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Jewish World Review
July 20, 2004
/ 2 Menachem-Av, 5764
Just say NO
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
For years, Communist China has insisted that the United States abandon a friendly, democratic and strategically placed ally by embracing what it calls "the Three No's": No independence for Taiwan, no recognition of a Free China and no membership for Taiwan in international organizations. One wonders whether American efforts to accommodate in some way Beijing's demands justified of late on the fatuous grounds that China is helping us in the war on terror and North Korea may have inspired a similarly portentous " Three No's" half a world away, in Israel.
Currently another purported "friend" in the War on Terror, Hozni Mubarak's Egypt, is playing a leading role in pressing Israel's most powerful ally, the United States, to join it in demanding that the Jewish State have "No Fence," "No Nukes" and "No Gaza." Like signing on to the Chinese agenda towards Taiwan, this three-part agenda would be a formula for disaster for American security interests.
- "No Fence": As part of a vintage UN strategy aimed at systematically demonizing and punishing Israel, an Egyptian jurist last week helped turn the World Court into its kangaroo counterpart. He and thirteen other judges ruled that the security fence being constructed by Israel violates international law because it contravenes various Palestinian "humanitarian" rights. For the Egyptian judge and, for that matter, for his Russian, European and Chinese counterparts it seems not to have mattered at all that far fewer Israelis were dying from Palestinian terrorism since even a fraction of the security barrier has been put into place.
Not surprisingly, the Israeli government saw things differently. It has properly rejected the World Court's "advisory opinion" and vowed to complete the fence's construction (albeit with some adjustments in its route, as directed by Israel's own Supreme Court, so as to reduce the barrier's "humanitarian" impact).
The next step will be to try to get the UN Security Council to impose trade and other economic sanctions on the Jewish State. An American veto is expected, but will it be forthcoming especially if Egypt and other U.S. "allies" in the Middle East and elsewhere demand a "yes" vote on No Fence?
- "No Nukes": The Egyptian head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, visited Israel earlier this month in the hope of getting the Jewish State to acknowledge that it has nuclear weapons, as a first step towards eliminating them. While the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, declined to depart from his country's official line of studied ambiguity on the question of its nuclear arsenal, he nonetheless moved onto the proverbial "slippery slope."
According to ElBaradei, the Prime Minister told him: "Israeli policy continues to be that, in the context of peace in the Middle East, Israel will be looking forward to the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East." To be sure, this is a hedged commitment. Yet, far from ending the pressure to which Israel will be subjected on the nuclear front, it is only the beginning of an intense campaign to leave Israel with "No Nukes."
Such diplomatic openings follow a predictable path. "Statesmen" will argue: If Israel agrees that a no-nukes environment is okay when there is a comprehensive peace, why not bring it about when there is a real and, given Iran's incipient nuclear capability, growing threat of regional war? Inevitably, as a democratic nation, Israel will be subjected to asymmetric pressure to disclose its capabilities and "take risks for peace."
Moral equivalence between Israel's democratic government and free society and the despots who are its adversaries will quickly supplant an ineluctable reality: The problem is not the nuclear weapons; it is the nature of the regime that wields them. Egypt and other U.S. "allies" will demand that Washington pressure Israel to ignore the fact that its foes can and will pretend to give up their nuclear ambitions, but won't. At worst, only Israel would be made nuclear-free. At best, the region will be made "safe for conventional war." Is either outcome in the United States' let alone Israel's interest to encourage?
- "No Gaza": Today's Egypt is not what Anwar Sadat hoped it would be one of many Arab countries genuinely, fully and constructively at peace with Israel. Instead, most Egyptians have been taught to want what their counterparts throughout the region seek: the liquidation of the Jewish state. Like Israel's 2000 retreat from Lebanon, the Israeli withdrawal Mr. Sharon intends to make from the Gaza Strip is seen as progress towards that end.
The Bush Administration, nonetheless, appears convinced that Egypt (like China) is squarely and reliably on our side. It wants Cairo to fill the vacuum of power an Israeli withdrawal would create in Gaza. It is far more realistic, however, to expect that Mubarak's government and especially its virulently anti-Israel and anti-Western state-controlled media and clergy will continue to support Palestinian terrorism, rather than destroy it.
Confronted with these facts, Congress has finally begun to evince concern about Egypt's unfriendly agenda. It required personal, strenuous interventions by Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice last week to dissuade the House of Representatives from cutting $570 million in U.S. military assistance to Cairo. Given the growing prospect that such aid will wind up in hands that will not only threaten Israel but could even be used against us, the right vote would have been to say "yes" to the aid cut and "no" to the idea of Israel's ceding Gaza to Egyptian-backed terrorists.
The Three No's for Israel will weaken a critical American ally and embolden our common enemies. As with their Chinese counterparts, they should be rejected by an administration whose diplomacy is supposed to be rooted in the Reagan philosophy of "peace through strength" and whose goal is to deter war, not invite it.
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
© 2004, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.