I came across the following in the course of my research for a new book. It is, I think, a most interesting message:
“K – You know my position of standing firmly with Israel … we are now Israel’s only major friend in the world. I have yet to see one iota of give on their part. This is the time to get moving [with a peace process] – and they must be told that firmly … The time has come to quit pandering to Israel’s intransigent position. Our actions over the past have led them to think we will stand with them regardless of how unreasonable they are …” (emphasis in the original)
The “K”, let me tell you, is US National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and the note was sent to him by President Richard Nixon in February 1973.
Nixon, sick and tired of Israel’s intransigent positions, tried during this period to put pressure on the Israelis to compromise with their Arab neighbours by evacuating occupied lands. But to no avail.
We all know what happened a few months after Nixon sent this message to Kissinger: a terrible Middle Eastern war which came to be known as the Ramadan, or the Yom Kippur War, and in which Egypt and Syria struck at Israel in an attempt to recover their lost lands.
Some 37 years after the 1973 conflict and the Middle East resembles, yet again, a powder keg, with growing tensions between Israel and her neighbours. Nobody wants to see another Middle Eastern war, but the conditions, you’ll agree, are ripe for a confrontation. Even a minor incident could easily ignite it all.
Much is dependent on Israel’s behaviour, as militarily it is the strongest Middle Eastern nation, and its activities in the Occupied Territories – particularly in Jerusalem – strongly influence Arab behaviour.
Washington, which is still, to borrow from Richard Nixon’s words, “Israel’s only major friend in the world”, must make it clear to the Israelis that, “this is the time to get moving” with a peace process. As a first step the Israelis must stop building settlements in the occupied lands as this provokes the Arabs, leads to rising tensions, and is also illegal according to international law of occupation.
I’ve already said in “It has nothing to do with my rude comment about balls”, that the Israelis “only move under open pressure”. And as they also do not understand nuances, they must – and again I borrow from Nixon’s words – be told “firmly” that enough is enough, and that the US will not stand with them (Nixon again) “regardless of how unreasonable they are”.