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The Kerry Plan – Can Israel Say No?

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In 1957, President Eisenhower pressured Israel to evacuate the Sinai Peninsula.  Senate and House leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, threatened Eisenhower with legislative paralysis, and convinced Eisenhower to reduce his pressure.  However, Israel pulled the rug from under their feet by accepting the Eisenhower plan.

In December, 1969 and June, 1970, Secretary of State, William Rogers, introduced the Rogers Plan, calling for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines, providing for a return of Arab refugees to Israel and shared Israel-Jordan rule in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Golda Meir rejected the plan, initializing the construction of three large new neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, home of over 100,00 persons. Rogers tolerated Egypt’s advancing surface-to-air missiles in violation of commitments, which facilitated the deterioration to the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

In 1977, President Carter pressured Israel to participate in an international conference, highlighting the Palestinian issue and a full Israeli withdrawal.  Prime Minister Begin dismissed the idea and initiated the dialogue with Egyptian President Sadat, which led to a peace accord.

In September, 1982, President Reagan announced his plan, calling for full Israeli withdrawal and an immediate settlement freeze. Prime Minister Begin rejected the plan, expanded settlements, and laid the foundation for the November, 1983 upgrade of US-Israel strategic cooperation.

Accepting the Kerry Plan would revert Israel to the pre-1967 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, dominated by the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which would be controlled by the Palestinian Authority, a systematic violator of agreements, perpetuator of hate education and generator of terror.  The irreplaceability of Judea and Samaria mountain ridges for Israel’s national security has been reinforced by the Arab Tsunami.  It has made the Middle East – the most conflict-ridden region in the world – more violently intolerant, unpredictable, unreliable, unstable and treacherous.

Accepting the Kerry Plan requires the subordination of long-term vision and security to short-term convenience, and the subjugation of realism to wishful-thinking, thus jeopardizing the very survival of the Jewish State, transforming Israel from a unique asset to a burden. Rejecting the Kerry Plan, might create short-term tension, but no long-term rift.  On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant, rather than a submissive, ally.  

Yoram Ettinger

About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.


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