Can Israel rely on foreign peacekeepers and security guarantees?
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”
YouTube 6-minute-video on-line seminar on US-Israel and the Mideast
Video#34 http://bit.ly/2kWV8OS; Entire mini-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS
1. Israel is urged to concede the historically and militarily most critical
mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, in return for a US, or a
multinational, peacekeeping force, as well as US security guarantees or
2. In order to be effective, defense pacts, and security guarantees –
including peacekeeping monitoring or combat forces - must be reliable,
durable, specific and politically/militarily sustainable. It must serve the
interests of the foreign entity, which dispatches the force, lest it be
ignored or summarily withdrawn.
3. However, the litany of US commitments, guarantees and defense pacts are
characterized by four critical attributes – escape routes - designed to
shield US interests in a way which undermines the effectiveness of the
commitments: 1. non-specificity, vagueness and ambiguity, facilitating
non-implementation; 2. Non-automaticity, facilitating delay, suspension and
non-implementation; 3. Non-implementation if it is deemed harmful to US
interests; 4. Subordination to the US Constitution, including the limits of
4. For example, the NATO treaty – the tightest US defense pact - as ratified
by the US Senate, commits the US to consider steps on behalf of an attacked
NATO member, “as it deems necessary.” Moreover, in 1954, President
Eisenhower signed a defense treaty with Taiwan, but in 1979, President
Carter annulled the treaty unilaterally, with the support of Congress and
the Supreme Court.
5. The May 25, 1950 Tripartite Declaration, by the US, Britain and France,
included a commitment to maintain a military balance between Israel and the
Arab states. However, on October 18, 1955, Secretary of State Dulles
refused Israel’s request to buy military systems - to offset Soviet Bloc arm
shipments to Egypt - insisting that the facts were still obscure. In 1957,
President Eisenhower issued an executive agreement – to compensate for
Israel’s full withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula – committing US troops
should Egypt violate the ceasefire and Sinai’s demilitarization. But, in
1967, President Johnson claimed that “[the commitment] ain’t worth a
solitary dime,” while the UN peacekeepers fled upon the Egyptian invasion of
the Sinai, the blockade of Israel’s port of Eilat, and the establishment of
intra-Arab military force to annihilate Israel. In 1975, President Ford
sent a letter to Prime Minister Rabin, stating that the US “will give great
weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be
predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.” But, in 1979,
President Carter contended that Ford’s letter hardly committed Ford, but
certainly none of the succeeding presidents.
6. In an April 1975 AIPAC Conference speech, the late Senator Henry "Scoop"
Jackson dismissed security guarantees as harmful delusion: "Detente did not
save Cambodia and it will not save Vietnam, despite the fact that we and the
Soviets are co-guarantors of the Paris Accords. And that is something to
keep in mind when one hears that we and the Soviets should play the
international guarantee game in the Middle East."
7. According to Prof. Noah Pelcovits, Political Sicence, UCLA: "[In the
context of security arrangements] there is only one chance in three that the
protector will come to the aid of its ally in wartime, and then only at the
discretion of the protector.... What counts is the protector's perception of
self-interest. Otherwise, the commitment is not honored...."
8. Prof. Michla Pomerance, International Relations, Hebrew University,
stated that US defense commitments, including the NATO Treaty, "are
uniformly characterized by vagueness, non-specificity... and the explicit
denial of any automatic obligation to use force... [in] accordance with the
desire of the US, as promisor, to keep its options open.... Evasion by means
of interpretation would not be a difficult task...."
9. The stationing of foreign peacekeeping tropps on Israel's border would
cripple Israel's defense capabilities, requiring Israel to seek prior
approval in preempting or countering belligerence, which would also strain
US-Israel ties. At the same time, appearing to have enabled Israel to act
freely, would damage US-Arab ties.
10. The assumption that inherently tenuous, intangible, open-ended and
reversible US security commitments constitute an effective compensation for
critical Israeli land, tangible, irreversible concessions – such as a
retreat from the strategically and historically critical mountain ridges of
Judea and Samaria – reflects detachment from the Washington constitutional
labyrinth and recent precedents, engendering a false sense of security, thus
compromising the existence of the Jewish state, transforming Israel from a
robust national security producing asset to a frail national security
consuming liability, undermining US interests and US-Israel relations.
11. The next video will expand on the inherent non-reliability of US and
international security guarantees.
Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, Israel, "Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative,"