US official said that due to Likud’s election, chances for peace looked bleak at the time.
24 May '10
US president Jimmy Carter’s administration tried to undermine prime minister Menachem Begin’s government from the moment he got elected in 1977, documents published by Yediot Aharonot over the weekend reveal.
The newspaper published a letter written to Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski by the head of the Mideast desk on the council, William Quandt, the day after Begin’s landmark first election victory, whose 33rd anniversary was marked by the Likud last week.
In the letter, Quandt suggests not putting too much pressure on Begin at first and “allowing him to make his own mistakes” that would encourage Israelis to elect a more dovish prime minister in a year or two. It shows how the Carter administration interpreted the transfer of power from Left to Right as temporary when, in hindsight, the Center-Right has been in power for all but six of the last 33 years.
“Much of our strategy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict has been predicated on the assumption that a strong and moderate Israeli government would at some point be able to make difficult decisions on territory and on the Palestinians,” Quandt wrote Brzezinski. “Now we face the prospect of a very weak coalition, a prolonged period of uncertainty, and an Israeli leadership which may be significantly more assertive in its policies concerning the West Bank, Palestinians, settlements and nuclear weapons.”
Quandt said that due to Begin’s election victory, chances for Middle East peace looked bleak. He cautioned against appearing to interfere in Israeli politics, but suggested doing just that.
“We should do nothing in public to indicate disappointment with the Likud victory,” he wrote. “Instead, we should continue to talk of the importance of [the peace process], the requirements of a comprehensive peace, and the need for flexibility.
“By our actions, we do not want to increase support for Begin, which might occur if we reassess our policy too quickly,” Quandt wrote.
“At the same time, Israeli voters should know that a hard-line government will not find it easy to manage the US-Israel relationship.
(Read full story)
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England....So many thoughts
2 days ago