ISRAELI NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN POLICIES
By Israel Shahak
The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the
and the Inman Affair
11 February 1994
After Admiral Inman's announcement that he would not serve as Clinton's defence Secretary, the Hebrew press devoted a fair amount of space to the implications of that affair for Israel. The first responses expressed Israeli satisfaction. A good example is the comment of Yediot Ahronsot's Washington's correspondent Haim Shibi, who wrote that `every Israeli in Washington could but sigh with relief at the news of Inman's resignation' (20 January 1994). However, after a few days, deeper analyses of that event appeared, disclosing its implications for Israel, in particular in so far as its nuclear policies were concerned. Some articles on that subject, however, also discussed Israeli influence upon the US exerted via the Jewish lobby in that country. Most important were the articles by Amir Oren (Davar, 28 January) and Yoav Kami, published the same day in Shishi. Oren's article stressed the incompatibility between Inman's past policy recommendations and Israeli political aims, especially in regard to nuclear matters. Both authors, usually mildly critical of Israel's policies but never of its nuclear build-up, were very hostile toward Inman. Furthermore, Oren discussed in depth Pollard and Israeli espionage in the US, as having something to do with Israeli objections to Inman as a person and to his policy recommendations.
At about the same time the Hebrew press reported on the contents of the recently published book Critical Mass by William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem. Information contained in that book about Israeli nuclear power was assessed by Hebrew press commentators as accurate, even though its publication was attributed to the viewpoint of the US officials known for their objections to Israeli nuclear power and contingent policies. At the same time knowledgeable Hebrew press commentators discussed Israeli threats against Iran, including those of using nuclear weapons against that country. After reviewing the Inman affair as perceived by the Hebrew press, I will discuss other articles discussing Israeli nuclear policies and the points where they clash with the avowed (but seldom actually pursued) nuclear policies of the US.
Let me first express my view on the actual scope of `Jewish influence in the US' and its capability of bending US policies so as to suit Israeli interests, also in matters nuclear. Some of the best informed and most widely read Hebrew press commentators (who are quoted in this book), perceive the scale of that influence as hardly limited by anything and as extending upon large areas of the world. One of the most prestigious of Israeli commentators, Yoel Markus (Haarerz, 31 December 1993) recently spoke of the 'courtship' of Israel by various states, concluding tl:ai `ihis courtship has nothing to do with the peace process: its only reason is the entire world's recognition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as true. When the US is being ruled by an administration as favourably disposed to Israel as the present one, conviction spreads in every state that the only way to America's purse leads via Israel. It is as if this accursed book were not written by an anti-Semite, but 6y a clever and far-sighted Jew.' I myself would perceive the scope of that influence as more restricted. Although it is obviously very considerable, and although Israel is doing its best to sustain and augment it, actual Israeli influence upon the US still falls far short of the mythology of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Its scope cannot 6e measured exactly, but it can be estimated, albeit with the help of guesswork. True, any knowledge, no matter how approximate, of the extent of Jewish influence upon the US policies is hard io obtain. The topic is taboo in the US (although not in Israel), with all major American Jewish organizations exerting themselves to maintain the taboo, often with the help of philosemitic Christians, who delude themselves that by gagging discussion of Jewish affairs, and in particular about Jewish chauvintsm and exclusivism, they `atone' for the Holocaust. Reliable knowledge about Israeli influence, as about any other taboo subject, can be arrived at only after the interdict is lifted and the subject is freely discussed.
Oren mentions a number of reasons why Israel loathed and feared Inman. The main reason he names is Israeli expectation that if Inman would be appointed the US Defense Secretary, he would be able to put into effect independent American inspections of Israeli nuclear armaments and their production process in Dimona. It needs to be recalled that by virtue of a secret agreement with the US reached during the first year of John F. Kennedy's term of office as president, the US to this day receives only such information about Israeli nuclear power as Israel is pleased to convey. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco Kennedy needed the support of the `Jewish lobby' and in order to get it, he sanctioned this curious agreement. Oren opens his article by drawing two horror scenarios which he regards as perfectly possible if US policies are ever influenced by Inman or somebody with similar views. In the first scenario a hypothetical
US Defense Secretary is, `in December 1994', gloating to his subordinates, that 'after the US succeeded to force North Korea to limit its nuclear programme, and after its first success in negotiations with Iran concerning the same matter, "we must now concentrate all our attention on India. Pakistan and Israel. Since our dispute with the CIA is not yet resolved, I decided to instruct the Defense Intelligence Agency to begin gathering independent information about advances in Israeli nuclear armaments, so that after subjecting the data to our analysis, we would provide the President with our well-informed assessment of the situation". Then the former Admiral cleaned his glasses, laughing sardonically. "Although the person responsible for the conclusive Intelligence evaluation is their friend, we can at least show the Israelis that we have eyes and ears."' It is fair to assume that had a US paper published such a caricature of a hypothetical Israeli Jewish defence minister, it would be accused, not without reason, of anti-Semitism. It is virtually certain, however, that no press commentator in the US will accuse Oren of being anti-Gentile.
The second horror scenario anticipates an American attempt to use a spy aircraft to photograph the Israeli nuclear installations in Dimona `in January 1995' and Israeli hesitations over whether to bring it down. If Israel does bring down the plane, it wi11 be sure to antagonize the `Gentiles' [Goyim], even worse than in the Liberty affair of 1967, when Israel bombed the US warship Liberty inflicting heavy casualties. The scenarios lead Oren to the conclusion that, due to Inman's resignation, `the ghastly anticipations are not going to materialize'. The first scenario can no longer take place, because `by the coming December or at any other time the post of the US Defense Secretary can no more be held by the intelligence expert former Admiral Bobby Ray Inman.' More significantly, at the end of his article Oren says that if the US administration ever `weighs the utility of Dimona against the utility of American support of any other states, the Israeli government is sure to call up a general mobilization of all its friends in Washington. Israel will be pleased at such time about each of its enemies no longer in position to influence the administration or the Congress but also feel sorry about each Pollard and each "Liberty" [affair] for which it has ever been responsible. It will not regret Inman's absence, in spite of the fears that the latter may voice his views in the US media.'
Let me proceed to Karni. He says that `Inman's candidacy for the post of the Defense Secretary has raised the gravest apprehensions of the Israelis and the Jews.' It is reasonable to suppose that when saying `the Jews' Karni really means only those `American Jews' whom I defined as 'organized'. It is also reasonable to suppose that the organized American Jews did not remain idle when they had their `gravest apprehensions', but did something
concrete to relieve them, which means that they did play a role in events leading to Inman's resignation. When discussing the role of the New York Times columnist, William Safire, whom Inman named his main enemy, Karni says: `Satire is but one in a group of Jewish columnists and publishers who wield enormous influence over the American media, and who are prepared to automatically defend every Israeli policy measure, except for the peace initiative of the Rabin government which they were quick to condemn and to consign to the grave.'
Both Oren and Karni are nevertheless under no illusion that Inman is the only `enemy' left in the US Defense and Intelligence establishment. Karni provides a whole list of US Defense Secretaries whom he defines as mischievously hostile to Israel, among whom he names Caspar Weinberger as the most pernicious. He even attempts to draw a 'sociological profile' of an American Gentile who in his view is likely to become an `enemy'. Apparently Karni is a unaware that in drawing such `profiles' he follows in the footsteps of anti-Semites (and other xenophobes) who also used to draw `profiles' of Jews with the same purpose in their minds. It can be nevertheless presumed that his `profile' originates with sources close to Israeli Intelligence. It reads as follows: `The personal profile of Inman is from the Israeli point of view unpromising. He is a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, graduate of the best universities, a member of the elite clubs. He represents the kind of personality more similar to George Bush or James Baker than to Ronald Reagan.'
Oren is more subtle than Karni in his description of Inman's 'personality': `In spite of the absence of Inman in the future, Washington (and Texas even more) is still saturated with people born in provincial towns during the hard times. Such people tend to be motivated to rise up via the military services, most often via service in the Navy. Inman is merely one of such characters. Ross Perot is another, and one of their allies [he doesn't say who] is similar. Inman and Perot are highly intelligent and sly, but they have inferiority feelings due to their failure to achieve anything of significance. Whenever an individual of this type becomes a candidate for the US presidency or for a position which in the scale of authority almost approaches the presidency, such as the position of Defense Secretary, the problem becomes not just an domestic American one, but a global one. When an incumbent of either post perceives himself as a victim of an Israeli or Jewish plot, Israel cannot treat it as a joke.'
We can see how certain Americans are a priori defined by Israel (and by organized American Jews) as `undesirable', or worse, at least when they occupy positions of authority. For a comparison, it is worthwhile to quote Oren about the biography of a `desirable'
American, namely William Safire: William Safire loyally served an anti-Semitic president, Nixon, because he was free to be more impressed by Israeli military might, long before he became a New York Times columnist. Safire's best friend, the CIA Chief, William Casey, was at the beginning of Reagan's administration forced to accept Inman as his Deputy ... Fortunately, Safire didn't regard his New York Times columns as equivalent to a monastery. An Israeli who toward the end of the 1970s served in Washington and was then year after year invited to Safire's home for a meal ending the Yom Kippur fast, was surprised to discover that the number of Safire's guests, all Jewish with high standing cither in politics or Washington's media, was increasing each year. There was even talk that no one not born of a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism according to Halacho would be admitted to Safire's table, even though it meant that Henry Kissinger, if invited, would have to choose between his wife (who is a Gentile] and Safire. Inman knew that Safire always worked in tandem with Casey and that Casey always worked in tandem with Israel. Casey's relatively authoritative biography informs us that in the spring of 1981 he met Yitzhak Hofi, then Mossad Chief, for the purpose of making a deal. Casey undertook to provide [Israel] wich satellite-derived information about the Iraqi nuclear reactor, in return for Hofi's undertaking to restrain AIPAC in its opposition against the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. Some time later Safire vociferously denounced the restrictions imposed by Inman on automatic transmission [to Israel] of American intelligence information about Iraq and Libya.' Incidentally, the terms of the deal between Casey and Hofi conclusively prove that AIPAC (and presumably other American Jewish organizations as well) operates under the command of Mossad, and that it could be used by the Israeli government just as it uses Mossad.
Yedior Ahronot's correspondents Tzadok Yehezkeli and Danny Sadeh (30 January), write in their review of the previously mentioned book Critical Mass that `Israel solicits money from wealthy Jews from all over the world for financing its nuclear weapons programs. This fundraising drive is directed by a committee comprised of 30 Jewish millionaires.' As usual, Jewish exclusivism and chauvinism are here exploited by Israel as a major tool of its policies. The impact of this practice can be a matter for discussion, but denials of its very existence, let alone denials of the right to discuss this matter, are in my view not only intellectually and morally offensive, but also preclude any informed inquiry into both Middle Eastern and American politics.
Karni clarifies that the mentioned restrictions imposed by Inman applied only to automatic sharing of all information. Israel could still make specific requests for information, however, which could
be either approved or rejected, but which seem to have in most cases been approved. What apparently irked Safire and his Jewish pals, was the very fact that Israel had to request information from the US. Karni nevertheless says chat information about what was going on `within the radius of 250 miles from the Israeli borders continued to be automatically shared with Israel'. According to him, a problem appeared `in 1982 when Yasser Arafat moved his residence from Beirut to Tunis, thus leaving the area within which all information from the American [satellite] cameras was to be instantly passed on to Israel'. This was the reason for Israel's displeasure with the 250-mile limitation. In all probability, this limitation was eventually rectified. Still, as long as it existed, the 250-mile radius meant that information was automatically conveyed to Israel about goings on in all of Jordan, hefty chunks of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, and part of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, countries like Libya or Pakistan lay outside the area in question, which worried the Israelis, especially since automatic transmission of intelligence from outside of the radius was discontinued after the Israelis destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Karni informs us, I believe accurately, that `what particularly worried Jerusalem was that Inman didn't convey to Israel any information about the nuclear projects of Iran and Pakistan.' In my view the anti-Iraqi posture of Israel was a momentary deviation from the consistent pattern of seeking to maintain good relations with Saddam Hussein, in recognition that Israel's main enemies have been first Iran and, next in line, Pakistan, for the simple reason that both states are bigger and stronger than Iraq.
Let me again quote in this context Tzadok Yehezkeli's and Danny Sadeh's review of Critical Mass in Yediot Ahronot (30 January 1994). They write that `Israel is ever ready to launch its nuclear missiles on 60 to 80 targets. Those targets include sites in the Gulf, the capitals of all Arab states, some nuclear bases on the territory of the former USSR and some sites in Pakistan.' (I am convinced this is accurate.) It means that Israel must very much want to obtain US satellite information about the targeted area, a not-so-negligible part of the earth's surface. The existence of so formidable a nuclear power in Israel's hands cannot be convincingly attributed to its own research and development efforts nor to its role as a tool of American policies. On the contrary, a nuclear power of that magnitude must be presumed to run counter to US imperial interests. It is also doubtful, to say the least, if Israel by itself ever had the money for constructing nuclear power of this size, even when US financial help is taken into consideration. Nor can nuclear power of this extent be explained away by the usual excuse of `guarding against threats to Israel's very existence' or by nauseating misuse of the memories of the Holocaust. The only plausible explanation of the extent of Israeli nuclear power is that
Israel acquired it with at least some help of its `Jewish friends' in the US and of some Jewish millionaires all over the world. Yehezkeli's and Sadeh's information about `the nuclear bases on the territory of the former USSR' fits well with what Geoffrey Aronson, relying on US State Department sources, reveals about the Pollard affair in the Christian Science Monitor (27 January). He writes that according to `unanimous response' from these sources, what Pollard had betrayed were `this country's most important secrets', namely `information relating to the US targeting of Soviet nuclear and military installations and the capabilities and defences of these sites'. This seems in accord with Israel's global aspirations based on the extenc of its nuclear power. Aronson's sources say that much of che intelligence passed on by Pollard `was unusable by the Israelis except as bargaining chips and leverage against Ihe United States and other countries' interests'. In view of this fact Aronson conjectures that Pollard's intelligence was used by Israel for deals with Moscow consisting of `trading nuclear secrets for Soviet Jews'.
Oren, who is a firm believer in Jewish influence on US policies (even if perhaps not as firm as Markus), provides some examples of its exercise that have to do with the person of Inman. Here, I quote him verbatim, interspersing the quotes with my own comments. 'Although Inman behaved with fairness and propriety towards Mossad and the Central Gathering Unit of Military Intelligence [of the Israeli Army], the shadow of the Liberty affair could always be sensed in the background. In the early 1960s, Inman had been a research and operation officer serving on behalf of [US] Navy Intelligence in the NSA [National Security Agency], which ran Liberty and its sister ships. The NSA was subordinated to the Pentagon and not to the CIA. It dealt with tactical intelligence, including the trailing of Soviet ships, but not with strategic intelligence. The US Navy has never reconciled itself to the closure of the Liberty file after its destruction by the Israeli Air Force, and has always perceived the timing of the Israeli attack as evidence chat Israel did it deliberately, in order to conceal from the Americans its decision to conquer the Golan Heights before a cease-fire could be put into effect through an American-Soviet agreement.' (This appraisal of Israeli intentions strikes me as perfectly accurate.) `True, Rabin, the then (Israeli] Chief of Staff, learned about this decision only after Dayan suddenly changed his mind from opposing to supporting the plan of that conquest, and issued orders to this effect directly to the Commander of the Northern Command, passing Rabin by. But Inman also recalls how three years later [in 1970] Dayan didn't hesitate to threaten the Americans openly and directly, telling them that if they ever dared to send a photo-taking aircraft over the Israeli bank of the Suez Canal, he was going to order to down it.' Let me comment, first, that I find Oren's
information's perfectly accurate, and second, that I find it most significant that the US, possibly due to the influence of Safire and Kissinger over Nixon, then gave in to Dayan's threats so supinely.
`During the Liberty, affair and thereafter, including the time when the CIA ship Pueblo was captured (but not destroyed) by the North Koreans, Inman was chief of the Department of Current Intelligence of the Navy's Pacific Command. He learned a lot there, enough to disbelieve in coincidences or at least in their frequent occurrence. This is why, while serving as a NSA chief during Carter's administration he refused to attribute to coincidence two other facts he then learned about. He first learned that the Carter administration had agreed under pressure to the appointment of Colonel Shlomo Inbar as the Israeli military attaché in Washington. That Inbar - previously the head of Research and Development in the [Israeli] Security System, then Commander of Communication Division [of the Israeli Army] and finally Commander of the Central Gathering Unit of the Military Intelligence [of the Israeli Army] - told directly his American visitors that providing Israel with any secret information it requests would lie in the best American interest because "anything you would refuse to share with us we will steal anyway."'
`The pig-headed Americans didn't then grasp the Israeli sense of humour. They understood it only when a Navy Intelligence employee, Jonathan Pollard, was caught red-handed while passing on to Israel precisely this kind of information which Inman had decided to withhold from Israel. Nevertheless, some Americans interpreted the link [between Inbar's words and Pollard's deeds] as purely coincidental. And interpreted likewise as coincidental were the links connecting Rafi Eitan, then the chief of the Ofiice for Scientific Contacts (LEKEM), who employed Pollard, with the [Israeli] Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, who had appointed Eitan and who rushed to Washington in order to complain against Inman and his orders.'
Karni recounts two more curious coincidences. The first is that among those to whom Sharon `complained' against Inman was no one else but Safire. The second is that shortly afterwards `Lieutenant-Colonel Aviam Selah was sent to the US for a lecture tour sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal and the Israeli Bonds organization. He turned out to he one of the pilots who destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, relying on American satellite information in the process. Selah once delivered a lecture to a group of stockmarket brokers, all of them Jewish, in the office of one such broker, William Stern. Stem was very impressed by Selah, in a way in which the American Jews typically tend to be impressed by Israelis who posture as war heroes and have photogenic cheeks. He was so impressed by Selah, that he rushed in great excitement to tell his
cousin all about him. That cousin happened to be a junior officer in the US Naval Intelligence and his name was Jonathan Pollard. Pollard shared the excitement and asked to meet Selah.' Karni is biased in favour of Pollard and willing to twist evidence accordingly, due to which the sequel of his story brings nothing new. Nevertheless his story of a quickly arranged meeting between an Israeli lieutenant-colonel on a busy tour and an American Jew working for US Intelligence bears in my view all the marks of truth.
Oren continues: 'But Eitan ran Pollard with the explicit approval of four Defence Ministers and Prime Ministers, concretely Arens, Rabin, Shamir and Peres. The details of this affair must be known, among others, to General Danny Yatom [now the Commander of the Central Command], who at that time served as military secretary to Arens and Rabin and who in that capacity was drafting the minutes of their conversations with Eitan. All such individuals know how to use the rhetoric of the importance of the US support for Israel, but they also know what to do in order to risk the loss of that support. Of course, owing only to another fortunate coincidence, the (secret Israeli] Inquiry Committee headed by [the former Mossad Chief] Tzvi Tzur and Yehoshua Rotenstreich found it possible to absolve all [Israeli] politicians of all responsibility for the Pollard affair and to put all the blame on LEKEM functionaries.' Tzur was subsequently appointed as the Chairman of the Directors of the (Israeli] `Aviation Industries', owned by the Israeli government, and considered one of the most desirable government jobs in Israel. Rotenstreich already then held the post of the Chairman of the Censorship Committee, where he always was siding with the government. Rafi Eitan was not forgotten either. After helping sell Iraqi oil all over the world, he now oversees Israeli trade with Cuba and some of its agricultural development.
This story shows that Israel, by skilfully exploiting its influence within the US, manages to steer very far from becoming an American satellite. Sure, the fact that Israel has its value for American imperial interests also contributes to the same effect. This explains why, in spite of Israel's financial, and now lesser political dependence on the US, Israel can often afford to provoke the US in a manner that may be crude and arrogant. Oren understands that Israel's relative independence should not be undermined by crass displays of Israel's brashness but only because avoidance of such displays helps Israel maintain its independence more effectively. In his view, which, as will be shown below, is shared by the entire Israeli establishment, the extent of Israeli independence can be tested, indeed has already been demonstrated above: that if the US administration ever `weighs the utility of Dimona as against the utility of American support of any other states, the Israeli government is sure to call up a general mobilization of all its friends
in Washington'. The two crucial areas which Israel wants to maintain its independence from the US are its nuclear power and its influence within the US itself.
The Inman affair and the publication of Critical Mass has brought the issue of Israeli's relative independence from the US into sharp focus. It would be instructive to review some past manifestations of this independence together with their impact upon regional politics. Let me begin with some quotations from what the Hebrew press wrote about Israeli nuclear power in 1991. Even then, boasts about Israeli nuclear power could be seen as a response to Bush's attempts to somehow limit lsrael's options in nuclear, and perhaps also missile, development. That response was described by the chief political commentator of Haaretz Uzi Benziman (31 May 1992). He attributed it, though, not straight to Shamir or Arens, but only to their `underlings', who `vented all their wrath at [Bush's] plan without even bothering to get acquainted with all its details ... [They] saw Bush's initiative as dangerous, amateurish, retlecting [Bush's] arrogance ... Laborites such as Rabin, were unanimous in unconditionally rejecting Bush's initiative, differing at best over how their rejection should be phrased.' Benziman explains it: `The fierceness with which the entire power elite of the State of Israel reacted to the new ideas of Bush cannot come as a surprise. Bush hit our softest spot. When he proposes to freeze the proliferation of weapons he is interpreted as trying to deprive us of our soul, of the last asset we have. When he proposes to prohibit installation of long-range ground-to-ground missiles he is perceived as threatening our very survival.'
Out of the important articles published in mid-October 1991 in Haaretz let me quote from those by Ze'ev Shifl' (15 October) and the nuclear expert Avner Yaniv (16 October). Shiff, admitting that he reflected the official Israeli viewpoint wrote: `Whoever believes that Israel eve: will sign the [UN] Convention prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons ... is daydreaming. There are no misgivings in Israel about the need to reject this convention with all firmness.' Yaniv substantiated the same conclusion by recounting the history of nuclear negotiations between the US and Israel from Kennedy's time. He wrote, `in so far as this subject matter is concerned the past is quite a reliable guide to prospects for the future.' According to Yaniv, `Kennedy was no less determined to prevent Israel from acquiring nuclear weapons than Bush is now.' But `both Kennedy and Johnson failed in all they wanted, to the point that in the end they found themselves, against their will helping lay foundations for the subsequent close and amicable cooperation between the US and Israel.' He concluded that as long as Israel follows the precedents of the past, the US, far from
imposing any nuclear limitations on Israel, would be in the end bound to contribute to Israel's nuclear strength.
Israel's insistence on the independent use of its nuclear weapons can be seen as the foundation on which Israeli grand stra2egy rests. The Oslo process changed nothing in this respect. Yoel Markus (Haaretz, 1 February 1994) quotes Rabin's first open reference to the putative Iranian threat `made on 20 January 1993 while answering in the Knesset a question of MK Efraim Sneh (Labor). Rabin said that "we are following with concern the Iranian nuclearization and attempts to develop long-range ground-to-ground missiles." His operational conclusion was that "we should precipitate the peace process in order to create an international machinery capable of responding to the Iranian threat."' Markus disapproves of what he interprets as Israeli threats to use Israeli nuclear weapons against Iran in the relatively near future. Obviously relying on the best Israeli Army and Intelligence sources rather than on his own understanding, he provides an estimate of `Iranian political aims [which] can be assumed to be ordered in importance as follows: A. Systematic conquest of oilfields. B. Undermining the present Arab regimes in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and of course, the subjugation of the Palestinian entiry to itself with help of Hamas. [The absence of the Syrian regime from this list is conspicuous.] C. The ultimate unification of 900 million Muslims of the world under its command, with a single theology imposed on all of them.' The difference between Markus' views and the policies Israel is now said by him to pursue is timing. In his view the time to fight Iran will come if and when the aboveestimated Iranian aims are achieved: `In the long range, if Iran ever comes close to fulfilment of its dreams io tum all Islamic states, from Algeria to Turkestan, into a single Khomeinistic empire, Israel would have good reasons to feel keenly concerned.'
There are good reasons for assuming that for the Israeli Security System in general and for Shimon Peres in particular the `peace process' is conceived of primarily as a tool to promote such mad strategies. The best recent summary of Peres' policies has been provided by Aluf Ben writing in Haaretz (23 January 1994). According io Ben, Peres agrees with `the heads of the Security System' that `at present there exist two main threats to Israeli and Middle Eastern security', namely `fundamentalist Islam and nuclear weaponry, in particular when held by Iran. But', continues Ben, `unlike the heads of the Security System, Peres does not want Israel to rely on the defensive, deterrent and offensive power of the Israeli Army alone, but wants to overhaul the [Israeli] concept of security'. His idea is that in the coming era of peace `Israel should be recognized as a legitimate player on the Middle Eastern playground', in the position to exploit its legitimacy for the sake
of promoting its grand strategy. According to Peres, in the Middle East there is no room for nuclear deterrence as it was used in the Cold War, because `the enemies of Israel are not as rational as the rulers of the US and the USSR were, to the point that under The influence of the Ayatollahs they may court disasters for the entire world.' Let me recall in this context how in 1984 Peres saved the career of that paragon of rationality, Ariel Sharon, and how he was sustaining for years that ultra-rational movement, the Gush Emunim. And he still main2ains fairly good relations with both.
According to Ben, Peres proposes that Israel establishes `a regional alliance system which will operate as a single political entity', and which `will be powerful'. But `in contrast to NATO, which limited its aims to defending its members against the external Soviet threat, Peres' regional alliance system is meant to defend the countries of the Middle East from themselves, that is from the internal seeds of destruction, instability, religious and ethnic zealotry and the economic competition between its constituent parts.' Although Ben tends to agree with Peres' ideas, still, for the sake of clarity he comments: `Only one question Peres let remain unanswered: what will 6e the future of the Israeli nuclear arsenal which Peres has so often boasted he helped create?' In my view there are many questions which `Peres let remain unanswered', for example the obvious question about the geographical 6oundaries of the area to be included in his `regional alliance system'. Obviously, the states listed by Markus as threatened by Iran are planned to be included. But what about Syria and Iran, even after the `regional alliance system' settles its accounts with them? And what about Pakistan on which, as mentioned above, Israel's nuclear missiles are now targeted? It would be instructive io recall in this context that toward the end of 1981, Sharon made a public speech in which he cheerfully proposed that Israel's influence extend `from Mauritania to Afghanistan'. When so defined, the area may include Pakistan. In my view it can be reliably assumed that strategic aims which Sharon defined in so brutal a manner are the same as those pursued by Peres though the `peace process'.
Ben doesn't try to answer the question about `the future of the Israeli nuclear arsenal'. He says that in Peres' view `the "fog" enveloping the [Israeli] nuclear plans is a factor strengthening Israeli deterrence.' In my view there cannot be any doubt that plans for `Peres' regional alliance system' rest on the Israeli monopoly of nuclear weapons and has two aims, one offensive and the other defensive. The former is to fight Iran and its allies such as Syria, unless it passes over to the pro-Israeli camp. The latter is to preserve the status quo in the Middle East by protecting all regimes not labeled `fundamentalist'. Incidentally, since according to Peres, Israel's strategic aim is to maintain the existing regimes intact, `the
abolition of the economic competition' as envisaged by Peres can be presumed to be effected not through the mechanism of referendums and parliamentary elections, but through a diktat, in all probability backed by the Israeli nuclear monopoly.
The plans of Peres imply a considerable Israeli emancipation from its dependence on the US (and marginally on Europe). In that respect they differ from the views of `the heads of the Security System' and from Israeli foreign relations as pursued to date. Some implications of Peres' views and of his disagreements with the Israeli commanders are clarified in another article by Amir Oren (Davar, 4 February 1994). Oren claims that `by choosing the channel of Oslo' as top priority for the pursuit of Israeli policies `Peres gambled by staking a lot on the PLO' as `against staking on the US', because he expected the PLO to help establish the `regional alliance system'. According to Oren, this explains Peres' indifference to the progress of peace negotiations with Syria, in defiance of US pressures to advance them. But The order of priorities of `the chiefs of the [Israeli] Security' is quite different. Their top priority is `to sever Syria's connection with all too many threats [to Israel] originating from Iran'. Oren quotes the commander of the Air Force, General Budinger, who last week said that the F-15-A warplanes which Israel had recently obtained from the US, in addition to `their ability to fly to Iran and back without refuelling', could also `operate efficiently within 50 per cent of the radius of their maximal outreach'. As Oren admits, this means the F-15-A warplanes `will be able to penetrate deep into Syrian territory, and cruise there for quite a while in search of their targets, whereas lower quality warplanes could at best bomb a target upon reaching it and then be forced to quickly return to Israel'. But, continues Oren, `this capability, though important, is still not as important as the capability of a F15-A warplane to reach Tehran and rain on it bombs which can improve the hearing of Iranian decision-makers.' The Israeli generals, whose views Oren can be presumed to echo also 'rely on security arrangements agreed upon with Jordan more than on any deals which could be made with a Palestinian entity'. Their criticism of Peres (described by Oren in detail but omitted here) and of his way of negotiating with Arafat is according to Oren attributable to much deeper differences over strategy, such as described here.
The idea of a `regional alliance system' implies the exclusion of the US from it and Israel's supremacy within it, backed by the latter's nuclear monopoly. Its avowed goal `to secure peace in the region' resembles all too closely similar claims of the imperial powers of the past, made for the consumption of the gullible. This is why Peres' plan can be viewed as an extreme version of Israeli imperialism. The nature of the relations between Israel and other states of the `regional alliance system' is described in another article by A1uf Ben
(Haarezz, 11 February 1994). Ben quotes the first director of the Israeli Institute for Development of Weaponry [RAFAEL], Munya Mardoch, that `the moral and political meaning of nuclear weapons is that states which renounce their use are acquiescing to the status of vassal states. All those states which feel satisfied with possessing conventional weapons alone are fated to become vassal states.' A transparent implication of that view is that by insisting on its nuclear monopoly, Israel aims at reducing all other Middle Eastern states to the status of its vassals, probably hoping for approval of such a state of affairs by the US.
Apart from the question of whether all existing Arab regimes would want to join `an alliance' so transparently stewarded by Israel, one can also ask about the survivability of any Arab regime joining that `alliance'. I feel unable to answer this question. I am concerned, however, more with a third question: whether the US would be pleased by a unification of the Middle East under Israel's command - it could then influence this unified region only via its influence on Israel. Let me recall that through such unification, entailing an Israeli hegemony, Israeli financial dependence on the US and thereby the US's chances to influence Israel would be diminished. It seems also doubtful whether the US (or indeed Europe) would be pleased with the abolition of `economic competition' between states under `an alliance system' powerful enough to accomplish it. This is why Peres' plan can only be interpreted as assuming that Israeli influence upon the US, exerted through the medium of organized American Jews, is sufficient to outweigh US imperial interests. As I mentioned above, I do recognize the power of organized American Jews as quite formidable. But contrary to some Hebrew press commentators, I don't believe that it is sufficient to justify that tacit assumption of Peres. The organized American Jewish community may, as Oren hopes, succeed in protecting the independence of Israeli nuclear policies 6ut I doubt if they are capable of accomplishing much more.
I hope I have succeeded in showing that the role of `organized' Jews in the US in the affair of Inman's resignation touches on the deepest issues of Israeli grand strategy. I also hope I make it clear that the Peres' plans are in my view not only immoral and crudely imperialist, but also downright unrealistic, no matter how enthusiastic western commentators are about him. They represent an Israeli expansionist's utopia. In my view the plans of Peres are more morally reprehensible than the plans of the Israeli Security System: more nauseously hypocritical, and more pregnant with more disastrous consequences for the entire Middle East if any attempt is ever made to bring them about. I consider the imperial plans of the Israeli generals to be at least implementable, primarily because they pose less of a threat to the imperial interests of the US. Still,
those plans are also symptomatic in that they reflect two most Part V cherished Israeli ambitions: the ambition to reduce its dependence on the US, especially in the nuclear domain, and the ambition to exploit their thus enhanced independence for the pursuance of Israeli grand strategies. Peres' plans articulate those two ambitions in the most extremist manner possible. But what is most dangerous are the ambitions themselves rather than any of their articulations.
ISRAELI NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN POLICIES
By Israel Shahak
Israel's Strategic Aims and
from chapter 2
Syrian Cities and Relations with Saddam Hussein
Israel Versus Iran chapter
Israeli Foreign Policy after the Oslo Accord
Israeli Foreign Policies, August 1994
Israeli Policies Toward Iran and Syria
from chapter 8
Israel and the Organized American Jews
from chapter 11
The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the US and the Inman Affair