Commentary Magazine


Camp David

To the Editor:

With regard to Robert W. Tucker’s article, “Behind Camp David” [November 1978], if the administration were truly desirous of a comprehensive settlement, it would take a comprehensive view of the war begun May 15, 1948 with the Arab invasion of Palestine aimed at rendering Israel a stillborn state. And such a comprehensive view of this thirty-years’ war would preclude prejudicial denunciations of Israel—denunciations akin to condemning the victim of a mugger for defending himself. . . .

The only way one can account for . . . the ease with which terms like . . . “illegal settlements,” “occupied territories,” “obstacle to peace” are bandied about by Washington . . . is by application of that corollary to Occam’s Razor: when two (or more) parties are in dispute and one of the parties is a Jew, the Jew is to blame.

Obviously the administration is not the least interested in a comprehensive view of the war. . . . All it is concerned about is obtaining withdrawal of Israel to the June 4, 1967 lines.

It is time that the administration was called to account. And part of the accounting might observe that when Arab states grabbed chunks of Palestine there was no outcry; the outcry began only when Israel gained defensible cease-fire lines (precisely the same character as the 1949 borders) in response to continued warfare.

To the extent that Mr. Tucker has any confidence that the Carter administration will help achieve Middle East peace, he is indulging in fantasy. The caveat at the conclusion of the article, putting in doubt the administration’s commitment to an Egypt-Israel peace, is the reality. . . .

David R. Zukerman
Bronx, New York

_____________

 

To the Editor:

In the conclusion of his article, Robert W. Tucker asks the question: will the results of Camp David prove lasting?

While speculation in the media has centered on the reaction of other Arab states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, it may be noteworthy that in Israel, at the time of the negotiations and afterward, speculation centered on whether Sadat or his eventual replacement could be trusted to fulfill Egypt’s side of the bargain. In other words, the Israelis are worried . . . that the peace agreement struck at Camp David may not prove lasting.

While Mr. Tucker’s brilliant thesis is accurate in assigning America a leading role in the responsibility for making this agreement permanent, the Israelis, as I learned on a recent trip to Israel during the Camp David talks, are also skeptical about the will of the United States to commit its influence and power. . . .

Another point that should be commented upon is Mr. Tucker’s hope that the bureaucratic opposition to a U.S. shift favoring a separate peace will atrophy. It would appear to be wishful thinking to expect Mr. Brzezinski’s hostility to Israel to subside enough for him to abandon his efforts for a comprehensive settlement in which the Palestinians would play a dominant role. It is my understanding that the President followed a Middle East policy precisely as laid out by his National Security Council chief, and that during the Camp David talks the Israelis were appalled by the latter’s attitude.

Bernard L. Yollick
Dallas, Texas

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