How Israel Helped Win the Cold War

When Harry Truman announced that he was inclined to recognize the fledgling Jewish state, George C. Marshall and other eminent foreign-policy advisers urged him not to, arguing that the new country would be a severe liability to American interests—a way of thinking that persists to this day. But, to the contrary, Israel has proved itself time and again to be an invaluable ally. Joshua Muravchik describes some of its important contributions to fighting the cold war:

In 1966, the Mossad’s Operation Diamond, as it was called, was crowned with success after three years of work. The “diamond” in a question was a late version of the MiG21, the mainstay of the Soviet air force. An Iraqi air-force pilot, suborned by the Mossad, took off in one from his airbase and landed in Israel, where Israeli and American experts could scrutinize every inch.

More important still than [such] operational coups was the ongoing sharing of intelligence, which Israeli agents were adept at gathering. Major General George F. Keegan, the head of intelligence for the U.S. Air Force in the 1970s, put it [thus], “The ability of the U.S. Air Force in particular, and the Army in general, to defend whatever position it has in NATO owes more to Israeli intelligence input than it does to any other single source of intelligence.” . . . He added: “I could not have procured [such] intelligence with five CIAs.”

Intelligence was not the most important Israeli contribution to Western defenses. . . . Israel’s strength turned George Marshall’s 1947 fear of alienating the Arab world on its head. Unable to best Israel, Egypt and to varying degrees most of the other Arab [states] grew disillusioned with Soviet patronage. They began to look instead to the United States.

And then there was the way Israeli strength boosted Western morale, and that of anti-Communists in the East:

Israel’s victories in 1967 and 1973 over foes who were mostly Soviet clients provided a psychological counterpoint to America’s consternation in Vietnam. . . . In Poland, “thousands of Poles placed candles in their windows to commemorate the Israeli victories, not so much for love of Israel but because the Arabs were sponsored by the Soviets,” according to R.J. Crampton, a British scholar of the region.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Cold War, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority