A look in past history to evaluate the possibility of new peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people of the West Bank. Missing opportunities for peace seems to repeat itself. What I read in the newly released secret documents from 1973, a similar misunderstanding of the mood in the Arab world is similar today as it was in 1973. A major difference is the power shift between nations and the growth of wealth for the Gulf states. The new power broker is the GCC with Saudi Arabia and Qatar as leading nations. Turkey is turning away from Europe and his strenghened economic ties with the US, Russia, Arab states and North Africa. Its has nearly tripled it’s GDP since the year 2000. Turkey will force close economic and political ties with Iraq’s Kurds and the oil interest. Business is booming as PM Maliki in Baghdad can only watch in frustration.
Israel squandered opportunity for peace with Egypt before the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Washington, D.C., March 5, 2013 – The fabled but previously secret State Department intelligence memorandum that predicted, five months in advance, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, has now emerged from classified vaults that were so obscure that even State Department historians and CIA FOIA officers could not penetrate them. Published for the first time today by the National Security Archive the INR memo from May 1973 warned Acting Secretary of State Kenneth Rush that there was a “better than even bet” that war between Egypt and Israel would occur “by autumn.”
According to the INR analysis, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat would initiate a war with Israel not for specific military objectives but to spur “big power” diplomatic intervention in the Arab-Israeli conflict so that Egypt could regain the Sinai Peninsula lost in the 1967 War. On 6 October 1973 war broke out in the region.
The existence of this example of INR acuity has been known for years, but the document itself was surprisingly elusive. State Department historians preparing the official Foreign Relations of the United States series could not find a copy, even with their security clearances and access to classified files, and neither could CIA FOIA offices as recently as 2011.
The author of the INR paper, Roger Merrick, anticipated that if war unfolded, U.S. “interests” in the region would come under attack because of the close American-Israeli relationship. He anticipated the possible nationalizations of petroleum facilities, “efforts to displace US oil companies with those from Europe and Japan,” and “prolonged oil embargoes.” The prescient analyst did not discuss the implications of such a conflict for U.S. relations with the Soviet Union, which had close ties to Egypt and Syria (U.S.-Soviet relations was not his field), but he might have anticipated that it could lead to increased tensions, possibly even a crisis. Other intelligence organizations in the U.S. government disagreed with the estimate of war and the conflict came as a surprise to the U.S. and Israeli governments. A post-mortem of the intelligence failure characterized the INR paper as a “case of wisdom lost.”
From the document:
“If the UN debate of next week produces no convincing movement in the Israeli-Egyptian impasse, our view is that the resumption of hostilities by autumn will become a better than even bet, and that there is even a slight chance that Cairo may precipitate events before or during the June 13 Nixon-Brezhnev summit.
Sadat now considers that the cease-fire serves only American and Israeli interests. It is facilitating the integration of the Sinai (and other occupied Arab lands) into the Israeli economic, political, and military systems. Moreover, American help is giving Israel a steadily increasing military advantage over Egypt. He believes that the US lost interest in in asking a major effort at an overall settlement after the cease-fire came into force, and that the US-backed interim agreement would only play into Israeli hands.
Sadat’s national security advisor, Hafiz Ismail, has recently been saying to European leaders that the no-war, no-peace situation is more dangerous for the future of Egypt than war itself. To be sure, this is a useful line to use in order to increase Western anxiaties about a crisis, but it probably accurately reflects Sadat’s feeling that the present situation is both an affront to his personal self-respect and ruinous of national morals, dignity, and constructive purpose. For him, the key to an escape from this debilitating situation is the recovery of the Sinai, at least in the formal sense of its return to Egyptian sovereignty.
The outcome of the [UN] debate will also significantly influence the timing of any new Egyptian resort to arms. If Cairo believes that it has established a strong momentum in its favor, if Moscow has promised Sadat that it will vigorously press Nixon during the summit, or if some short-term negotiating initiative has been launched, Egypt will very probably refrain from starting hostilities before or during the summit.”
(Times of Israel) – US President Barack Obama is due to arrive in Israel for his first presidential visit in March, and speculation abounds surrounding the true intent of his trip. Rafi Eitan, a former high-ranking Mossad official and government minister under Ehud Olmert — banned from the US since the capture of his most famous agent, Jonathan Pollard — says Netanyahu should await the president with a diplomatic proposal of his own: unilateral disengagement from the West Bank.
Former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who was advised by Eitan for years, was engaged in drafting exactly such a plan, which would include the annexation of roughly one-third of the West Bank to Israel, when he suffered a debilitating stroke in January 2006, Eitan told The Times of Israel.
Israel should withdraw from the West Bank, even without a Palestinian partner
A month before prime minister Sharon suffered a stroke, in January 2006, he was on the phone with Eitan. Four months after Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the two discussed a preliminary plan to leave the West Bank as well, while maintaining the maximum number of Israeli settlements under Israeli control.
“Sharon knew that we must disengage from the Palestinians in the West Bank too; that we can’t continue occupying a foreign people,” Eitan told The Times of Israel.
Sharon dubbed his plan “the mosaic separation,” because it left most Israeli settlements intact, allowing isolated Palestinian villages access to large urban centers through an intricate system of underpasses and tunnels. Arik [Sharon] said:
“Let’s divide Judea and Samaria and take roughly one-third for ourselves, leaving two-thirds for the Arabs.
Under this plan, the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert would remain ours.”