “Whatever guarantees can be obtained from the United Nations and/or the Great Powers would no doubt be welcome, but after the impotence of both in May-June last year [1967] either to maintain the United Nation forces in place or to reopen the Straits of Tiran, there is considerable skepticism as to the efficacy and durability of such guarantees.” Nevertheless, Mr. Yost clearly wanted the UN and/or the Great Powers to be the deus ex machina of the Arab-Israeli conflict.35

Senator Fulbright in August 1970 was the first one to make “guarantees” the key to an imposed settlement. In return for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories, Mr. Fulbright envisaged two kinds of guarantees—a multilateral one by the UN and a bilateral one between the United States and Israel. The relationship of these two guarantees was not altogether clear. At one point, Mr. Fulbright seemed to throw in the U.S. guarantee because Israel did not trust another UN guarantee. Under questioning, however, he agreed that the United States might have to act alone on its guarantee “in accordance with the constitutional process.” He put considerable trust in the Soviet Union to back a guarantee and to join in a Middle East “international police force.” He gave as one reason for his optimism about such a UN force—Cyprus.36

These trial balloons failed to rise. One thing, however, was striking—those who were least sympathetic to Israel were most eager for guarantees. The United States officially rejected them. Israel was most unenthusiastic. The Arabs also refused to take them very seriously, for one reason because they wanted something else from the United States.



Nasser died in September 1970. His successor, Anwar el-Sadat, soon showed that he was going to play a different kind of game. Nasser had been relatively rigid and straightforward in his tactics. Sadat adopted a far more shifty and slippery course. Coming to power after Nasser’s two great failures, the 1967 war and the 1970 “war of attrition,” Sadat realized that a direct attack was no longer feasible. In 1967, Nasser had worried mainly about U.S. intervention and had counted on Soviet Russia to neutralize the United States. In different circumstances, Sadat arrived at a different tactical answer to the problem. The key to victory for him was the isolation of Israel, especially its isolation from the United States. Nasser had wanted to neutralize the United States; Sadat set out to make the United States neutral.

The new Egyptian line did not take long to make its appearance. In February 1971, in an interview with Arnaud de Borchgrave of Newsweek, Sadat made two related statements. One was: “I ask only one thing: can the U.S. be neutral and objective?” The other was: “The U.S. administration is the key to peace.”37 In another interview, with C. L. Sulzberger of the New York Times in December 1971, Sadat said that he wanted the United States to be “just neutral.”38

Until October 1973, however, the circumstances were not right for a drastic shift in American policy. The October war, the Arab oil embargo, and the supposed exigencies of the U.S.-USSR détente conspired to bring about a far-reaching change.

Previously, the Arabs had counted on the Soviets to neutralize the United States, and Israel had relied on the United States to neutralize the Soviet Union. To neutralize meant, in this context, to prevent direct intervention by either power. But on October 21, the Kissinger-Brezhnev deal implied joint Soviet-American direct intervention. The cease-fire agreement was, in effect, an imposed arrangement—imposed by the Soviets on the Americans, imposed by the Americans on the Israelis. The imposed settlement of October set a precedent which some Americans would now like to make a permanent condition.

The implications of his narrow escape from disaster thanks to American intervention were not lost on Sadat. Cold Egyptian calculation dictated making the United States the new center of gravity of Egyptian policy. The shift was based on the simple proposition that the United States could get from Israel what no one else could get. The United States became the center of the struggle in the Middle East when Egypt decided to get what it wanted from Israel through the United States.

Again, the Egyptians made no secret of their new tactics. In December 1974, Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy defended the Egyptian dalliance with Dr. Kissinger in the form of a rhetorical question: “What other country can force Israel to withdraw?”39 In an interview in Le Monde of January 22, 1975, Sadat outdid himself in his flattery of Secretary Kissinger, and then explained: “However, supposing Henry should not be the man I have just described, do you think that we have any other alternative than American mediation? I do not say that the USSR has no role to play, but it must be admitted that the United States holds most of the trump cards, since Israel entirely depends on it.”

In the same interview, Sadat also made clear how he intended to play the American card. For the return of the occupied territories, he said, “I have nothing to offer.” In any event, he declared peace was not possible “as long as the Palestinian problem is not resolved.” On one important point, the report of Le Monde’s interview in the New York Times may have been too brief to be fully intelligible. The Times chose to emphasize what Sadat said about Soviet Russia, which need not be repeated here, but it neglected to mention what he said about the United States, such as his reference to the “trump cards” which he expected it to play in Egypt’s favor. As for what Sadat was willing to give in return, the Times report merely stated that he was “ready to conclude a peace agreement with Israel.” Sadat’s full statement, however, is necessary to understand what he meant by this:

I am ready to conclude a peace agreement with Israel and to respect the obligations flowing from such an agreement. However, I think that it is still too soon to speak of diplomatic relations or open frontiers. It would be necessary to reduce the hate accumulated in the course of twenty-six years of bloody conflicts. I leave to the next generation the trouble of deciding if it is possible not only to coexist with the Jewish state but also to cooperate with it. Everything depends, moreover, on the behavior of Israel after the establishment of peace.

Much of this Sadat had said many times before; it thus represents a well thought-out plan of how far the Egyptians are prepared to go. In practice, it means that, if Israel is willing to capitulate on all substantive issues—from the total, unconditional withdrawal from all the occupied territories to recognition of a PLO-ruled Palestinian state—Egypt might sign a piece of paper to be called a “peace agreement.” I say “a piece of paper” because it would have none of the concrete attributes of a real peace. Anything of importance to Israel, such as open frontiers, would be ruled out and passed on to the next generation.**



In his interview with Philip L. Geyelin in the Washington Post of February 17, 1975, Sadat gave a much clearer answer to the question of what he expected to give in exchange for an Israeli pullback. On this occasion he demanded an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai, Golan Heights, and the West Bank. And in return? “I am not ready to make a settlement agreement with Israel,” he said. “I am ready to agree to a gesture of peace from the side of Israel to pull back so that we can create a new atmosphere toward permanent peace.” And after the Israeli gesture? “So they must give this gesture,” Sadat said, “and then after that we shall be going to discuss the whole problem in Geneva.” The interviewer persisted and wanted to know what, meanwhile, was going to be done about “Israel’s long-term security—a removal of any further challenge to the territorial integrity and the sovereignty and the right of Israel to exist. What about this?” To which Sadat replied: “The only place to discuss this is Geneva. You must keep this for Geneva, for the whole solution.”

In effect, little or nothing had changed. Sadat still demanded that Israel should give up its bargaining power, obtained at great cost from the two Arab-provoked wars, and then . . . and then . . . the Arabs would see. . . . Perhaps a “peace agreement” without substance; more likely endless logorrhea at Geneva over such intractable issues as Jerusalem and a PLO-ruled state, culminating in sheer exhaustion or exasperation, leaving both sides exactly where they had been before Geneva—except that the Israelis would no longer have much to bargain with.

Whatever it may be called, Sadat’s offer resembled a cease-fire far more than a peace. In classical Islamic doctrine, the jihad signifies “a permanent state of war, not a continuous fighting.”40 In modern terms, a cease-fire is permissible, a peace is not. A cease-fire has ended every Arab-Israeli war, and it is again being offered, if the price is right, slightly masked as a peace. Whatever the name, however, it is essential for the Arabs to appear to have imposed their demands on Israel. It is also essential for any temporary cessation of hostilities to leave the way open for their resumption, through the Palestinians or some other unsatisfied element. The refusal to negotiate with Israel, the setting forth of terms on which Israel’s survival would depend, and the oft-made distinction between good Jews and bad Israelis serve a fundamental purpose: to make those Jews who may be permitted to remain in the area a small, at best tolerated religious minority—or, as Sadat put it in April 1972, not so long ago, “whom our Book says that lowliness and submissiveness is their lot.”41 When the PLO leader, Yasir Arafat, says that Jews and Arabs will have equal rights in his mythical “secular, democratic Palestinian state,” he also stipulates that the state would be an integral part of the larger Arab nation, every other part of which—except for the special case of Lebanon—is as non-secular and non-democratic as it is possible to get in the modern world.

All of which does not mean that Sadat is invulnerable to attack by Arab extremists. They are not satisfied with anything less than an all-out war to the death with Israel and scorn the “moderation” a la Sadat which believes in using diplomacy as well as force and wavers between Egyptian self-interest and Egyptian leadership of the Arab world.

Two other points in Le Monde’s interview. which did not appear in the New York Times report, are noteworthy. Sadat was strangely confident about where American policy was going. On the PLO, he said: “I can assure you that Washington will not delay recognizing the PLO as being the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The other point had to do with guarantees: “The U.S. and the USSR are ready to furnish us jointly with such guarantees which would be approved by the other members of the Security Council and, if desired, by the entire United Nations.”

Sadat talked as if he knew more about American policy than almost all Americans were permitted to know. In fact, if Sadat should prove to be right, readers of Le Monde knew more than readers of the New York Times.




Why have “guarantees” suddenly become so popular in some American and Arab circles?

It was not so long ago, as we have seen, that official American policy clearly deemphasized guarantees. Almost the only voice that had been raised in their favor was that of Senator Fulbright, and his loneliness was not abated by his advocacy. The Israelis did not want them, the Arabs were not impressed.

Soon after the October war, however, Secretary Kissinger began to talk about guarantees. In November 1973, he discussed them publicly on two occasions, and in December of that year, once again. No one else at that time was paying so much attention to them.

The subject was brought up for the first time on November 12 by an interviewer who apparently thought that guarantees were still officially unwelcome. Dr. Kissinger’s answer revealed more than he may have intended:

We have not yet given any particular guarantees. However, I would assume that if the peace negotiations succeed there will be a very serious problem, especially for Israel, of how its security can be assured under conditions when the final borders will certainly be different from the cease-fire lines and when withdrawals are involved as Security Council Resolution 242 provides.

At this point the question of guarantees will arise and we have to then ask the question what sort of guarantees—unilateral, several countries, and so forth. Second, moreover, the great powers are already involved to some extent in the Middle East. What we have to do is to try to prevent every crisis from turning into a clash of the superpowers.42

The best authority, then, on why guarantees were now to be regarded more favorably was Secretary Kissinger himself. He recognized at this time that anything the Israelis could get from the Arabs in return for withdrawals from the occupied territories would constitute “a very serious problem” of security for Israel. “Guarantees” from outside powers were supposed to compensate Israel for what it could not get from the Arabs. This, in essence, was the rationale which he unguardedly expressed in his first discourse on the subject.

In his second reference to guarantees on November 21, Secretary Kissinger talked about the number of elements necessary in a peace settlement:

It will have to have an element of withdrawals. It will have to have an element of security arrangements between the parties concerned. And it may have to have an element of outside guarantees. In addition, there are such issues as the Palestinians and the future of Jersusalem.43

And on December 6, he mentioned guarantees as having reached the stage of active consideration: “We are prepared to consider the question of guarantees in its broadest sense,” and “we are prepared to consider—I said to ‘consider,’ not necessarily to agree—either individual or joint guarantees. As to permanent stationing of United States or Soviet forces in the Middle East, we are somewhat dubious. We do not rule it out totally, but we are reluctant to get it into this.”44

After planting the seed of guarantees in the public consciousness for the first time since Senator Fulbright’s abortive effort, Dr. Kissinger stopped just short of committing himself, as if time were needed for the seed to sprout.

Meanwhile, the Israelis were still protesting that guarantees were not in their interest nor, for that matter, in the American interest. In November 1973, then Defense Minister Dayan stated the Israeli point of view: “We don’t need a formal guarantee, and we don’t want any other soldiers, American or otherwise, to fight for us.”45

This protest did not discourage the incipient American campaign for guarantees. Among the first to take up the cause was Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski of Columbia University, who included a U.S. guarantee in his personal peace plan. In making his case, Professor Brzezinski somehow tried to have it both ways. On the one hand, he argued: “In effect, Israel enjoys such a [U.S.] guarantee.” On the other hand, he maintained that formalizing it would “enhance the existing U.S.-Israeli relationship and have the added advantage of making the consequences of any aggression against Israel much more serious.” He carefully refrained from spelling out the nature of his guarantee and from explaining why an admitted formality should make so much difference.46



Another recruit in the burgeoning campaign was Professor William E. Griffith, whose first effort appeared in the Winter 1974 issue of Orbis. He went Professor Brzezinski one better by calling for two guarantees in the manner of the old Fulbright plan—a multilateral international and a unilateral U.S. guarantee. Although Professor Griffith took note that a guarantee “might involve the United States in military action,” he studiously avoided the hard questions of how, when, and where. Revealingly he recognized that “Israel would no longer be able to rely on its own resources and military forces to guarantee its security. Rather, it would have to depend in part on international and U.S. guarantees” (emphasis added).47 I have emphasized the words “in part” because they betray how easy it is to misuse the term “guarantee.” A guarantee “in part” is a contradiction; a guarantee is totally effective or it is no guarantee.

In a repeat performance in his role as a Roving Editor of the Reader’s Digest, Professor Griffith hit the reader on the head with this opening sentence: “If you think the Arab oil squeeze a year ago was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.” He warned of gas rationing, chilly homes and offices, factories shut down, the financial system disrupted, and the first major depression since the 1930’s. Next came the real message: “All this will probably happen unless Washington takes prompt and decisive action to settle the longstanding conflict between Israel and the Arabs”—along the lines proposed by the author. No one would ever know from this crude tie-up that the Arab oil threat did not originate with, and could go on for many other reasons than, the Arab-Israeli conflict, or that working up mass hysteria is the worst possible political climate for working out an American policy.

Like Professor Brzezinski, Professor Griffith also admitted that a U.S. guarantee “would only formalize a long-standing commitment—and constitute a clear sign to the Arabs that we mean business, and therefore that they can never destroy or dismantle Israel.” Presumably this means that our previous long-standing commitment was not clear and did not convince the Arabs that we meant business. Why a new formality should be trumped-up to be so much more compelling than the old commitment again remained a mystery.48

By the end of 1974, the campaign for guarantees had gained real momentum. Senator Fulbright was heard from once more—nothing new, but the title given to his speech in the Washington Monthly was revealing: “Getting Tough with Israel.”49

Former Under Secretary of State George W. Ball came out for a Soviet-American imposed guarantee on terms to be set forth in detail by the Security Council. Just how much of a guarantee it would be, on the American side, appeared to be questionable, since Mr. Ball himself seriously doubted “that President Ford, or any American President, would launch a military venture in the area.”50 Professor Richard H. Ullman of Princeton University urged that the present American “commitment” to Israel was too ambiguous and that “an absolutely unambiguous American commitment—one perhaps including the stationing of contingents of American forces in Israel,” was now needed.51 How difficult it might be for a unilateral American commitment of this kind to get the necessary congressional support was soon indicated by two influential Senators. When Senator Charles H. Percy came back from the Middle East in late January of this year, he foresaw the necessity of American troops, if Israel should need them in a new war started by the Arabs, but “I would ask Soviet Russia to join in, together with other countries, to provide an international force,” he explained.52 Senator John Sparkman, the new Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, also spoke in favor of “assurances” to Israel by “major powers.”53



These variations on the theme of guarantees were accompanied by various demands on Israel. Professor Brzezinski’s plan called for Israeli surrender of political control of the occupied territories in return for Arab surrender of military control. Professor Griffith, in his 1974 article in Orbis, excepted the “Latrun salient” in the West Bank and parts of the Golan Heights, but his 1975 article in the Reader’s Digest mentioned only the Wailing Wall of East Jerusalem. Senator Fulbright would hear of nothing but total withdrawal on all fronts. Mr. Ball preferred to leave the reader in the dark on this score, but expressed remarkable confidence that it should not be “too difficult” for the United States and the Soviet Union to agree on “secure and recognized boundaries” for Israel, providing only that the United States and the Soviet Union jointly guaranteed the settlement. Professor Ullman touched on Israeli “territorial concessions which will be so vitally necessary if a genuine end to hostilities in the Middle East is ever to come,” but prudently abstained from mentioning what they might be. Senator Percy came out for “pulling back essentially to the 1967 lines,” and Senator Sparkman spoke of Israel as “surrendering some of the land, if not all.”

Most of these proposals, for good reason, linked a guarantee with an imposed settlement. Guarantors must, in the last analysis, decide what they are willing to guarantee, even if the parties concerned can agree among themselves and especially if they cannot. If a guarantee becomes critical to a settlement, the next step is to impose those terms which are agreeable to the guarantor. As a result, it becomes more important for the contending parties to negotiate with the guarantor than among themselves.

Strangely, no one had yet told the President of the United States that the line might be changing. On January 23 of this year, Mr. Ford still held faithfully to the old line: “But I think the Israelis with adequate equipment and their determination and sufficient economic aid won’t have to have guarantees of any kind.”54 On February 16, however, his Secretary of State spoke of a “possible guarantee of the Soviet Union,” presumably not alone.55 On February 21, James Reston, who seems to have developed the uncanny knack of knowing what Dr. Kissinger has in mind, confided to his readers that “the idea of an American ‘guarantee’ of Israel’s security now seems the most relevant, if difficult, compromise.” On February 23, however, the old line was dutifully restated by Under Secretary of State Sisco, who said that any guarantee was being studied only as “a supplement and a complement to the actual agreement between the parties,” based on Resolution 242. Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz, it was reported, had asked Dr. Kissinger for an explanation and had been told the same thing.56

Meanwhile, the Israelis were still resisting. “An American military presence here would be a grave mistake,” a high Israeli official insisted. “We are proud that no American soldier has lost his life in the defense of Israel, and it would be a terrible tragedy if it happened.”57 Foreign Minister Allon declared that Israel would not accept any formal guarantees of Israel’s existence by the United States or any other third country unless “Israel is capable of defending itself.”58 Prime Minister Rabin said that “those who proposed” an American-Israeli defense treaty are seeking it as “a substitute for defensible borders.” He maintained: “The moment that Israel’s destiny in anything relating to the defense of its very existence is taken out of its hands, then this becomes a different Israel—at the mercy of others.” Referring to an American-Soviet guarantee, he held that it would have no practical value and that no arrangement exists “that goes by the term ‘guarantees’ by the two powers for any kind of settlement between states, or a regional settlement.”59

Something odd has clearly been going on. What is there about guarantees that is so attractive to some American publicists and politicians? What effect would guarantees have on Resolutions 242 and 338 on which American policy is still supposedly based? Why should the Israelis be so allergic to them?




A clue to the sudden attractiveness of guarantees may be found in some of the things that have been said in favor of them.

When he first broached the subject on November 12, 1973, it may be recalled, Secretary Kissinger indicated why some sort of guarantee might be necessary. It was conceived, he implied, as a means of making up for the “very serious problem” for Israeli security which would arise when final borders were arranged. The guarantee, then, was compensation for what would otherwise be a state of serious Israeli insecurity.

Sadat also alluded to something important when he said in one interview that there “is nothing as good as international guarantees” and in another interview that he had nothing to give the Israelis for a pull-back in the Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank or, for that matter, anywhere else.60 In his view, then, guarantees are good because they are something that someone else gives to the Israelis.

James Reston in the New York Times of February 21, 1975, saw an American guarantee as part of a “compromise.” A guarantee, then, is from this point of view essentially a “compromise” arranged between Israel and the guarantors, not between Israel and the Arabs.

It should now be sufficiently clear why a guarantee has, in some minds, been promoted from a supplement to a substitute. It has emerged as the most seductive way of getting around the conditions set forth in Resolutions 242 and 338. The first held out the expectation of some change in boundaries, and the second promised negotiations between the parties concerned. While everyone continues to pay lip-service to both resolutions, they are in danger of being eviscerated. Neither resolution said anything about guarantees. If the resolutions were lived up to, guarantees would not be so urgent or would at most be regarded as useful reinforcements. The new prominence of guarantees is a sure sign that the balance in the resolutions has in practice tipped drastically against Israel and that something had to be improvised that would appear to right the balance.

Let us be clear about one thing: the issue here is not whether Resolutions 242 and 338 a

1 Marvin Kalb and Bernard Kalb, Kissinger (Little, Brown, 1974), p. 484.

2 Jerusalem Post Weekly, October 30, 1973, p. 1.

3 Divrei HaKnesset (Parliamentary Report), October 30, 1973, Fourth Session, p. 4585.

4 Ha’aretz, October 31, 1973.

5 Joan Peters Kaplan, “A Talk with Yitzhak Rabin,” New Leader, May 13, 1974, p. 7.

6 Kalb, op. cit., p. 487.

7 Orbis, Winter 1974, p. 1188.

8 Foreign Affairs, October 1974, p. 58.

9 This passage is taken from the verbatim version of Dayan’s lecture in the Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv, December 27, 1974, p. 21. Though the sense of the version in the New York Times, December 20, 1974, was similar, the exact wording could not be found in the verbatim text.

10 Lawrence L. Whetten, The Canal War: Four-Power Conflict in the Middle East (MIT Press, 1974), p. 293.

11 David Binder, New York Times, November 21, 1973. As far as I have been able to make out, other efforts to reconstruct the October 1973 story, such as Tad Szulc’s behind-the-scenes article in New York magazine of July 1, 1974, were equally unenlightening on this point. William E. Griffith and Nadav Safran, as I have noted, pointed in the right direction but gave no details. If it were not for the remarks of Rabin and the revelations of Dayan, we would still know little from U.S. sources what course U.S. policy had actually taken between October 20 and 27, 1973.

12 Foreign Policy, Spring 1974, p. 121.

13 “From 1967 to 1973: The Arab-Israeli Wars,” COMMENTARY, December 1973.

14 In the above article, I raised a question about the source of Egyptian Minister of Defense Shams Badran’s testimony at his trial in February 1968 to the effect that the Egyptian Chief of Staff, General Muhammad Fawzi, had been sent to Syria on May 14, 1967, to check on this Soviet story. A UPI report from Cairo of February 24, 1968, quoted Badran as testifying that Fawzi had found the Soviet reports to be unfounded and had declared that the Soviets “must have been having hallucinations.” I have now been able to verify that the reputable Beirut, Lebanon, newspaper, Al-Hayat, of February 25, 1968, carried the same report of Badran’s testimony. Indeed, the headline on page 1 read: “Shams Badran: The Reports of the [Israeli] Attack upon Syria were Soviet Fantasies [takhayyulat].” The main story referred to “Soviet fantasies” of Israeli “concentrations on the Syrian border.”

15 Press Conference of May 28, 1967 (see my Israel and World Politics [Viking, 1968] for the text, pp. 224-231, especially p. 230).

16 One of the main Israeli aims in the 1956 war was precisely to break a previous blockade of Eilat. The circumstances of President Eisenhower’s commitment have been set forth in Israel and World Politics, pp. 17-23. The mystery of the misplaced commitment that took place in Washington in 1967 was recently related by Lucius D. Battle, then Assistant Secretary in charge of the region: “The United States had a commitment, of sorts, to the Israelis with respect to the Straits of Tiran [leading into the Gulf of Aqaba]. We had assured Israel that we would continue to consider it an international waterway, use it, and encourage others to do so. In 1967, we were, however, unable to find the record of the meetings and the discussions of the 1956 period. Therefore, the obligations that Mr. Dulles undertook at the earlier time were unclear and unknown. The Israeli records of the conversations were readily available, full, and proved accurate. American records were, for economic reasons, stored in the Middle West—Cleveland, I believe—and were therefore not available when we needed them. . . . Despite their vagueness, U.S. assurances at the time had been accepted by the Israelis as the basis for withdrawal (under intense American pressure) from the conquered territory of the war of 1956. These assurances were weak reeds and meaningless in the face of crisis” (Foreign Policy, Spring 1974, pp. 116-117).

17 “The Israelis, for the moment, occupy Arab territory. The Senator [Ribicofl] knows that we certainly publicly subscribe to the principle of the resolution of 1967, that the acquisition of territory by aggression is no longer acceptable international practice” (Congressional Record, Senate, August 24, 1970, p. 29800). Senator Fulbright was wrong both times; Israel was not indicted by the UN or the Security Council for having violated this “principle”; such a charge could not have been sustained at that time.

18 Edward H. Buehrig, The UN and the Palestinian Refugees (Indiana University Press, 1971), p. 3.

19 U.S. Apparatus of Assistance to Refugees Throughout the World, Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Problems Connected with Refugees and Escapees. U.S. Senate, July-August 1966, p. 5.

20 “Middle East Refugees, I” from a three-part study in Britain and Israel, edited by Terence Prittie and Richard Jones. Among the refugees who were resettled were 15 million from India and Pakistan (1947); 400,000 from Finland (1945); 1.5 million from Czechoslovakia (1945); 2.8 million from Poland (1944-45); 7.5 million from East Germany in 1945; 3.8 million from the German Democratic Republic (1945-73); 1.2 million from Rumania (1945).

21 Buehrig, op. cit., pp. 38-39.

22 Terence Prittie, “How Many Arab Refugees?” Middle East Information Series, American Academic Association for Peace in the Middle East, Fall 1973, pp. 37-38.

23 Letter to the Jerusalem Post Weekly, January 21, 1975.

24 Congressional Record, Senate, August 24, 1970, p. 29805.

25 New York Times, November 24, 1974.

26 I went into the full story of 242 in a previous article, “The Road to Geneva,” COMMENTARY, February 1974.

27 Foreign Affairs, October 1974, p. 51.

28 Yigal Allon “Strategy for Peace,” lecture at opening of the Levi Eshkol Institute, Hebrew University, June 3, 1973 (mimeographed).

29 Eugene V. Rostow, speech at Educational Conference of the League for Industrial Democracy, May 5, 1974, reprinted in Crossroads, September 1974, p. 1. Rostow was then Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

30 Department of State Bulletin, September 25, 1972, pp. 352-353; November 13, 1972, p. 568; February 25, 1973, p. 326; March 29, 1973, p. 486. In an interview in Newsweek, February 22, 1971, Sadat demanded that Israel should withdraw to a line behind el-Arish, virtually on the Israeli border, as the price of reopening the Canal in six months.

31 Ronald Steel, New Leader, February 4, 1974, p. 9.

32 Department of State Bulletin, January 5, 1970, pp. 7-11.

33 Ibid., November 13, 1972, p. 571; also see March 19, 1973, p. 323, June 11, 1973, p. 846.

34 Ibid., March 8, 1971, p. 293; also see June 11, 1973, p. 846.

35 Atlantic, January 1969, pp. 80-85.

36 Congressional Record, Senate, August 24, 1970, pp. 29796-29813.

37 Newsweek, February 22, 1971, pp. 40-41.

38 New York Times, December 13, 1971.

39 Ibid., December 10, 1974.

40 Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Johns Hopkins Press, 1955), p. 64.

41 Cited by Elie Kedourie, Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies, Cass (London), 1974, p. 227.

42 New York Times, November 13, 1973.

43 Department of State Bulletin, December 10, 1973, p. 705.

44 Ibid., December 24, 1973, p. 761.

45 New York Times, November 13, 1973.

46 New Leader, January 7, 1974, p. 9.

47 Orbis, Winter 1974, p. 1187.

48 Reader’s Digest, February 1975, p. 75

49 Washington Monthly, February 1975, p. 23.

50 Atlantic, January 1975, pp. 6-11.

51 Foreign Affairs, January 1975, pp. 294-296.

52 Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 1975. The report in the New York Times of the same date did not contain this part of Senator Percy’s statement to a group of reporters.

53 Interview in the English-language Daily Star of Beirut, Lebanon, reported in the Jerusalem Post Weekly, January 28, 1975.

54 NBC television interview, New York Times, January 24, 1975.

55 New York Times, February 17, 1975.

56 NBC Meet the Press, February 23, 1975 (Sisco); New York Times, February 24, 1975 (Dinitz).

57 New York Times, February 21, 1975.

58 Ibid., February 24, 1975.

59 Jerusalem Post Weekly, February 25, 1975. Rabin made the same point in his interview in the Washington Post, March 1, 1975.

60 Le Monde, January 22, 1975, and Washington Post, February 17, 1975.

61 Alan Dowty, “The Application of International Guarantees to the Egypt-Israel Conflict,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, June 1972, p. 261. Also see his more general study, The Role of Great Power Guarantees in International Peace Agreements, Jerusalem Papers on Peace Problems, the Hebrew University, No. 3, February 1974, especially p. 27.

62 Dowty, Journal of Conflict Resolution, June 1972, p. 262.

63 Hans Morgenthau, Politics among Nations (Knopf, 1st ed., 1948), p. 231.

64 Statement of Mark Mosevics, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, New York Times, February 2, 1974.

65 Defense Minister Shimon Peres, Jerusalem Post, September 8, 1974.

66 Interview in Newsweek, December 30, 1974, p. 30.

67 Ibid., p. 32. The infatuation with “nuances” seems to go back to Dr. Kissinger’s article, “The Vietnam Negotiations,” in Foreign Affairs, January 1969 (reprinted in American Foreign Policy, Norton, 1969, p. 116).

68 Ibid., p. 31.

69 Felix Kessler, “Arab Money Talks to Britain: Knuckling Under,” New Republic, March 8, 1975, p. 12.

70 Christian Science Monitor, January 27, 1975.

71 Comment, “Mideast Peace?” New Republic, March 8 1975, p. 6.


I have not changed references here and in quotations below to the Egyptian force as an Army rather than a Corps.

* Recently a well-known Israeli writer, Amos Elon, and a young Egyptian scholar, Sana Hassan, collaborated on a book, Between Enemies (Random House, 1974). They also agreed that he would pay his first visit to Egypt and she to Israel, and that the book would be brought out in Hebrew in Israel and in Arabic in Egypt. Sana Hassan went to Israel, where she traveled wherever and spoke to whomever she pleased; Amos Elon was not permitted into Egypt. The book appeared in Hebrew in Israel; it was refused permission to appear in Arabic in Egypt by the highest authorities, despite Sana Hassan’s best efforts.

** The interview in Le Monde also had a bearing on a point raised by I. F. Stone in the New York Review of Books of February 6, 1975. In the interview, Sadat threatened war twice—if Israel was determined to keep the Golan Heights and if Israel refused to negotiate a general settlement on the Egyptian terms. Stone sought to give the impression that “a new war is the line of least resistance in Israel.” One might imagine that Rabin, not Sadat, uses interviews to make threats of war. When Otto Nathan protested Stone’s defamation of Israel in the March 6 Review, Stone disingenuously evaded the issue and tried to hide behind Albert Einstein. One wonders whether I. F. Stone knows better—or does not know better.

* Here is a story by Bernard Gwertzman which tells better than anything else what peace does and does not mean: “One American suggested [to a high Egyptian official] that as a way of reducing mistrust, Egypt should invite some Israeli editors to visit for a month and see the situation for themselves. The Egyptian’s manner changed. He looked startled. ‘Look.’ he said, ‘we let Jews from America and other countries visit. We know why they come here and that is all right with us. But to ask us to let Israelis in—that is too much’” (New York Times, February 17, 1975).


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