Friday, July 31, 2020

Independent national security policy, the Ben-Gurion legacy - by Yoram Ettinger

While David Ben-Gurion’s defiance caused occasional short-term tension, which undermined Israel’s popularity, he earned long-term respect for himself and for his country.

Yoram Ettinger..
30 July '20..

The legacy of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, contradicts conventional wisdom. It rejects the assumption that a White House “green light” is a prerequisite for the application of Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.

Ben-Gurion’s May 14, 1948, Declaration of Independence was not preconditioned upon a “green light” from President Truman. Ben-Gurion demonstrated independence of national security action in defiance of the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Furthermore, President Truman was irresolute until the day of the declaration, while the U.S. Mission to the United Nations was preoccupied with rounding up votes for a U.N. Trusteeship in Palestine (instead of an independent Jewish state).

Moreover, Ben-Gurion applied Israeli law to areas in the Galilee, coastal plain, the Negev and Jerusalem—which were acquired during Israel’s War of Independence, expanding Israel’s land by 30 percent—in defiance of a glaring “red light” from the White House and the entire foreign policy and national security establishment in Washington, D.C.

According to James McDonald, the first U.S. Ambassador to Israel: “[Ben-Gurion] warned President Truman and the US Department of State that they would be gravely mistaken if they assumed that the threat, or even the use of sanctions, would force Israel to yield on issues considered vital to its independence and security…. Much as Israel desired friendship with the US, there were limits beyond which it could not go. Israel could not yield at any point which, in its judgement, would threaten its independence or its security. The very fact that Israel was a small state made more necessary the scrupulous defense of its own interests; otherwise, it would be lost”

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