Photo: AP
'It's not such a good idea to rejoice at the American proposal'
Photo: AP
Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh
Photo: AP

American law short sighted

U.S. Congress' 'anti-terror' proposal isn't as good as it appears for Israel

In recent months, more than a few senior security and intelligence officials have taken part in a fair bit of historical revisionism. According to the new history, Israel wasn't really so thrilled by President Bush's stubborn decision to depose Saddam Hussein – not because they liked Saddam so much, but rather because having the American's bogged down in Iraq would have a negative affect on the need to fight Israel's real enemy – Iran.


And what do you know, that's exactly what happened.


Some of us, however, remember things a bit differently. We remember the undisguised joy in the halls of the defense ministry in Tel Aviv when the Americans decided to attack Iraq.


Even those who believed Iran was Israel's most dangerous enemy welcomed the American invasion as the work of the righteous done by others, and even looked forward to a domino effect that would emanate from Baghdad to bring down the ayatollahs.


Anyone daring to suggest that the American's had no "day after" plans and would wind up stuck in a deep Iraqi mud were dismissed with a wave of the hand as doomsayers and spoil-sports.


Practical implications


The lessons of this debate are not merely academic. They have practical implications today, and not only with regard to Iran. Israel, which so willingly shared intelligence information with the Americans (our intelligence community even claims – strongly – that Iraqi truck caravans transported unknown cargo from Iraq to Syria, clearly hinting that that cargo was the elusive weapons of mass destruction that were the formal excuse for the war but have yet to be found), also concerned itself at that time with intelligence PR on the Palestinian front.


Many people credited our intelligence service with convincing the Americans of the evilness of Yasser Arafat, and of the connection between terrorism that plagues Israel and that which struck New York and Washington.


But what can you do, those American's like a bit of action. First, they set out for war in Iraq, the consequences of which could be disastrous: If the chaos in Iraq leads to a U.S. withdrawal without ensuring stability, the echoes of that fall will be heard clearly throughout the region.


Now, they are legislating against the Palestinian Authority, legislation that will bring close the day on which the Palestinians are finally immersed in chaos and poverty. To supporters, the "Palestinian anti-terror bill of 2006" is a binding ethical statement and a first step towards bringing down Hamas. For us, the repercussions could be far from simple.


The United States has a long history, and not necessarily an honorable one, of similar initiatives and of bringing down undesirable regimes. In Latin America, Iran, and Southeast Asia, using legal and not-so-legal methods, the United States and its representatives have taken part in operations that authorities promised would bring about the end of an enemy regime and the installation of a good, clean, pro-American one in its place.


View from up close


But what can you do, from up close things look a bit different. The American law could bring close the final crumbling of the Palestinian Authority. This would bring a humanitarian disaster to our doorstep.


It would also set a shelf for other countries, starting with Israel: If this is how America behaves, how can Israel continue the fragile status quo, by which we maintain contacts with the Hamas government and other Palestinian bodies – not to support them, but to ensure that the Palestinian disaster doesn't bring about are return of violence and terror to Israel?


How can Israel really tolerate the hints of PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and the effects of the Hamas government, with Big Brother over there in corner wagging his finger?


It's not such a good idea to rejoice at the American proposal, just as it wasn't such a hot idea to rejoice at the invasion of Iraq. Reality is far more complex that can be seen from Washington, and will become much more painful over here should the proposal yield negative affects.


And to those who dance to their tune of their big, strong brother's piper, and even take pride that they even wrote some of the notes – it’s not always such a great idea to break out dancing.


פרסום ראשון: 04.10.06, 16:22
 new comment
This will delete your current comment