The Uncertain Alliance: The U.S. and Israel from Kennedy to the Peace Process

The Uncertain Alliance: The U.S. and Israel from Kennedy to the Peace Process

The Uncertain Alliance: The U.S. and Israel from Kennedy to the Peace Process

The Uncertain Alliance: The U.S. and Israel from Kennedy to the Peace Process

Synopsis

This critical examination of American-Israeli relations from the last year of the Kennedy administration to the last year of Bill Clinton's tenure in office is a companion volume to Herbert Druks' previous book The Uncertain Friendship: The U.S. and Israel from Roosevelt to Kennedy. Based on extensive research of archival sources and interviews of those who made this history happen, such as Harry S. Truman, Averell Harriman, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yitzhak Shamir, this study provides a challenging examination of key events and issues during the last three decades, including JFK and Israel's nuclear research, Johnson and the Six Day War, Kissinger-Nixon and the Yom Kippur War, the rescue at Entebbe, Begin's decision to liberate Lebanon from the PLO, Bush and Iraq and the "Land for Peace" formula.

Excerpt

The history of Israel is a history of a struggle for survival. the first volume of this study dealt with the years from Franklin D. Roosevelt to the first years of John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Throughout those years, Israel sought the friendship of the United States, but that friendship was uncertain. President Harry S Truman extended recognition and eventually loans to Israel, but he maintained an arms embargo. Dwight D. Eisenhower, his successor, concentrated his efforts at winning the confidence of such third world nations as the Arabs. When Israel defended itself against Arab attacks, the Eisenhower administration led in the condemnation of Israel and threatened to cut off all aid to Israel. At the same time, Eisenhower warned the Russians that the United States would not tolerate any unilateral intervention in the Middle East on Russia’s part.

Kennedy broke from Eisenhower’s approach. While Kennedy tried to maintain a friendly policy towards all the states of the Middle East, he was persuaded that the balance of power had been shattered by Russia’s shipment of arms to such Arab states as Egypt. He broke from the Truman-Eisenhower policies of not supplying Israel with arms. President Kennedy approved the sale to Israel of the Hawk antiaircraft missile system. He also supported the Israeli water development project and concluded that it was impossible for Israel to repatriate all the Palestinian Arab refugees. If Israel would do so, there would be no more Jewish state in Israel, but just another one of more than two dozen Arab states. Kennedy remained deeply concerned with the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and while he was committed to Israel’s revival, he did not provide Israel the “alliance” it desired.

Israel found that President Lyndon B. Johnson was likewise sympathetic and supportive of Israel. While President Johnson tried to dis-

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