George Bush's Roadmap

It is with heavy heart that it has become necessary to document the actions of a US president we had supported and believed in. His actions are a betrayal of our most loyal ally and are endangering the security of the state of Israel.

Rachel Neuwirth,

OpEds Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth
[It is with heavy heart that it has become necessary to document the actions of a US president we had supported and believed in. His actions are a betrayal of our most loyal ally and are endangering the security of the state of Israel.]

Many believe the often-repeated assertion that George Bush is giving one-sided support for Israel and that this policy is harming US relations with the Arabs. There are two things wrong with that belief. First, it totally ignores Israel's loyal support for America and its huge contribution to our security over the decades. That issue will be examined in greater detail in a subsequent column. The second fallacy is that George Bush is a true friend of Israel in the first place.

George Bush's 'Roadmap' for Israel and the Palestinians is jointly sponsored by the so-called 'Quartet', composed of the United States, Russia, Europe and the United Nations. These last three are all hostile to both America and Israel, and biased in favor of the Palestinian Arabs. America would never allow these three to influence our decisions about our own national security. Yet, Bush has invited them to influence Israel's decisions about its own national security.

Bush is intent on creating a second Palestinian Arab state inside Israel's heartland, even though Jordan has been a Palestinian state for sixty years. Israel is trying its best to accommodate this ill-conceived idea, but has raised 14 security issues that need to be resolved before its implementation.

Bush has refused to accommodate any of Israel's 14 security concerns. Meanwhile, he is pressing Israel to carry out the ethnic cleansing of Jews from parts of their ancient homeland, all of them within the area designated by the League of Nations eighty-three years ago as a national home for the Jewish people.

His double standard requires the expulsion of Jews from historically Jewish areas because they are claimed by Arabs, while allowing Arabs to live anywhere, including inside Israel. Nowhere else in the world is such ethnic cleansing tolerated. The US even went to war in Bosnia and Kosovo to oppose alleged ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Serbs.

Bush is trying to push Israel back to the highly vulnerable "Auschwitz borders" (so named by Abba Eban) of 1949, within which Israel was only nine miles wide at its densely populated middle, and Jerusalem was split in two by barbed wire. He has totally ignored the recommendations of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, submitted to President Lyndon Johnson following the Six Day War in 1967, that Israel's minimum security needs required that it permanently retain control of Gaza and the high ground in the West Bank. Modern weapons now make Israel's 1949 armistice lines even more vulnerable than they were in 1967, when Egypt's Nasser attempted to wipe Israel off the map.

The planned expulsion of many thousands of Jews from Gaza and Samaria in response to US pressure will further traumatize and demoralize the Israeli people, and in addition, devastate their economy, since the immense relocation costs will be borne entirely by Israel. The US government has not offered to help pay even a cent of these costs.

This unilateral withdrawal and forced relocation of civilians, euphemistically called a "disengagement", will demonstrate that after two thousand years of exile, homelessness and persecution, Jews are still not secure even within their Biblical homeland, thanks to their "friend" George Bush. Arabs can have five million square miles and 22 countries, but Israel is denied security within less than 0.2% of that vast territory.

Mahmoud Abbas refuses to disarm and dismantle the terrorist groups and demands extensive Israeli concessions in return for only a vague promise of something called "calm" until the end of 2005 - not even a cease-fire or "truce", as these temporary, informal arrangements are traditionally called. Bush has not objected to this one-sided proposal and he offers no US security guarantee even if Israel yields to all demands.

Bush has ignored a ten-year-old Congressional mandate, the will of most Americans, and the urging of former Secretary of State George Schultz that the US, after 55 years of delay, at long last move the US embassy to Jerusalem; even though Bush promised during the 2000 election campaign to fulfill this American commitment. Bush's continued refusal sends a signal that Israel's standing with his administration is inferior to that of the Arabs and that he can be pressured to break his promises to Israel.

Bush earlier warned Israel not to harm or expel terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. This allowed Arafat to continue terror operations from Ramallah until his death, at a cost of a thousand Jewish lives. US aid to the Palestinian Authority, through so-called "non-governmental organizations" (or NGO's) that it controls, continued throughout the terrorist "intifada" directed by Arafat from September 2000 until his death.

Bush has now doubled US aid to the PA, including training of the Palestinian 'security' forces by the CIA, despite the absence of any undertaking by the PA's post-Arafat leadership to disband and disarm the terrorist organizations, or any serious plan to end the pervasive corruption within its own ranks. Bush's supposed "support" for Israel includes arming Egypt and Jordan with advanced weapons over Israel's security objections. Bush's actions require Israel to divert major resources to protect against a potential attack from two of its "peace partners" (in 1967, Jordan attacked Israel with US-supplied tanks, despite US assurances to the contrary and without suffering any US consequences).

Bush ignores Egypt's long-standing incitement of its own people against Israel by means of relentless anti-Semitic propaganda in the government-controlled press, and the constant training and preparations of the Egyptian army for a possible war against Israel. He also ignores Egypt's complicity in smuggling weapons via tunnels from Egypt into Gaza to arm the Palestinian terrorists. There has been no demand by the Bush administration that Egypt put a stop to this smuggling, even though it is a flagrant violation of the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty, of which the United States is a guarantor.

Nor has Bush acted to oppose the buildup of thousands of offensive missiles and Hizbullah terrorists on Israel's northern border with Lebanon.

Bush wants to make the Palestinian state "contiguous", including a corridor linking Gaza and the West Bank. That corridor would cut Israel in half, demonstrating that Arab demands again trump Israel's security needs and Israel's rights. Bush has repeatedly pressed Israel to practice restraint in the face of ongoing mass killings of its people while we slowly prepared to attack Iraq.

When Israel asked for some extra aid to offset her battered economy, Bush indicated general agreement to encourage their further restraint, and then, without warning, cut the grant request by three quarters. Bush is pressing Israel to release large numbers of terrorists as a gesture to the PA even though past experience indicates that many go back to commit more terror.

Bush intervened when pilot-less drones previously sold by Israel to China were returned by the Chinese to Israel for routine maintenance and possible upgrading, in accordance with a contract signed by the two nations more than ten years ago. Without warning, Bush demanded that Israel confiscate the drones, which would violate this long-standing, legal contract, even though the equipment utilized no American technology.

These peremptory American demands threaten to damage severely Israel's relationship with China. The Bush administration meddled in this matter even though a previous administration had approved the sale of the drones to China, and even though Israel has sold China no new weapons for many years in deference to American objections.

The Bush team has placed Israel in an impossible predicament, forcing it to choose between American and Chinese friendship - even as the US government subsidizes and encourages the sale of American nuclear technology to China by the Westinghouse Corporation, an "American" company wholly owned by the British government. In the absence of any consistent US policy of withholding militarily sensitive technology from China, this bullying of Israel does nothing to enhance American national security.

The Bush people have also smeared AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) by releasing rumors promising an indictment of AIPAC executives for allegedly spying for Israel. Although this investigation has been going on for two years, it has apparently turned up no evidence that AIPAC leaked US military or intelligence secrets to Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel's supporters have become intimidated and reputations have been damaged, with no accountability, no apology and no punishment for those officials who did the smearing. The administration has offered no explanation concerning why the FBI has diverted investigative resources and personnel desperately needed for the war on terrorism to an investigation of a loyal ally in this war, its American supporters and a patriotic US official (not Jewish) suspected of leaking non-sensitive information to AIPAC.

The Bush people have pressed Israel to exclude from its purely defensive security fence many Israeli communities outside the 1949 armistice lines, popularly known as the "Green Line" (which was never an internationally recognized border between Israel and the still-nonexistent Palestinian state), in order to appease Arab opposition to the security barrier. And administration officials have said that the Israeli communities outside the US-approved route of the fence will have to be "dismantled" and "evacuated".

Construction of the fence has been slowed to a crawl by American interference, placing hundreds of thousands of Israeli lives at risk. Bush has demanded that Israel move the route of the security fence to about a mile from Israel's only international civilian airport, at Lod, within easy range of shoulder-fired missiles fired by terrorists from the Arab side of the "green line."

American law provides for extradition of terrorists who kill American citizens while abroad. This law has been enforced in all cases except when Arab terrorists killed American Jews in Israel. Attorney Nathan Lewin testified on November 20, 2002 before the US Senate about the discrimination by Bush's officials against American Jewish victims of Arab terror.

In particular, he described the case of young David Boim, an American citizen killed by Hamas terrorists who were later briefly detained, but soon freed, by the Palestinian Authority. The State Department failed to demand the extradition of Boim's killers to the US, where they could be tried for the murder of an American citizen.

Attorney Lewin documented the consistent run-around he received from American officials who refused to follow US extradition laws fairly when American Jews are victims. Arab terrorists have killed dozens of American Jews, but not one killer has been extradited to America for trial by the Bush administration. Bush's double-standard policy of demanding Israeli 'restraint' in the face of a massive Palestinian terror offensive over the past four-and-a-half years has cost Israel over a thousand dead and thousands wounded, many of them hideously maimed and severely disabled for life.

Proportionate to its population, Israel has suffered the equivalent of 60,000 American dead and hundreds of thousands badly wounded - many times worse than our own 9/11. Bush showed little appreciation for Israeli sacrifices in blood and economic damage when he forced Israel to "show restraint" in its operations against the Palestinian terrorists, in order to protect American interests in the Arab countries.

Israel has been our most loyal and most helpful ally in the war with the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. But when Bush praises and thanks 'coalition' countries for their help, Israel is always missing from the list. Its contributions to the protecting and supplying of American soldiers in Iraq, including the existence of American supply bases in Israel, are being kept secret. This failure to publicly acknowledge Israel's contributions has helped to foster a widespread misimpression that Israel is a burden and liability to the United States, and that it receives US assistance solely to appease a supposedly all-powerful American Jewish "lobby".

In reality, Israel's assistance to America's intelligence about the Middle East, to the development of cutting-edge military technology for our armed forces, to the training in anti-terrorist and counterinsurgency warfare for our soldiers in Iraq, and to our military logistics for re-supplying them, have been worth their weight in American gold many times over.

George Bush is actually following a long-standing American practice, in that Arab oil distorts our Middle East policy. We sometimes treat our enemies better than our friends, as is the case with back-stabbers France and Saudi Arabia. We should not be surprised when other governments conclude that in some cases it is more profitable to be the enemy of America rather than a friend.

[Bertram Cohen and John Landau contributed research and reporting to this article.]