Fmr. Israeli NSC Chief: Time to say “no, we can’t” to Obama’s “appeasing and one-sided” policy [CORRECTED]
CORRECTION: A reader was quick to point out that Uzi Dayan is a the former head of the National Security Council. The current one being Uzi Arad. See this link for more. Although active in the Likud, Dayan apparently carries no current official position, which of course greatly reduces the importance of his statements. My apologies — my only excuse, though it isn’t a good one, is that the interviewer, one of Israel’s most important journalists, also made the mistake and Dayan did not correct him.
“President Obama and Hillary Clinton have toed the line and have adopted a patently Palestinian line. We’re talking about something that is diseased and insane. The situation is catastrophic. We have a problem with a very, very hostile administration. There’s never been anything like this before. Even veteran officials who tended to the relations with the United States say that there’s never been an administration like this one before. This president wants to establish the Palestinian state and he wants to give them Jerusalem.”
“We’ve got a real problem. You could say that Obama is the greatest disaster for Israel, a strategic disaster. It isn’t only Israel that is worried about Obama, but leaders throughout the entire world are worried about him: Merkel, Berlusconi, even the Russians. Obama is damaging to the State of Israel, no matter which leader is facing him.”
Judging by the interview his National Security Council chief, Major General (Res.) Uzi Dayan, gave to IDF Radio this morning (March 31 2010), Netanyahu was criticizing the tone, not substance. Here’s some of what Dayan had to say (full transcript below):
In our case, we should tell the US President, “no, we can’t” because you start addressing issues that do not only stand for Israeli interests and values, and we are not only right about them, but we are also wise because they do not benefit the issue at hand. [...]
Furthermore, we have a real crisis with the US policy because it is appeasing and one-sided.[...]
Look, I believe he [Netanyahu] is saying that [also], but he is justifiably more cautious than I am. I believe that the stand I am expressing here is not only the Likud view, but it is actually upheld by the majority in the Septet [Netanyahu's kitchen cabinet] and I believe that the prime minister would agree with the things I said here too.
IDF Radio, March 31 2010 09:13 [Click here to listen to recording]
Narrator Razi Barkai: We wish to discuss these issues with Uzi Dayan, a major general in the reserves, former [IDF] deputy chief of staff, and current head of the National Security Council (NSC) and, I must say, No. 42 on the Likud Knesset list. Good morning, Mr. Dayan. We should not have been surprised. At the conclusion of the Taba talks of 2002, we had the Clinton paper in which he said something that all the American presidents since adopted — whatever is Arab, is Palestinian; and whatever is Jewish, is Israeli — and he was referring to Jerusalem. Why are we stunned when it suddenly happens again?
Dayan: We are not stunned, but it is simply time for us to say, “no.” Every nation has moments when it has to say “no” even to its friends, including strategic friends. I think it is time for us to tell the USA and mainly its President, “no more.”
Barkai: Listen, [Haaretz correspondent] Ari Shavit said — and this has not yet been stated publically, except if it were raised in meetings one-on-one — that if you say “no” to the Americans (and you will soon tell us what we say “no” to), the Americans can start taking very small, secret, and painful steps such as, for example, delaying all kinds of weapon shipment, start questioning the $3 billion in aid we receive every year, or start poking us with all kids of small knives on international arenas such as the United Nations. Does this not bother you?
Dayan: Of course it does. The USA is not only our primary strategic ally, but it also has the power [to do these things]. That is correct. Still, even among friends there are lines you do not cross, which we should say politely but clearly. In our case, we should tell the US President, “no, we can’t” because you start addressing issues that do not only stand for Israeli interests and values, and we are not only right about them, but we are also wise because they do not benefit the issue at hand.
Look, there were two prominent leaders in our history who said “no” to the United States: Ben-Gurion, when he decided to declare Israel’s independence even though Washington was against it; and Menachem Begin, when facing that trilogy of the bombing of the Iraqi reactor, the attack in Lebanon, and the annexation of the Golan Heights. Now, we reached this state of affairs, which is not joyous of course, but a nation should know when to say “no.” Furthermore, we have a real crisis with the US policy because it is appeasing and one-sided. Look, what happened recently? We agreed to the solution of two states for two nations even though the Palestinians refused to acknowledge the right of the Jewish nation and despite the situation in Gaza, which lends itself at best to three states for two nations; and I am being cynical here. In addition, we froze construction works in Judea and Samaria, which was never done before; and we agreed to hold indirect negotiations with US involvement. Let me remind you that when I was personally involved in the process, the Americans were not even in the room with us.
Barkai: So what are we saying no to — the Jerusalem issue?
Dayan: Yes, to the Jerusalem issue. You know what? Let me add something here. What did we gain from making these concessions? We only received more and more demands. It is time for us to say “no” and insist on negotiations without preconditions. As for Jerusalem…it is so self evident.
Barkai: The Americans say to that: Great! Let’s go for direct negotiations without preconditions, but as we discuss the negotiations and while we conduct them, not facts shall be established on the ground. One of those facts established, which the Palestinians find incredibly intolerable, is construction in Jerusalem. You want to come to the table and say Jerusalem is entirely ours, and the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem are ours, and Jerusalem will remain ours in the permanent agreement? Fine. But do not establish facts while you are negotiating.
Dayan: The negotiations will determine what will be established in the negotiations. This is why it is called direct negotiations — that is, they are held directly, between us and the Palestinians, and without preconditions. The situation requires that we make such a statement. The Israeli public is waiting for it. Our US friends, not only the Jews but also Administration members, will support it. The President’s people will accept it. Why? Because it is not only just, but it is also the right thing to do so as to advance in the process.
Barkai: When you say that it is time to say “no” to the Americans, do you feel this morning that the prime minister — who represents you on both the ideological and the partisan level — is too weak? Did he not say “no” as decisively as you would expect him to?
Dayan: Look, I believe he is saying that, but he is justifiably more cautious than I am. I believe that the stand I am expressing here is not only the Likud view, but it is actually upheld by the majority in the Septet [Netanyahu's kitchen cabinet] and I believe that the prime minister would agree with the things I said here too.
Barkai: Major General (Res.) Uzi Dayan, thank you very much.