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February 16, 2012

Security of Israel: How many lives, money and political
sacrifices does the United States have to make?

By Syed R. Mahmood

Belinda Luscombe, of “Time Magazine” asked President Jimmy Carter, “Are you optimistic about Israel’s future?” His response was, “No, I am not. The U.S. has less influence in the Middle East now than it’s had since Israel was formed.  We are totally immune to any sort of influence from the Palestinians or from the Arab world. We are completely in bed with the Israelis, who are persecuting the Palestinians horribly, and this is contrary, I think, to the best interest of Israel.”

In answering to another question regarding the nuclear issue of Iran, Carter said, “I do not see that as a major catastrophe because Iran will have but one or two military weapons. Israel probably has 300 or so.” (Source: TIME, January 30, 2012).

President George W. Bush -- about the Iraq war (March 20, 2003 – December 18, 2011), said very openly that one of the benefits of invading Iraq is the security of Israel. In the Iraq war, 4,484 American soldiers died and 32,200 were wounded. A study conducted by a Nobel Prize winner, Joseph E. Stiglitz and a Harvard professor Linda J. Bilmas wrote in their book, “Three Trillion Dollar War,” about the hidden cost of the Iraq war:  replacement of military equipment, and the cost of taking care of thousands of wounded veterans for the rest of their lives. The economic damage within Iraq and the region comes to around $3 trillion. The projected estimate was $50 billion. 

President Harry Truman recognized the Jewish State of Israel in just a few minutes after her birth on May 15, 1948. It is also commonly believed that the Truman administration had served as “mid-wife” at the birth of Israel. In the last sixty-three years, the United States and Israel have developed a strange common-law marriage relationship. This relationship was also called a “special relationship.” Behind the veil of this special relationship, the Israelis learned the way to manipulate, mislead and intimidate the American Administration and Congress through their strong Israeli lobby in America.

In the last sixty-three years, the dedicated and organized Zionist-American community have entrenched themselves in every segment of American society, including media, academia and politics. It is a very rare example of an economic and military super-power that feels helpless to implement her independent foreign policy. America has chosen to ignore the 1.5 billion Muslims in this world and support every right and wrong policy of Israel. Consequently, today, the United States does not have a good relationship with the citizens of Muslim countries. Some of the Kings and other rulers of the Muslim states support the American policies, in order to protect their power. The United States, since her birth in 1776, has gained a great deal of economic and political benefits from the Muslim states. Like a “demanding wife”, the demands and expectations of the Israeli supporters and lobby have put American security at risk.

The Israeli past and present Governments and intelligence agencies have mastered the art of creating crisis and acquiring highly sophisticated military hardware, technology and most advanced fighter planes from the United States. For example, recently, Israel was supplied with bunker-buster bombs to use possibly against Iran.  In the last forty to fifty years, Israel has lied to every American administration that they are not going to build atomic weapons.  The American administration, under the pressure of the Israeli lobby and to appease Israel, would give in to their pressure and offer Israel the most technologically advanced weapons. It was a payback or a technique to intimidate the American administration: If you do not go through it, we may develop nuclear weapons. This Israeli blackmail has worked perfectly in favor of her. It has tilted the balance of power in the Middle East overwhelmingly in favor of Israel.  It is a common belief among experts that in order to maintain peace in the region, you need to have a balance of power.

The Israeli agencies and Benjamin Netanyahu’s government are every day coming out with new cooked-up intelligence reports regarding the Iranian nuclear weapon project. So far, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has not accused Iran of breaking any non-proliferation law. Netanyahu is trying to divert attention from the real issue of the Palestinian problem. He has no intention to resolve or have peace with Palestinians. He is assured that the United States has no choice but to come to the Israeli rescue.  He is a master of the “stalling” technique. During a conversation at G20 summit with President Barak Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “liar.” 

Israeli intelligence is going overboard with their propaganda machinery regarding the so-called threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, and they are threatening to bomb the Iranian nuclear sites. Israel also wants to have full support of the United States. The American administration should warn Israel against any preemptive strike and their consequences. The US should make it very clear that Israel will be on her own and there will be no replacement of any equipment or any other losses. In the United Nations, there will be no support for Israeli aggression.

Now it is the time for the American Administration to show the courage of President Eisenhower. In 1956, a few days before his second term election, the Israelis, French and British forces invaded Gaza Strip and the Sinai. Eisenhower right away approached the United Nations and a resolution was passed to condemn this aggression. Eisenhower said he “did not care in the slightest whether he is re-elected or not.” He had a landslide victory over his opponent. He sent a blistering note to Ben Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister and demanded that Israel withdraw all of their forces from Egyptian territories. Ben Gurion had no choice but to comply.

Israeli leaders have acquired habits to insult and lecture American Presidents. In the month of July, 1996, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited the White House. “President Clinton came out of the meeting saying that Netanyahu behaved and spoke in a tone that did not seem to let on that he knew that Clinton was President of a friendly Superpower, and that Netanyahu was the leader of a small nation who needs the superpower‘s support.” In the last meeting on May 20, 2011 with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House with President Barack Obama Netanyahu’s attitude was not any different.

The Israeli administration always boasts that the US Congress is in their pocket. The impotency of Congress could never rein in the bellicose Israeli lobby. The warmonger neo-conservatives and pro-Israeli lobbyist, media and think tanks, who sold the American public and the US administration the disastrous war of Iraq again, would like to push the United States into another war, this time with Iran.  The American objective in the Afghanistan and Iraq war has failed. The United States is one-thousand time more powerful than Iran. Conversely, the US can win this battle by the power of patience, negotiations and persuasion. Friends of Israel and the American Jewish community should help Israel not to destroy herself by following the fifty years old unsuccessful policies. Saudi Arabia and the Arab League have offered Israel peace and security: i.e., Land for peace. Israel should take this opportunity and seize the moment.

It is about time that the United States should re-evaluate her special relationship with Israel. The United States and Israel should tone down their rhetoric and stop saber-rattling against Iran. Any unilateral action by Israel against Iran will drag the United States into an undesirable military conflict with another Muslim country. It will radicalize the young Muslim youth around the globe. The United States will also never see the end of the Afghanistan war. Let us not be fooled by the superficial support of Saudi Arabia and other smaller states in the region. Enough blood has been spilled in the last two wars of Afghanistan and Iraq in the last ten years. People around the globe are looking for peace and tranquility. The United States should take the lead and change the course of International affairs. A shared concept of justice is an essential requirement for an International Order, said, President Woodrow Wilson.

The security of the United States and Israel depends on the friendly relationship with the 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe. Israelis cannot count on American unconditional support forever and the United States cannot fight for Israeli security. The United States needs to have an even-handed policy in the Middle East. Israel has to change its behavior. A stick, which does not bend, is going to break.

Syed R. Mahmood is the founder President of American Institute of International Studies.