Tuesday, November 17, 2020




What is the hardest part of brokering a peace agreement?

-- Sometimes, it's just getting the two sides to sit down in the same room.
-- Other times, the problem is getting the two sides just to talk.
-- Even then, there is the problem of getting them to negotiate and be willing to make concessions.

And then there is the problem when you just run out of time.

Following the Yom Kippur War, in which Egypt and Syria were nearly victorious, a unique possibility for peace between Israel and Egypt presented itself. Nixon's airlift of crucial arms during the war was critical to Israel's victory -- and created an opportunity.

Richard Nixon. Public domain



Seeking to take advantage of this opportunity, in June 1974, Nixon became the first US president to visit Israel while in office.

As Rabin explained in a press conference after Nixon returned to the US:
"Ever since the airlift of the Yom Kippur War, the Arabs have come to understand that America will not allow Israel to be weakened. A defeat of Israel is a victory for the USSR. Paradoxically, this is what has raised America's prestige in the Arab world, and has given Washington leverage. Today in the Middle East, Moscow is a synonym for instability and war, Washington for stability and negotiation." (Yehuda Avner, The Prime Ministers, p. 270)

Yitzhak Rabin. Public domain



This leverage as an honest broker would make it possible for the US to go beyond being a supporter of Israel's interests, and show that it was a strong and reliable ally to address the interests of the Arab world as well.

Meanwhile, Nixon began discussing with Egypt's Sadat the possibility of a final settlement, going step-by-step. On June 25, Nixon wrote to Sadat:
Mr. President, I am convinced that we have witnessed in recent months a turning point in the history of the Middle East -- a turning toward an honorable, just, and endurinable peace -- and have ushered in a new era in U.S.-Arab relations. A direction has been set, and it is my firm intention to stay on the course we have chartered. (p. 271)
Two months later, Nixon resigned.

The following month, Rabin was meeting with President Ford -- and Kissinger -- to continue what Nixon had started. The following year, in March, Kissinger came to the Middle East to conduct his "shuttle diplomacy," bouncing back and forth between Israel and Egypt. Kissinger pressured Rabin on a withdrawal from the Sinai, especially from the Mitla and Gidi passes, while Rabin wanted Sadat to commit himself to a "termination of the state of belligerency" with Israel.

Kissinger's efforts failed -- and he blamed Israel.

In the end, however, another attempt was made, culminating in an interim agreement known as Sinai II.

Just to get an idea of what Rabin was up against, here is an excerpt from the notes of a conversation between Sadat and Foreign Minister Fahmi with Ford and Kissinger. The context is the early warning stations in the Sinai that Rabin wanted to retain -- and Sadat's idea of a compromise, where they would be manned by US troops. Note the highlighted portions.





The term "honest broker" is overrated.

In any event, Rabin too ended up resigning because of the 'scandal' surrounding his wife, who had retained a bank account from the years when Rabin was Israel's ambassador to the US from 1968 to 1973. After that, the Israeli law forbidding citizens from holding bank accounts abroad came into play. However, another law prevented Rabin from resigning outright once the date for the next elections has been set. Instead, Rabin withdrew from the race as leader of the Labor Party, to be replaced from Shimon Peres to face Menachem Begin.

Begin became prime minister -- and it was during his term that a peace treaty with Egypt was signed. 

Rabin felt his role in making that peace treaty possible was never acknowledged, but at the same time he understood that was the way of things.

In his memoirs, Rabin wrote:
When President Sadat made his historic visit to Jerusalem on 19 November 1977 I was no longer prime minister. Yet that visit -- and the subsequent moves toward achieving a peace treaty -- could never have come about were it not for the course my government adopted in signing the 1975 interim agreement. That our policy provoked the anger of Likud has not prevented Mr. Begin's government from reaping the fruits of our labors. Of course, that is how things should be, since the quest for peace is not a contest between political parties...The 1975 agreement with Egypt was never meant to be an end in itself. As its title implies, it was designed to advance the momentum toward peace, and in that sense it achieved its purpose. [emphasis added] (quoted in The Prime Ministers, p.302)
Begin benefited from the foundation set by Nixon and the groundwork laid by Rabin, both of whom left their work unfinished. 

But that was not the last we heard from Rabin.

After serving as prime minister from 1974 to 1977, Rabin became prime minister again in 1992.
And he was still focused on peace. In 1994, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in the Oslo Accords, along with Shimon Peres and Arafat. Rabin also signed a peace treaty with Jordan that same year.

In late 1995, Rabin described to Yehuda Avner his view of the Middle East, a description that 25 years later sounds familiar:
Number one: Israel is surrounded by two concentric circles. The inner circle is comprised of our immediate neighbors—Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and, by extension, Saudi Arabia. The outer circle comprises their neighbors—Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. Virtually all of them are rogue states, and some are going nuclear.

Number two, Iranian-inspired Islamic fundamentalism constitutes a threat to the inner circle no less than it does to Israel. Islamic fundamentalism is striving to destabilize the Gulf Emirates, has already created havoc in Syria, leaving twenty thousand dead, in Algeria, leaving one hundred thousand dead, in Egypt, leaving twenty-two thousand dead, in Jordan, leaving eight thousand dead, in the Horn of Africa—the Sudan and Somalia—leaving fourteen thousand dead, and in Yemen, leaving twelve thousand dead. And now it is gaining influence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Iran is the banker, pouring millions into the West Bank and Gaza in the form of social welfare and health and education programs, so that it can win the hearts of the population and feed religious fanaticism.

Thus, a confluence of interest has arisen between Israel and the inner circle, whose long-term strategic interest is the same as ours: to lessen the destabilizing consequences from the outer circle. At the end of the day, the inner circle recognizes they have less to fear from Israel than from their Muslim neighbors, not least from radicalized Islamic powers going nuclear.

Number three: the Arab-Israeli conflict was always considered to be a political one: a conflict between Arabs and Israelis. The fundamentalists are doing their level best to turn it into a religious conflict—Muslim against Jew, Islam against Judaism. And while a political conflict is possible to solve through negotiation and compromise, there are no solutions to a theological conflict. Then it is jihad—religious war: their God against our God. Were they to win, our conflict would go from war to war, and from stalemate to stalemate. [emphasis added] (p. 707)
The context for this description of the Middle East is Rabin's response to Avner's question as to why he shook Arafat's hand at the signing of the Oslo Accords:
He and his PLO represent the last vestige of secular Palestinian nationalism. We have nobody else to deal with. It is either the PLO or nothing. It is a long shot for a possible settlement, or the certainty of no settlement at all at a time when the radicals are going nuclear.
With the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalism, negotiating with secular Palestinian Arabs made sense to Rabin.

Neither he -- nor then-President Clinton -- saw the potential in negotiating and working with other Arab states within those concentric circles. There's no reason they would, when all the contemporary thinking was focused on the Palestinian Arabs as a key to peace, a cold peace in line with the peace treaties signed with Egypt and Jordan with no thought of normalization. According to that thinking, it is either the Palestinian Arabs or nothing.

The Middle East achievements of the Trump administration this year took Rabin's outline and acted on it.

What Rabin might have further accomplished, we will never know.
He was stopped again, this time by a bullet, from pursuing peace.

But like Nixon and Rabin, Trump too will not be pursuing his vision for peace to its full extent.


We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


Printfriendly

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

translate

Share on Whatsapp


E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options


One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs

Categories

#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cart carto cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion Opinon oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 12 months


Nominated by EoZ readers

The EU's hypocritical use of "international law" that only applies to Israel

Blog Archive