Jerusalem Cloakroom #159
Rejecting the No. Samaria and Gaza Giveaway Does Not Undermine US-Israel Ties
by Yoram Ettinger
April 27, 2004 - Yom Ha'Atzmaut 5764
The Giveaway is Not a Top US Objective
FACT: President Bush did not initiate the Giveaway, does not consider it a top priority, and therefore refuses to finance it. President Bush has limited his support to very friendly declarations, which are ambiguous, non-binding, and do not repudiate the "claim of return", nor do they support Israel's sovereignty beyond the Green Line.
FACT: In 1974, President Nixon and Congress extended Israel a military grant of $983MN and a loan of $4.15BN , as an inducement to stop the siege over the Third Egyptian Brigade and to withdraw from certain parts of the Sinai Peninsula.
FACT: In 1979, President Carter and Congress provided Israel $3BN ($800MN in grant), as an _expression of the top priority accorded by the US to the full withdrawal from Sinai.
FACT: In 2000, President Clinton offered Israel an $800MN grant in order to facilitate the withdrawal from So. Lebanon, which he viewed as a top priority.
FACT: VP Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld contend that Israel's withdrawal from So. Lebanon has propelled Hizballah from a local terror organization to a regional terror organization, facing the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel's disengagement from Gaza (which took place already in 1993!) bolstered Palestinian terrorism. Further withdrawal will add more fuel to the fire.
FACT: The Giveaway contradicts US' own war on terrorism: Offensive on the enemy's own ground (and not defensive); Swift and traumatic submission of the enemy (rather than a protracted war); Military solution and destruction of the terror political infrastructure (and not co-existence with terror).
FACT: The Giveaway strengthens Israel's critics, and weakens Israel's top supporters, in the US. It implements the goals of Foggy Bottom and the CIA (pushing Israel to the 1949/67 Lines), which are the ideological rivals of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Congressional leaders.
FACT:Congress tends to reject about 35% of presidential initiatives.
FACT: According to US democracy - and contrary to dictatorships – a presidential commitment to a foreign country (even a military commitment), is non-binding unless legislated or ratified by 2/3 of the Senate.
FACT: In 1999 Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, along with major global powers. Senate non-ratification did not raise doubts about the viability of US democracy; it was a testimony to its strength (checks and balance; constrained Executive; separation of powers).
The Cost of the Giveaway – Economic Crisis
FACT: President Bush and Congress refuse to finance the Giveaway.
FACT: The cost of the withdrawal from the Rafiah Salient (5,000 residents; 5 year tenure) was 15BN shekels in 1990, which is equal to some 30BN in 2004, which is similar to the annual defense budget!
FACT: The cost of the Giveaway could exceed 40BN shekels, considering the 8,000 residents with 30 year tenure in the Gaza Strip. A minimalist assessment - different than the Rafiah precedent – could lower the cost to 26BN shekels, which includes housing (furniture and improvements), two year adjustment pay, compensation, employment infrastructure, roads, communications, electricity, water, sewage, classrooms, community structures and relocation and upgrading of military installations.
FACT: The cost of the Giveaway would devastate the economy: averting economic recovery, worsening unemployment, increasing taxes, imposing government bonds, cutting infrastructure development and human services, decreasing government subsidy of public transportation and gasoline, etc.
No peace agreement.
Land for Nothing?
Land for Terrorism, which tends to doubly terrorize those who run away!
Land for very friendly, but non-binding, ambiguous presidential declarations (which were also proclaimed by LBJ, Reagan and Clinton).
Jerusalem Cloakroom #158
April 22, 2004
by Yoram Ettinger
2. EARLE G. WHEELER, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT C-O-S: "The occupation of Gaza by Israel would reduce the hostile border by a factor of five, and eliminate a source for raids and training of [Palestinian terrorists]... By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage... Gaza provides a salient into Israel... It has served as a training area for [Palestinian terrorists]" (Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense on Israel's minimum requirements for security, June 29, 1967). Wheeler's recommendation is doubly relevant in 2004, when the world is less predictable (than in 1967), the Mideast is more explosive, rogue regimes are more armed, terrorism is more widespread and horrific, and the PLO/PA has systematically and terroristically violated every commitment during the last 10 years.
3. ISRAEL'S CHIEF-OF-STAFF, YA'ALON: "Uprooting of settlements would be a tail wind to terrorism" (Herzeliya, March 12, 2003); "[evacuation of Gaza] would be perceived by Palestinians as a crack in our steadfastness, and would bolster terrorism" (Yediot Achronot, Dec. 26, 2003); "IDF evacuation of Gaza would accelerate smuggling of military supplies to Gaza" (Ma'ariv, Mar. 1, 2004). ISRAEL'S CHIEF OF SHIN BET (Secret Service), DICHTER: "An evacuation of Gaza would be perceived as a Palestinian victory, bolstering terrorism" (Ma'ariv Feb. 11, 2004). ISRAEL'S CHIEF OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, ZE'EVI-FARKASH: "Sharon's proposed withdrawal from Gaza is perceived as a victory of terrorism, bolstering Islamic terrorism" (Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Feb. 10, 2004).
4. PRIME MINISTER SHARON: "Israeli evacuation of Gaza...would transform Gaza's main square to a launching platform of missiles to Israel's Ashqelon... Terrorism can be destroyed, if we control its bases... In 1970, Gaza was controlled by terrorists, because Israel evacuated the populated areas and the refugee camps... The cost would be much higher, if Israel repeats that mistake... A flight from populated areas, and a failure to annihilate of the threat in its incept, would require a much longer and a more difficult effort..." (Ma'ariv, June 12, 1992). Sharon's OpEd is doubly accurate in 2004, as is Wheeler's memorandum.
Jerusalem Cloakroom #157
The Cost of the Gaza and North Samaria Giveaway
by Yoram Ettinger
April 23, 2004
The following report was published – as a full page Ad – in the April 23, 2004 issue of Israel's Ma'ariv.
FACT:President Bush has turned down Prime Minister Sharon's request for special financial assistance.
FACT: Israel's best friends in Congress - who possess the Power of the Purse - have advised Israel to refrain from such a request. Congress operates within rigid budgetary caps, and under the constraints of a $500BN deficit and mounting cost in Iraq, Afghanistan and other sites of the war on global terrorism.
FACT: VP Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld counsel against such a request, that could raid the Pentagon's own budget, while financing an Israeli policy of retreat from terrorism, which would constitute a tail wind to regional and anti-US terrorism.
FACT: President Clinton promised Israel $800MN for the withdrawal from So. Lebanon. The funds have not been extended.
(Similar to the Annual Defense Budget!)
FACT:The cost of the Rafiah Salient Giveaway (to Egypt) was 15BN shekels in June 1990 (3.30 shekels per dollar), which is equal to 30BN shekels in 2004 (4.50 per dollar and a one third decrease in the value of the dollar).
FACT: The cost of the Gaza and No. Samaria Giveaway could skyrocket to 44BN shekels, since it pertains to 8,000 residents with a 30 year tenure, compared with 5,000 residents with a 5 year tenure in Rafiah.
FACT: A minimalist estimate (ignoring the Rafiah precedent) could bring the cost down to 26BN shekels: 13.5BN for homes (including furniture and improvements), a two year adjustment payment and a 30 year compensation; 9.5BN shekels for jobs infrastructure; 3BN Shekels for roads, communications, electricity, water, sewage, classrooms, community structures and relocation of military installations.
FACT: The huge cost could halt the current economic recovery, worsen unemployment, increase taxes, impose mandatory government bonds, cut infrastructure expenditures, etc. The expected rise in terrorism would impose further cost.
FACT: The added cost would not be in return for a peace accord. Rather than Land for Peace, this one will be Land for Nothing, or – probably – Land for Terrorism, or Land for Recycled Non-Binding Friendly Presidential Declarations.
Prime Minister Sharon: "Israeli evacuation of Gaza...would transform Gaza's main square to a launching platform of missiles to Israel's Ashqelon...Terrorism can be destroyed, if we control its bases...In 1970, Gaza was controlled by terrorists, because Israel evacuated the populated areas and the refugee camps...A flight from populated areas, and a failure to annihilate of the threat in its incept, would require a much longer and a more difficult effort..." (Ma'ariv, June 12, 1992). Sharon's recommendation is doubly relevant in 2004, with a less predictable world (than in 1992), a more explosive Mideast, more armed rogue regimes, a more horrific terrorism, and a systematically and terroristically non-compliant PLO/PA.
FACT: Former Chmn of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, General Earl Wheeler: "Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel would reduce the hostile border by a factor of five, and eliminate a source for raids and training of [Palestinian terrorists]...The Strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage...By occupying the Strip, Israel would trade 45 miles of hostile border for eight." (June 29, 1967 Memo on Israel minimal requirements for security).
Jerusalem Cloakroom #156
President Bush: Beware of the Gaza Trap
by Yoram Ettinger
April 16, 2004
The following was published – as a full page Ad – in the April 16, 2004 issue of Israel's Ma'ariv. It was published in response to the claim that Israel's retreat from Palestinian terrorism in Gaza would be reciprocated by US commitments, supposedly made by President Bush, to oppose the Palestinian "claim of return", to recognize Israel's sovereignty over major settlement blocks in Judea and Samaria, and to oppose the pressure on Israel to withdraw to the 1949/67 Lines.
FACT:According to the US Constitution, no presidential declaration/promise is binding without a Congressional legislation or ratification.
FACT: President Bush's statements (Apr. 7, 2004) on the "1967 Lines" and the "Claim of Return" are not binding. He did not oppose the "claim of return", did not recognize Israel's sovereignty over major settlement blocks in Judea & Samaria, and did not support Israel's sovereignty beyond the "1967 Lines." Presidents Johnson and Reagan stated (September 10, 1968 and September 1, 1982) that Israel should not be expected to withdraw to the "1967 Lines", but it has not prevented their successors – and did not prevent them – to expect such a withdrawal.
FACT: President Clinton committed (in 2000) $800MN to Israel, to induce a withdrawal from So. Lebanon. Israel withdrew, Palestinian terrorism escalated, but the committed assistance has not been extended.
FACT: Saudi F-15s are stationed at Tabuq, south of Eilat, threatening Israel, in defiance of President Reagan's 1981 commitment to Congress and to Israel.
FACT: President Bush promised (in 1991) to direct 30% of US bombing to Western Iraq, in order to destroy the Scud missile launchers, dissuading Israel from a preemptive offensive against Iraq. However, only 3% of the bombing were directed at W. Iraq, the launchers were not destroyed, but Israel was hit in its Soft Belly.
FACT: President Nixon committed (in 1970) the US to oppose the deployment of missiles, by Egypt, toward Sinai. Missiles were deployed, Israeli complaints were ignored by the US, and the 1973 War erupted taxing Israel with 2,800 fatalities (more than 100,000 in US terms).
FACT: President Eisenhower issued (in 1957) Executive commitments to Israel, in return for a full withdrawal from Sinai. In 1967, Egypt violated the agreement with the US and Israel, the Egypt-Syria-Jordan axis tightened around Israel, President Johnson did not implement the 1957 commitments, which paved the road to the Six Days War.
FACT: Presidential candidate Bush made a commitment (in 2000) to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. In 2004, the embassy is still located in Tel Aviv.
FACT:According to the US Constitution, international treaties and commitments assumed by the president must be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate, in order to be constitutionally binding.
FACT: According to the US Constitution, the Power of the Purse is on Capitol Hill. No presidential financial commitment stands, unless legislated by Congress (which is constrained by rigid budget caps).
FACT: According to the US Constitution, the president and/or Congress can rescind any international commitment by issuing an Executive Order and/or by a congressional vote.
FACT: A President may bypass Congress by Executive Agreements and Executive Orders, which could be rescinded by the president, by his successors and by Congress.
FACT: US international commitments (including NATO) are characterized by ambiguity, lack of specificity and by the absence of automaticity of implementation, in order to preserve the interests of the US (rather than the interest of other countries).
The contention that presidential declarations/promises are carved in stone reflects misunderstanding of the US democracy, a dangerous delusion and ignorance of precedents, which have taxed Israel severely.
In return for an ambiguous, non-specific presidential declaration – devoid of an automatic trigger – Israel is expected to carry out a specific, certain and tangible retreat, which would constitute – according to Israel's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Dec. 3, 2003) – a tail wind to Palestinian terrorism.