In recent weeks, the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic accord has seemed as distant as ever, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to refuse compromise on territory, while Hamas continues to reject talks altogether. However, US leaders, chief among them U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, continue to exert strong pressure aimed at getting Israel and the PA to sign a diplomatic agreement.
The U.S. needs to take a serious look at history before continuing on its current path, former ambassador and Mideast expert Yoram Ettinger has warned.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Ettinger recalled a long string of American diplomatic and military failures in the Middle East – and warned that current U.S. policy could make Israel the latest in a chain of mistakes.
The most recent U.S. failure in the region pertains to Iraq, he said. Those Israelis who are impressed that dozens of top American defense experts were involved in creating a plan to safeguard Israeli security in case of a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria should keep in mind that the same experts planned America’s involvement in Iraq, he warned.
That plan has exploded before the eyes of the world with the latest wave of bloody terrorism to hit the country, he said.
America’s approach to Israel was mistaken from the time of Israel’s creation, he said. The State Department and CIA opposed the creation of the Jewish state, which they believed would become a pro-Soviet entity – if it was not first wiped out by invading Arab armies.
“They put a weapons embargo on the region, while Britain supplied weapons to Egypt, Jordan and Iraq,” Ettinger said.
As time went on, the U.S. first pressured Israel not to include the Negev and western Jerusalem in its territory, then “vigorously courted the Egyptian tyrant Nasser… who undermined the pro-American policy in the Persian Gulf, and grew progressively closer to the communists in Moscow,” he continued.
The U.S. also supported the Islamic revolution in Iran, then supported Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein until his invasion of Kuwait, Ettinger said. PLO head Yasser Arafat was welcome in the White House, and American leaders – including Kerry – treated Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as a peace-seeking leader with whom Israel should negotiate, until the bloody Syrian civil war ended their support.
Ettinger listed other failures of American policy as well, including Hamas’ ascent to power in Gaza – which followed American pressure to include the terrorist group in PA elections – the Muslim Brotherhood’s status in Egypt, and the violence in Libya following the American-backed overthrow of the previous government in that country.
“Whoever is impressed by the opinions given by American Secretaries of State and Presidents should look at their track records,” Ettinger urged. Doing so “will make him think twice about following their recommendations,” he concluded.