Archive for October, 2013


POPULAR SUPPORT of Israel over the last quarter of a century has been based on a number of myths, the most Persistent of which has been the myth of lsrael’s security, Implying the permanent existence of grave threats to the survival of Jewish society in Palestine, this myth has been carefully cultivated to evoke anxious images in public opinion to permit, and even encourage, the use of large amounts of public funds to sustain Israel militarily and economically. “Israel’s security” is the official argument with which not only Israel but also the U.S. denies the right of self-determination in their own country to the Palestinian people. For the past three decades it has been accepted as a legitimate explanation for lsrael’s violation of international resolutions calling for the return of the Palestinian people to their homes. Over the past thirteen years Israel has been allowed to evoke its security to justify its refusal to retreat from the Arab and Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Security is still the pretext given by successive Israeli governments for widespread massacres of civilian populations in Lebanon, for expropriations of Arab lands, for the establishment of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, for deportations, and for arbitrary detentions of political prisoners. Although the security of the Arab populations in the whole region has been repeatedly threatened over these years by overt and covert warfare, terrorist plots and subversive designs, and although UN resolutions demand the establishment of secure borders for all states in the region, so far only lsrael’s security has been at the center of international discussion.

The persistence of the myth of Israel’s security shows that there is considerable public belief in the so-called Arab commitment to eliminate the Jewish state. Most of the distinguished Western writers who present this case derive their arguments from Zionist versions of events in the late 1940s, at the time of the establishment of Israel, and in the mid-1950s, when Nasser came to power. They go on from these arguments to present Israel’s so-called struggle for security and survival as a moral issue. The media often furnish politicians, who have other reasons for their political and military support of Israel, with the convenient issue of the West’s moral commitment to Israel.

Other versions or approaches to the facts have more often than not been ignored. For example, recent disclosures by Nahum Goldmann (Le Monde Diplomatique, August 1979) have gone practically unnoticed. Goldmann, who for more than thirty years headed the pro-Zionist World .Jewish Congress, charges that the Arabs were not consulted about the partition of Palestine in 1947, and further that their willingness to negotiate a political compromise that might have prevented the 1948 war was vetoed and undermined by Ben Gurion before May 1948.

The recently published Personal Diary of Moshe Sharett (Yoman Ishi. Tel Aviv: Ma’ariv, 1979, in Hebrew) now offers a decisive and authoritative contribution to the demystification of the myth of lsrael’s security and its security policies. Between 1933 and 1948 Sharett guided the foreign relations of the Zionist movement, as head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, and from 1948 to 1956 he was lsrael’s foreign minister. In 1954 and 1955 he was its prime minister as well. The following pages present extracts from Sharett’s diary demonstrating the following points:

  1. The Israeli political /military establishment never seriously believed in an Arab threat to the existence of Israel. On the contrary, it sought and applied every means to exacerbate the dilemma of the Arab regimes after the 1948 war. The Arab governments were extremely reluctant to engage in any military confrontation with Israel, yet in order to survive they needed to project to their populations and to the exiled Palestinians in their countries some kind of reaction to lsrael’s aggressive policies and continuous acts of harassment. In other words, the Arab threat was an Israeli-invented myth which for internal and inter-Arab reasons the Arab regimes could not completely deny, though they constantly feared Israeli preparations for a new war.
  2. The Israeli political/military establishment aimed at pushing the Arab states into military confrontations which the Israeli leaders were invariably certain of winning. The goal of these confrontations was to modify the balance of power in the region radically, transforming the Zionist state into the major power in the Middle East.
  3. In order to achieve this strategic purpose the following tactics were used:
    1. Large- and small-scale military operations aimed at civilian populations across the armistice lines, especially in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, then respectively under the control of Jordan and Egypt. These operations had a double purpose: to terrorize the populations, and to create a permanent destabilization stemming from tensions between the Arab governments and the populations, who felt they were not adequately protected against Israeli aggression.
    2. Military operations against Arab military installations in border areas to undermine the morale of the armies and intensify the regimes’ destabilization from inside their military structures.
    3. Covert terrorist operations in depth inside the Arab world, used for both espionage and to create fear, tension and instability.
  4. lsrael’s achievement of its strategic purpose was to be realized through the following means:
    1. New territorial conquests through war. Although the 1949-50 armistice agreements assigned to Israel a territory one-third larger than had the UN partition plan, the Israeli leadership was still not satisfied with the size of the state, the borders of which it had committed itself to respect on the international level. It sought to recover at least the borders of mandate Palestine. The territorial dimension was considered to be a vital factor in Israel’s transformation into a regional power.
    2. Political as well as military efforts to bring about the liquidation of all Arab and Palestinian claims to Palestine through the dispersion of the Palestinian refugees of the 1947-49 war to faraway parts of the Arab world as well as outside the Arab world.
    3. Subversive operations designed to dismember the Arab world, defeat the Arab national movement, and create puppet regimes which would gravitate to the regional Israeli power.

In providing documentation on the above points, Sharett’s Diary deals a deadly blow to a number of important interpretations which are still being presented as historical truths. Among these are the following items:

  1. To this date the majority of scholars and analysts cite the nationalization of the Suez Canal as the chief motivation for the October 1956 war, It is thereby implied that the projected British and French aggression against Egypt provided Israel with an opportunity to achieve the termination of fedayeen attacks from across the armistice lines, and to settle its accounts with Nasser’s regime, to which these attacks were attributed. What Sharett tells us now is that a major war against Egypt aimed at the territorial conquest of Gaza and the Sinai was on the Israeli leadership’s agenda at least as early as the autumn of 1953, almost a year before Nasser ousted Neguib and consolidated his leadership. It was agreed then that the international conditions for such a war would mature within a period of about three years. The Israeli military attack on Gaza in February 1955 was consciously undertaken as a preliminary act of war. A couple of months later a government decision to commence a war to conquer the Gaza Strip met with the strenuous opposition of the foreign minister, whose political liquidation was thereupon decided by the supporters of the war policy, headed by Ben Gurion. Had the prospect of the tripartite aggression not appeared on the horizon in later months, Israel would have gone on to attack Egypt according to its own plans, and, moreover, with U.S. consent.
  2. The occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 has been described, and is still widely understood today, as an Israeli defensive action in the face of Arab threats. Sharett’s Diary offers unequivocable evidence that the occupation of Gaza and also of the West Bank was part of lsrael’s plans since the early fifties. American Zionist leaders were informed about these plans in 1954, In 1955, Jewish and Arab lives were sacrificed in a series of provocative attacks undertaken to create a pretext for the occupation of Jordanian territory. The chief obstacle postponing this occupation was Britain’s residual presence in Jordan upholding the Hashemite throne.
  3. The continuing, violent Israeli aggression in Lebanon still is being attributed, shamelessly, to Israeli security needs. In particular, Israeli spokesmen, echoed by Western media, try to explain lsrael’s massive intervention in Lebanon and the Lebanese events in general, with the following historical arguments:
    1. In the struggle between Muslims and Christians, a conflict which would have broken out regardless of outside interference, Israel’s role has been limited to the defense of the Christian minority.
    2. The presence of the Palestinian resistance, or in Israeli terminology, of Palestinian terrorism in that country required Israeli intervention.

Sharett’s Diary, however, provides the entire documentation of how in 1954 Ben Gurion developed the diabolic plans to “Christianize” Lebanon, i.e., to invent and create from scratch the inter-Lebanese conflict, and of how a detailed blueprint for the partition and subordination of that country to Israel was elaborated by Israel more than fifteen years before the Palestinian presence became a political factor in Lebanon.

The use of terror and aggression to provoke or create the appearance of an Arab threat to lsrael’s existence was summed up by the then “number two” of the Zionist state’s hierarchy:

“I have been meditating on the long chain of false incidents and hostilities we have invented, and on the many clashes we have provoked which cost us so much blood, and on the violations of the law by our men-all of which brought grave disasters and determined the whole course of events and contributed to the security crisis”.

A week earlier, Moshe Dayan, then lsrael’s chief of staff, explained why Israel needed to reject Any border security arrangements offered by the neighboring Arab States, or by the United Nations, as well as the formal security guarantees suggested by the United States. Such guarantees, he predicted, might “tie lsrael’s hands.” Presumably, that would render unjustifiable or even impossible those attacks and incursions across the armistice lines which through the mid- 1950s went under the euphemistic name of reprisal actions. These actions, Dayan said,

“are our vital lymph. They . . . . help us maintain a high tension among our population and in the army. . . in order to have young men go to the Negev we have to cry out that it is in danger”. (26 May 1955, 102 1)

The creation of a siege mentality in Israeli society was necessary to complement the prefabricated myth of the Arab threat. The two elements were intended to feed each other. Although Israeli society faced a serious risk of social and cultural disintegration under the impact of a mass immigration of Asian and North African Jews into the pre-state’s ideologically homogeneous community, the purpose of the siege mentality was not so much that of attaining a defensive cohesiveness in Israel’s Jewish society. It was calculated principally to “eliminate the moral brakes” required for a society to fully support a police which constituted a complete reversal of the collective ethical code on which its formal education was based and from which it was supposed to derive its vital strength. Of course, this ethical code had not been respected in the past either. Aggression and terrorism had been exercised by the Zionists before and during the 1947-48 war. The following testimony of a soldier who participated in the occupation of the Palestinian village of Duelma in 1948 is only the most recently disclosed of a long chain of evidence:

Killed between 80 to 100 Arabs, women and children. To kill the children they fractured their heads with sticks. There was not one house without corpses. The men and women of the villages were pushed into houses without food or water. Then the saboteurs came to dynamite the houses. One commander ordered a soldier to bring two women into a house he was about to blow up. . . . Another soldier prided himself upon having raped an Arab woman before shooting her to death. Another Arab woman with her newborn baby was made to clean the place for a couple of days, and then they shot her and the baby. Educated and well-mannered commanders who were considered “good guys”. . . became base murderers, and this not in the storm of battle, but as a method of expulsion and extermination. The fewer the Arabs who remain, the better. (quoted in Davar, 9 June 1979)

But these episodes did not filter through to the society at large. The War of Independence was ritualized, on the contrary, as a miraculous victory of (Jewish) right against (Arab) might. Deir Yassin was (falsely) described by tile ruling Labor establishment as an isolated and even condemnable case, a product of the brutality of the minority lrgun group. Manuals, school textbooks, history books, anthologies and the media placidly glorified the moral quality of the war, the “Puritv of the weapons” used by the army, the Jewish ethos underlying the state.

The security or reprisals policy of the 1950s represented, in this sense, a qualitative leap. The strategic designs were perceived, by the Israeli leaders themselves, is totally irrational in respect to the regional realities, and especially in respect to the international context to which Israel had formally committed itself. Therefore, the support required for it inside the country had to be total, i.e., emotional, almost instinctive, with no concessions to rationality and no moralistic cover. A strategic goal such as the transformation of Israel into a regional power inevitably presupposed the use of large-scale, open violence, and could not pretend even mythically to be achieved on the basis of the earlier moral superiority doctrine which, therefore, had to be replaced with a new one. Terrorism and “revenge” were now to be glorified as the new “moral. . . and even sacred” values of Israeli society. The resurgent militarism no longer needed the idealistic, socialist varnish of a Paimach: the military symbol was now Unit 101, led by Arik Sharon.

The process of this cultural even more than political transition was not automatic. In fact, as Dayan admitted in the above quotation, much anxiety had to be generated to encourage it. The lives of Jewish victims also had to be sacrificed to create provocations justifying subsequent reprisals, especially in those periods in which the Arab governments succeeded in controlling the reactions of the harassed and enraged Arab border populations. A hammering, daily propaganda, controlled by the censors, was directed to feed the Israeli population with images of the monstrosity of the Enemy. More images showed that negotiated security arrangements with the Enemy could only be interpreted as a fatal proof of Israeli weakness.

The final point of this process which Sharett watched in the 1950s was the election of Menachem Begin as prime minister in 1977. Sharett’s Zionist perspective was based on a political/diplomatic alternative to the terror strategy of Ben Gurion and his followers. This, he thought, could consolidate the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and perhaps enlarge it in the future, without major concessions to the surrounding Arab world. Sharett believed his goals could be achieved without disturbing the West. Indeed, he thought Israeli plans could be coordinated with the West’s. He lucidly perceived as fascist the logic behind lsrael’s security doctrine, and correctly evaluated its consequences of moral corruption on the internal level and increasing violence on the regional level. He opposed it, and was certainly its most illustrious victim. His defeat, however, was inevitable, because his dissent from the strategy was quantitative more than qualitative: on methods rather than substance; on the number, for example, of the victims of a given military action and only vaguely on the ideology behind such actions. Basically, in the light of his unflagging Zionist faith, he was as fascinated as repelled by the strategy, as envious of its immediate successes as he was worried over its longer range consequences and international repercussions for Zionism and Israel.

The liquidation of his dissenting presence was considered indispensable to the realization of the Israeli political/military leadership’s megalomaniac and criminal designs. His intrinsic weakness consisted in his seemingly rational hope that the so-called liberal West would prevent the implementation of his opponents’ designs. He relied on the West rather than on the awakening of a local, popular conscience which he had the power and the information to provoke but which as a Zionist he could not and dared not do.

On the contrary, notwithstanding his scruples and torments he almost invariably ended up collaborating with his adversaries, and with those elements in the security establishment who conspired against him, in the fabrication and diffusion of deliberately distorted versions of events and policies for domestic and international consumption.

In a historical perspective Sharett’s self-portrait as it emerges from his Personal Diary, thus also explains why no so-called moderate Zionist proposal is possible,and how any attempt to liberalize Zionism from the inside could not but-as has repeatedly been the case-end in defeat. A clear, lucid, coherent logic runs through the history of the past three decades. In the early fifties the bases were laid for constructing a state imbued with the principles of sacred terrorism against the surrounding Arab societies on the threshold of the eighties the same state is for the first time denounced by its own intellectuals as being tightly in the deadly grip of fascism.

This may be just one more reason why Western journalists, scholars sand analysts may find themselves greatly embarrassed by the following document. These commentators still insist on upholding the presumed moral commitment of the West to what they obstinately continue to mystify is Israel’s security. In this sense Sharett’s Diary, is potentially devastating to Zionist propaganda as the Pentagon Papers were in regard to U.S. aggression in Vietnam.

CHAPTER 1: Moshe Sharett and His Personal Diary

Moshe Sharett (Shertok) was born in Harsson, Russia, in 1894. He emigrated with his family his father was a fervent Zionist activist-to Palestine in 1906, at the age of twelve. The family settled in the Arab village of Ein Sinya, near Nablus. Later, Moshe, his brother and three sisters would describe that two-year period, during which they studied Arabic, played with the children of the village and learned fascinating stories from the village’s elders as the happiest time of their lives. In 1908 the Shertok family moved to Tel Aviv, where Moshe entered the Hertselyah High School. At the outbreak of World War 1, he was conscripted into the Ottoman army, where he took an officer’s course and then served as an officer, mostly in Syria. After the war, while the British Mandate was established in Palestine, he graduated from the London School of Economics, and shortly thereafter entered political activity in the ranks of Labor Zionism. He was a founding member of Mapai (Party of the Workers of Eretz Israel), and became chief editor of Davar, the daily organ of the Histadrut (the trade union federation dominated by Mapai). Later he was appointed as deputy to Haim Arlosorov, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department. After Arlosorov was murdered on a Tel Aviv beach in 1933, Sharett was appointed as his successor. The Chairman of the Jewish Agency at that time was David Ben Gurion. According to Sharett, the conflict with Ben Gurion which characterized their twenty-five years of close collaboration at the summit of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel, originated in suspicions on Ben Gurion’s part that Sharett was loyal to Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization. In the 1940s Ben Gurion accused Sharett, unjustly according to the latter, of collaborating with Weizmann to negotiate, with U.S. mediation, an agreement between the Zionist movement and the Emir Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Sharett claimed that in reality he contributed to the failure of those negotiations. But according toDr. Nahum Goldmann, Sharett was again involved in 1947-48 with Goldmann in negotiations mediated by U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, aimed at obtaining a political solution to the problem of the Zionist presence in Palestine, possibly leading to creating a Middle Eastern Confederation including a Zionist entity.

Thee main negotiator on the Arab side was to be Egyptian Foreign Minister Nukrashi Pasha. These negotiations, which were expected to prevent the first Arab-Israeli war, would have meant postponing the date scheduled for the proclamation of the state of Israel by a few weeks. Ben Gurion vetoed the negotiations, rejected the postponement, and accused Sharett of being opposed to the creation of the state, an accusation he vehemently denied. Fundamentally, Ben Gurion’s preference for the use of force, versus Sharett’s preference for the diplomatic method to achieve the same goals, was the basis for the conflict between these two Zionist leaders, which lasted until Shtrett was ousted from the Israeli government in June 1956. Moshe Sharett died in Tel Aviv in 1965. The Personal Diary, which Moshe Sharett wrote from October 1953 to November 1956 covers the last years of his political activity as lsrael’s first foreign minister, including the two years in which he replaced Ben Gurion as the prime minister. It then extends over the first fifteen months of the tormented inactivity following his political demise. Moshe Sharett stopped writing his diary in the middle of a phrase on November 29, 1957. His last notes identify one of his previous collaborators, considered a close personal and political friend, as one of the conspirators against him. The Diary, a 2,400 page document in eight volumes, contains the daily notes and aide-memoires in which Sharett recorded current events: personal, family, and party happenings, as well as national and international meetings of prime importance, conversations with his wife or other members of the family alongside administrative questions regarding his ministry and comments on cabinet meetings. The intimate nature of the Diary, together with the exceptionally authoritative position of its author, constitutes a rare guarantee of credibility. Unlike other memoirs which have come out of Israel in recent years, and which were written for publication, Sharett’s Diary hardly can be suspected of distortion, self glorification or subjectively polemic intentions. It is not surprising at all, therefore, that Sharett’s son and his family were subjected to immense pressures to refrain from publication, or at least to submit the document to Labor Party censorship. Sharett’s son Ya’acov finally decided to publish the complete writings.

CHAPTER 2 Ben Gurion Goes to Sdeh Boker: Spiritual Retreat as a Tactic

Moshe Sharrett jotted the first of the daily notes in his personal diary on October 9, 1953. Shortly before that, Ben Gurion, who was prime minister and minister of defense, announced his intention to withdraw from government activities. Sharett, who had been second in command to Ben Gurion since the pre-state days, was slated to replace him as Israel’s prime minister. He would also retain the foreign ministry.

To public opinion at large, Ben Gurion’s intention to retire was presented grandly as a spiritual exercise, a measure capable of galvanizing Israeli and Jewish youth and necessary for leading the Zionist sheep back to the abandoned ideals of pioneering and settlement. In reality, while the state was spending millions of pounds on the construction of a “hut” for Ben Gurion in the kibbutz Sdeh Boker in Negev, and on related security and communications arrangements, the Old Man already knew, and informed his collaborators, that his absence from the government would last for two years. Behind the campaign idealizing his withdrawal was a scenario meticulously prepared by him and his men. Even then, just four years after the 1948-49 war, the security establishment was ready with plans for lsrael’s territorial expansion. The armistice lines established in Rhodes, although traced so as to grant Israel over a third more than the territory allotted it by the UN partition resolution in 1947, were considered unsatisfactory by the army, which aspired to recover at least the boundaries of mandate Palestine. Ben Gurion had theorized already about the necessity for Israel to become the regional power in the Middle East. Toward the realization of this goal a strategy for the destabilization of the region also had been drawn: operatively, as we shall see, its pivot for the next quarter of a century was to be the political-military policy known under the false name of “retaliation.” The international conditions for the implementation of this strategic design, though, had yet to be prepared.

Economic and military aid from the West, in particular, was an essential condition. At the same time, rapprochement between the West and the Arab world had to be prevented. Toward this aim, the West had to be persuaded that Israel would be its best bet in the region militarily, and this was another of the major objectives of the massive reprisal attacks launched across the borders by the Israeli army. At the same time, though, the West should not be alarmed prematurely about Israel’s intentions, because it was not ready yet to support these Israeli aims. Ben Gurion’s formal withdrawal, and his (formal) replacement by the “moderate” Sharett, was interpreted by international diplomacy as a sign that Israel was not headed for war. Since the launching of the reprisal actions, such a fear was prevalent in the Arab world.

In the short range, the Israeli design was aimed at slowing down the negotiations between Arab states which were pressing to be armed, and the West, which was reluctant to arm them. In the meantime, the idea that the military actions were intended for no purpose other than their declared one-protecting lsrael’s civilian populations against guerrilla-type attacks from Arab territories -would gain in credibility under the premiership of Sharett, a man notoriously devoted to moderation and diplomacy. The myth of Israel’s Security, aimed at generating a consensus, would have its strength enhanced to a greater extent in Ben Gurion’s absence. Thus, he went off to Sdeh Boker, accompanied by the aura of a pioneer-saint, and Sharett prepared to take over, or so he thought. In fact, Ben Gurion was to keep control of the real channels of command.

Chapter 3 Retaliation for War

On October 11th, 1953, the foreign minister and would-be premier noted in his diary that he had been to see Ben Zvi, the president of the state:

Ben Zvi raised as usual some inspired questions … such as do we have a chance to occupy the Sinai and how wonderful it would be if the Egyptians started an offensive which we could defeat and follow with an invasion of that desert. He was very disappointed when I told him that the Egyptians show no tendency to facilitate us in this occupation task through a provocative challenge on their side. (11 October 1953, 27)

The next day Ben Gurion informed Sharett that Pinhas Lavon, a staunch supporter of the retaliation policy, would succeed him as the minister of defense, and that he was about to nominate Moshe Dayan as the armed forces chief of staff.

I said immediately that Moshe Dayan is a soldier only at war time but during peace time he is a politician. The nomination means “:politicization”: of the headquarters. The new Chief of’ Staff’s immense capacity for plotting and intrigue-making will yield many complications. Ben Gurion admitted to the truth of these definitions and even added that Dayan himself defined himself this way and sought to disqualify himself for the job, but never mind, it will be all right. I left with a sinking heart. (ibid., 29)

Sharett considered the international climate at that time to be unfavorable to Israel: the U.S. has just decided to supply arms to Syria and Iraq, and to arm Egypt soon after the signature of the Canal Zone Agreement. In addition, lsrael’s constant violations of the UN demands that it cease diversion of the Jordan River and adhere to the Johnston Plan were causing increasing consternation in Western capitals. The West had cultivated the hope that an Arab-Israeli agreement on the diversion of the Jordan waters would, if reached and implemented, become the cornerstone for a wider agreement that would take the wind out of growing anti-Western nationalist tensions in the area.2 According to the UN observers’ chief, Danish General Wagen Benike, “:the Israelis have worked and are still working on Arab lands. We [the Israelis] are changing the terrain strategically.”: (15 October 1955, 39) This, Sharett comments, is really a shameful deed:

I inquired several times, and each time I was solemnly assured that no Arab land has been touched. After Benike told me … that it was proved to him that our work was begun on Arab land … I again interrogated Amir [head of the Water Works Dept.] who now admits the facts…. Thus I have been made to appear as a liar in front of the whole world! (31 October 1955, 32)

Fearing that an overdose of Israeli violence at this moment might precipitate a crisis with the West, Sharett tried to block the Kibya reprisal operation which had been endorsed by Ben Gurion on the eve of his departure for a vacation preceding his formal retreat. He pointed out that the minor border incident, which was to have served as a pretext for the planned attack on the West Bank village, had just been publicly condemned by Jordan, and that the Jordanian representatives in the mixed armistice commission had promised to see to it that similar incidents would not be repeated.

I told Lavon that this [attack] will be a grave error, and recalled, citing various precedents, that it was never proved that reprisal actions serve their declared purpose. Lavon smiled … and kept to his own idea…. Ben Gurion, he said, didn’t share my view. (14 October 1953, 37)

According to the first news from the other side, thirty houses have been demolished in one village. This reprisal is unprecedented in its dimensions and in the offensive power used. I walked up and down in my room, helpless and utterly depressed by my feeling of impotence. . . . I was simply horrified by the description in Radio Ramallah’s broadcast of the destruction of the Arab village- Tens of houses have been razed to the soil and tens of people killed. I can imagine the storm that will break out tomorrow in the Arab and Western capitals. (15 October 1953, 39)

I must underline that when I opposed the action I didn’t even remotely suspect such a bloodbath. I thought that I was opposing one of those actions which have become a routine in the past. Had I even remotely suspected that such a massacre was to be held, I would have raised real hell. (16 October 1953, 44)

Now the army wants to know how we [the foreign ministry] are going to explain the issue. In a joint meeting of army and foreign ministry officials Shmuel Bendor suggested that we say that the army had no part in the operation, but that the inhabitants of the border villages, infuriated by previous incidents and seeking revenge, operated on their own. Such a version will make us appear ridiculous: any child would say that this was a military operation. (16 October 1953)

Yehoshafat Harkabi [then Assistant Chief of Military Intelligence] reported movements of Jordanian troops from Transjordan to the West Bank in two directions … from Irbid to the Nablus region and from Amman to Jerusalem. I thought that these movements did not indicate preparations for attack but [were] only preparations for aggression on our side. It is impossible that they did not get the impression that the bombing of Kibya means, if not a calculated plan to cause war, then at least willingness to have one starting as a consequence of the action. “Fati” said that according to Radio Ramallah 56 bodies have already been extracted from the ruins. (17 October 1955, 44 45)

At 3 P.m. Russel [U.S. Charge d’At’faires] and Milton Fried [U.S. Attache] came in … Russel’s face was gloomy. Kibya was “in the air” . . . I said I will not say a word to justify the attack on Kibya but I must warn against detaching this action from a chain of events and I blamed the uncontrolled situation on the helplessness or the lack on goodwill on the part of Jordan. From that point onwards I attacked U.S. policy as one of the factors which contributed to the encouragement of the Arabs and the isolation of Israel…. I have condemned the folly of the [U.S.] idea that we want war and all our actions in the South and in the North are directed exclusively to bring it about…. Russel asked … if we shall disavow Kibya. I said that I cannot answer…. Katriel (“Salmon”) [Israel’s military attache in London] came up with the idea of a “diversion”: the Kibya affair would attract all the attention unless we are able to invent some other dramatic issue. (17 October 1953, 45)

[In the cabinet meeting] I condemned the Kibya affair that exposed us in front of the whole world as a gang of blood-suckers, capable of mass massacres regardless, it seems, of whether their actions may lead to war. I warned that this stain will stick to us and will not be washed away for many years to come. . . . It was decided that a communique on Kibya will be published and Ben Gurion [back from his vacation for the occasion] was to write it. I insisted on including an expression of regret. Ben Gurion insisted on excluding any responsibility of the army (See Appendix 1): the civilian citizens of the border areas, enraged by the constant murders, have taken justice into their hands. After all [he said] the border settlements are full of arms and the settlers are ex-soldiers…. I said that no one in the world will believe such a story and we shall only expose ourselves as liars. But I couldn’t seriously demand that the communique explicitly affirm the army’s responsibility because this would have made it impossible to condemn the act and we will have ended up approving this monstrous bloodbath. (18 October 1953, 51)

For Sharett as well, the army was irreproachable. But then why blame the army when the decision had been taken on a political level? Beyond this, however, emerges a significant detail. Clearly, the security of the Israeli border population could hardly be more jeopardized than by attributing to them the responsibility for a bloodbath such as Kibya’s. Encouraging an escalation of acts of revenge and further reprisals clearly had a cynical provocative intent, as did Lavon’s smile when Sharett tried to convince him of the fatuousness of the relations in relation to their declared purpose. From the beginning, in fact, the retaliation policy was headed elsewhere: the stronger the tensions in the region, the more demoralized the Arab populations and destabilized the Arab regimes, the stronger the pressures for the transfer of the concentrations of Palestinian refugees from places near the border away into the interior of the Arab world-and the better it was for the preparation of the next war. In the meantime, the army could be kept in training. On October 19 a cabinet meeting was convened where:

Ben Gurion spoke for two and a half hours on the army’s preparations for the second round … [He] presented detailed figures on the growth of the military force of the Arab countries which (he said) will reach its peak in 1956. (19 October 1953, 54)

It was not a prophecy. This meant that Israel would wage war within that date. Sharett added:

As I listened … I was thinking … that we should proceed against the danger with non-military means: propose daring and concrete solutions for the Refugee problem through the payment of compensations, improve our relations with the powers, search ceaselessly for an understanding with Egypt.

This was certainly not what the Israeli security establishment was driving at. On October 26, 1953, a group of American Zionist leaders was lectured to, in Israel, by Colonel Matti Peled. The conclusions from that presentation, Sharett noted, were “implicitly clear”:

One, that the army considers the present border with Jordan as absolutely unacceptable. Two, that the army is planning war in order to occupy the rest of Western Eretz Israel.4 (26 October 1953, 81)

Although formulated in very mild terms, the Security Council condemnation of Israel for the Kibya attack pushed Sharett to impose an embargo on reprisal actions unless he personally authorized them. For a while, no spectacular actions were undertaken, but minor, unauthorized Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza continued to make civilian victims. The murder of a Jordanian doctor on the Bethlehem-Hebron road, which was reported by the press, raised the premier’s suspicions, for example. Enraged, he learned that this, in fact, was Israeli work. This, and other similar investigations, were to fray the relations between the military and the prime minister. In January 1954, Dayan requested and obtained a meeting with all Mapai’s ministers:

Moshe Dayan brought out one plan after the other for “direct action.” The first what should be done to force open the blockade in the straits of Eilat. A ship flying the Israeli flag should he sent, and if the Egyptians will bomb it we should bomb the Egyptian base from the air, or [we should] conquer Ras-e-Naqueb or open our way from the south to the Gaza Strip up to the coast. There was a general uproar. I asked him, Do you realize this would mean war with Egypt? He said, of course. (31 January 1954, 331)

War with Egypt was to remain a major ambition of Israel’s security establishment, but the time was not yet ripe. On February 25, Ben Gurion, himself put the brakes on his collaborators’ impatience when he rejected Lavon’s proposal “to go ahead immediately with the plan for the separation of the Gaza Strip from Egypt.” The Old Man was determined to stick to his timetable. Now, Sharett noted later, “Ben Gurion suggested to concentrate on action against Syria.” (27 February 1954, 377)

CHAPTER 4 “A Historical Opportunity to Occupy Southern Syria”

At the above cited meeting on January 31, 1954 Moshe Dayan went on to outline his war plans. Sharett’s note for that day continues:

The second plan-action against the interference of the Syrians with our fishing in the Lake of Tiberias. . . .The third-if, due to internal problems in Syria, Iraq invades that country we should advance [militarily, into Syria] and realize a series of “faits accomplis.” . . . The interesting conclusion to be drawn from all this regards the direction in which the new Chief of Staff is thinking. I am extremely worried. (31 January 1954, 332)

On February 25, 1954, Syrian troops stationed in Aleppo revolted against Adib Shishakly’s regime.

After lunch Lavon took me aside and started trying to persuade me: This is the right moment to act this is the time to move forward and occupy the Syrian border positions beyond the Demilitarized Zone. Syria is disintegrating. A State with whom we signed an armistice agreement exists no more. Its government is about to fall and there is no other power in view. Moreover, Iraq has practically moved into Syria. This is an historical opportunity, we shouldn’t miss it.

I was reluctant to approve such a blitz-plan and saw ourselves on the verge of an abyss of disastrous adventure. I asked if he suggests to act immediately and I was shocked when I realized that he does. I said that if indeed Iraq will move into Syria with its army it will be a revolutionary turn which will … justify far reaching conclusions, but for the time being this is only a danger, not a fact. It is not even clear if Shishakly will fall: he may survive. We ought to wait before making any decision. He repeated that time was precious and we must act so as not to miss an opportunity which otherwise might be lost forever. Again I answered that under the circumstances right now I cannot approve any such action. Finally I said that next Saturday we would be meeting with Ben Gurion … and we could consult him then on the matter. I saw that he was extremely displeased by the delay. However, he had no choice but to agree. (25 February 1954, 374)

The next day the Shishakly regime actually fell. The following day, February 27, Sharett was present at a meeting where Lavon and Dayan reported to Ben Gurion that what happened in Syria was – “a typical Iraqi action.” The two proposed again that the Israeli army be put on the march. Ben Gurion, “electrified,” agreed. Sharett reiterated his opposition, pointing to the certainty of a Security Council condemnation, the possibility of the use against Israel of the Tripartite Declaration of 1950, hence the probability of a “shameful failure” The three objected that “our entrance [into Syria] is justified in view of the situation in Syria. This is an act of defense of our border area.” Sharett closed the discussion by insisting on the need for further discussion in the cabinet meeting, scheduled for the next morning:

Lavon’s face wore a depressed expression. He understood this to be the end of the matter. (27 February 1954, 377)

On Sunday, February 28, the press reported that no Iraqi troops had entered Syria. The situation in Damascus was under the complete control of President Hashem Al Atassi. The cabinet approved Sharett’s position and rejected Lavon’s vehement appeal not to miss a historical opportunity. Lavon said “The U.S. is about to betray us and ally itself with the Arab world.” We should “demonstrate our strength and indicate to the U.S. that our life depends on this so that they will not dare do anything against us.” The premier’s victory, however, was to be short-lived.

Until that time the Syrian-Israeli border presented no particular problems to the Israelis. When tensions developed, it was almost invariably due to Israeli provocations, such as the irrigation work on lands belonging to Arab farmers, which was condemned by the UN; or the use of military patrol boats against Syrian fishermen fishing in the Lake of Tiberias. No Syrian regime could afford to refrain from offering some minimum protection to its border citizens against Israeli attacks or the taking away of their livelihoods, but neither did the rulers of Damascus feel stable enough to wish to be dragged into a major conflict with their southern neighbor. Clashes were therefore minor, and essentially seasonal. No security arguments could be credibly invoked to justify an expansionist program, or any other aggression against Syria.

On December 12, 1954, however, a Syrian civilian plane was hijacked by Israeli war planes shortly after its takeoff, and forced to land at Lydda airport. Passengers and crew were detained and interrogated for two days, until stormy international protests forced the Israelis to release them. Furious, Sharett wrote to Lavon on December 22:

It must be clear to you that we had no justification whatsoever to seize the plane, and that once forced down we should have immediately released it and not held the passengers under interrogation for 48 hours. I have no reason to doubt the truth of the factual affirmation of the U.S. State Department that our action was without precedent in the history of international practice. ….. What shocks and worries me is the narrow-mindedness and the shortsightedness of our military leaders. They seem to presume that the State of Israel may or even must-behave in the realm of international relations according to the laws of the jungle. (22 December 1954, 607)

Sharett also protested to Lavon against the scandalous press campaign, which he suspected was inspired by the security establishment and which was aimed at convincing public opinion that the Syrian plane was stopped and forced down because it violated Israeli sovereignty and perhaps endangered its security. “As a result, the public does not understand why such a plane was released and naturally it concludes that we have here an unjustified concession on the part of the government” – (ibid.)

On December 11, the day before Israel set this world precedent for air piracy, five Israeli soldiers were captured inside Syrian territory while mounting wiretapping installations on the Syrian telephone network. A month later, on January 13, 1955, one of them committed suicide in prison. The official Israeli version is, once again, that the five had been abducted in Israeli territory, taken to Syria, and tortured. The result was a violent emotional upsurge in Israel, all the more so as this news arrived shortly after the condemnation in Cairo of members of an Israeli terrorist ring which had been described to public opinion as an anti-Jewish frame-up. The prime minister confided to his personal diary:

A young boy has been sacrificed for nothing…. Now they will say that his blood is on my hands. If I hadn’t ordered the release of the Syrian plane [we would have had our hostages and] the Syrians could have been forced to free the five. The boy . . . would have been alive … our soldiers have not been kidnapped in Israeli territory by Syrian invaders as the army spokesman announced …. They penetrated into Syria and not accidentally but in order to take care of a wiretapping installation, connected to a Syrian telephone line … the young men were sent without any experienced person, they were not instructed what to do in case of failure and the result was that in the first interrogation they broke down and told the whole truth. . . . I have no doubt that the press and the Knesset will cry about torture. On the other hand, it is possible that the boy committed suicide because he broke down during the interrogation and only later he understood what a disaster he has brought upon his comrades and what he did to the state. Possibly his comrades tormented him afterwards. Anyway, his conscience probably caused him to take this terrible step. (3 January 1955, 649)

Isser [Harel, then Shin Bet chief] warned me of what may happen to me personally as a result of the suicide. A poisonous attack is being organized against me…. it is particularly necessary to take care of what is happening in the army and to prevent lawless riots. (14 January 1955, 653). It is clear that Dayan’s intention … is to get [Syrian] hostages in order to obtain the release of our prisoners in Damascus. He put it into his head that it is necessary to take hostages, and would not let go. (10 February 1955, 714)

Nineteen years later, Dayan, then minister of defense in Golda Meir’s government, ordered his troops to move into a school, regardless of the danger to Israeli civilians including children, in Ma’alot, with the sole aim of preventing Palestinian guerrillas from obtaining, through the taking of hostages, the release of their Palestinian comrades jailed and tortured under the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. On that, as on other similar occasions, a virulent and poisonous Zionist campaign, widely echoed in the Western media, declared the Palestinian liberation movement’s attempt to free prisoners by taking hostages as intolerable, barbaric, savage, murderous, and terrorist. When did these same media call Moshe Dayan a terrorist?

Israeli plots against Syria in the fifties were not only limited to expansionist and terrorist projects. On July 31, 1955, a senior foreign ministry aide, Gideon Raphael, reported to Sharett on a couple of “interesting meetings” he had held with Arab exiles in Europe. One of these was with ex-Syrian Premier Hosni Barazi:

Hosni wants to get back in power, and is ready to accept help from anyone: from Turkey, in exchange for Syria’s future entrance into the Ankara-Baghdad pact; from the U. S., in exchange for Syria’s future alliance with the West, with Israel, in exchange for a peace agreement. (31 July 1955, 1099)

Peace, however, was the last thing Israel was interested in. lsrael’s support would require another price:

Meanwhile he says to us give-give: money for newspapers, money to buy off personalities, money to buy off political parties. Gideon [suggested to him that] . . . he himself is a big land owner, and why won’t he get together a group of land owners, initiate a big plan of settling refugees…. Hosni listened, said it was a wonderful idea … but only after he regains power, and until he regains power he needs a payment in advance. (31 July 1955, 1100)

A year later, a week before his final fall from the government, Sharett got a last report on Israel’s subversive activities in Syria from his advisor on Arab affairs, “Josh” Palmon:

Our contacts with [Adib] Shishakly [the exiled Syrian dictator overthrown in 1954] have been strengthened. The guidelines for common action after his return to power (if he returns!) have been established. We have decided on guidelines to contact the U.S. in regard to this issue. (12 June 1956, 1430)

None of these “historical opportunities” regarding Syria actually materialized at that time, nor, however, did Israel ever abandon its plans to install a puppet regime in Damascus. But in Lebanon as well, the precise operational blueprints elaborated in 1954 waited two decades before being put into action.5

Chapter 5 – Let Us Create A Maronite State in Lebanon

The February 27, 1954 meeting among Ben Gurion, Sharett, Lavon and Dayan has already been mentioned in connection with Israel’s invasion plans of Egypt and Syria. In that same meeting a concrete proposal was outlined to disrupt Israel’s most peaceful neighbor at that time, Lebanon. In this case, Israel’s hegemonic ambitions did not even pretend to wear the phony fig leaf of security or defense.

Then he [Ben Gurion] passed on to another issue. This is the time, he said, to push Lebanon, that is, the Maronites in that country, to proclaim a Christian State. I said that this was nonsense. The Maronites are divided. The partisans of Christian separatism are weak and will dare do nothing. A Christian Lebanon would mean their giving up Tyre, Tripoli, the Beka’a. There is no force that could bring Lebanon back to its pre-World War I dimensions, and all the more so because in that case it would lose its economic raison-d’etre. Ben Gurion reacted furiously. He began to enumerate the historical justification for a restricted Christian Lebanon. If such a development were to take place, the Christian Powers would not dare oppose it. I claimed that there was no factor ready to create such a situation, and that if we were to push and encourage it on our own we would get ourselves into an adventure that will place shame on us. Here came a wave of insults regarding my lack of daring and my narrow-mindedness. We ought to send envoys and spend money. I said there was no money. The answer was that there is no such thing. The money must be found, if not in the Treasury then at the Jewish Agency! For such a project it is worthwhile throwing away one hundred thousand, half a million, a million dollars. When this happens a decisive change will take place in the Middle East, a new era will start. I got tired of struggling against a whirlwind. (27 February 1954, 377)

The next day Ben Gurion sent Sharett the following letter:

To Moshe Sharett The Prime Minister

Sdeh Boker February 27, 1954

Upon my withdrawal from the government I decided in my heart to desist from intervening and expressing my opinion on current political affairs so as not to make things difficult for the government in any way. And if you hadn’t called on me, the three of you, yourself, Lavon and Dayan, I would not have, of my own accord, expressed an opinion on what is being done or what ought to be done. But as you called me, I deem it my duty to comply with your wishes, and especially with your own wish as Prime Minister. Therefore, I permit myself to go back to one issue which you did not approve of and discuss it again, and this is the issue of Lebanon.

………It is clear that Lebanon is the weakest link in the Arab League. The other minorities in the Arab States are all Muslim, except for the Copts. But Egypt is the most compact and solid of the Arab States and the majority there consists of one solid block, of one race, religion and language, and the Christian minority does not seriously affect their political and national unity. Not so the Christians in Lebanon. They are a majority in the historical Lebanon and this majority has a tradition and a culture different from those of the other components of the League. Also within the wider borders (this was the worst mistake made by France when it extended the borders of Lebanon), the Muslims are not free to do as they wish, even if they are a majority there (and I don’t know if they are, indeed, a majority) for fear of the Christians, The creation of a Christian State is therefore a natural act; it has historical roots and it will find support in wide circles in the Christian world, both Catholic and Protestant. In normal times this would be almost impossible. First and foremost because of the lack of initiative and courage of the Christians. But at times of confusion, or revolution or civil war, things take on another aspect, and even the weak declares himself to be a hero. Perhaps (there is never any certainty in politics) now is the time to bring about the creation of a Christian State in our neighborhood. Without our initiative and our vigorous aid this will not be done. It seems to me that this is the central duty – for at least one of the central duties, of our foreign policy. This means that time, energy and means ought to be invested in it and that we must act in all possible ways to bring about a radical change in Lebanon. Sasson … and our other Arabists must be mobilized. If money is necessary, no amount of dollars should be spared, although the money may be spent in vain. We must concentrate all our efforts on this issue …….. This is a historical opportunity. Missing it will be unpardonable. There is no challenge against the World Powers in this ……..Everything should be done, in my opinion, rapidly and at full steam.

The goal will not be reached of course, without a restriction of Lebanon’s borders. But if we can find men in Lebanon and exiles from it who will be ready to mobilize for the creation of a Maronite state, extended borders and a large Muslim population will be of no use to them and this will not constitute a disturbing factor.

I don’t know if we have people in Lebanon-but there are various ways in which the proposed experiment can be carried out.

D.B.G. (27 February 1954, 2397-2398)

Sharett responded a few weeks later:

Mr. David Ben Gurion March 18, 1954 Sdeh Boker.

…. A permanent assumption of mine is that if sometimes there is some reason to interfere from the outside in the internal affairs of some country in order to support a political movement inside it aiming toward some target it is only when that movement shows some independent activity which there is a chance to enhance and maybe to bring to success by encouragement and help from the outside. There is no point in trying to create from the outside a movement that does not exist at all inside … it is impossible to inject life into a dead body.

As far as I know, in Lebanon today exists no movement aiming at transforming the country into a Christian State governed by the Maronite community….

This is not surprising. The transformation of Lebanon into a Christian State as a result of an outside initiative is unfeasible today . . . I don’t exclude the possibility of accomplishing this goal in the wake of a wave of shocks that will sweep the Middle East . . . will destroy the present constellations and will form others. But in the present Lebanon, with its present territorial and demographic dimensions and its international relations, no serious initiative of the kind is imaginable.

The Christians do not constitute the majority in Lebanon. Nor are they a unified block, politically speaking or community-wise. The Orthodox minority in Lebanon tends to identify with their brethren in Syria. They will not be ready to go to war for a Christian Lebanon, that is for a Lebanon smaller than it is today, and detached from the Arab League. On the contrary, they would probably not be opposed to a Lebanon united to Syria, as this would contribute to strengthening their own community and the Orthodox community throughout the region …. In fact, there are more Orthodox Christians in Syria than in Lebanon, and the Orthodox in Syria and Lebanon together are more numerous than the Maronites.

As to the Maronites, the great majority among them has for years now supported those pragmatic political leaders of their community who have long since abandoned the dream of a Christian Lebanon, and put all their cards on a Christian-Muslim coalition in that country. These leaders have developed the consciousness that there is no chance for an isolated Maronite Lebanon and that the historical perspective of their community means a partnership with the Muslims in power, and in a membership of Lebanon in the League, hoping and believing that these factors can guarantee that the Lebanese Muslims will abandon their longings for a unification of Lebanon with Syria and will enhance the development among them of a feeling for Lebanese independence.

Therefore, the great majority of the Maronite community is liable to see in any attempt at raising the flag of territorial shrinking and Maronite power a dangerous attempt at subverting the status of their community, its security and even its very existence. Such an initiative would seem disastrous to them because it could tear apart the pattern of Christian-Muslim collaboration in the present Lebanon which was created through great efforts and sacrifices for an entire generation; because it would mean throwing the Lebanese Muslims into the Syrian embrace, and finally, because it would fatally bring about the historical disaster of an annexation of Lebanon to Syria and the annihilation of the former’s personality through its dilution in a big Muslim state.

You may object that these arguments are irrelevant as the Plan is based on tearing away from Lebanon the Muslim provinces of Tyre, the Beka’a and Tripoli. But who can predict that these provinces will actually give up their ties to Lebanon and their political and economic connection to Beirut? Who can assure that the Arab League will be ready to give up the status that Lebanon’s affiliation confers to it …….? Who will vouch that the bloody war that will inevitably explode as a result of such an attempt will be limited to Lebanon and not drag Syria into the battlefield immediately’ Who can be sure that the Western Powers will look on as observers and will not intervene in the experiment before a Christian Lebanon will have been realized’? Who can guarantee that the Maronite leadership itself will not become aware of all the above considerations and will therefore back out of such a dangerous adventure’?

…. There are also decisive economic arguments against it. We are not discussing the issue in 1920/21 . . . but 30 years later. Mount Lebanon has meanwhile integrated into one organic unit with the coastal plane of Tyre and Sidon, the Valley of Baalbeck and the city of Tripoli. They are commercially and economically interdependent and inseparable. Mount Lebanon was not a self-sufficient unit even before World War 1. . . . The annexation of the three regions plus the city of Beirut to the Lebanese State has rendered possible the creation of a balanced economy. A return to the past would not just mean a surgical operation but also a disintegration leading to the end of Lebanon. . . .

I cannot imagine, even from this viewpoint alone, that any serious organization would collaborate with a plan that in my opinion would entail Lebanon’s economic suicide.

When all this has been said, [I should add that] I would not have objected, and on the contrary I would have certainly been favorable to the idea, of actively aiding any manifestation of agitation in the Maronite community tending to strengthen its isolationist tendencies, even if there were no real chances of achieving the goals; I would have considered positive the very existence of such an agitation and the destabilization it could bring about, the trouble it would have caused the League, the diversion of attention from the Arab-Israeli complications that it would have caused, and the very kindling of a fire made up of impulses toward Christian independence. But what can I do when such an agitation is nonexistent? … In the present condition, I am afraid that any attempt on our part would be considered as lightheartedness and superficiality or worse-as an adventurous speculation upon the well being and existence of others and a readiness to sacrifice their basic good for the benefit of a temporary tactical advantage for Israel.

Moreover, if this plan is not kept a secret but becomes known a danger which cannot be underestimated in the Middle Eastern circumstances-the damage which we shall suffer . . . would not be compensated even by an eventual success of the operation itself. . . .

M. S. (18 March 1954, 2398- 2400)

On April 24 a fleeting note in the Diary, informs us that “contacts with certain circles in Lebanon” had been discussed that day between the premier and some of his collaborators in the foreign ministry. The next time Lebanon is mentioned is on February 12, 1955: Neguib Sfeir, “an adventurer and a visionary” whom Sharett had known since 1920, had just paid a visit to the Israeli ambassador in Rome, Eliahu Sasson,……..apparently on behalf of Lebanon’s President Camille Chamoun. Lebanon would be ready to sign a separate peace if we accept the following three conditions: (a) guarantee Lebanon’s borders; (b) come to Lebanon’s aid if it is attacked by Syria; (c) buy Lebanon’s agricultural surplus. Sasson … suggested a meeting between himself and Chamoun during the latter’s next visit to Rome. (12 February 1955, 723)

On May 16, during a joint meeting of senior officials of the defense and foreign affairs ministries, Ben Gurion again raised the demand that Israel do something about Lebanon. The moment was particularly propitious, he maintained, due to renewed tensions between Syria and Iraq, and internal trouble in Syria. Dayan immediately expressed his enthusiastic support:

According to him [Dayan] the only thing that’s necessary is to find an officer, even just a Major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel and everything will be all right. If we were to accept the advice of the Chief of Staff we would do it tomorrow, without awaiting a signal from Baghdad.

… I did not want to bicker with Ben Gurion. . in front of his officers and limited myself to saying that this might mean … war between Israel and Syria.. . . At the same time I agreed to set up a joint commission composed of officials of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the army to deal with Lebanese affairs. . . . [According to Ben Gurion] this commission should relate to the Prime Minister. (16 May 1954, 966)

The Chief of Staff supports a plan to hire a [Lebanese] officer who will agree to serve as a puppet so that the Israeli army may appear as responding to his appeal “to liberate Lebanon from its Muslim oppressors.” This will of course be a crazy adventure…. We must try to prevent dangerous complications. The commission- must be charged with research tasks and prudent actions directed at encouraging Maronite circles who reject Muslim pressures and agree to lean on us. (28 May 1954, 1024)

The “prudent actions” continued. On September 22, a mysterious incident occurred. A bus was attacked in Galilee, near Safad. Two persons were killed and ten wounded. Even before an investigation could establish where the aggressors came from (and there were, at that moment, three contradictory hypotheses), Dayan demanded a reprisal action against Lebanon. A Lebanese village suspected to be the attackers’ base had already been chosen. Its population would be evacuated in the night, its houses blown up. Sharett objected to Israel’s opening a new front along a border which had been totally peaceful since 1948. But this was exactly what Dayan sought: the destabilization of Lebanon and the search for a forerunner to Major Sa’d Haddad who declared a Maronite state in 1979. The fulfillment of his disruptive plans would have found an ideal point of departure in this terrorist action.

Sharett, however, vetoed an immediate action. At this point the Israeli plot against Lebanon was suspended for other reasons. On October 1, 1955, the U.S. government, through the CIA, gave Israel the “green light” to attack Egypt. The energies of Israel’s security establishment became wholly absorbed by the preparations for the war which would take place exactly one year later. In the summer of 1956, in preparation for the Sinai-Suez operation, the close military and political alliance with France was clinched. It would last practically until the eve of the 1967 war, and would prevent Israel, especially following De Gaulle’s rise to power in France in 1957, from implementing its plans for the dismemberment of a country Paris considered as belonging to the French sphere of influence. Israeli bombings of South Lebanon, specifically intended to destabilize that country, were to start in 1968 after the 1967 war, after Dayan’s nomination as defense minister in Levi Eshkol’s cabinet, and after lsrael’s definite transition from the alliance with France to that with the United States.6 From that moment on, this unholy alliance was to use every possible means constantly to escalate terrorist violence and political subversion in Lebanon, according to lsrael’s blueprints of the fifties. All this, it is hardly necessary to recall, was hatched when no Palestinian guerrillas were remotely in view.7If anything, the difficulties Israel encountered throughout all these years in consummating its long-standing ambition to divide Lebanon and separate it from the Arab world constitute one more proof of the external and alien nature of these plots in respect to the authentic aspirations of the Lebanese people regardless of their religious faith.

CHAPTER 6 Sacred Terrorism

On March 17, 1954, a bus traveling from Eilat to Beersheba was attacked in Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim crossroads. Ten passengers were killed and four survived. According to Israeli army trackers, all traces of the perpetrators disappeared at a distance of ten kilometers from the Jordanian border, inside Israeli territory, due to the rocky nature of the terrain. One of the survivors, a sergeant responsible for security arrangements on the trip, testified that the attackers were “Bedouin.” Another survivor, a woman, said they were “five men wearing long robes.” The army, according to Sharett, “then dispatched some of its Arab informers to the village of Tel Tsafi, [on the Jordanian side of the border] opposite Sodom.” Upon their return, the informers reported that “a group of 8- 10 persons had been seen crossing the borders westward [that day]” by Tel Tsafi villagers. Quite apart from the fact that it was customary, since time immemorial, for the area’s nomad population to cross back and forth at that point, there must have been something much too strange about this story of informers and villagers offering evidence. Colonel Hutcheson, the American chairman of the mixed Jordanian-Israeli Armistice Commission, did not take it seriously. Summing up the Commission’s inquiry, Colonel Hutcheson in fact officially announced that “from the testimonies of the survivors it is not proved that all the murderers were Arabs.” (23 March 1954, 41 1)

Moreover, in a confidential report dated March 24, and addressed to General Benike, Hutcheson explicitly attributed the attack on the bus to terrorists intent on heightening the tensions in the area as well as on creating trouble for the present government. Thereupon the Israelis left the Armistice Commission in protest, and launched a worldwide campaign against “Arab terrorism” and “bloodthirsty hatred” of Jews. From his retreat in Sdeh Boker, Ben Gurion demanded that Israel occupy Jordanian territory and threatened to leave the Mapai party leadership if Sharett’s policy were once again to have the upper hand. Lavon, too, pressed for action. On April 4, the premier wrote to Ben Gurion:

“I heard that after Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim you thought that we should occupy Jordanian territory. In my opinion such a step would have dragged us into a war with a Jordan supported by Britain, while the U.S. would have condemned us in front of the whole world and treated us as an aggressor. For Israel this could have meant disaster and perhaps destruction.” (4 April 1954, 453)

Sharett attempted to avert military action. He told officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that “we were all of the opinion that a retaliation for such a bloodshed will only weaken its horrible impression and will put us on the same level as the murderers on the other side. It would be better for us to use the Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim incident as a lever for a political attack on the Powers so that they will exercise unprecedented pressure on Jordan.” He also pointed out that a retaliation would weaken the effect of the massive propaganda campaign which, he noted in his diary, should counter “the attention given by the American press to the Jordanian version . . . according to which the Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim massacre was committed by the Israelis.” Not only in public but in his private notes, the prime minister declared his reluctance to believe this version.9

Deep down in his heart, however, Sharett too must have had his unconfessed doubts. He not only blocked the proposed military actions, but decided that Israel should refrain from complaining to the Security Council, i.e., from an international debate which he thought might be counterproductive. He felt he had acted wisely when Dayan, in the course of a conversation on April 23, let drop in passing that “he is not convinced that the Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim massacre was the work of an organized military gang.” He later learned from the British journalist Jon Kimche that Dayan had said about Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim that “UN reports are often more accurate than ours. . . ..” He wrote: “From another source I heard this week that Dayan said to Israeli journalists that it was not proved that the Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim gang was Jordanian- it is possible that it was local.”

Of course, it didn’t occur to Sharett to open an internal investigation in order to find out the truth. On the contrary, he insisted on the removal of Colonel Hutcheson from his post as a condition for Israel’s return to the Armistice Commission. The military, though, were reluctant to give in to his veto on a new attack on the West Bank. Taking for a pretext not Ma’aleh Ha’akrabim but a subsequent minor incident in the Jerusalem corridor area, on the night of March 28 the army launched a massive attack on the village of Nahlin, near Bethlehem. Dozens of civilians were killed and wounded, the houses demolished, the village – another Palestinian village – completely destroyed.

“I said [to Teddy Kollek (then senior aide in the Prime Minister’s Office, today mayor of Jerusalem) ]: here we are, back at the point of departure-are we headed for war or do we want to prevent war? According to Teddy the army leadership is imbued with war appetites …. [They are] completely blind to economic problems and to the complexities of international relations.” (31 March 1954, 426)

Arab capitals, too, were persuaded that the Israeli escalation of self-provoked incidents, terrorism and renewed retaliation meant that Israel was preparing the ground for war. They, therefore, stationed military reinforcements along the borders and took strong measures to prevent any infiltration into Israel. This in turn worried the Israelis. “The situation along the borders is better than it has been for a long time and actually it is quite satisfactory,” Dayan told a journalist friend who reported it to Sharett on May 17. A new and more subtle strategy of covert aggression was thereupon introduced by the Israeli army. Its aim: to bypass both the Arab security arrangements and Sharett’s reluctance to authorize attacks across the border. Small patrols slipped into the West Bank and Gaza with precise directives to engage isolated Egyptian or Jordanian military patrols, or to penetrate into villages for sabotage or murder actions. Invariably, each such action was falsely described later by an official announcement as having occurred in Israeli territory. Once attacked, the military spokesman would explain, the patrol proceeded to pursue the aggressors into enemy territory. Almost daily actions of this kind, carried out by Arik Sharon’s special paratroops, caused a great number of casualties. Regularly, the prime minister was left to guess how things really went. Between April and June he noted in his diary that he learned by chance, for example, of the coldblooded murder of a young Palestinian boy who happened to find himself in the Israeli patrol’s way near his village in the West Bank. With regard to another incident he wrote:

“Finally I have discovered the secret official version on the Tel Tsafi action -two Arabs that we have sent attacked the Mukhtar who was supposedly said to have been involved in a theft, and killed his wife: in another incident a unit of ours crossed the border “by mistake-,” in a third incident three of our soldiers were patrolling deep inside Jordanian territory, ran into the National Guard which opened fire (who will check?), returned fire and killed four. (31 May 1954, 523)

Hundreds of workers in Sodom know the truth and laugh at [the denial of the murder broadcast by] the Israeli radio and the Israeli government.

This situation endangers the life and the enterprise in Sodom…. Is the army allowed to act in that way according to its own whims and endanger such a vital enterprise? “(13 May 1954, 514)

On June 27 an Israeli paratrooper unit crossed the border, “by mistake,” according to the official communique, 13 kilometers deep into the West Bank, where it attacked and seriously damaged the Jordanian army base of Azun, east of Qalqilia. “Uncivilized, here they go lying again in front of everybody,” was Sharett’s ingenious comment about the army spokesman’s announcement.

What Sharett feared most was Western reaction. A number of U.S. expressions of alarm presented during those weeks to the Israeli government were registered in the premier’s diary.

Reports by U.S. embassies in Arab capitals, studied in Washington, have produced in the State Department the conviction that an Israeli plan of retaliations, to be realized according to a pre-fixed timetable, exists, and that the goal is that of a steady escalation of the tension in the area in order to bring about a war. 10 American diplomacy is also convinced that it is lsrael’s intention to sabotage the U.S. negotiations with Egypt, and also those with Iraq and Turkey, aimed at the establishment of pro-Western alliances. (14 April 1955)

This analysis was correct. It was reconfirmed in the following weeks by Israel’s rejection of border security proposals previously accepted by Egypt, including the creation of mixed Israel-Egypt-UN patrols, and the mining of certain border areas. Such arrangements, Dayan affirmed, “will tie our hands.” It would be confirmed further in July, when an Israeli terrorist ring charged with sabotaging Western institutions in Cairo and Alexandria was broken up by the Egyptian authorities.

Israeli border terrorism in its various forms was to continue unperturbed during the next two years, up to the very eve of the Sinai-Suez war, and, of course, beyond. Sharett noted an episode “of the worst type” in March 1955, immediately after the Gaza operation.

“The army informed Tkoa … [responsible for Armistice Commission affairs in the Foreign Ministry] that last night a “private” revenge action was carried out following the killing of the young man and woman, Oded Wegmeister and Shoshana Hartsion, who went on a trip on their own around Ein Gedi [in Jordanian territory]. According to the army version a group of young men, including the girl’s brother, Meir Hartsion … crossed the border, attacked a group of Bedouin, and killed five of them. The army says it supposedly knew that such an initiative was being prepared and intended to prevent it, but according to its information the action was scheduled for tonight and the assumption was that there is time for preventive action, but the boys advanced the action and this is the reason that what happened-happened. Today,the Jordanians issued a completely different version: twenty Israeli soldiers committed the murders they attacked six Bedouin, killed five and left one alive and told him that this is an act of revenge for the couple … so that he will tell others about it. The army spokesman tonight announced . . . that no army unit was involved in the operation….

This may be taken as a decisive proof that we have decided to pass on to a general bloody offensive on all fronts: yesterday Gaza, today something on the Jordanian border, tomorrow the Syrian DMZ, and so on. In the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, I will demand that the killers be put on trial as criminals. (5 March 1955, 816)

Ben Gurion [back in the government as Minister of Defense in the wake of the Lavon Affair] reported to the cabinet . . . how our four youngsters captured the Bedouin boys one by one, how they took them to the wadi, how they knifed them to death one after the other, and how they interrogated each one of them, before killing him, on the identity of the murderers of the boy and the girl and how they could not understand the answers to their questions, since they do not speak Arabic. The group was headed by Meir Hartsion from kibbutz Fin Harod…. They gave themselves up to the army and fully admitted what they have done.

Both Ben Gurion and I saw an advantage in trying them in a military court …. educationally it is desirable that the lengthy imprisonment to which they will be condemned will be given by a military court, since the army will not have any respect for a punishment coming from a civilian court…. In the evening the Minister of Justice and the General Prosecutor informed me that there is no legal way to turn them over to a military court. . . I contacted Ben Gurion and arranged that he will give instructions to the army to turn them over to the police. . . . By the way, Hartsion . . . and his three friends are paratrooper reservists. (6 March 1955, 817)

[While Purim festivities are being celebrated in the streets of Tel Aviv] The radio is broadcasting cheerful music . . . some of which expresses much talent, spiritual grace and longing for original beauty. I meditated on the substance and destiny of this People who is capable of subtle delicacy, of such deep love for people and of such honest aspiration for beauty and nobility, and at the same time cultivates among its best youth youngsters capable of calculated, coldblooded murder, by knifing the bodies of young defenseless Bedouin. Which of these two biblical souls will win over the other in this People? ” (8 March 1955, 823)

“Finally the four have been consigned to the police but now they refuse to talk. . . . I phoned Ben Gurion. . . . ,It’s their legitimate right,” he said …. [He added] that their confession to the army cannot serve for their incrimination by a civilian court. From a juridical viewpoint this may be so, but from a public point of view this is a scandal. (10 March 1955, 828)

The police chief approached the Chief of Staff and asked if the army is willing to aid the police interrogation …. The Chief of Staff said that he will ask the Minister of Defense and then answered in his name that he does not agree to have an interrogation in the army … it is clear that the army is covering up for the guys.

Isser [Har’el] senses that almost no one in the country condemns the youngsters who murdered the Bedouin. Public opinion is definitely on their side.

When I arrived in Tel Aviv an officer … came to tell me that the whole revenge operation was organized with the active help of Arik Sharon, the commander of the paratroopers battalion.” He had the four furnished with arms, food, equipment, had them driven with the unit’s car part of the way and ordered that their retreat be secured by his patrols. The officer did not rule out that Dayan, too, knew of the operation in advance. Moreover, the four now refuse to talk upon an explicit order from Arik [Sharon], perhaps approved by Dayan. A campaign is being organized against me because I revealed their identity (to the press). Arik is shouting that I have exposed the men to revenge in the case that they will fall prisoners while fighting in the army at any future time. (11 March 1955, 834)

The four are ready to confess on the condition that they will be guaranteed an amnesty. (13 March 1955, 840)

In the thirties we restrained the emotions of revenge and we educated the public to consider revenge as an absolutely negative impulse. Now, on the contrary, we justify the system of reprisal out of pragmatic considerations .. . . we have eliminated the mental and moral brakes on this instinct and made it possible. . . to uphold revenge as a moral value. This notion is held by large parts of the public in general, the masses of youth in particular, but it has crystallized and reached the value of a sacred principle in [Sharon’s] battalion which becomes the revenge instrument of the State.” (31 March 1955, 840)

The British ambassador, Nichols, expressed . . . his surprise at the release of the four. According to him, Jordanians arrested the murderer of the couple in Ajur. … What a contrast between their step and the shameful procedure adopted by us! … Kesseh [the Secretary General of Mapai] learned from his son [a senior army officer] that the operation had been carried out with the full knowledge of the army, on all levels, including the Chief of Staff and in it were involved senior officers. (28 March 1955, 870)

At a meeting of Mapai’s secretariat on January 11, 1961, six years later, Sharett returned to this haunting episode.

The phenomenon that has prevailed among us for years and years is that of insensitivity to acts of wrong … to moral corruption…. For us, an act of wrong is in itself nothing serious, we wake up to it only if the threat of a crisis or a grave result the loss of a position, the loss of power or influence is involved. We don’t have a moral approach to moral problems but a pragmatic approach to moral problems. . . . Once, Israeli soldiers murdered a number of Arabs for reasons of blind revenge … and no conclusion was drawn from that, no one was demoted, no one was removed from office. Then there was Kafr Qasim* . . . those responsible have not drawn any conclusions. This, however, does not mean that public opinion, the army, the police, have drawn no conclusion, their conclusion was that Arab blood can be freely shed. And then came the amnesty for those of Kafr Qasim, and some conclusions could be drawn again, and I could go on like this. (11 January 1961, 769)

All this must bring about revulsion in the sense of justice and honesty in public opinion; it must make the State appear in the eyes of the world as a savage state that does not recognize the principles of justice as they have been established and accepted by contemporary society.

CHAPTER 7 The Lavon Affair: Terrorism to Coerce the West

ONE: Start immediate action to prevent or postpone Anglo-Egyptian Agreement. Objectives are: one, cultural and information centers; two, economic institutions; three, cars of British representatives and other Britons; four, whichever target whose sabotage could bring about a worsening of diplomatic relations. TWO. Inform us on possibilities of action in Canal Zone. THREE. Listen to us every day at 7 o’clock on wavelength G.

This coded cable was sent to the Israeli spy ring which had been planted in Egypt many months before it was activated in July 1954. The ring originally was to serve as a fifth column during the next war. The cable was preceded by oral instructions given by Colonel Benjamin Givii, head of Israel’s military intelligence, to an officer headed for Cairo to join the ring. These instructions were:

[Our goal is] to break the West’s confidence in the existing [Egyptian] regime …. The actions should cause arrests, demonstrations, and expressions of revenge. The Israeli origin should be totally covered while attention should be shifted to any other possible factor. The purpose is to prevent economic and military aid from the West to Egypt. The choice of the precise objectives to be sabotaged will be left to the men on the spot, who should evaluate the possible consequences of each action … in terms of creating commotion and public disorders.13

These orders were carried out between July 2 and July 27, 1954, by the network which was composed of about ten Egyptian Jews under the command of Israeli agents. Negotiations were at their height between Cairo and London for the evacuation of the Canal Zone, and between Cairo and Washington for arms supplies and other aid in connection with a possible U.S.-Egyptian alliance. British and American cultural and informational centers, British-owned cinemas, but also Egyptian public buildings (such as post offices) were bombed in Cairo and Alexandria. Suspicion was shifted to the Muslim Brothers, opponents of Nasser’s regime. The Israeli ring was finally discovered and broken up on July 27, when one of its members was caught after a bomb exploded in his pocket in Alexandria.

On that same date Sharett, who knew nothing about the ring, was informed of the facts, and he began to collect evidence on the responsibilities of defense ministry and army officials. He did nothing beyond this, however, until October 5, when Cairo officially announced the imminent trial of the arrested saboteurs. Sharett then fully supported the campaign launched by Israel to present the case as an anti-Jewish frame-up by the Egyptian regime. On December 13, two days after the trial opened in Cairo, the prime minister denounced in the Knesset “the plot … and the show trial . . . against a group of Jews . . . victims of false accusations.”* His party’s paper, Davar, went as far as to accuse the Egyptian government of “a Nazi-inspired policy.” Horror stories of confessions extracted from the accused under torture circulated in the Israeli and international media. Sharett knew all this to be untrue. “In reality,” he wrote in his diary on January 2, 1955, “except for the first two days of their arrest, when there was some beating, the treatment of our men was absolutely decent and humane.” But publicly, he kept silent did not himself join the massive anti-Nasser chorus. Even the members of the cabinet, the president of the state, not to speak of the press, were not officially informed until some time in February, when rumors exploded on each street corner in Israel. Then the true story came out, that the government propaganda had been false from beginning to end, that the terrorist ring was indeed planted in Egypt by the Israelis and the only frame-up in question was the one invented against Egypt by the Sharett administration.

See Appendix 4.

By the time the trial was over-two of the accused were condemned to death and executed, eight were condemned to long terms of imprisonment, while the three Israeli commanders of the operation succeeded in fleeing from Egypt and the fourth committed suicide other important facts became known to the prime minister. The technical question of who actually gave the order to activate the ring on a certain date was not to be cleared up until six years later, when a fourth or fifth inquiry commission finally and definitely exonerated Lavon from that responsibility, and established that Dayan, Peres, Givli and other, minor, “security” aides had forged documents and falsified testimonies in order to bring about the incrimination of the minister of defense. In 1954-55, Sharett anticipated the findings of that commission, figuring that the entire leadership of the security establishment was guilty of the affair. For him, the question of who gave the order was secondary to the necessity of pronouncing a judgment on the ideology and politics of lsrael’s terrorism. Therefore, while he had no doubts about the guilt of the Dayan-Peres-Givli clique, to him Lavon’s political responsibility was also inescapable.

[People] ask me if I am convinced that “he gave the order?’ . . . but let us assume that Givli has acted without instructions … doesn’t the moral responsibility lie all the same on Lavon, who has constantly preached for acts of madness and taught the army leadership the diabolic lesson of how to set the Middle East on fire, how to cause friction, cause bloody confrontations, sabotage targets and property of the Powers [and perform] acts of despair and suicide” (10, January 1955, 639)

At this point, Sharett could have changed the history of the Middle East. Had he spoken frankly and directly to public opinion, which was deeply troubled by the events in Egypt the arrests, the trial, the executions, the contradicting rumors, the climate of intrigue surrounding the “Affair,” tearing up the mask of secrecy, denouncing those who were responsible, exposing his true convictions in regard to Israel’s terroristic ideologies and orientations, proposing an alternative, he could have created for himself the conditions in which to use the formal powers that he possessed to make a radical housecleaning in the security establishment. The impact of such an act would have probably been considerable not only in Israel itself but also in the Arab world, especially in Egypt. The downfall of Lavon on one hand and of the Ben Gurionist gang, headed by Dayan and Peres, on the other hand might have blocked Ben Gurion’s return to power, and in the longer range, the Sinai-Suez war. Events since then would have taken a different course. (14)

As it was, though, the prime minister had neither the courage nor the temperament required for such an action. Moreover, he always feared that his “moderate” convictions would expose him to accusations of defeatism by the activists of aggressive Zionism. Thus, he took cover behind a variety of pretexts aimed at justifying his passivity even to himself, while in his heart he knew that his objective compliance with the rules of the game imposed by his enemies would boomerang, in the end, against his own career. An open admission of the facts, he tormentedly argued, could be damaging to the people on trial in Cairo; or it could damage lsrael’s image in the world; or it could bring about a split in the Mapai party, to whose leadership Lavon and Ben Gurion as well as he belonged, causing it to lose its majority in the next elections. Inevitably, he ended up entangled in the plots woven around him by the opposing factions in the government, the army and the party. By mid-February, he had no other choice but to acquiesce to the unspoken ultimatum of Ben Gurion’s men and appeal to the Old Man to reenter the cabinet as minister of defense in Lavon’s place.

By January 1955, Sharett was well aware that the “Affair” was being used by Lavon and his friends on one hand, the Ben Gurionists on the other, and such extremist pro-militarist factions as Ahdut Ha’avoda 15-to bring into the open the conflict between the “activist” line and the prime minister’s “moderate” politics. He was informed also that Dayan was attempting to organize a coup d’etat and that Ben Gurion had given it his support. Other persons who had been approached (mainly from among Mapai’s younger militants) had rejected the idea of a change of leadership through violence. 16 Dayan wanted to avoid at any cost being exposed by the investigation committee nominated by Sharett as one of those actually responsible for the “Affair.” Lavon, on the other hand, threatened to commit suicide if the commission declared him guilty of having given the order.

Teddy [Kollek] painted a horrifying picture of the relations at the top of the security establishment. The Minister of Defense is completely isolated none of his collaborators speaks to him. During the inquiry, these collaborators [e.g., Peres, Dayan and a number of senior Ministry officials and army officers] plotted to blacken his name and trap him. They captured the man who came from abroad, [the commander of the unit in Egypt Avraham Zeidenberg, also known as “Paul Frank,” “Flad,” or “the third man”] who escaped from Egypt…….. instructed him in detail how to answer, including how to lie to the investigators, and coordinated the testimonies so as to close the trap on Lavon. Teddy is convinced that Lavon must go immediately. Givli, too, must be dismissed, but Dayan, however, should not be touched for the time being, (9 ,January 1954, 637)

I would never have imagined that we could reach such a horrible state of poisoned relations, the unleashing of the basest instincts of hate and revenge and mutual deceit at the top of our most glorious Ministry [of Defense].

I walk around as a lunatic, horror-stricken and lost, completely helpless . .. . what should I do? What should I do? (10 January 1954, 639)

Isser [Harel, head of the Shin Bet, stung at the time because the “Affair” had been conducted by the military intelligence, without coordination with his organization] told me hair-raising stories about a conversation which Givli initiated with him proposing to abduct Egyptians not only from the Gaza Strip but also in Cyprus and Europe. He also proposed a crazy plan to blow up the Egyptian Embassy in Amman in case of death sentences in the Cairo trial. (14 January 1955, 654)

To Aharon Barkatt, then secretary general of Mapai, Sharett painted the following picture of Israel’s security establishment:

Dayan was ready to hijack planes and kidnap [Arab] officers from trains, but he was shocked by Lavon’s suggestion about the Gaza Strip. Maklef [who preceded Dayan as Chief of Staff] demanded a free hand to murder Shishakly but he was shaken when Lavon gave him a crazy order concerning the Syrian DMZ. (25 January 1955, 682)

He [Lavon] inspired and cultivated the negative adventuristic trend in the army and preached the doctrine that not the Arab countries but the Western Powers are the enemy, and the only way to deter them from their plots is through direct actions that will terrorize them. (26 January 1955, 685)

Peres shares the same ideology: he wants to frighten the West into supporting Israel’s aims.

CHAPTER 8 – Nasser: Coexistence with Israel is Possible.

Ben Gurion’s Reply: Operation Gazat

Commenting on Israel’s terrorist actions in Egypt, a U.S. embassy official in Cairo concluded on February 8, 1955 that “Sharett does not have control of the matters if such mad actions can be carried out.”17

The State Department, the prime minister noted, feared subsequent Israeli provocations to sabotage U.S. relations with the Arab world following the signing of the Ankara-Baghdad pact. The American administration therefore attempted to move simultaneously in two directions in order to save what may be saved in the given situation: it placed pressure on Nasser to negotiate some kind of agreement with the Sharett government, and it offered the Zionist state a security pact. The Israeli premier noted that Kermit Roosevelt Jr. of the CIA was working on the creation of contacts between Israel and Egypt, and that he, Sharett, would nominate Yigael Yadin as his representative. (21 January 1955, 675)

[I met with] Roger Baldwin, the envoy of the U.S. League of Human Rights who visited Cairo…. Nasser talked to him about Israel, saying that he is not among those who want to throw Israel into the Mediterranean. He believes in coexistence with Israel and knows that negotiations will open some day.(25 January 1955, 680)

Cable from Eban. .. the U. S. is ready to sign an agreement with us whereby we shall make a commitment not to extend our borders by force, it will commit itself to come to our aid if we were attacked. (28 January 1955, 69 1)

Teddy [Kollek] brought a message from Isser’s [head of the Security Services] men in Washington. The partners (the CIA) renew their suggestion for a meeting with Nasser, who does not regard the initiative of the meeting canceled because of the outcome of the trial …. He is as willing to meet us as before and the initiative is now up to Israel. (10 February 1955, 716)

[In regard to Washington’s proposals for a U.S.-Israel security pact] I cabled Eban that we are willing to accept a clause which obliges us not to extend our borders by force, but we should in no way commit ourselves to desist from any hostile acts because this would mean closing the door on any possibility to carry out reprisal actions. (14 February 1955, 726)

This last phrase indicates that the news of the American proposals, and of possible negotiations between Sharett and Nasser had spread rapidly in the security establishment. The pressures on Sharett were stepped up. On February 17, Ben Gurion accepted the premier’s invitation to return to the government as minister of defense. Quoting his landlady, Sharett noted on that day in his diary “that is the end of peace and quiet.” Ten days later, in fact

Ben Gurion arrived…….with…….the Chief of Staff, who was carrying rolled up maps. I understood at once what would be the subject of the conversation…. The Chief of Staff’s proposal was to hit an Egyptian army base at the entrance to the city of Gaza…. [He] estimated that the enemy losses would be about ten … and that we have to be prepared for a few victims on our side. Ben Gurion insisted that the intention is not to kill but only to destroy buildings. if the Egyptians run away under the shock of the attack, there may be no bloodshed at all.

I approved the plan. The act of infiltration near Rehovot-30km from the border of the Gaza Strip-shocked the public and a lack of reaction is unacceptable…. In my heart I was sorry that the reprisal would be attributed [by the public] to Ben Gurion. After all, I did authorize a reprisal action … when Ben Gurion was away from the government, and it was purely by chance that the operation did not take place. I would have approved this one, too, regardless of Ben Gurion being the Minister of Defense. (27 February 1955, 799-800)

I am shocked. The number [of Egyptian victims (39 dead and 30 wounded, including a 7-year-old boy,)] changes not only the dimensions of the operation but its very substance; it turns it into an event liable to cause grave political and military complications and dangers…. The army spokesman, on instructions from the Minister of Defense, delivered a false version to the press: a unit of ours, after having been attacked supposedly inside our territory, returned the fire and engaged a battle which later developed as it did. Who will believe us? ( I March 1955, 804)

It was the same old story: hit and run and try to fool the world-

The embassies should be instructed to condemn Egypt and not to be on the defensive…. Now there will be a general impression that while we cry out over our isolation and the dangers to our security, we initiate aggression and reveal ourselves as being bloodthirsty and aspiring to perpetrate mass massacres . . . it is possible that this outburst will be interpreted as the result of the army and the nation’s outrage against the Powers’ policy of ignoring the security of their state and will prevent the continuation of that policy to the bitter end. We, at least, have to make sure that this will be the common impression. . . . I dictated a briefing for the embassies …. It is desirable that the press should express the following: (a) Our public opinion had been agitated by the penetration of an Egyptian gang into a densely populated area and its attack on public transportation; (b) It seems that the clash developed into a serious battle as the exchange of fire was going on; (c) Egypt always claims that it is in a state of war with Israel which it demonstrates by acts such as blockade and murders and if there is a state of war, these are the results; (d) This event cannot be detached from the general background of the feeling of isolation which prevails in Israel in view of the West’s alliances with the Arab states , . .. the most recent example of which is the Iraq-Turkey Pact whose anti-Israeli goals are particularly evident.

The last argument (d) needs very cautious handling in the sense that it should not be attributed to us and should be confided only to the most loyal [commentators] who must be warned not to appear inspired by our sources.

When I wrote these things [the instructions to the embassies] I still didn’t know how crushing is the evidence-that was already published, refuting our official version. The huge amounts of arms and explosives, the tactics of the attack, the blocking and mining of the roads … the precise coordination of the attack. Who would be foolish enough to believe that such a complicated operation could “develop” from a casual and sudden attack on an Israeli army unit by an Egyptian unit? . . .

I am tormented by thoughts as to whether this is not my greatest failure as Prime Minister. Who knows what will be the political and security consequence” (1 March 1955, 804-805)

One of the immediate and inevitable consequences was the following:

Yesterday . . . there was a conversation between [Salahl Gohar [the chief Egyptian representative to the mixed armistice commission] and [Joseph] Tkoa, The Egyptian representative informed [Tkoa] immediately that right after the previous meeting [which took place immediately following the Gaza attack] … Nasser told him … that he had had a personal contact with lsrael’s Prime Minister and that there were good chances that things would develop in a positive way, but then came the attack on Gaza, and naturally now … it’s off.

Lawson [U.S. Ambassador] thinks that the reason for the warning and the threats [from Arab countries] is fear which has seized the Arab World due to Ben Gurion’s comeback. The Gaza attack is interpreted as signaling a decision on our part to attack on all fronts. The Americans, too, are afraid that it will lead to a new conflagration in the Middle East which will blow up all their plans. Therefore, they wish to obtain from us a definite commitment that similar actions will not be repeated. (12 March 1955, 837)

But it was precisely to prevent a similar commitment that Ben Gurion rejoined the government, and he had no intention of changing his mind. On the contrary, on March 25, less than a month after the attack on Gaza, he proposed to the cabinet that Israel proceed to occupy the Gaza Strip, this time for good. The discussion lasted five whole days and ended with the ministers divided between the opponents of the proposal, headed by Sharett, and Ben Gurion’s supporters. With five votes in favor, nine against it, and two abstentions, the plan was rejected, or perhaps simply postponed. The security pact offered by the U.S., however, had to be rejected, because-as Dayan explained in April 1955-“it would put handcuffs on our military freedom of action.” He went into a detailed explanation on May 26, during a meeting with Israel’s ambassadors in Washington (Abba Eban), Paris (Ya’acov Tsur) and London (Eliahu Eilat). The conversation was reported to Sharett later by Ya’acob Herzog and Gideon Raphael:

We do not need (Dayan said) a security pact with the U.S.: such a pact will only constitute an obstacle for us. We face no danger at all of an Arab advantage of force for the next 8-10 years. Even if they receive massive military aid from the West, we shall maintain our military superiority thanks to our infinitely greater capacity to assimilate new armaments. The security pact will only handcuff us and deny us the freedom of action which we need in the coming years. Reprisal actions which we couldn’t carry out if we were tied to a security pact are our vital lymph … they make it possible for us to maintain a high level of tension among our population and in the army. Without these actions we would have ceased to be a combative people and without the discipline of a combative people we are lost. We have to cry out that the Negev is in danger, so that young men will go there….

The conclusions from Dayan’s words are clear: This State has no international obligations, no economic problems, the question of peace is nonexistent…. It must calculate its steps narrow-mindedly and live on its sword. It must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may, no-it must-invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation-and-revenge.. . . And above all -let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space. (Such a slip of the tongue: Ben Gurion himself said that it would be worth while to pay an Arab a million pounds to start a war.) (26 May 1955, 1021)

On August 14, a U.S. Quaker leader, Elmer Jackson, on a visit to Jerusalem after a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Fawzi, told Sharett that Nasser was still interested in normalizing relations with Israel. On October 7, the Egyptian president himself said to New York Times special envoy Kenneth Love: “No Arab says today that we should destroy Israel.”18 But Israel had already made its decisions. 19

CHAPTER 9 Disperse the Palestinian Refugees ….

One important reason for the insistence with which Israel pursued its retaliation policy was the desire of the Zionist ruling establishment to exert permanent pressure on the Arab states to remove the Palestinian refugees of the 1949 war from the proximity of the armistice lines, and to disperse them through the Arab world. This was not due, in the early fifties, to military considerations: as we have seen, and as Dayan’s above quotation clearly demonstrates, the Israeli government was more interested in the heightening of border tensions than in their elimination. Furthermore, its lack of concern for the security of the Jewish border population was as cynical as its own promotion of a sensation of danger among the settlers through provocation and false propaganda. Moreover, in those years no organized Palestinian resistance movement existed. It was all too obvious that the low level of guerrilla-type activities permitted by the Arab regimes was intended more to reduce the tensions created inside their countries by the presence of the refugees, and to keep the issue on the agenda in the international arena, than to prepare for a war of liberation in Palestine.20 But the presence of the Palestinian refugees along the armistice lines in Gaza and the West Bank was not only a constant reminder of the illegitimacy of lsrael’s territorial conquests in 1948-49 and of its violation of UN resolutions calling for repatriation, it was also a living, physical landmark along borders which Israel had no intention of accepting as definite limits to its territorial expansion. In other words, as long as masses of Palestinians were still concentrated on Palestinian soil, the Israeli rulers argued, there was both the risk of international pressure in support of their claim to return to their homes, and little likelihood for international permission for Israel to cancel the geopolitical concept of’ Palestine entirely, substituting it with that of “Eretz-lsrael.”

It must be underlined at this point that Sharett’s position on the Palestinian question did not differ, except regarding the use of military methods to disperse them, from that of the “activists.” He had totally rejected Count Bernadotte’s repeated pleas in 1948 for a return of tile refugees to their homes (Folke Bernadotte To Jerusalem, London, 1951). A year later, he ridiculed the position of the General Zionist Party in favor of a Palestinian independent state in the West Bank and against an agreement with King Abdullah on the division of the West Bank between Israel and Jordan (Divrei, Haknesset, Jerusalem, 1949). In his Diary, there are numerous references to negotiations attempted by his senior aides at the foreign ministry with Arab representatives or exiles aimed at resettling the Palestinians in countries such as Libya, Syria or Iraq. (Among others, Mustafa Abdul Mun’im, Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League is quoted by Sharett on May 23, 1954, as having affirmed that “the refugees should be settled in the neighboring countries, or, if capital is available, in Sinai.”) On June 30, 1954, Sharett met with two representatives of a Union of Palestinian Refugees, Aziz Shehadeh from Jaffa and Mahmud Yahia from Tantura, in regard to the payment of compensation. Finally, on May 28, 1955, Sharett’s ideas on the question of the Palestinian refugees were unequivocally expressed in his instructions to lsrael’s ambassadors in connection with the Security Pact offered to Israel by the U.S., which the foreign minister suspected might include some conditions: “There may be an attempt to reach peace by pressuring us to make concessions on the question of territory and the refugees. I warned [the ambassadors] against any thought of the possibility of returning a few tens of thousands of refugees, even at the price of peace.” And this was the “liberal” Zionist leader who claimed to be an expert on Arab affairs because he had lived for two years, during his adolescence, in an Arab village in the West Bank; because he knew Arabic-, because he had lived in Syria during his military service in the Turkish army. On the whole, his attitude toward the Palestinians is well illustrated by a note in his Diary on November 15, 1953. It refers to a report made that day to the cabinet meeting by Colonel Yitzhak Shani, then chief military governor of the Arab minority in Israel. (As is obvious, those whom Sharett calls infiltrators were forcefully expelled Palestinian Arabs trying to return to their home villages or to reestablish contacts with their families who remained under Israeli rule.)

In the last three years [Shani reported] 20,000 infiltrators settled in Israel, in addition to 30,000 who returned immediately after the war…. Only because these 20,000 have not been given permanent documents has the brake been put on the flow of infiltration directed toward settlement. To abolish the military government would mean to open the border areas to undisturbed infiltration and to increasing penetration toward the interior of the country. Even as things are, around 19,000 Arabs in Galilee are in possession of permanent permits to move freely around but only to the West and the South and not toward the North and the East…. it is true that the troublesome problem of the evacuees must be liquidated through a permanent resettlement, but the evacuees firmly refuse to settle on land belonging to refugees who are on the other side of the border…. Even when stone houses are built for them, they refuse to settle in them if they are built on absentee land…. The Arabs who continue to live on their land enjoy advantages, since their production costs are much lower than those of the Jews. In addition they are exempt from spending money and engaging manpower for vigilance, as the infiltrators don’t touch their property …. It may be assumed that after this lecture the “General Zionists” demand that the military government be abolished would finally be silenced. (15 November 1953, 150)

Throughout 1953-54 Sharett periodically referred in his diary to proposals made by Ben Gurion, Dayan, Lavon and others to present Egypt with an ultimatum: either it evacuates all the Palestinian refugees from Gaza and disperses them inside Egypt, or else. The description of the Cabinet discussion in the last week of March 1955 on Ben Gurion’s demand for the occupation of Gaza, offers more details:

The Defense Minister’s proposal is that Israel declare invalid the armistice agreement with Egypt, and thus resume its “right” to renew the (1948-49) war …. I have condemned the twisted logic in Ben Gurion’s reliance on the violation of the armistice agreement by Egypt, in order to justify the declaration on our part that this agreement does not exist any move and thus we are allowed to resume the war…. Let us assume that there are 200,000 Arabs [in the Gaza Strip]. Let us assume that half of them will run or will be made to run to the Hebron Hills. Obviously they will run away without anything and shortly after they establish for themselves some stable environment, they will become again a riotous and homeless mob. It is easy to imagine the outrage and hate and bitterness and the desire for revenge that will animate them…. And we shall still have I 00,000 of them in the Strip, and it is easy to imagine what means we shall resort to in order to repress them and what waves of hatred we shall create again and what kind of headlines we shall receive in the international press. The first round would be: Israel aggressively invades the Gaza Strip. The second: Israel causes again the terrified flight of masses of Arab refugees. (27 March 1955, 865)

In yet another six-hour cabinet meeting Sharett continues his arguments:

What we succeeded in achieving in 1948, cannot be repeated whenever we desire it. Today we must accept our existing frontiers and try to relax the tensions with our neighbors to prepare the ground for peace and strengthen our relations with the Powers…. Finally I proved that the occupation of the Gaza Strip will not resolve any security problem, as the refugees will continue to constitute the same trouble, and even more so, as their hate will be rekindled by the atrocities that we shall cause them to suffer during the occupation. (29 March 1955, 873)

Ben Gurion’s speech was full of anger against those who disagree with him and who are in his opinion incapable of seeing the fatal forecast and cannot understand that we can only be delivered by daring action, if it will be performed in time, before the opportunity is missed. . . . The problem of the refugees is indeed a pain in the neck, but nevertheless we shall chase them to Jordan. (ibid., 874-875)

CHAPTER 10 …. and Topple Nasser’s Regime

At the same cabinet meeting Ben Gurion, according to Sharett’s Diary,:

Tried to prove that Egypt aspires to dominate Africa, westwards to Morocco and southwards to South Africa where one day the blacks will get up and massacre the two million whites and then subject themselves to Egypt’s moral authority…. Nasser, [he said] will probably not react to the occupation of the Gaza Strip because his regime is based solely on the army, and if he tries to fight back he will be defeated and his regime will collapse. The Arab States will probably not come to Nasser’s aid anyway. Finally, the Western powers will not react … militarily. England will not invade the Negev – “and if she will, we shall fight and throw her out in disgrace. . . .” Our force is in the accomplishment of facts -this is the only way for us to become a political factor which has to be taken into consideration. This is the right moment because the Arab world is divided and Egypt has not yet signed an agreement with the U.S. or England. (ibid.)

To prevent an alliance between the West and the Arab world, especially with the most important Arab country- Egypt-was (and was to remain) Israel’s main goal. This had nothing to do with Israel’s security. On the contrary, Ben Gurion’s policy was directed at preventing guarantees from being imposed on the Zionist state by the U.S. . Such guarantees would necessarily imply the achievement of a minimum agreement between Israel and the Arab world (definition of the borders, a “face-saving” solution for the Palestinian refugees). The basic motivation was also clearly stated: the use of force was “the only way” for Israel to become a hegemonic power in the region, possibly in alliance with the West. Nasser had to be eliminated not because his regime constituted a danger for Israel, but because an alliance between the West and his prestigious leadership in the third world, and in the Middle East, would inevitably lead to a peace agreement which in turn would cause the Zionist state to be relativized as just one of the region’s national societies.

That Nasser’s regime did not constitute any danger to lsrael’s existence was well known at the time to the Israelis. Sharett noted:

I expressed my doubts in regard to the [much publicized by Israel] growth of Egypt’s military strength, seeing that this year all the energies of the [Egyptian] army have been absorbed in domestic conflicts and rivalries. . . . About 500 officers, among the best in the Egyptian forces, left the military services [after Nasser replaced Neguib] and passed to administrative and political activities. (30 March 1955)

But Israel’s worldwide campaign had nothing whatever to do with the true facts:

Ben Gurion [in the cabinet meeting] declared that Nasser is the most dangerous enemy of Israel and is plotting to destroy her …. It is not clear where he gets this confidence that [enables him] to express [this] so definitely and decisively as if it were based on solid facts. (24 April 1955)

It was simply directed to mobilize international opinion against Egypt, and prepare a favorable ground for Israel’s imminent military aggression. At the same time, however, Israeli officials were instructed to convince Western governments that the instability of Nasser’s regime did not make it worthy of Western aid and support. As always when their end justified the means, lsrael’s rulers were not at all concerned about the contradiction between their parallel campaigns. To prove Nasser’s weakness they resorted to testimonies by Egyptians:

Gideon Raphael. .. reported on … an interesting meeting with one of the major Egyptian capitalists, Aboud Pasha…. Aboud turned out to be a close friend of Nasser. It seems that he conserved and even strengthened his status under the new regime which is an enemy of capitalism…. According to Aboud, Nasser’s position is unstable in his own ranks. He is constantly nervous and does not know whom to please first. The leadership of the group is divided and conflicts explode between the officers, each of whom leans on the support of a different corps -the air force, the navy, ground forces. The situation is very instable and it is difficult to know what will happen. (31 July 1955, 1 100)

As well as to new attempts at subversion:

I sat with Josh Palmon . . . to hear a report on the continuation of the negotiations with the leaders of the Sudanese Umma party…. One of them will visit Israel soon. Some more possibilities of developing commercial connections between us and them. It is necessary to detach Sudan from economic dependence upon Egypt, and from its sphere of influence.

We are maintaining contacts with Wafd [rightist, nationalist, anti-Nasser Party] exiles in London.(3 October 1955)

The Eisenhower administration seemed divided. State Department pro-Arab elements, according to Sharett, were still pressing for a Western-Arab alliance in the Middle East, and considered an agreement between Washington and Cairo essential to the security and stability of the region, in the words of Israel’s foreign minister. But Israeli pressures were increasingly bearing fruit. After years of contacts and negotiations, Egyptian requests for defensive armaments resulted in no more than, as Mohammed Hassanein Heykal later disclosed, a personal present made to General Neguib in the form of a decorative pistol to wear at ceremonies, and this while Israel’s military aggression was growing more brazen from day to day. No economic aid to speak of was reaching Egypt from the West. And John Foster Dulles’ commitment to help Egypt in the construction of the Aswan Dam had faded into thin air. Cairo was humiliated, while Western verbal regrets after the devastating Israeli attack on Gaza did not seem to have affected in any way Israel’s preparations for an all-out war. Ben Gurion made a public speech on August 8 in which he criticized Sharett’s policy as being aimed only at pleasing the gentiles and pointed towards the destruction of the state. He announced that from now on the foreign minister’s duty will be none else than to explain to the world the defense ministry’s security policies. These factors contributed to extinguishing Cairo’s last illusions. By the end of September 1955, Egypt signed an arms deal with Czechoslovakia intended to secure its survival and self-defense.

On October 1st

Teddy [Kollek] brought in a classified cable from Washington. Our “partner” named [in code] “Ben” [Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA] … describes the terrible confusion prevailing in the State Department under the shock of the Nasser- Czech “i.e., Russian” deal. (Henry) Byroade and all the others who were in favor of U. S. support to Egypt lost their say completely. He adds: “We are surprised at your silence.” When our man asked for the meaning of these words, and whether we are expected to go to war, the answer was: “if, when the Soviet arms arrive, you will hit Egypt no one will protest.” (I October 1955, 1182)

In the cabinet meeting on October 3 at one stage Ben Gurion declared:

“if they really get Migs … I will support their bombing! We can do it!” I understood that he read the cable from Washington. The wild seed has fallen on fertile ground. (3 October 1955)

Isser [Harel, Shin Bet chief] likewise concludes that the U.S. is hinting to us that as far as they are concerned, we have a free hand and God bless us if we act audaciously…. Now … the U.S. is interested in toppling Nasser’s regime, . . . but it does not dare at the moment to use the methods it adopted to topple the leftist government of Jacobo Arbeni in Guatemala [19541 and of Mossadegh in Iran [1953]…. It prefers its work to be done by Israel.

Hence, Isser proposes seriously and pressingly … that we carry out our plan for the occupation of the Gaza Strip now…. The situation is changed and there are other reasons which determine that it is “time to act.” First the discovery of oil near the Strip … its defense requires dominating the Strip-this alone is worih dealing with the troublesome question of the refugees. Second, Egypt’s betrayal of the West. This fact eliminates the danger of an armed intervention of the Powers against us. (ibid., 1 186)

Precisely one year later Dayan’s troops occupied the Gaza Strip, Sinai, and the Straits of Tiran and were arrayed along the shore of the Suez Canal to watch the spectacular French and British aerial bombardments of Ismailia and Suez, accompanied by the rapid landing of troops in the Canal Zone. Six months before, as a result of a personal decision of Ben Gurion, Sharett had been eliminated from the government. The premiership had been resumed by the Old Man in November 1955, one month after the U.S. “green light” for an Israeli invasion of Egypt. A vicious whisper campaign had been mounted, to present the foreign minister as incapable of obtaining for Israel the arms necessary for its defense. The atmosphere surrounding Sharett’s departure is significant:

……[Around] the table [in the Cabinet meeting] they all sat in silence. None of my colleagues raised his head to look at me. No one got up to shake my hand, despite everything. It was as if all their merital capacities were paralyzed, as if the freedom of movement was banned from their bodies, the freedom of expression was taken away from their hearts and the freedom of independent action from their consciences. They sat heavy and staring in their silence. Thus I crossed the whole length of the meeting room, and left. ( 18 June 1956)

In the next months the U.S. authorized France to divert to Israel Mirage planes which were already earmarked for NATO. At the moment of the Suez offensive the U.S. feigned surprise, and even indignation. But it made a clear distinction between England and France, the beaten rivals in the inter-imperialist struggle for influence in the Middle East, and Israel. The immediate retreat of Britain and France from Egypt was requested by President Eisenhower within a matter of hours. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Sinai was pushed through only four months later and then only thanks to heavy Soviet pressure which threatened to submerge the West in unforeseen complications to world peace. Israel, with the CIA authorization in its pocket, was granted the mitigating circumstances of “security needs” in world opinion’s judgment on that criminal war. The precedent had thus been set, and could only mean that the retreat from Gaza and Sinai was to be purely tactical, as the 1967 war later proved.

As a so-called moderate Zionist, Moshe Sharett’s lifelong assumption had been that lsrael’s survival would be impossible without the support of the West, but that Western so-called morality as well as Western objective interests in the Middle East would never allow the West to support a Jewish state which “behaves according to the laws of the jungle” and raises terrorism to the level of a sacred principle. To prominent Mapai leader David Hacohen, who declared himself convinced that the Israelis should behave in the Middle East as if they were crazy in order to terrorize the Arabs and blackmail the West, he replied: If we shall behave like madmen, we shall be treated as such-interned in a lunatic asylum and isolated from the world. But his adversaries proved him wrong, thereby dealing a crushing blow to his personality as well as to the very hypothesis of moderate Zionism. What they proved was that his supposedly rational assumption was not only fallacious but also unrealistic. In the final analysis the West, and in particular the U.S., let itself be frightened, or blackmailed, into supporting Israel’s megalomanic ambitions, because an objective relationship of complicity already existed and because once pushed into the open this complicity proved capable of serving the cause of Western power politics in the region.21 Just as Zionism, based on the de-Palestinization and the Judaisation of Palestine, was intrinsically racist and immoral, thus the West, in reality, had no use for a Jewish state in the Middle East which did not behave according to the laws of the jungle, and whose terrorism could not be relied on as a major instrument for the oppression of the peoples of the region. There was a fatal but coherent logic in this newly acquired equation, which would determine the course of future events:

I go on repeating to myself:nowadays admit that you are the loser! They showed much more daring and dynamism … they played with fire, and they won. Admit that the balance sheet of the Sinai war is positive. Moral evaluations apart, Israel’s political importance in the world has grown enormously…. You remain alone. Only your son Coby is with you. The public, even your own public, does not share your position. On the contrary. . the public now turns even against its “masters” and its bitterness against the retreat [from Sinai and Gaza] is developing into a tendency to change the political balance in this country in favor of Begin. (4 April 1957)

APPENDIX 1 – Operation Kibya

Ben Gurion’s version of operation Kibya, broadcasted on Israeli Radio on 19 October 1953, as recorded by Davar, 20 October 1953.

( … )The [Jewish] border settlers in Israel, mostly refugees, people from Arab countries and survivors from the Nazi concentration camps, have, for years, been the target of(. . .)murderous attacks and had shown a great restraint. Rightfully, they have demanded that their government protect their lives and the Israeli government gave them weapons and trained them to protect themselves.

But the armed forces from Transjordan did not stop their criminal acts, until [the people in] some of the border settlements lost their patience and after the murder of a mother and her two children in Yahud, they attacked, last week, the village of Kibya across the border, that was one of the main centers of the murderers’ gangs. Every one of us regrets and suffers when blood is shed anywhere and nobody regrets more than the Israeli government the fact that innocent people were killed in the retaliation act in Kibya. But all the responsibility rests with the government of Transjordan that for many years tolerated and thus encouraged attacks of murder and robbery by armed powers in its country against the citizens of Israel.

The government of Israel strongly rejects the ridiculous and fantastic version, as if 600 soldiers participated [in the action] against Kibya. We had conducted a thorough check and found out that not even the smallest army unit was missing from its base on the night of the attack on Kibya.

APPENDIX 2 “And Then There Was Kafr Qasim…”

On the eve of the 1956 Sinai War, Israeli Brigadier Shadmi, the commander of a battalion on the Israeli-Jordanian border, ordered a night curfew imposed on the “minority” (Arab) villages under his command. These villages were inside the Israeli borders; thus, their inhabitants were Israeli citizens. According to the court records (Judgments of the District Court, The Military Prosecutor vs. Major Melinki, et. al.), Shadmi told the commander of a Frontier Guard unit, Major Melinki, that the curfew must be “extremely strict” and that “it would not be enough to arrest those who broke it they must be shot.” He added: “A dead man (or according to other evidence ‘a few men’) is better than the complications of detention.”

The court recordings continue:

He (Melinki) informed the assembled officers that the war had begun, that their units were now under the command of the Israeli Defense Army, and that their task was to impose the curfew in the minority villages from 1700 to 0600, after informing the Mukhtars to this effect at 1630. With regard to the observation of the curfew, Melinki emphasized that it was forbidden to harm inhabitants who stayed in their homes, but that anyone found outside his home (or, according to other witnesses, anyone leaving his home, or anyone breaking the curfew) should be shot dead. He added that there were to be no arrests, and that if a number of people were killed in the night (according to other witnesses: it was desirable that a number of people should be killed as) this would facilitate the imposition of the curfew during succeeding nights.

……… While he was outlining this series of orders, Major Melinki allowed the officers to ask him questions. Lieutenant Franknanthal asked him “What do we do with the dead?” (or, according to other witnesses “with the wounded?”) Melinki replied: “Take no notice of them” (or, according to other evidence: “They must not be removed,” or, according to a third witness: “There will not be any wounded.”) Arieh Menches, a section leader, then asked “What about women and children?” to which Melinki replied “No sentimentality” (according to another witness: “They are to be treated like anyone else-, the curfew covers them too.”) Menches then asked a second question: “What about people returning from their work?” Here Alexandroni tried to intervene, but Melinki silenced him, and answered: “They are to be treated like anyone else” (according to another witness, he added: “it will be just too bad for them, as the Commander said.”)

In the minutes of the meeting which were taken down and signed by Melinki a short time after he signed the series of orders, the following appears:

….As from today, at 1700 hours, curfew shall be imposed in the minority villages until 0600 hours, and all who disobey this order will be shot dead.

After this psychological preparation, and the instructions given to the policemen-soldiers to “shoot to kill all who broke the curfew,” the unit went out to the village of Kafr Qasim to start its work:

The first to be shot at the western entrance to the village were four quarrymen returning on bicycles from the places where they worked near Petah Tiqva and Ras al-Ain. A short time after the curfew began these four workmen came round the bend in the road pushing their bicycles. When they had gone some ten to fifteen meters along the road towards the school, they were shot from behind at close range, from the left. Two of the four (Ahmad Mahmud Freij and Ali Othman Taha, both 30 years old) were killed outright. The third (Muhammad Mahmud Freij, brother of Ahmad Freij) was wounded in the thigh and the forearm, while the fourth, Abdullah Samir Badir, escaped by throwing himself to the ground. The bicycle of the wounded man, Ahmad, fell on him and covered his body, and he managed to lie motionless throughout the bloody incidents that took place around him. Eventually he crawled into an olive grove and lay under an olive tree until morning. Abdullah was shot at again when he rolled from the road to the sidewalk, whereupon he sighed and pretended to he dead. After the two subsequent massacres, which took place beside him, he hid himself among a flock of sheep, whose shepherd had been killed, and escaped into the village with the flock. . . .

A short time after this killing a shepherd and his twelve year old son came back from the pasture with their flock. They approached the bend along the road from the Jewish colony of Masha. The flock went along the road as far as the village school, the shepherd throwing stones at sheep that had strayed to turn them back on to the Masha road. Two or three soldiers, standing by the bend, opened fire at close range on the shepherd and his son and killed them. Their names were Othman Abdullah Issa, aged 30, and his son Fathi Othman Abdullah Issa, aged twelve.

Note: The translation of the court proceedings appeared in The Arabs in Israel by Sabri Jiyris (Monthly Review, 1976). Jiyris sums up: “In the first hour of the curfew, between 5 and 6 PM, the men of the Israeli Frontier Guard killed forty-seven Arab citizens in Kafr Qasim.”

APPENDIX 5 – Israeli Newspaper Reveals Government’s Attempt
to Stop Publication of Israel’s Sacred Terrorism

Following are major excerpts from an article by Israeli Member of the Knesset Uri Avneri, published in Hoalam Hazeh, September 23, 1980, entitled “Sharett’s Diary for the Arabs.” The booklet uses quotations from Sharett’s diary to illuminate eight affairs which took place during the fifties. Livia Rokach did clean work. All her quotations are real. She did not ever take them out of context, nor did she quote them in a way that contradicts the intention of the diary writer. To any person who is familiar with Israeli propaganda, such quotations may have a stunning effect . . . Through the use of selective excerpts from Sharett’s diary, her historical research deals in detail with the following affairs:

  1. Retaliation activities Quotations from Sharett show that these activities were never carried out in revenge or retaliation, as the were presented to be, but that they were the product of the premeditated policies of David Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan. These policies aimed at heating the borders, as a preparation for war, and as a pretext to vacate and disperse Palestinian refugees who lived in camps close to the borders. Quotations from Sharett’s book also reveal that President Yitzhak Ben Zvi hoped for an Egyptian attack to justify lsrael’s occupation of half of Sinai. Sharett reveals, furthermore, that the incidents on the Syrian border were also a result of an Israeli initiative. Sharett details at length the reasons behind the blood-bath committed by the 101 unit, under the command of Arik Sharon, in the village of Kibya, where fifty-six innocent Arab villagers were killed. He also recites how the government decided to publish a false communique, in which this event was portrayed as a partisan action carried out by civilian “settlers.”
  2. The plan for the occupation of Southern Syria Sharett reveals that Ben Gurion, Dayan and Pinhas Lavon requested in February 1954 to exploit the toppling of the Syrian dictator, Adib Shishakly, by occupying southern Syria and annexing it to Israel. They also requested to buy a Syrian officer who would acquire power in Damascus and establish a pro-Israel puppet government. These things seem more actual today in light of the deteriorating position of Hafez al-Assad and Israeli declarations in this regard.
  3. The intention to partition Lebanon Sharett reveals that already in February 1954 Ben Gurion proposed a large Israeli operation to dismember the Lebanese state and to establish a Maronite-Christian state in one of its parts. Extended discussions were held as a result. Ben Gurion explicated the plan at length in a letter to Sharett, and Sharett answered in a long letter in which he opposed the plan vehemently, Ben Gurion was ready to invest large sums in bribing Christian leaders in Lebanon. Sharett also revealed that the chief of staff supported the plan of buying a Lebanese army officer who would be used as a puppet, and who would make it seem that the intervention of the Israeli army would be in response to his call for the liberation of Lebanon from Muslim subjugation. In the eyes of today’s reader this plan seems an accurate blueprint for what took place in Lebanon after that- the civil war, the establishment of the Maronite enclave of Major Sa’d Haddad and labeling it “free Lebanon.”
  4. The Har-Tzion Affair Sharett recites how Meir Har-Tzion of the 101 Unit murdered with his own hands five innocent Bedouin youth in revenge for the killing of his sister who crossed the Jordanian border during one of her hikes. Sharett recites, further, how Arik Sharon and Moshe Dayan covered over this abhorrent act, and how Ben Gurion foiled his decision to bring Har-Tzion and his friends to justice.
  5. The Lavon Affair Sharett describes at length the nasty business in Egypt. Livia Rokach appended to the book in which Sharett reveals the truth about the affair his own lies-filled speech in the Knesset in which he claimed that the accusations against those indicted in the Cairo trials were motivated by blood libel and antisemitism. The Israeli reader who read the excerpts from Sharett’s diary which were serialized in Maariv, or even the eight volumes of the diary themselves cannot be shocked by these revelations, in spite of their severity. However, the impact of such a publication abroad is bound to be sharper. Indeed, the lack of legal intervention by the Israeli Foreign Office prevented a wide spread dissemination of the booklet. The Arab-American organization that published the booklet does not have the means required to disseminate it widely, especially when faced with the conspiracy of silence imposed by the pro-Israel American media ….

Read Full Post »

The only reason the 9/11 issue is complicated is because there is a strategic reason to construct the official narrative.  Actually this is similar to the case of Israeli occupation of Palestine in that the case against expansion of settlements at least since 1967 was uncomplicated and simple and uncontroversial in terms of international law but is only complicated in the public discourse in America.  This is something that has been stressed by Norman Finkelstein who has been involved in the issue for decades.  If one puts aside the construction of the official narrative, then even without a great deal of detail one can take a look at some basic questions and basic facts and come to the conclusion that Mossad did 9/11.

The first basic fact is that Larry Silverstein acquired a lease on the Twin Towers six weeks before 9/11 and already owned WTC 7.  On 9/11 all three were demolished.  Very basic fact, very uncontroversial.  Silverstein fortunately had a rescheduling of a morning appointment on a high floor of 9/11 that day.  He was close to Netanyahu and a dedicated Zionist advocate.  There are arguments about demolition in the truther community and there have been nanothermite found in the ruins.  So the issue of demolition has been semi-controversial but is safe to conclude that they were demolished.

FBI investigator John O’Neill of USS Cole left FBI and got a job at WTC security and died the first day of his job on 9/11.  Now this is very significant as a coincidence because I suspect Mossad was responsible for USS Cole as well.

On 9/11, five Mossad agents dressed as Arabs were arrested who said they were there to record the event.  The obvious question would be how they would know there was an event to be recorded in the first place.  Less commonly known was that Mossad agents driving a truck with bombs was stopped also on that day.  There were even vans with murals of Twin Towers with planes crashing.

For myself, these facts alone would be sufficient to conclude that Mossad was involved in 9/11.  The reasoning is simple: one has to ask what parties are capable of pulling a 9/11 without repercussion plus the incriminating facts above.  Note that the official story does not have even the solidity of the facts above.  It has claims of an al Qaeda plot and pictures of the alleged hijackers and other evidence not difficult to manufacture for intelligence agencies like Mossad or CIA or FBI.  Now on the same day as 9/11, Ehud Barak announced the responsibility of bin Laden on BBC world.

There are many more complete accounts investigating the culpability of Israel for 9/11 such as Christopher Bollyn.  People with more questions can refer to these.  From my point of view, the details after this point are important for people who want to be careful but not important for understanding the real issues that affect the human race, which is that 9/11 was conducted for the Greater Israel plan in the Middle East which required the use of American military power.  Thus this ‘war on terror’ is the changed world order — explicitly mentioned by Barak on 9/11.  And just like the Cold War that was fabricated to provide a cover for the imperialist agenda of America at war with the third world, this ‘war on terror’ provides a cover for imperial ambitions not only of United States but of Israel.  Without 9/11, the Greater Israel plan simply could not be implemented.  The famous Netanyahu speech in front of the joint session of congress was meant to reinforce this ‘triumph’.

Read Full Post »

I have a great deal of admiration for Professor Noam Chomsky.  Without him, our collective understanding of American imperialism from 1945 when America conquered the world would suffer greatly.  He has been an inspiring leader of progressive thinking in America and the world valiantly and often alone in highlighting the wars covert and overt undertaken by US and its client states under the hood of ‘Cold War’ which had often led to great suffering and deaths and destruction.  I consider him to be a man who built his political ouvre about geopolitical power and its criminal use by the American empire by a specific worldview of interests of the economic and political elite.

He is tremendously wrong about 9/11 itself and its aftermath and I locate the error in the momentum acquired from a long period of the Cold War.  He talks about 9/11 as blowback for American policies which is popular in the left circles.  He defends the official story of 9/11 for whatever reasons and I could speculate the reasons are to keep controversy away from himself in his twilight years and a fear of sharp rise in antisemitism.  I have produced and seen overwhelming evidence that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islamists but was conducted by Mossad as a Reichstag fire for a new world order different from the Cold War to implement the Greater Israel plan in the Middle East.  Chomsky has very often deflected the 9/11 truthers or doubters to support the bin Laden story.  This may be a wise decision from his point of view given that ‘conspiracy theories’ have never been a major force in public discourse in America and he might have decided not to marginalize himself by supporting them.

I respect Chomsky as a person and an intellectual, and do not consider it useful to attack him for his position on 9/11.  However, I also have other moral duties beyond my respect for this individual, which is that basing a new world order on lies leads directly to the endangering the future and prospects for not only the 1.6 billion Muslims but the entire human race.  Chomsky not only knows the effects of such issues from his masterful analyses of the Cold War propaganda from truth but also because he has analyzed the methods of propaganda and justifications of abuse of power by the Anglo-American elite.  The 9/11 Reichstag makes Zionism and its ambitions the single-most dangerous threat to global peace.  A different way of looking at the issue is that we can and should talk about the imperialist ideology and damage done to the prospects for the human population but there was a significant change in the world order in 9/11.  That change made the imperatives of use of military power not purely based on purely imperialist motives like the control of energy but on Zionist ideology as well — especially in the Middle East.  This change necessitates a more vigorous campaign of truth-seeking and telling to challenge it.  While Professor Chomsky’s critique of Israel as a colonizing power is revealing and insightful, he shies away from a direct engagement with Zionism in its imperialist aspects and does not confront Zionist influence on American power.


Read Full Post »

We are in an interesting time in world history where there has been a movement for a post-Soviet world order.  As controversial as it is considered now, I believe that history will bear out my claim that the crucial part of the transition to a new world order is the adoption by America of the Greater Israel plan after 9/11 and the more controversial claim that Zionists conducted 9/11 mainly for this plan.  However, there has not been a US invasion of Iran in the past decade and I believe it is partly because there has not been a US invasion in Iran that the severe oppression of Palestinians has become a central issue even in the American left in the mainstream.  Now the racialist nature of Zionism has been a source of controversy and it is worthwhile to reproduce one of the foundational documents of Zionism here.

Original in Russian, Razsviet, 4.11.1923
Colonisation of Palestine
Agreement with Arabs Impossible at present
Zionism Must Go Forward
It is an excellent rule to begin an article with the most important point. But this time, I find it necessary to begin with an introduction, and, moreover, with a personal introduction.
I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true.
Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations –polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles. First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. And secondly, I belong to the group that once drew up the Helsingfors Programme, the programme of national rights for all nationalities living in the same State. In drawing up that programme, we had in mind not only the Jews, but all nations everywhere, and its basis is equality of rights.
I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone
This seems to me a fairly peaceful credo.
But it is quite another question whether it is always possible to realise a peaceful aim by peaceful means. For the answer to this question does not depend on our attitude to the Arabs; but entirely on the attitude of the Arabs to us and to Zionism.
Now, after this introduction, we may proceed to the subject.
Voluntary Agreement Not Possible.
There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. I do not believe that they will be hurt.  Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting “Palestine” from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.
My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.
The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage.  And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not.
The companions of Cortez and Pizzaro or (as some people will remind us) our own ancestors under Joshua Ben Nun, behaved like brigands; but the Pilgrim Fathers, the first real pioneers of North America, were people of the highest morality, who did not want to do harm to anyone, least of all to the Red Indians, and they honestly believed that there was room enough in the prairies both for the Paleface and the Redskin. Yet the native population fought with the same ferocity against the good colonists as against the bad.
Every native population, civilised or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but, even new partners or collaborators.
Arabs Not Fools
This is equally true of the Arabs. Our Peace-mongers are trying to persuade us that the Arabs are either fools, whom we can deceive by masking our real aims, or that they are corrupt and can be bribed to abandon to us their claim to priority in Palestine , in return for cultural and economic advantages. I repudiate this conception of the Palestinian Arabs. Culturally they are five hundred years behind us, they have neither our endurance nor our determination; but they are just as good psychologists as we are, and their minds have been sharpened like ours by centuries of fine-spun logomachy.  We may tell them whatever we like about the innocence of our aims, watering them down and sweetening them with honeyed words to make them palatable, but they know what we want, as well as we know what they do not want.  They feel at least the same instinctive jealous love of Palestine, as the old Aztecs felt for ancient Mexico , and their Sioux for their roll ing Prairies.
To imagine, as our Arabophiles do, that they will voluntarily consent to the realisation of Zionism. In return for the moral and material conveniences which the Jewish colonist brings with him, is a childish notion, which has at bottom a kind of contempt for the Arab people; it means that they despise the Arab race, which they regard as a corrupt mob that can be bought and sold, and are willing to give up their fatherland for a good railway system.
All Natives Resist Colonists
There is no justification for such a belief. It may be that some individual Arabs take bribes. But that does not mean that the Arab people of Palestine as a whole will sell that fervent patriotism that they guard so jealously, and which even the Papuans will never sell. Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised.
That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel.”
Arab Comprehension
Some of us have induced ourselves to believe that all the trouble is due to misunderstanding – the Arabs have not understood us, and that is the only reason why they resist us ;if we can only make it clear to them how moderate our intentions really are, they will immediately extend to us their hand in friendship.
This belief is utterly unfounded and it has been exploded again and again. I shall recall only one instance of many. A few years ago, when the late Mr. Sokolow was on one of his periodic visits to Palestine, he addressed a meeting on this very question of the “misunderstanding.” He demonstrated lucidly and convincingly that the Arabs are terribly mistaken if they think that we have any desire to deprive them of their possessions or to drive them our of the country, or that we want to oppress them. We do not even ask for a Jewish Government to hold the Mandate of the League of Nations.
One of the Arab papers, “El Carmel,” replied at the time, in an editorial article, the purport of which was this:  The Zionists are making a fuss about nothing. There is no misunderstanding.
All that Mr. Sokolow says about the Zionist intentions is true, but the Arabs know that without him. Of course, the Zionists cannot now be thinking of driving the Arabs out of the country, or oppressing them, not do they contemplate a Jewish Government. Quite obviously, they are now concerned with one thing only- that the Arabs should not hinder their immigration. The Zionists assure us that even immigration will be regulated strictly according to the economic needs of Palestine. The Arabs have never doubted that: it is a truism, for otherwise there can be no immigration.
No “Misunderstanding”
This Arab editor was actually willing to agree that Palestine has a very large potential absorptive capacity, meaning that there is room for a great many Jews in the country without displacing a single Arab. There is only one thing the Zionists want, and it is that one thing that the Arabs do not want, for that is the way by which the Jews would gradually become the majority, and then a Jewish Government would follow automatically, and the future of the Arab minority would depend on the goodwill of the Jews; and a minority status is not a good thing, as the Jews themselves are never tired of pointing out. So there is no “misunderstanding”.
The Zionists want only one thing, Jewish immigration; and this Jewish immigration is what the Arabs do not want.
This statement of the position by the Arab editor is so logical, so obvious, so indisputable, that everyone ought to know it by heart, and it should be made the basis of all our future discussions on the Arab question.  It does not matter at all which phraseology we employ in explaining our colonising aims, Herzl’s or Sir Herbert Samuel’s.
Colonisation carries its own explanation, the only possible explanation, unalterable and as clear as daylight to every ordinary Jew and every ordinary Arab.
Colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed.
The Iron Wall
We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say “non” and withdraw from Zionism.
Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population.
Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.
That is our Arab policy; not what we should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not. What need, otherwise, of the Balfour Declaration? Or of the Mandate? Their value to us is that outside Power has undertaken to create in the country such conditions of administration and security that if the native population should desire to hinder our work, they will find it impossible.
And we are all of us ,without any exception, demanding day after day that this outside Power, should carry out this task vigorously and with determination.
In this matter there is no difference between our “militarists” and our “vegetarians”. Except that the first prefer that the iron wall should consist of Jewish soldiers, and the others are content that they should be British.
We all demand that there should be an iron wall. Yet we keep spoiling our own case, by talking about “agreement” which means telling the Mandatory Government that the important thing is not the iron wall, but discussions.
Empty rhetoric of this kind is dangerous.
And that is why it is not only a pleasure but a duty to discredit it and to demonstrate that it is both fantastic and dishonest.
Zionism Moral and Just
Two brief remarks:
In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true: either Zionism is moral and just ,or it is immoral and unjust.
But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.  There is no other morality.
Eventual Agreement
In the second place, this does not mean that there cannot be any agreement with the Palestine Arabs. What is impossible is a voluntary agreement. As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for either kind words or for bread and butter, because they are not a rabble, but a living people. And when a living people yields in matters of such a vital character it is only when there is no longer any hope of getting rid of us, because they can make no breach in the iron wall. Not till then will they drop their extremist leaders whose watchword is “Never!” And the leadership will pass to the moderate groups, who will approach us with a proposal that we should both agree to mutual concessions. Then we may expect them to discuss honestly practical questions, such as a guarantee against Arab displacement, or equal rights for Arab citizen, or Arab national integrity.
And when that happens, I am convinced that we Jews will be found ready to give them satisfactory guarantees, so that both peoples can live together in peace, like good neighbours.  But the only way to obtain such an agreement, is the iron wall, which is to say a strong power in Palestine that is not amenable to any Arab pressure. In other words, the only way to reach an agreement in the future is to abandon all idea of seeking an agreement at present.

Read Full Post »

The neoconservative Zionists who I allege directly planned 9/11 were members of a group called ‘The Project for a New American Century’.  It is extremely worthwhile to reproduce the original ‘American Century’ project which is modified in the plans set in motion with the 9/11 Reichstag.

The American Century


(first published in LIFE magazine 17 February 1941)

We Americans are unhappy. We are not happy about America. We are not happy about ourselves in relation to America. We are nervous – or gloomy – or apathetic.

As we look out at the rest of the world we are confused; we don’t know what to do. “Aid to Britain short of war” is typical of halfway hopes and halfway measures.

As we look toward the future – our own future and the future of other nations – we are filled with foreboding. The future doesn’t seem to hold anything for us except conflict, disruption, war.
There is a striking contrast between our state of mind and that of the British people. On Sept. 3, 1939, the first day of the war in England, Winston Churchill had this to say: “Outside the storms of war may blow and the land may be lashed with the fury of its gales, but in our hearts this Sunday morning there is Peace.” Since Mr. Churchill spoke those words the German Luftwaffe has made havoc of British cities, driven the population underground, frightened children from their sleep, and imposed upon everyone a nervous strain as great as any that people have ever endured. Readers of LIFE have seen this havoc unfolded week by week.

Yet close observers agree that when Mr. Churchill spoke of peace in the hearts of the British people he was not indulging in idle oratory. The British people are profoundly calm. There seems to be a complete absence of nervousness. It seems as if all the neuroses of modern life had vanished from England.

In the beginning the British Government made elaborate preparations for an increase in mental breakdowns. But these have actually declined. There have been fewer than a dozen breakdowns reported in London since the air raids began.

The British are calm in their spirit not because they have nothing to worry about but because they are fighting for their lives. They have made that decision. And they have no further choice. All their mistakes of the past 20 years, all the stupidities and failures that they have shared with the rest of the democratic world, are now of the past. They can forget them because they are faced with a supreme task – defending, yard by yard, their island home.

With us it is different. We do not have to face any attack tomorrow or the next day. Yet we are faced with something almost as difficult. We are faced with great decisions.
* * *
We know how lucky we are compared to all the rest of mankind. At least two-thirds of us are just plain rich compared to all the rest of the human family – rich in food, rich in clothes, rich in entertainment and amusement, rich in leisure, rich.

And yet we also know that the sickness of the world is also our sickness. We, too, have miserably failed to solve the problems of our epoch. And nowhere in the world have man’s failures been so little excusable as in the United States of America. Nowhere has the contrast been so great between the reasonable hopes of our age and the actual facts of failure and frustration. And so now all our failures and mistakes hover like birds of ill omen over the White House, over the Capitol dome and over this printed page. Naturally, we have no peace. But, even beyond this necessity for living with our own misdeeds, there is another reason why there is no peace in our hearts. It is that we have not been honest with ourselves.

In this whole matter of War and Peace especially, we have been at various times and in various ways false to ourselves, false to each other, false to the facts of history and false to the future.
In this self-deceit our political leaders of all shades of opinion are deeply implicated. Yet we cannot shove the blame off on them. If our leaders have deceived us it is mainly because we ourselves have insisted on being deceived. Their deceitfulness has resulted from our own moral and intellectual confusion. In this confusion, our educators and churchmen and scientists are deeply implicated.

Journalists, too, of course, are implicated. But if Americans are confused it is not for lack of accurate and pertinent information. The American people are by far the best informed people in the history of the world. The trouble is not with the facts. The trouble is that clear and honest inferences have not been drawn from the facts. The day-to-day present is clear. The issues of tomorrow are befogged.

There is one fundamental issue which faces America as it faces no other nation. It is an issue peculiar to America and peculiar to America in the 20th Century – now. It is deeper even than the immediate issue of War. If America meets it correctly, then, despite hosts of dangers and difficulties, we can look forward and move forward to a future worthy of men, with peace in our hearts. If we dodge the issue, we shall flounder for ten or 20 or 30 bitter years in a chartless and meaningless series of disasters.

The purpose of this article is to state that issue, and its solution, as candidly and as completely as possible. But first of all let us be completely candid about where we are and how we got there.


. . . But are we in it?

Where are we? We are in the war. All this talk about whether this or that might or might not get us into the war is wasted effort. We are, for a fact, in the war.

If there’s one place we Americans did not want to be, it was in the war. We didn’t want much to be in any kind of war but, if there was one kind of war we most of all didn’t want to be in, it was a European war. Yet, we’re in a war, as vicious and bad a war as ever struck this planet, and, along with being worldwide, a European war.

Of course, we are not technically at war, we are not painfully at war, and we may never have to experience the full hell that war can be. Nevertheless the simple statement stands: we are in the war. The irony is that Hitler knows it -and most Americans don’t. It may or may not be an advantage to continue diplomatic relations with Germany. But the fact that a German embassy still flourishes in Washington beautifully illustrates the whole mass of deceits and self-deceits in which we have been living.

Perhaps the best way to show ourselves that we are in the war is to consider how we can get out of it. Practically, there’s only one way to get out of it and that is by a German victory over England. If England should surrender soon, Germany and America would not start fighting the next day. So we would be out of the war. For a while. Except that Japan might then attack the South Seas and the Philippines. We could abandon the Philippines, abandon Australia and New Zealand, withdraw to Hawaii. And wait. We would be out of the war. We say we don’t want to be in the war. We also say we want England to win. We want Hitler stopped – more than we want to stay out of the war. So, at the moment, we’re in.


. . . But what are we defending?

Now that we are in this war, how did we get in? We got in on the basis of defense. Even that very word, defense, has been full of deceit and self-deceit. To the average American the plain meaning of the word defense is defense of the American territory. Is our national policy today limited to the defense of the American homeland by whatever means may seem wise? It is not. We are not in a war to defend American territory. We are in a war to defend and even to promote, encourage and incite so-called democratic principles throughout the world. The average American begins to realize now that that’s the kind of war he’s in. And he’s halfway for it. But he wonders how he ever got there, since a year ago he had not the slightest intention of getting into any such thing. Well, he can see now how he got there. He got there via “defense.”
Behind the doubts in the American mind there were and are two different picture-patterns. One of them stressing the appalling consequences of the fall of England leads us to a war of intervention. As a plain matter of the defense of American territory is that picture necessarily true? It is not necessarily true.

For the other picture is roughly this: while it would be much better for us if Hitler were severely checked, nevertheless regardless of what happens in Europe it would be entirely possible for us to organize a defense of the northern part of the Western Hemisphere so that this country could not be successfully attacked. You are familiar with that picture. Is it true or false? No man is qualified to state categorically that it is false. If the entire rest of the world came under the organized domination of evil tyrants, it is quite possible to imagine that this country could make itself such a tough nut to crack that not all the tyrants in the world would care to come against us. And of course there would always be a better than even chance that, like the great Queen Elizabeth, we could play one tyrant off against another. Or, like an infinitely mightier Switzerland, we could live discreetly and dangerously in the midst of enemies. No man can say that that picture of America as an impregnable armed camp is false. No man can honestly say that as a pure matter of defense – defense of our homeland – it is necessary to get into or be in this war. The question before us then is not primarily one of necessity and survival. It is a question of choice and calculation. The true questions are: Do we want to be in this war? Do we prefer to be in it? And, if so, for what?

. . . Our fears have a special cause

We are in this war. We can see how we got into it in terms of defense. Now why do we object so strongly to being in it?

There are lots of reasons. First, there is the profound and almost universal aversion to all war – to killing and being killed. But the reason which needs closest inspection, since it is one peculiar to this war and never felt about any previous war, is the fear that if we get into this war, it will be the end of our constitutional democracy. We are all acquainted with the fearful forecast – that some form of dictatorship is required to fight a modern war, that we will certainly go bankrupt, that in the process of war and its aftermath our economy will be largely socialized, that the politicians now in office will seize complete power and never yield it up, and that what with the whole trend toward collectivism, we shall end up in such a total national socialism that any faint semblances of our constitutional American democracy will be totally unrecognizable. We start into this war with huge Government debt, a vast bureaucracy and a whole generation of young people trained to look to the Government as the source of all life. The Party in power is the one which for long years has been most sympathetic to all manner of socialist doctrines and collectivist trends.

The President of the United States has continually reached for more and more
power, and he owes his continuation in office today largely to the coming of the war. Thus, the fear that the United States will be driven to a national socialism, as a result of cataclysmic circumstances and contrary to the free will of the American people, is an entirely justifiable fear.

. . . The big question is how

So there’s the mess – to date. Much more could be said in amplification, in qualification, and in argument. But, however elaborately they might be stated, the sum of the facts about our present position brings us to this point – that the paramount question of this immediate moment is not whether we get into war but how do we win it?

If we are in a war, then it is no little advantage to be aware of the fact. And once we admit to ourselves we are in a war, there is no shadow of doubt that we Americans will be determined to win it – cost what it may in life or treasure. Whether or not we declare war, whether or not we send expeditionary forces abroad, whether or not we go bankrupt in the process – all these tremendous considerations are matters of strategy and management and are secondary to the overwhelming importance of winning the war.

. . . And why we need to know

Having now, with candor, examined our position, it is time to consider, to better purpose than would have been possible before, the larger issue which confronts us. Stated most simply, and in general terms, that issue is: What are we fighting for?

Each of us stands ready to give our life, our wealth, and all our hope of personal happiness, to make sure that America shall not lose any war she is engaged in. But we would like to know what war we are trying to win – and what we are supposed to win when we win it.
This questioning reflects our truest instincts as Americans. But more than that. Our urgent desire to give this war its proper name has a desperate practical importance. If we know what we are fighting for, then we can drive confidently toward a victorious conclusion and, what’s more, have at least an even chance of establishing a workable Peace.

Furthermore – and this is an extraordinary and profoundly historical fact which deserves to be examined in detail – America and only America can effectively state the war aims of this war.
Almost every expert will agree that Britain cannot win complete victory -cannot even, in the common saying, “stop Hitler” – without American help. Therefore, even if Britain should from time to time announce war aims, the American people are continually in the position of effectively approving or not approving those aims. On the contrary, if America were to announce war aims, Great Britain would almost certainly accept them. And the entire world including Adolf Hitler would accept them as the gauge of this battle.

Americans have a feeling that in any collaboration with Great Britain we are somehow playing Britain’s game and not our own. Whatever sense there may have been in this notion in the past, today it is an ignorant and foolish conception of the situation. In any sort of partnership with the British Empire, Great Britain is perfectly willing that the United States of America should assume the role of senior partner. This has been true for a long time. Among serious Englishmen, the chief complaint against America (and incidentally their best alibi for themselves) has really amounted to this – that America has refused to rise to the opportunities of leadership in the world.

Consider this recent statement of the London Economist :

“If any permanent closer association of Britain and the United States is achieved, an island people of less than 50 millions cannot expect to be the senior partner. . . . The center of gravity and the ultimate decision must increasingly lie in America. We cannot resent this historical development. We may rather feel proud that the cycle of dependence, enmity and independence is coming full circle into a new interdependence.” We Americans no longer have the alibi that we cannot have things the way we want them so far as Great Britain is concerned. With due regard for the varying problems of the members of the British Commonwealth, what we want will be okay with them. This holds true even for that inspiring proposal called Union Now – a proposal, made by an American, that Britain and the United States should create a new and larger federal union of peoples. That may not be the right approach to our problem. But no thoughtful American has done his duty by the United States of America until he has read and pondered Clarence Streit’s book presenting that proposal.

The big, important point to be made here is simply that the complete opportunity of leadership is ours. Like most great creative opportunities, it is an opportunity enveloped in stupendous difficulties and dangers. If we don’t want it, if we refuse to take it, the responsibility of refusal is also ours, and ours alone. Admittedly, the future of the world cannot be settled all in one piece. It is stupid to try to blueprint the future as you blueprint an engine or as you draw up a constitution for a sorority. But if our trouble is that we don’t know what we are fighting for, then it’s up to us to figure it out. Don’t expect some other country to tell us. Stop this Nazi propaganda about fighting somebody else’s war. We fight no wars except our wars. “Arsenal of Democracy?” We may prove to be that. But today we must be the arsenal of America and of the friends and allies of America.

Friends and allies of America? Who are they, and for what? This is for us to tell them.


. . . But whose Dong Dang, whose Democracy?

But how can we tell them? And how can we tell ourselves for what purposes we seek allies and for what purposes we fight? Are we going to fight for dear old Danzig or dear old Dong Dang? Are we going to decide the boundaries of Uritania? Or, if we cannot state war aims in terms of vastly distant geography, shall we use some big words like Democracy and Freedom and Justice? Yes, we can use the big words. The President has already used them. And perhaps we had better get used to using them again. Maybe they do mean something -about the future as well as the past.

Some amongst us are likely to be dying for them – on the fields and in the skies of battle. Either that, or the words themselves and what they mean die with us – in our beds.

But is there nothing between the absurd sound of distant cities and the brassy trumpeting of majestic words? And if so, whose Dong Dang and whose Democracy? Is there not something a little more practically satisfying that we can get our teeth into? Is there no sort of understandable program? A program which would be clearly good for America, which would make sense for America – and which at the same time might have the blessing of the Goddess of Democracy and even help somehow to fix up this bothersome matter of Dong Dang? Is there none such? There is. And so we now come squarely and closely face to face with the issue which Americans hate most to face. It is that old, old issue with those old, old battered labels -the issue of Isolationism versus Internationalism. We detest both words. We spit them at each other with the fury of hissing geese. We duck and dodge them.

Let us face that issue squarely now. If we face it squarely now – and if in facing it we take full and fearless account of the realities of our age – then we shall open the way, not necessarily to peace in our daily lives but to peace in our hearts.

Life is made up of joy and sorrow, of satisfactions and difficulties. In this time of trouble, we speak of troubles. There are many troubles. There are troubles in the field of philosophy, in faith and morals. There are troubles of home and family, of personal life. All are interrelated but we speak here especially of the troubles of national policy.

In the field of national policy, the fundamental trouble with America has been, and is, that whereas their nation became in the 20th Century the most powerful and the most vital nation in the world, nevertheless Americans were unable to accommodate themselves spiritually and practically to that fact. Hence they have failed to play their part as a world power – a failure which has had disastrous consequences for themselves and for all mankind. And the cure is this: to accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world and in consequence to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit.
* * *
“For such purposes as we see fit” leaves entirely open the question of what our purposes may be or how we may appropriately achieve them. Emphatically our only alternative to isolationism is not to undertake to police the whole world nor to impose democratic institutions on all mankind including the Dalai Lama and the good shepherds of Tibet.

America cannot be responsible for the good behavior of the entire world. But America is responsible, to herself as well as to history, for the world environment in which she lives. Nothing can so vitally affect America’s environment as America’s own influence upon it, and therefore if America’s environment is unfavorable to the growth of American life, then America has nobody to blame so deeply as she must blame herself. In its failure to grasp this relationship between America and America’s environment lies the moral and practical bankruptcy of any and all forms of isolationism. It is most unfortunate that this virus of isolationist sterility has so deeply infected an influential section of the Republican Party. For until the Republican Party can develop a vital philosophy and program for America’s initiative and activity as a world power, it will continue to cut itself off from any useful participation in this hour of history. And its participation is deeply needed for the shaping of the future of America and of the world.
* * *
But politically speaking, it is an equally serious fact that for seven years Franklin Roosevelt was, for all practical purposes, a complete isolationist. He was more of an isolationist than Herbert Hoover or Calvin Coolidge. The fact that Franklin Roosevelt has recently emerged as an emergency world leader should not obscure the fact that for seven years his policies ran absolutely counter to any possibility of effective American leadership in international co-operation. There is of course a justification which can be made for the President’s first two terms. It can be said, with reason, that great social reforms were necessary in order to bring democracy up-to-date in the greatest of democracies. But the fact is that Franklin Roosevelt failed to make American democracy work successfully on a narrow, materialistic and nationalistic basis. And under Franklin Roosevelt we ourselves have failed to make democracy work successfully. Our only chance now to make it work is in terms of a vital international economy and in terms of an international moral order. This objective is Franklin Roosevelt’s great opportunity to justify his first two terms and to go down in history as the greatest rather than the last of American Presidents. Our job is to help in every way we can, for our sakes and our children’s sakes, to ensure that Franklin Roosevelt shall be justly hailed as America’s greatest President.

Without our help he cannot be our greatest President. With our help he can and will be. Under him and with his leadership we can make isolationism as dead an issue as slavery, and we can make a truly American internationalism something as natural to us in our time as the airplane or the radio. In 1919 we had a golden opportunity, an opportunity unprecedented in all history, to assume the leadership of the world – a golden opportunity handed to us on the proverbial silver platter. We did not understand that opportunity.

Wilson mishandled it. We rejected it. The opportunity persisted. We bungled it in the 1920’s and in the confusions of the 1930’s we killed it. To lead the world would never have been an easy task. To revive the hope of that lost opportunity makes the task now infinitely harder than it would have been before. Nevertheless, with the help of all of us, Roosevelt must succeed where Wilson failed.


. . . Some facts about our time

Consider the 20th Century. It is not only in the sense that we happen to live in it but ours also because it is America’s first century as a dominant power in the world. So far, this century of ours has been a profound and tragic disappointment. No other century has been so big with promise for human progress and happiness. And in no one century have so many men and women and children suffered such pain and anguish and bitter death. It is a baffling and difficult and paradoxical century. No doubt all centuries were paradoxical to those who had to cope with them. But, like everything else, our paradoxes today are bigger and better than ever. Yes, better as well as bigger – inherently better. We have poverty and starvation – but only in the midst of plenty. We have the biggest wars in the midst of the most widespread, the deepest and the most articulate hatred of war in all history. We have tyrannies and dictatorships – but only when democratic idealism, once regarded as the dubious eccentricity of a colonial nation, is the faith of a huge majority of the people of the world.

And ours is also a revolutionary century. The paradoxes make it inevitably revolutionary. Revolutionary, of course, in science and in industry. And also revolutionary, as a corollary in politics and the structure of society. But to say that a revolution is in progress is not to say that the men with either the craziest ideas or the angriest ideas or the most plausible ideas are going to come out on top. The Revolution of 1776 was won and established by men most of whom appear to have been both gentlemen and men of common sense. Clearly a revolutionary epoch signifies great changes, great adjustments. And this is only one reason why it is really so foolish for people to worry about our “constitutional democracy” without worrying or, better, thinking hard about the world revolution. For only as we go out to meet and solve for our time the problems of the world revolution, can we know how to re-establish our constitutional democracy for another 50 or 100 years. This 20th Century is baffling, difficult, paradoxical, revolutionary. But by now, at the cost of much pain and many hopes deferred, we know a good deal about it. And we ought to accommodate our outlook to this knowledge so dearly bought. For example, any true conception of our world of the 20th Century must surely include a vivid awareness of at least these four propositions.

First: our world of 2,000,000,000 human beings is for the first time in history one world, fundamentally indivisible.

Second: modern man hates war and feels intuitively that, in its present scale and frequency, it may even be fatal to his species. Third: our world, again for the first time in human history, is capable of producing all the material needs of the entire human family. Fourth: the world of the 20th Century, if it is to come to life in any nobility of health and vigor, must be to a significant degree an American Century. As to the first and second: in postulating the indivisibility of the contemporary world, one does not necessarily imagine that anything like a world state -a parliament of men – must be brought about in this century. Nor need we assume that war can be abolished. All that it is necessary to feel – and to feel deeply – is that terrific forces of magnetic attraction and repulsion will operate as between every large group of human beings on this planet. Large sections of the human family may be effectively organized into opposition to each other. Tyrannies may require a large amount of living space. But Freedom requires and will require far greater living space than Tyranny. Peace cannot endure unless it prevails over a very large part of the world. Justice will come near to losing all meaning in the minds of men unless Justice can have approximately the same fundamental meanings in many lands and among many peoples. As to the third point – the promise of adequate production for all mankind, the “more abundant life” – be it noted that this is characteristically an American promise. It is a promise easily made, here and elsewhere, by demagogues and proponents of all manner of slick schemes and “planned economies.” What we must insist on is that the abundant life is predicated on Freedom – on the Freedom which has created its possibility – on a vision of Freedom under Law. Without Freedom, there will be no abundant life. With Freedom, there can be. And finally there is the belief – shared let us remember by most men living -that the 20th Century must be to a significant degree an American Century. This knowledge calls us to action now.


. . . How it shall be created

What can we say and foresee about an American Century? It is meaningless merely to say that we reject isolationism and accept the logic of internationalism. What internationalism? Rome had a great internationalism. So had the Vatican and Genghis Khan and the Ottoman Turks and the Chinese Emperors and 19th Century England. After the first World War, Lenin had one in mind. Today Hitler seems to have one in mind – one which appeals strongly to some American isolationists whose opinion of Europe is so low that they would gladly hand it over to anyone who would guarantee to destroy it forever. But what internationalism have we Americans to offer?
Ours cannot come out of the vision of any one man. It must be the product of the imaginations of many men. It must be a sharing with all peoples of our Bill of Rights, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our magnificent industrial products, our technical skills. It must be an internationalism of the people, by the people and for the people.

In general, the issues which the American people champion revolve around their determination to make the society of men safe for the freedom, growth and increasing satisfaction of all individual men. Beside that resolve, the sneers, groans, catcalls, teeth-grinding, hisses and roars of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry are of small moment.

Once we cease to distract ourselves with lifeless arguments about isolationism, we shall be amazed to discover that there is already an immense American internationalism. American jazz, Hollywood movies, American slang, American machines and patented products, are in fact the only things that every community in the world, from Zanzibar to Hamburg, recognizes in common. Blindly, unintentionally, accidentally and really in spite of ourselves, we are already a world power in all the trivial ways – in very human ways. But there is a great deal more than that. America is already the intellectual, scientific and artistic capital of the world.

Americans -Midwestern Americans – are today the least provincial people in the world. They have traveled the most and they know more about the world than the people of any other country. America’s worldwide experience in commerce is also far greater than most of us realize. Most important of all, we have that indefinable, unmistakable sign of leadership: prestige. And unlike the prestige of Rome or Genghis Khan or 19th Century England, American prestige throughout the world is faith in the good intentions as well as in the ultimate intelligence and ultimate strength of the whole American people. We have lost some of that prestige in the last few years. But most of it is still there.
* * *
No narrow definition can be given to the American internationalism of the 20th Century. It will take shape, as all civilizations take shape, by the living of it, by work and effort, by trial and error, by enterprise and adventure and experience.

And by imagination!

As America enters dynamically upon the world scene, we need most of all to seek and to bring forth a vision of America as a world power which is authentically American and which can inspire us to live and work and fight with vigor and enthusiasm. And as we come now to the great test, it may yet turn out that in all our trials and tribulations of spirit during the first part of this century we as a people have been painfully apprehending the meaning of our time and now in this moment of testing there may come clear at last the vision which will guide us to the authentic creation of the 20th Century – our Century.
* * *

Consider four areas of life and thought in which we may seek to realize such a vision:

First, the economic. It is for America and for America alone to determine whether a system of free economic enterprise – an economic order compatible with freedom and progress – shall or shall not prevail in this century. We know perfectly well that there is not the slightest chance of anything faintly resembling a free economic system prevailing in this country if it prevails nowhere else. What then does America have to decide?

Some few decisions are quite simple. For example: we have to decide whether or not we shall have for ourselves and our friends freedom of the seas – the right to go with our ships and our ocean-going airplanes where we wish, when we wish and as we wish. The vision of America as the principal guarantor of the freedom of the seas, the vision of Americas [sic] as the dynamic leader of world trade, has within it the possibilities of such enormous human progress as to stagger the imagination. Let us not be staggered by it. Let us rise to its tremendous possibilities.
Our thinking of world trade today is on ridiculously small terms. For example, we think of Asia as being worth only a few hundred millions a year to us. Actually, in the decades to come Asia will be worth to us exactly zero – or else it will be worth to us four, five, ten billions of dollars a year. And the latter are the terms we must think in, or else confess a pitiful impotence. Closely akin to the purely economic area and yet quite different from it, there is the picture of an America which will send out through the world its technical and artistic skills. Engineers, scientists, doctors, movie men, makers of entertainment, developers of airlines, builders of roads, teachers, educators.

Throughout the world, these skills, this training, this leadership is needed and will be eagerly welcomed, if only we have the imagination to see it and the sincerity and good will to create the world of the 20th Century. But now there is a third thing which our vision must immediately be concerned with. We must undertake now to be the Good Samaritan of the entire world. It is the manifest duty of this country to undertake to feed all the people of the world who as a result of this worldwide collapse of civilization are hungry and destitute – all of them, that is, whom we can from time to time reach consistently with a very tough attitude toward all hostile governments.

For every dollar we spend on armaments, we should spend at least a dime in a gigantic effort to feed the world – and all the world should know that we have dedicated ourselves to this task. Every farmer in America should be encouraged to produce all the crops he can, and all that we cannot eat – and perhaps some of us could eat less – should forthwith be dispatched to the four quarters of the globe as a free gift, administered by a humanitarian army of Americans, to every man, woman and child on this earth who is really hungry.
* * *

But all this is not enough. All this will fail and none of it will happen unless our vision of America as a world power includes a passionate devotion to great American ideals. We have some things in this country which are infinitely precious and especially American – a love of freedom, a feeling for the equality of opportunity, a tradition of self-reliance and independence and also of co-operation. In addition to ideals and notions which are especially American, we are the inheritors of all the great principles of Western civilization – above all Justice, the love of Truth, the ideal of Charity. The other day Herbert Hoover said that America was fast becoming the sanctuary of the ideals of civilization.

For the moment it may be enough to be the sanctuary of these ideals. But not for long. It now becomes our time to be the powerhouse from which the ideals spread throughout the world and do their mysterious work of lifting the life of mankind from the level of the beasts to what the Psalmist called a little lower than the angels.

America as the dynamic center of ever-widening spheres of enterprise, America as the training center of the skillful servants of mankind, America as the Good Samaritan, really believing again that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and America as the powerhouse of the ideals of Freedom and Justice – out of these elements surely can be fashioned a vision of the 20th Century to which we can and will devote ourselves in joy and gladness and vigor and enthusiasm.
Other nations can survive simply because they have endured so long -sometimes with more and sometimes with less significance. But this nation, conceived in adventure and dedicated to the progress of man – this nation cannot truly endure unless there courses strongly through its veins from Maine to California the blood of purposes and enterprise and high resolve. Throughout the 17th Century and the 18th Century and the 19th Century, this continent teemed with manifold projects and magnificent purposes. Above them all and weaving them all together into the most exciting flag of all the world and of all history was the triumphal purpose of freedom. It is in this spirit that all of us are called, each to his own measure of capacity, and each in the widest horizon of his vision, to create the first great American Century.

DIPLOMATIC HISTORY, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Spring 1999). © 1999 The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR). Published by Blackwell Publishers, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA, 02148, USA and 108 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JF, UK.

Read Full Post »

I saw the documentaries called Power Principle, Empire and Propaganda which impressed me.  I am still reeling from the shock I had yesterday when for the first time I realized that while I have been quite right about the constructed propaganda and the hollowness of the so-called ‘war on terror’ after Mossad conducted 9/11 for the Greater Israel project, that this was not particularly new and that the entire period of the Cold War was based on total propaganda reality with no basis in truth.  I knew from reading Gore Vidal that the Cold War was fabricated by the Truman administration and that the ideology and the plans of America were available from NSC-68.  What shocked me was that the entire ‘communist threat’ was not just fabricated for popular consumption and support for the giant military spending but that in fact from the Bolshevik revolution onward, United States corporations had been helping develop Soviet technologies.  The Cold War was only nominally a war between US and USSR and in reality a war between United States and the Third World.  John Stockton is an ex-CIA agent whose account I thought would be interesting.

excerpts from the book

In Search of Enemies

by John Stockwell

W.W. Norton, 1978

Author’s Note

In December i976 I advised my boss in the CIA’s Africa Division of my intention to resign. For his own reasons, he urged me to take several months leave to reconsider. Making it clear I would not change my mind, I accepted his offer of several more pay checks and took three months sick leave.

I did not tell anyone I planned to write a book. In fact, I had no great confidence in my ability to write. I had been an operations officer-an activist-for the past dozen years in the CIA.

What about the oath of secrecy I signed when I joined the CIA in 1964? I cannot be bound by it for four reasons: First, my oath was illegally, fraudulently obtained. My CIA recruiters lied to me about the clandestine services as they swore me in. They insisted the CIA functioned to gather intelligence. It did not kill, use drugs, or damage people’s lives, they assured me. These lies were perpetuated in the following year of training courses. It was not until the disclosures of the Church and Pike Committees in 1975 that I learned the full, shocking truth about my employers.

I do not mean to suggest that I was a puritan or out of step with the moral norms of modern times; nor had I been squeamish about my CIA activities. To the contrary, I had participated in operations which stretched the boundaries of anyone’s conscience. But the congressional committees disclosed CIA activities which had previously been concealed, which I could not rationalize.

The disclosures about the plot to poison Patrice Lumumba struck me personally in two ways. First, men I had worked with had been involved. Beyond that, Lumumba had been baptized into the Methodist Church in 1937, the same year I was baptized a Presbyterian. He had attended a Methodist mission school at Wembo Nyama in the Kasai Province of the Belgian Congo (Zaire), while I attended the Presbyterian school in Lubondai in the same province. The two church communities overlapped. My parents sometimes drove to Wembo Nyama to buy rice for our schools. American Methodist children were my classmates in Lubondai. Lumumba was not, in 1961, the Methodists’ favorite son, but he was a member of the missionary community in which my parents had spent most of their adult lives, and in which I grew up.

There were other disclosures which appalled me: kinky, slightly depraved, drug/sex experiments involving unwitting Americans, who were secretly filmed by the CIA for later viewing by pseudoscientists of the CIA’s Technical Services Division.

For years I had defended the CIA to my parents and to our friends. “Take it from me, a CIA insider,” I had always sworn, “the CIA simply does not assassinate or use drugs . . .”

But worse was to come. A few short months after the CIA’s shameful performance in Vietnam, of which I was part, I was assigned to a managerial position in the CIA’s covert Angola program. Under the leadership of the CIA director we lied to Congress and to the 40 Committee, which supervised the CIA’s Angola program. We entered into joint activities with South Africa. And we actively propagandized the American public, with cruel results-Americans, misguided by our agents’ propaganda, went to fight in Angola in suicidal circumstances. One died, leaving a widow and four children behind. Our secrecy was designed to keep the American public and press from knowing what we were doing-we fully expected an outcry should they find us out.

The CIA’s oath of secrecy has been desecrated in recent years, not by authors-Philip Agee, Joe Smith, Victor Marchetti, and Frank Snepp-but by the CIA directors who led the CIA into scandalous, absurd operations. At best, the oath was used to protect those directors from exposure by their underlings, although the directors themselves freely leaked information to further their operational or political ploys.

Their cynicism about the oath, and their arrogance toward the United States’ constitutional process, were exposed in 1977, when former director Richard Helms was convicted of perjury for lying to a Senate committee about an operation in Chile. Helms plea-bargained a light sentence-the prosecutors were allegedly apprehensive that in his trial many secrets would be revealed, blowing operations and embarrassing establishment figures. After receiving a suspended sentence, Helms stood with his attorney before television cameras, while the latter gloated that Helms would wear the conviction as a “badge of honor.” Helms was proud of having lied to the Senate to protect a questionable CIA operation, but to protect his own person, secrets would have been exposed.

Faced with a similar choice in the Angolan program-my loyalty to the CIA or my responsibilities to the United States’ Constitution -I chose the latter. The CIA’s oaths and honor codes must never take precedence over allegiance to our country. That is my second reason for disregarding the oath.

Even with those two reasons, I would not have undertaken to expose the clandestine services if I felt they were essential to our national security. I am persuaded they are not. That is what this book is about.

In discussing our foreign intelligence organ, we consistently confuse two very different offices, referring to both as “CIA.” The one, technically called the Central Intelligence Agency’s Deputy Directorate of Information, fulfills the mission outlined in the National Security Act of 1947, of centralizing all of the raw intelligence available to our government, collating it, analyzing it for meaning and importance, and relaying finished reports to the appropriate offices. Had such an office existed in 1941 we would have been forewarned of Pearl Harbor. The DDI is overt-its employees are openly “CIA” to friends, relatives, neighbors, and creditors; it is passive; and it is benign, without aggressive activity which can harm anyone.

Otherwise, we say “CIA” meaning the clandestine services of the Deputy Directorate of Operations. This organization of about 4,500 employees is also housed in the CIA headquarters building in Langley, Virginia. Anything but benign, its operatives have for thirty years recruited agents (spies) and engineered covert action operations in virtually every corner of the globe.

I was a field case officer of the clandestine services, and by December 1976, when I announced my resignation, I was persuaded that at the very least those services needed a major reform.

Before I decided to resign and write a book I considered the options for working within the CIA for reforms. The prospects were not encouraging. The isolation of the intelligence business provides management with extraordinary leverage over the rank and file. While the CIA benevolently protected and supported officers who had been rendered ineffective by life’s tragedies, it had little tolerance of the outspoken individual, the reformist. An officer could play the game and rise, or keep his peace and have security, or he could resign. I had, through the years made positive recommendations for reform both verbally and in writing, to my Africa Division bosses and on occasion to Colby himself, without result. The inspector general’s office was competent to handle petty problems, but as an instrument of the director’s managerial system, it could not address matters of reform. And I had found the “club” of CIA managers arrogantly resistant to criticism of their own ranks-when I spoke out about the most flagrant mismanagement that I knew about which occurred during the evacuation of Vietnam, I was politely and gently admonished. The culprit was given a position of authority, vindicated by the support of his colleagues, and I was informed I had better keep my peace. Only in the forum of public debate, outside the CIA, could effective leverage be had to correct the agency’s wrongs.

After resigning I testified for five days to Senate committees, giving them full details about such agency activities as are covered in this book. Had I been reassured that they would take effective corrective action, I would have considered abandoning my own plans to write. Unfortunately, the Senate intelligence committees in Washington are unable to dominate and discipline the agency. Some senators even seem dedicated to covering up its abuses. Once again, I concluded that only an informed American public can bring effective pressure to bear on the CIA.

Others had reached the same conclusion. Philip Agee used his book, Inside the Company: A CIA Diary, as a sword to slash at the agency, to put it out of business in Latin America. Deeply offended by the CIA’s clandestine activities, Agee attacked individual operations and agents, publishing every name he could remember. Although he made an effort to explain how and why he became disillusioned, he did not illuminate the CIA “mind.” Marchetti and Snepp contributed valuable information to the public’s knowledge of the CIA. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence includes a vast store of information about the agency, drawn from Marchetti’s experience in the DDI and in the office of the director of central intelligence. Snepp, for six years an analyst in the CIA’s Saigon station, chronicles the intelligence failure and betrayals of the CIA evacuation of South Vietnam in April 1975.

My objective in writing this book is to give the American public a candid glimpse inside the clandestine mind, behind the last veils of secrecy. The vehicle I chose is the Angola paramilitary program of 1975-1976. The anecdotes I relate all happened as described. Dates and details are drawn from the public record and from voluminous notes I took during the Angola operation. In most cases there were other witnesses and often enough secret files to corroborate them. However, for reasons of security, I was not able to interview key individuals or return to the CIA for further research as I wrote. I urge the CIA to supplement my observations by opening its Angola files-the official files as well as the abundant “soft” files we kept- so the public can have the fullest, most detailed truth.

Our libel laws restrict an author’s freedom to relate much of human foible. Nevertheless I have managed to include enough anecdotes to give the reader a full taste of the things we did, the people we were. But this is not so much a story of individual eccentricities and strange behavior, though I mention some. I have no desire to expose or hurt individuals and I reject Agee’s approach. As a case officer for twelve years I was both victim and villain in CIA operations. In both roles I was keenly sympathetic for the people we ensnarled in our activities. Perhaps they are responsible according to the principles of Nuremburg and Watergate which judged lesser employees individually responsible and put them in jail-but I prefer to address the issues at a broader level. Since my resignation I have revealed no covert CIA employee or agent’s name, and I stonewalled the Senate and FBI on that subject when they questioned me.

My sympathy does not extend to the CIA managers who led the CIA to such depths, but in this book I have used actual names only for such managers as had previously been declared as “CIA”: Director William Colby; Deputy Director of Operations William Nelson; Bill Welles, who replaced Nelson; and Africa Division Chief James Potts. And myself. The other names of CIA personnel-Carl Bantam, Victor St. Martin, Paul Foster, et al.-are pseudonyms which I invented. (Any resemblance those names might have to the true names of individuals within and without the CIA is purely coincidental.) In the field, Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi were well known to be our allies. Bob Denard and Colonel Santos y Castro were also public figures, widely known to be involved on the side of Roberto, Savimbi, and the CIA. “Timothe Makala” is a name I invented (makala means “charcoal” in the Bantu dialect, Tshiluba). On occasion I used CIA cryptonyms, but in most cases they, too, have been altered to protect the individuals from any conceivable exposure.

On April l0, 1977, after my resignation was final, I published an open letter to CIA Director Stansfield Turner in the Outlook section of the Washington Post. It outlined the reasons for my disillusionment. (The letter is reprinted in the Appendix of this book.) Director Turner subsequently initiated a house-cleaning of the clandestine services, proposing to fire four hundred people, to make the clandestine services “lean and efficient.” In December 1977 Turner admitted to David Binder of the New York Times that this housecleaning had been triggered by my letter.

In January 1978, President Carter announced a reorganization of the intelligence community, which in fact has the effect of strengthening the CIA; and Admiral Turner has reached an understanding with Congress (of which I am skeptical-the Congress has neither the will nor the means to control the CIA). Now Turner has intensified his campaign for tighter controls over CIA employees. He is lobbying vigorously for legislation that would jail anyone who threatens the CIA by disclosing its secrets. It makes him fighting mad, he blusters, when anyone leaks classified information. Such people are violating the “code of intelligence,” he charges. It is the CIA’s “unequivocal right” to censor all publications by CIA people, he claims. “Why do Americans automatically presume the worst of their public servants?” he asks-a remarkable question in the wake of Watergate, FBI, and CIA revelations.

Director Turner and President Carter have it backwards. It is the American people’s unequivocal right to know what their leaders are doing in America’s name and with our tax dollars. My third reason.

For my fourth reason, I reclaim my constitutional right of freedom of speech. The Constitution of the United States does not read that all citizens shall have freedom of speech except those that have signed CIA oaths. Until there is such an amendment of the Constitution, ratified by the appropriate number of states, the Marchetti ruling rests as bad law, an unfortunate relic of the Nixon administration’s bullishness. If the CIA and its “secrets game” cannot live with our fundamental constitutional rights, there can be no question, the Constitution must prevail.

But if the present administration has its way, stories such as this one would be suppressed and covered up. And the author would be punished. I invite the reader to judge which is more important: CIA misadventures such as this one, or our fundamental right to know the truth about our public servants’ activities and to keep them honest?


Because of my mission background, my recruiters and I discussed the CIA’s “true nature.” They had been unequivocal in reassuring me-the CIA was an intelligence-gathering institution, and a benevolent one. Coups were engineered only to alter circumstances which jeopardized national security. I would be a better person through association with the CIA. My naïveté was shared by most of my forty-two classmates in our year-long training program. Our instructors hammered the message at us: the CIA was good, its mission was to make the world a better place, to save the world from communism.


Carl insisted that it was Kissinger who was pushing the agency into the covert operation in Angola. Kissinger saw the Angolan conflict solely in terms of global politics and was determined the Soviets should not be permitted to make a move in any remote part of the world without being confronted militarily by the United States. Superficially, his opposition to the Soviet presence was being rationalized in terms of Angola’s strategic location on the South Atlantic, near the shipping lanes of the giant tankers which bring oil from the Middle East around the horn of Africa to the United States. This argument was not profound. Soviet bases in Somalia had much better control of our shipping lanes, and any military move by the Soviets against our oil supplies would trigger a reaction so vigorous that a Soviet base in Angola would be a trivial factor. In fact, Angola had little plausible importance to American national security and little economic importance beyond the robusta coffee it sold to American markets and the relatively small amounts of petroleum Gulf Oil pumped from the Cabindan fields.

No. Uncomfortable with recent historic events, and frustrated by our humiliation in Vietnam, Kissinger was seeking opportunities to challenge the Soviets.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s authority to run covert operations was for twenty-seven years solely dependent on a vague phrase in the National Security Act of 1947 which read: “to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” In 1975 Clark Clifford testified that the drafters of this act intended only to give the president authority to undertake operations in the rare instances that the national security was truly threatened. In fact, the CIA used the vaguely worded charter to launch thousands of covert actions in every corner of the world. Most of them had dubious justification in terms of the United States security. (See the Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities [also called the Church Committee Report], April z6, 1976.) The Hughes-Ryan Amendment to the National Assistance Act of 1974 required that no funds be expended by or on behalf of the CIA for operations abroad, other than activities designed to obtain necessary intelligence, unless two conditions are met: (a) the president must make a finding that such operation is important to the national security of the United States; and (b) the president must report in a timely fashion a description of such operation and its scope to congressional committees. Theoretically the Senate has controlled the agency budget since 1947 but CIA funds were buried in the Department of Defense budget, and without detailed knowledge of CIA activities, the Senate could make little practical use of this power. *The CIA has a special arrangement which permits any employee who has three years of overseas duty to retire at age fifty, with as much as $20,000 per year in retirement pay. The stresses that shorten case officers’ lives are not what one might guess, certainly not those of James Bond-like danger and intrigue. Most case officers work under official (State Department) cover, and circulate after hours in the world of cocktail and dinner parties. They become accustomed to a life-style of rich food, alcohol, and little exercise. At work they are subject to bureaucratic stresses comparable to a sales office or a newsroom, with publishing deadlines and competitive pressures to produce recruitments.

… CIA case officers are … almost entirely dependent on CIA material for knowledge of their areas of operation, perpetuating CIA biases and superficial observations. It is exceedingly rare that CIA officers, including even the analysts of the Directorate of Information, will read the books and articles which the academic world publishes about their areas of interest.

Essentially a conservative organization, the CIA maintains secret liaison with local security services wherever it operates. Its stations are universally part of the official communities of the host countries. Case officers live comfortable lives among the economic elite; even “outside” or “deep cover” case officers are part of that elite. They become conditioned to the mentality of the authoritarian figures, the police chiefs, with whom they work and socialize, and eventually share their resentment of revolutionaries who threaten the status quo. They are ill at ease with democracies and popular movements-too fickle and hard to predict.

… the Portuguese role in Angola was historically one of exploitation and brutal suppression. Beginning in 1498 it conquered and subjugated the three dominant tribal kingdoms-the Bakongo, Mbumdu, and Ovimbundu-and exported over three million slaves, leaving vast reaches of the colony under-populated. The colonial society was segregated into six racial categories defined by the portion of white blood in each, with two categories of pure blacks at the bottom of the scale. Citizenship, economic and legal privilege accrued only to the 600,000 whites, mulattos, and assimilados or blacks who were legally accepted among the elite of the society. The go percent of the population classified as indigenas suffered every form of discrimination-including forced labor, beatings, arbitrary imprisonment, and execution. without trial-at the hands of the colonial administrators.

In 1958 there were 203 doctors in all of Angola, statistically one for every 22,400 Angolans, although most of those two hundred served only European, mulatto, or assimilado patients, while a handful tended the 6,000,000 Angolan indigenas. Less than 1 percent of the indigenas had as much as three years of schooling.

John Marcum, an American scholar who visited the interior of Angola in the early I960s, walking eight hundred miles into the FNLA guerrilla camps in northern Angola, reports that at the time rebellion erupted in 196l, 2,000,000 Angolan natives were displaced from their historic social and geographic surroundings: 800,000 were subject to rural forced labor; 350,000 faced underemployment in the slums of the urban areas; and about l,000,000 were emigres in the Congo, Rhodesia, and South Africa. “The disintegration of traditional society had led to widespread disorientation, despair, and preparations for violent protest.” By I96I Angola was a black powder keg with the three major ethnic groups organized for revolt.

On March 15,196I, FNLA guerrillas mounted a so-pronged attack across the Congo border along a 400-mile front, killing African and Portuguese men, women, and children alike.

Portuguese air force planes immediately brought in military reinforcements using NATO arms intended for the defense of the North Atlantic area, and began striking back with indiscriminate wrath, even bombing and strafing areas that had not been affected by the nationalist uprising. Portuguese police seized nationalists, Protestants, communists, and systematically eliminated black leaders by execution and terrorism. By overreacting and flaying out indiscriminately, the Portuguese helped to insure the insurrection would not be localized or quashed.

President Kennedy made a tentative gesture of support to the revolutionaries by voting with the majority of 73 to 2 (South Africa and Spain opposing) on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 15I4, April 20, 1961, which called for reforms in Angola. The United States also cut a planned military assistance program from $25 million to $3 million and imposed a ban on the commercial sale of arms to Portugal.

But the Portuguese held a very high card-the Azores air bases that refueled up to forty U.S. Air Force transports a day. We could not do without them and our agreement for their use was due to expire December 31,196Z, only eighteen months away. By renegotiating the agreement on a year-by-year basis, the Portuguese were able to stymie further pressure from Washington and obtain extensive military loans and financial credits.

Even as American bombs and napalm fell on the Angolan nationalists, and the U.S. voted the conservative line at the UN, Portugal’s air force chief of staff, General Tiago Mina Delgado, was honored in Washington, receiving the American Legion of Merit from the U.S. Air Force chief of staff, Curtis Lemay, and a citation from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara for his contribution to U.S.-Portuguese friendship. Strategic realities dominated policy.

Lisbon attributed the war in northern Angola to Congolese “invaders” and “outside agitators” acting with a rabble of hemp-smoking indigenas and for years thereafter, while the rebellion sputtered and flared, the United States ignored Angolan revolutionary movements. With the advent of the Nixon administration in 1969, a major review of American policy toward Southern Africa, the “tar baby” report (NSSM 39), concluded that African insurgent movements were ineffectual, not “realistic or supportable” alternatives to continued colonial rule. The interdepartmental policy review, commissioned by then White House advisor, Henry Kissinger, questioned “the depth and permanence of black resolve” and “ruled out a black victory at any stage.” Events soon proved this to be a basic miscalculation.

… we searched the world for allies who could provide qualified advisors to put into the conflict, or better yet, regular army units to crush the MPLA and deliver the country to Roberto and Savimbi. We canvassed moderate friends-Brazil, Morocco, South Korea, Belgium, Great Britain, France, and even Portugal, without success. South Africa eventually came to UNITA’s rescue, but the Zairian commando battalions in northern Angola were only slightly better than the FNLA forces they joined.

Mercenaries seemed to be the answer, preferably Europeans with the requisite military skills and perhaps experience in Africa. As long as they were not Americans, the 40 Committee approved. We began an exhaustive search for suitable candidates, a search which brought me in conflict with my bosses and kept me at odds with them even into March 1976, months after the Senate had ordered a halt to the Angola program. The conduct of European and South African mercenaries in previous African civil wars had left them with a murderous reputation, and the use of white mercenaries at the crest of the era of black nationalism was a blunder, I felt, which could only damage United States credibility in the Third World. In addition, the mercenaries who have appeared in previous African wars have been a mixed bag, more often self-serving, ineffective, unmilitary. Potts, Bantam, Nelson, St. Martin, Foster-all lacked enough experience in Africa to know that. They tended to idealize mercenaries and exaggerate their capabilities. And they lacked sensitivity for the disgust the word “mercenary” stirs in the hearts of black Africans. Nor did Colby know Africa, although perhaps he was in a class by himself. The mild, likable, church-going, master case officer who had commanded the PHOENIX program in Vietnam would hardly have qualms about a few mercenaries fighting blacks in Africa.

I spoke out in staff meetings and in Potts’s office every time the subject of mercenaries came up. Whenever a memo or buckslip or cable about mercenaries circulated the office I added my own critical comment in the margins, and I did have some effect. After several weeks of my pressure, the word “mercenary” became taboo at headquarters. Potts forbade its use in cables, memoranda, and files, at headquarters and in the field. Thereafter the mercenaries who were hired and sent to Angola were to be called “foreign military advisors.”

And so we proceeded to search the world for acceptable “foreign military advisors.” We began the search with no leads whatsoever- astonishingly, we found that nowhere in the CIA, not even the Special Operations Group, with all its experiences in Southeast Asia, was there a file, reference list, or computer run of individuals who might be recruited as advisors. Anti-Castro Cubans, such as had been used in the Congo, the Bay of Pigs, and Watergate, were ruled out because they carried United States green resident alien cards and hence would fall under the 40 Committee’s restrictions against using Americans. South Vietnamese refugees were approached, but they were busy rebuilding their lives in the new world, and were unanimously wary of a CIA adventure in black Africa. They too carried green cards. The British refused to help. South Koreans were excluded because of language and cultural problems. Biafrans and other Africans were rejected out of political considerations, and because they wouldn’t have the impact of whites. Finally, five sources seemed to be available: Portuguese, French, Brazilians, Filipinos, and South Africans.

Portuguese were already being recruited in small numbers by the FNLA, Colonel Castro, Captain Bento, and their men. We decided to expand this effort by recruiting three hundred Portuguese Angolans to support the FNLA. But for UNITA we needed two dozen technicians, and Savimbi wouldn’t accept Portuguese.

France would not give us regular army troops, but it had no hesitation concerning mercenaries. The French intelligence service introduced CIA case officers to onetime Congo mercenary Bob Denard, and for $500,000 cash-paid in advance he agreed to provide twenty French mercenaries who would “advise” UNITA on short-term contracts. Denard was encrypted UNROBIN/I and this mercenary program was UNHOOD. To the waggish the twenty Frenchmen were “Robin’s Hoods” or the “French Hoods” for the duration of the program.

Brazil seemed also to offer a good source of manpower. Savimbi and Roberto both thought they could work comfortably with black Brazilians, who had the advantage of speaking Portuguese. General Walters, the CIA deputy director, felt sure he could influence the Brazilian military command to help us recruit. Walters had served as defense and army attaché in Brazil in the mid-l960s and was still somewhat euphoric about that experience. We sent a cable instructing the chief of station, Brasilia, to query the Brazilians about the general’s desire to visit, but the polite answer came back that Brazil could not at that time entertain the (highly visible) CIA deputy director. In Walters’s place Dick Sampson, the chief of Latin America Division, went and returned, empty-handed. The Brazilians politely declined to permit the recruitment of mercenaries in their country.

In Vietnam, Filipinos had provided the CIA with extensive help, keeping radios, vehicles, and air conditioners running, managing warehouses and tending bar at cocktail parties-all the things that highly paid CIA staffers could not be expected to do with much enthusiasm. This support had been managed through a Philippine company, ECCOI, and, naturally enough, headquarters remembered and sought the same help for Angola. For five months, beginning in August, we sent repetitive cables to the Manila station asking it to query ECCOI, but the response was so slow as to amount to rejection. Supporting black liberation movements inside Angola on short-term CIA contracts in a controversial, clandestine program was not attractive to the Filipinos. Possibly they remembered the evacuation of Vietnam a few months before: the CIA had left Z50 of its Filipino employees behind at the mercy of the communists.

South Africa was a different matter. It came into the conflict cautiously at first, watching the expanding U.S. program and timing their steps to the CIA’s. In September the South Africans began to provide arms and training to UNITA and FNLA soldiers at Runtu on the Angolan/South-West African border. First two, then twelve, then forty advisors appeared with UNITA forces near Silva Porto. Eventually the South African armored column-regular soldiers, far better than mercenaries-teamed with UNITA to make the most effective military strike force ever seen in black Africa, exploding through the MPLA/Cuban ranks in a blitzkreig, which in November almost won the war.

South Africa in 1975 was in a dangerously beleaguered position. Its blacks were increasingly restive, its whites emigrating, the white buffer states of Rhodesia, Mozambique, and Angola were threatened, and its economy was sagging. The Arab states’ oil embargo had pushed up the cost of fuel despite continued supplies from Iran. South Africa’s policies of sharing economic and technical resources with its northern neighbors, had seemed enlightened and effective. By 1975, however, it was clear they had not stemmed the tide of resentment against the white redoubt’s apartheid policies.

The 1974 coup in Portugal had exposed South Africa to fresh, chill winds of black nationalism, as Mozambique and Angola threatened to succumb to Soviet-sponsored, radical, black movements, which promised increased pressure on Rhodesia, Namibia, and South Africa itself. The white buffer concept was no longer viable. The South African fall-back position was to attempt to create in Mozambique and Angola moderate states which, like Malawi and Botswana, would be friendly or at least not hostile to South Africa.

The South African government attacked the threat in Mozambique with impeccably correct diplomacy and generous economic concessions. In Angola, however, it felt there were sound reasons for military intervention. There were masses of Angolan refugees to succor. The million-dollar hydroelectric plant it was building at Cunene in southern Angola required protection. SWAPO (South West African People’s Organization) guerrilla bases in Angola could be destroyed. Most important, of course, was the temptation to influence the outcome of the Angolan civil war in favor of Savimbi, who was considered the most likely to establish a government in Luanda which would cooperate with South Africa.

The South Africans had some encouragement to go into Angola. Savimbi invited them, after conferring with Mobutu, Kaunda, Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, and Leopold Senghor of Senegal, all of whom favored a moderate, pro-West government in Angola. I saw no evidence that the United States formally encouraged them to join the conflict.

The South Africans hoped to gain sympathy from the West by supporting the same side as the Zairians, Zambians, and United States in the Angolan conflict. They felt that their troops, even though white, would be more acceptable to most African leaders than the non-African Cubans. They also expected to be successful, understanding that the Ford administration would obtain U.S congressional support for an effective Angola program. On all three points they were disastrously wrong.

Eschewing hawkish plans for a decisive military strike, South African Prime Minister John Vorster opted for a small, covert task force. Only light armor and artillery would be used; there would be no tanks, infantry, or fighter bomber aircraft. Posing as mercenaries and remaining behind the UNITA troops, the soldiers would remain invisible. A curtain of silence in Pretoria would further protect them. The task force would do the job and withdraw quickly, before the November 11 independence date.

The South African government was playing a dangerous game. With scarcely a friend in the world, it was inviting further condemnation by intervening in a black African country. And it was forced to run its program covertly, like the CIA, concealing it from its own people. Only recently, in March 1975, had it withdrawn its forces from Rhodesia, and racist whites would question why their sons were now fighting for black freedom in Angola. Still, South Africa entered the war, watching the United States program closely and hoping for an overt nod of recognition and camaraderie.

To the CIA, the South Africans were the ideal solution for central Angola. Potts, St. Martin, and the COS’s of Pretoria and Lusaka welcomed their arrival in the war. Especially in the field, CIA officers liked the South Africans, who tended to be bluff, aggressive men without guile. They admired South African efficiency. Quietly South African planes and trucks turned up throughout Angola with just the gasoline or ammunition needed for an impending operation. On October 20, after a flurry of cables between headquarters and Kinshasa, two South African C-l30 airplanes, similar to those used by the Israelis in their raid on Entebbe, feathered into Ndjili Airport at night to meet a CIA C-141 flight and whisk its load of arms down to Silva Porto. CIA officers and BOSS representatives met the planes at Ndjili and jointly supervised the transloading. At the same time St. Martin requested and received headquarters’ permission to meet BOSS representatives on a regular basis in Kinshasa. Other CIA officers clamored for permission to visit South African bases in SouthWest Africa. On two occasions the BOSS director visited Washington and held secret meetings with Jim Potts. On another, he met with the CIA station chief in Paris. The COS, Pretoria, was ordered to brief BOSS about lAFEATURE, and nearly all CIA intelligence reports on the subject were relayed to Pretoria so his briefings would be accurate and up to date.

The CIA has traditionally sympathized with South Africa and enjoyed its close liaison with BOSS. The two organizations share a violent antipathy toward communism and in the early sixties the South Africans had facilitated the agency’s development of a mercenary army to suppress the Congo rebellion. BOSS, however, tolerates little clandestine nonsense inside the country and the CIA had always restricted its Pretoria station’s activity to maintaining the liaison with BOSS. That is, until 1974, when it yielded to intense pressures in Washington and expanded the Pretoria station’s responsibilities to include covert operations to gather intelligence about the South African nuclear project. In the summer of 1975 BOSS rolled up this effort and quietly expelled those CIA personnel directly involved. The agency did not complain, as the effort was acknowledged to have been clumsy and obvious. The agency continued its cordial relationship with BOSS.

Thus, without any memos being written at CIA headquarters saying “Let’s coordinate with the South Africans,” coordination was effected at all CIA levels and the South Africans escalated their involvement in step with our own.

The South African question led me into another confrontation with Potts. South African racial policies had of course become a hated symbol to blacks, civil libertarians, and world minorities-the focal point of centuries-old resentment of racism, colonialism, and white domination. Did Potts not see that the South Africans were attempting to draw closer to the United States, in preparation for future confrontations with the blacks in southern Africa? If he did, he was not troubled by the prospect. Potts viewed South Africa pragmatically, as a friend of the CIA and a potential ally of the United States. After all, twenty major American companies have interests in South Africa and the United States maintains a valuable NASA tracking station not far from Pretoria. Eventually Potts concluded, in one of our conversations, that blacks were “irrational” on the subject of South Africa. This term caught on. It even crept into the cable traffic when the South African presence became known and the Nigerians, Tanzanians, and Ugandans reacted vigorously.

Escalation was a game the CIA and South Africa played very well together. In October the South Africans requested, through the CIA station chief in Pretoria, ammunition for their 155 mm. howitzers. It was not clear whether they intended to use this ammunition in Angola. At about the same time the CIA was seeking funds for another shipload of arms and worrying about how to get those arms into Angola efficiently. Our experience with the American Champion had us all dreading the thought of working another shipload of arms through the congested Matadi port and attempting to fly them into Angola with our ragtag little air force. The thought of putting the next shipload of arms into Walvis Bay in South-West Africa, where South African efficiency would rush them by C-l30 to the fighting fronts, was irresistible to Jim Potts.

At the same time, Savimbi and Roberto were both running short of petrol. The South Africans had delivered small amounts in their C-l30s, but they could not be expected to fuel the entire war, not with an Arab boycott on the sale of oil to South Africa. The MPLA’s fuel problems had been solved when a tanker put into Luanda in September, and Potts, in frustration, began to consider having a tanker follow the second arms shipload to Walvis Bay.

When Potts proposed this to the working group, he met firm opposition: He was told by Ambassador Mulcahy that the sale or delivery of arms to South Africa was prohibited by a long-standing U.S. law. Never easily discouraged, Potts sent one of his aides to the CIA library, and in the next working group meeting triumphantly read to the working group the text of the thirteen-year-old “law.”

“You see, gentlemen,” he concluded with obvious satisfaction. “It isn’t a law. It’s a policy decision made under the Kennedy administration. Times have now changed and, given our present problems, we should have no difficulty modifying this policy.” He meant that a few technical strings could be pulled on the hill, Kissinger could wave his hand over a piece of paper, and a planeload of arms could leave for South Africa the next day.

The CIA was casting about for the next war, amoral, ruthless, eager to do its thing. Its thing being covert little games where the action was secret and no one kept score.

But history increasingly keeps score, and the CIA’s operations are never secret for long. Inevitably they are exposed, by our press, by whistleblowers in our government, by our healthy compulsion to know the truth. Covert operations are incompatible with our system of government and we do them badly. Nevertheless, a succession of presidents and Henry Kissingers have been lured into questionable adventures for which, they are promised by the CIA, they will never be held accountable. Generally they are not, they move on to sinecures before the operations are fully exposed. Our country is left to face the consequences.

Claiming to be our Horatio at the shadowy bridges of the international underworld, the CIA maintains three thousand staff operatives overseas. Approximately equal to the State Department in numbers of staff employees overseas, the CIA extends its influence by hiring dozens of thousands of paid agents. Operationally its case officers “publish or perish”-an officer who does not generate operations does not get promoted. The officers energetically go about seeking opportunities to defend our national security.

The CIA’s function is to provide the aggressive option in foreign affairs. The 40 Committee papers for the Angolan operation, written by the CIA did not list a peaceful option, although the State Department African Affairs Bureau and the U.S. consul general in Luanda had firmly recommended noninvolvement. In 1959 the CIA did not recommend to President Eisenhower that we befriend Fidel Castro and learn to live with him in Cuba. No, it presented the violent option, noting that it had the essential ingredients for a covert action: angry Cuban exiles, a haven in Guatemala, a beach in the Bay of Pigs, intelligence (later proven inaccurate) that the people of Cuba would rise up in support of an invasion. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy were persuaded. The operation was run, and it was bungled. Today we are still haunted by it.

At the end of World War II, we were militarily dominant, economically dominant, and we enjoyed a remarkable international credibility. With a modicum of restraint and self-confidence we could have laid the foundations of lasting world peace. Instead, we panicked, exaggerating the challenge of a Soviet Union which had just lost 70,000 villages, I,7l0 towns, 4.7 million houses, and 20 million people in the war. We set its dread KGB as a model for our own alter ego in foreign affairs. In the words of the Hoover Commission report of 1954:

There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the U.S. is to survive, long-standing American concepts of “fair play” must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services. We must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.

It was a tragic, fallacious thesis. Our survival as a free people has obviously not been dependent on the fumbling activities of the clandestine services of the CIA, but on the dynamism of our economic system and the competitive energies of our people. Nor was Hoover’s philosophy “fundamentally repugnant.” Rather, it was irresistible, for it created an exhilarating new game where all social and legal restraints were dissolved. Cast as super-patriots, there were no rules, no controls, no laws, no moral restraints, and no civil rights for the CIA game-players. No individual in the world would be immune to their depradations, friends could be shafted and enemies destroyed, without compunction. It was an experiment in amorality, a real-life fantasy island, to which presidents, legislators, and the American people could escape, vicariously.

Not surprisingly, the mortals of the CIA were unable to cope with such responsibility. Over the years, a profound, arrogant, moral corruption set in. Incompetence became the rule. The clandestine services, established a solid record of failure: failure to produce good intelligence; failure to run successful covert operations; and failure to keep its operatives covert. And its directors also failed to respect the sacred responsibility they were given of extra-constitutional, covert license. Eventually, like any secret police, they became abusive of the people: they drugged American citizens; opened private mail; infiltrated the media with secret propaganda and disinformation; lied to our elected representatives; and set themselves above the law and the Constitution.

But our attachment to the CIA’s clandestine services nevertheless seems to be unshaken. We still argue that, no matter what it does, the CIA is essential to our national security.

Where is the ancient American skepticism, the “show-me” attitude for which our pioneer forefathers were famous? We only need the CIA if it contributes positively to our national interests. Obviously, our nation needs broad intelligence coverage, and we have been getting it. It comes through the Directorate of Information of the CIA, the central intelligence office which collates, analyses, and disseminates information from all sources. Our presidents receive the DDI reports and briefings and, with some misgivings about their quality, insist that they are essential to the wise functioning of that office. But even presidents forget to distinguish between the Directorate of Information and the clandestine services, quite possibly not realizing how little of the DDI’s information actually comes from the covert human agents of its shadowy alter ego. The bulk of all raw intelligence, including vital strategic information, comes from overt sources and from the enormously expensive technical collection systems. The human agents, the spies, contribute less than l0 percent, a trivial part of the information which is reliable and of national security importance. Good agent penetrations of the “hard targets,” individual spies who have confirmed access to strategic information, who are reliable, and who manage to report on a timely basis, are extremely rare. It is a shocking truth that the clandestine services have failed to recruit good agents in Moscow (Pentkovsky and Popov walked in on the British service which shared them with the CIA). It has failed completely in China-not even a walk-in. In Pyongyang, North Korea-not one Korean agent. And CIA case officers are literally afraid of the Mafia, the Chinese Tongs, and the international drug runners. They have recruited scores of thousands of Third World politicians, rebels, and European businessmen, whose voluminous reporting scarcely justifies the clandestine services’ existence.

In March 1976 President Ford reorganized the National Security Council, renaming the 40 Committee, calling it the Operations Advisory Group. At that time he expanded the CIA charter, authorizing it to intervene even in countries which are friendly to the United States, and in those which are not threatened by internal subversion.

In January T977, at the crest of two years of exposure of its shortcomings, misdeeds, and depraved behavior, President Carter announced a reorganization of the intelligence community, which was based on the hypothesis that the clandestine services are essential to our national security. He elevated the position of the director of central intelligence and increased its powers. The offices that have traditionally been responsible for supervising the CIA were renamed. The Congress was reassured that it will receive briefings on CIA activities. Director Turner initiated a housecleaning, dismissing four hundred people, so the Directorate of Operations will be “lean and efficient.”

The scope of CIA operations is not being reduced, and its overall effectiveness, including the cover of its operatives overseas is only being upgraded to a slight degree. The clandestine services still have their charter to do covert action. Only thirteen overseas positions are being cut; forty stations and bases will still function in Africa alone, from Nairobi to Ouagadougou, with case officers energetically seeking opportunities to protect our national security.

Not Horatio. The clandestine service is an unfortunate relic of the Cold War, entrenched in our government, protected by our self-indulgent, nostalgic commitment to its existence. The CIA presence in American foreign affairs will be judged by history as a surrender to the darker side of human nature.

Already we are paying dearly for indulging ourselves. As we have succeeded in making ourselves more like our enemies, more like the KGB, the world has taken note. Throughout Africa, Latin America, and Asia, at least, every legitimate American businessman, teacher, and official is suspiciously viewed as a probable CIA operative, capable of dangerous betrayals. The world knows that, in fact, numbers of actual CIA case officers are posing as just such people, while they recruit agents, bribe officials, and support covert adventures. The positive contribution of such activity to our national security is dubious. But mounting numbers of victims, the millions of people whose lives have been trampled or splattered by CIA operations are increasingly cynical of America. Because of the CIA the world is a more dangerous place. Americans have reduced credibility. Worst of all, by retaining the CIA we are accepting ourselves as a harsh and ruthless people. It’s the wrong game for a great nation. And the players we’ve got are losers.

Read Full Post »

My interest in proteins currently is focused on protein docking and is geometric.  But I like the historical perspective afforded by Bernal.

Although it was already evident by 1953 that nucleic acids contained the code for protein synthesis, how they operated required further investigation and revealed unsuspected but soluble complexities.  Their studies brought to light first a kind of local hierarchical system in which the DNA lay in the nucleus and the actual synthesis of proteins took place in the exterior cytoplasm located in small bodies, the so-called ribosomes, containing RNA.  The mechanism revealed by the work of Volkin and Astrachan showed that the first stage in making a new protein was the reproduction on the DNA in the nucleus of a special kind of RNA, so-called messenger RNA, containing the necessary information for constructing a particular protein.  These messenger RNA molecules traveled out in the cell cytoplasm.  Already assembled there was a series of amino-acids each labelled with a specific soluble RNA component, that is with a short length of nucleic acids.  The soluble RNA molecules then attach themselves in the appropriate place in the messenger RNA molecules thus ensuring the correct order of their accompanying amino-acids to make the specific protein.

Never has Oscar Wilde’s dictum of nature copying art so well been exemplified, for this is practically a reproduction of the modern automatic assembly line on a molecular scale, the whole process being tape controlled on a self-reproducing tape.  When it is considered that this has to be done in every cell to at least two thousand different proteins and without a single mistake–for a single mistake means a mutation which is normally lethal–you get a sense of the real complexity of life which was beyond the imagination of anybody, even in science, as recently as twenty years ago.  The work of establishing even sketchily and provisionally this elaborate picture represents one of the greatest triumphs of human thought.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »