Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."

Weekly Commentary: U.S. Security Guarantees

--“Israel's Sole Discretion” Provision Is Crucial

Dr. Aaron Lerner                   

11 November, 2010


"The chances of achieving a peace agreement will be significantly advanced
by achieving comprehensive security understandings between Israel and the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – Press Release – Prime Minister’s Office,
10 November, 2010

"Israel, with her survival at stake, cannot afford to take chances.... The
nature of the Israeli's situation is bound to influence their interpretation
of ambiguous events. We, on the other hand, have an incentive to minimize
such evidence, since the consequences of finding violations are so
unpleasant. Violations force us to choose between doing something about them
and thus risk the blowup of our initiative; or doing nothing and thus renege
on our promises to Israel, posing the threat of her taking military action.
Accordingly, we tend to lean over backwards to avoid the conclusion that the
Arabs are violating the cease-fire unless the evidence is unambiguous."
Henry Kissinger to President Richard Nixon, 1970
[Henry Kissinger “White House Years", page 587]

What are the necessary conditions for a comprehensive security
understandings between Israel and the US to effectively offset the
degradation of security associated with various changes associated with
implementation of an agreement with the Palestinians?

#1. It has to be a formal treaty.  President Obama gave us an important
reminder, when he opted to ignore the Bush letter, that Presidential letters
in no way obligate the United States of America.

This may be workable.

#2. The United States must recognize the right of Israel to implement
security related measures and operations relating to the Palestinians at
Israel’s sole discretion, backed by the commitment of the United States to
protect Israel from international sanctions and/or UN Security Council
condemnation for such activities.  By the same token, The United States
commits that it will never restrict or delay the supply of conventional
weapons and ancillary security related equipment to Israel.

This is where the problems start:

The “Israel’s sole discretion” provision is crucial.  Otherwise, we could
find ourselves in a rapidly deteriorating situation with America either
dragging its feet or deciding that its own interests would be best served if
Israel didn’t act.

Frankly speaking, it is highly doubtful that the United States would agree
to the “Israel’s sole discretion” provision.

What, then, is the ramification?

In the absence of an “Israel’s sole discretion” provision, there is always a
risk that when Israel finds itself relying on America honoring the agreement
that the powers that be in Washington decide that their national interests
are best served if Israel declines to defend itself.

And thus, a “comprehensive security understandings between Israel and the
US” could not in in fact effectively offset the degradation of security
associated with the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Back to the drawing board.

* * * * * * *
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730