Good evening ladies and gentleman and welcome to THE ADVOCATES, the PBS Fight of the Week.
Tonight's debate is coming to you from Boston's historic Faneuil Hall.
Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please.
Moderator Evan Semerjian has just called tonight's meeting to order.
Good evening and welcome to THE ADVOCATES. Tonight we examine a proposal that would
involve the United States in a Middle East settlement, and specifically, our question is this: Should the United
States press for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and offer to guarantee Israel's security? Advocate
Lincoln Bloomfield says, "Yes." Mr. Bloomfield?
To speed a settlement in the Middle East the United States must press for major Israeli
withdrawals from occupied Arab territories linked to a firm U.S. guarantee of Israel's security. With me tonight
are Professor William Griffith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor William Polk of the
Adlai Stevenson Institute and the University of Chicago.
Advocate William Rusher says, "No."
Tonight's proposal would strip Israel of any real hope of defending itself and then
substitute for that hope an American promise to start World War III if necessary to preserve the Israeli state.
With me tonight to argue against such multiple folly are Mr. Edward Luttwak, Military Consultant and author, and
Professor Uri Ra'anan of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Thank you, gentlemen. By way of introduction let me first say that Lincoln Bloomfield, who
makes his first appearance as an advocate tonight, is a veteran of the State Department and is currently a
Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. William Rusher, a familiar face to
ADVOCATES viewers, is a syndicated columnist, and that column, incidentally, is called the "Conservative
Advocate." And now, before get on to the cases, let me give a few words to you of background to tonight's
question. This week formal talks should begin in Geneva between Israel and her Arab neighbors. The fact that talks
will be taking place at all is a hopeful sign, but even with the willingness of both sides to settle by
negotiation differences that have been a cause of intermittent war for a quarter of a century there are many
obstacles to reaching a negotiated settlement. Tonight we focus on one of these, the issue of territory. The Arab
states seek the return of territories lost in war with Israel as a condition for peaceful settlement. Israel,
while willing to return much of the captured Arab lands, insists that any settlement must leave her with military
secure boundaries and that implies retaining some of the territory the Arab states want returned. Tonight's
proposal of U.S. military guarantees for Israel is offered as a way of meeting both the Arab requirement that lost
territories be returned and the Israeli requirement that her security not be jeopardized. Under the proposal the
United States would press Israel to withdraw from occupied territories, thus satisfying the Arab demands and
providing the conditions for peaceful settlement. And the United States, by formal treaty, would guarantee the
security of Israel against aggression. That is the proposal and what is implied by tonight's question. Should the
United States press for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and offer to guarantee Israel's security?
Now, before we begin I want to emphasize that neither side tonight proposes wavering from the declared policy of
support for Israel which has been followed by every administration since the founding of Israel in 1948. And now
to the cases. Mr. Bloomfield, the floor is yours.
In four bloody rounds of warfare in 26 years everyone has surely learned that there will
be no peace in the Middle East unless three conditions are met: First, major Israeli withdrawals from occupied
Arab lands; Second, some tangible recognition of Palestinian nationality; Third, some formula for
internationalizing the holy places of Jerusalem. It's painfully clear that if a settlement is not reached this
time another round of fighting is inevitable with far greater consequences for Israelis, for Arabs, and for world
peace. Now the door is open to peace. The U.S. has a chance to use its influence to bring about a peaceful
settlement. I am convinced that this means the United States should press for Israeli withdrawal from occupied
territories and in exchange should offer a firm guarantee of Israel's security. To support me in this approach, my
first witness is William Griffith.
Mr. Griffith, welcome to THE ADVOCATES.
William Griffith is Professor of Political Science at both Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. Mr. Griffith, what will have to change to get a
real peace in the Middle East? What territorial changes, in your opinion, will be required?
In my opinion, Israel will have to withdraw from almost all the occupied territories which
it conquered in 1967. I say almost all because I think that Israel should retain a small strip on the Golan
Heights, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It should retain a part of the Latrun Salient in here, which threatens
the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road. And it should also be given a small part of the previous Arab sector of Jerusalem so
that the Israeli sector of the city will come up to the Wailing Wall.
What about Palestine? What about the Palestinians?
As to the Palestinians, I think that they should have either their own state or be
incorporated in Jordan as they wish. They should be given reparations for their lost property, a limited number
should be allowed to return to Israel, and the United States should participate in a major fashion in indemnifying
them for their losses.
Now, how would such an arrangement actually improve Israel's security? Wouldn't it make
her more vulnerable? Would this proposal head off another war or not?
Let me first say that such a proposal would, in addition to the internationalization of
the holy city of Jerusalem, it would involve a de-militarized zone on both sides of these boundaries with the
United Nations peacekeeping force in this zone to separate the Israelis and the Arabs physically, and an American
veto over this force being withdrawn.
What are American interests here, Mr. Griffith? What are our objectives in playing this
active role in the Mid-east? Why is it in our interest to pursue this kind of policy?
First and most important, to keep the peace, for without it another war is inevitable;
secondly, to contain Soviet influence in the Middle East, which otherwise will increase; thirdly, to give more
security for Israel than it now has; and fourthly, to end the oil Arab limitation and the oil boycott, for if this
is not ended; Western Europe and Japan will rush into depression and political instability, the United States will
rush into recession, and we will be isolated from our allies on an issue so crucial for their economic security
and our political and economic security.
What about U.S.-Soviet relations?
U.S.-Soviet relations, I would argue, by this will be improved since the danger of war
will be much less, and moreover, it will be America which will gain in the Arab world and keep its influence in
Now, what kind of influence or pressures might be necessary, and should the United States
actually employ them?
I think the United States should attempt-- indeed, I think it is already attempting to
persuade Israel that this move is in its best interest and that the alternative to it is a constantly increasing
series of wars with greater and devastating Israeli casualties and our involvement. If that does not work,
however, and it probably will not, I think the United States will have to use its military aid to Israel as a
means of pressure for bringing this about, for the United States in the last analysis must make an American
definition and not an Israeli definition, or an Arab definition, of what it sees as essential for its security in
the Middle East and for peace in the world. From this point of view, therefore, I argue, the case for withdrawal
and guarantees is overwhelming.
All right, that's very interesting. Thank you very much. Let's hear now from Mr. Rusher,
who has some questions for you.
Professor Griffith, I agree entirely with what you've just stated to be your central
objective, which is an American policy in the American interest and in the interest of peace for it and for the
world. But I'd like to talk to you, if I may, about how this extraordinary proposal is going to have that effect.
In return for this very substantial withdrawal of Israeli forces that you have described to substantially the
pre-1967 boundaries, the Israelis, I gather, are to receive a guarantee from the United States, is that
Yes, that's correct.
And what is this guarantee to consist of? What will we do hereafter if they're
We will do what we would always have done in any case and what we should have done in any
case, which is to prevent by American military force if necessary the physical destruction of Israel.
American military force, if necessary. Now, that means, I take it, that we are going to be
committed by a treaty, I take it, a Senate-approved treaty, is that right, to go to the aid of Israel with
American force, with American troops, American Navy, Air and ground, if need be, is that correct?
I assume that you would agree with me, Mr. Rusher, that we would have done so in 1970, or
at any other time when Israel was threatened.
Not at all. Mr. Griffith, if you assume that, you'll assume anything.
Then I assume that you are prepared to surrender the security of the state of Israel to
its destruction. I am not.
I'm trying to find out what you're prepared to do. Are you prepared to embark upon World
War III in order to guarantee the minimal borders of Israel that you described or not?
I'm prepared to use American military force to preserve the security of Israel.
Are you prepared to answer my question?
That is my answer.
Will there be, if necessary. World War III in order to guarantee those borders?
There will much more likely be World War III if we do not carry out my proposal.
Whether it is likely one way or the other, if those borders are violated, and World War
III is necessary to preserve them, you recommend World War III.
No, I do not recommend World War III.
What do you recommend in that case?
Because in the first place I argue, as I did before, that we would always have guaranteed
militarily the borders of Israel, and secondly I argue that only by this proposal, by a formal treaty commitment,
will we convince the Arabs that they dare not violate this border...
While with your refusal to accept a formal commitment, you are encouraging the Arabs to
violate the border and the Soviets to support them.
I may be doing a great many things with my policy, but it is your proposal that we are
studying tonight. And your proposal either does or does not contemplate a third World War if necessary.
It does not contemplate it. It is, in fact, necessary to prevent it.
Then I must ask Mr. Bloomfield whether or not his witness is correctly describing his
position. I understood that the guarantee that you were speaking about earlier was a guarantee of all military
support necessary. Is Mr. Griffith...
Well, rather than put a question to Mr. Bloomfield, let me ask you this, Mr. Griffith. Is
there any limit to the kind of aid under a treaty that you contemplate?
You mean any limit to the military?
Such military aid as would be necessary to preserve the security of Israel. That has been
That has been our policy since 1948. I'm not proposing to change it.
Including nuclear weapons?
If that became necessary, it would be used before.
If it becomes necessary, yes. Including nuclear weapons.
I see no reason to assume that it would become necessary.
I didn't say you did, but if nonetheless it became necessary, you would be prepared to use
I do not think it would become necessary, and therefore I see no reason to propose
Answer the question. Mr. Semerjian, will you ask him to answer the question.
Well, I think he has answered your question in that he doesn't believe it will become
necessary, but I think he was giving you a qualified yes that if it did, he would so employ it.
If he is giving me a qualified yes, I will accept a qualified yes. This proposes World War
III if necessary. Let's take this U.N. force on the border. How wide is this U.N. corridor, cordon sanitaire, to
I don't know exactly. I should think that it would require several miles at least.
Several miles at least. On both sides, the Israeli and the other side?
And in that entire stretch between Haifa and Tel Aviv, where the actual borders of the sea
and of the state of Israel are about eight miles apart, how much of those eight miles do you want to be U.N.
It's not eight miles.
It is eight miles.
It's considerably more.
I beg your pardon.
And you would not need as much of that place.
How much would you need?
I don't know exactly.
You don't know. In other words...
That's, after all, a specific military question.
What I am arguing is that if you wish to prevent another war, you must physically separate
All right, one brief question and answer, please.
And if the Arabs, nonetheless, did attack across this border of indefinite size, which you
claim the United Nations would be protecting, how long would it take them to get to the major cities of
That would depend who attacked...
I'm talking about the Arabs with tanks.
I don't see any reason to assume that they would get to the major cities of Israel because
they are not likely to attack...
Mr. Semerjian, I'm afraid Mr. Griffith declines to accept any assumption except his
All right, let's go back to Mr. Bloomfield for a question.
Mr. Griffith, what, in your opinion, would be the result of not reaching a settlement, due
in part to the failure of the United States to act and use its influence now?
It would make it much more probable, what Mr. Rusher says that he's trying to avoid, World
War III, because it is only by convincing the Arabs and the Soviets that they need have no doubt that we would
protect Israel that we can prevent another war, which might mean the destruction of Israel and could mean World
War III. Mr. Rusher's proposal--or rather, his resistance to our proposal--is in fact bringing about what he so,
in my opinion, incorrectly claims he's trying to prevent.
All right, Mr. Rusher, do you want to try again?
I will try one more time, Mr. Semerjian.
You are proposing, Mr. Griffith, a guarantee.
I am proposing a formalization of the guarantee which already exists.
A guarantee, nonetheless.
No more than the guarantee we now have except that it is in treaty form.
There is either a guarantee or there is not. Is there going to be a guarantee?
Is there going to be?
There will be now and...
And will there be a guarantee of as much military force as necessary to defend Israel,
including nuclear weapons?
No more than there is now.
Answer the question.
That's my answer: no more than there is now.
That is not the answer.
Well, Mr. Griffith, I must say that when you say that, everybody has a different notion of
what there is now. Now, Mr. Rusher is trying to find out from you to what extent are you willing to commit the
United States in the form of a treaty? And what is the answer to that question?
It is my argument that we should formally commit the United States by treaty to what, in
fact, it is committed now, no more and no less: the prevention of the destruction of the state of Israel.
By any means necessary, is that right?
No more and no less than we are now committed. We are now committed by any means
Evidently, Mr. Semerjian...
All right, thank you, Mr. Griffith, for being with us tonight. Mr. Bloomfield.
Professor Griffith has given his suggestions for the possible shape of an agreement. Now,
for my next witness, I call William Polk.
Mr. Polk, welcome to THE ADVOCATES.
Mr. Polk is President of the Adlai Stevenson Institute and Professor of Middle Eastern
History at the University of Chicago. Mr. Polk, why is it so important for the United States to press now for a
settlement in the Middle East?
I think we simply can't afford to return to a situation of armed troops. The Israelis, to
take them first, lost approximately one tenth of 1 percent of their population in the recent war. That is more
people, proportional to their population, than we lost in the entire Vietnam war. The Egyptians, on their side,
have suffered very grievous damage and are caught in a spiral of poverty and underdevelopment which world peace
and decency demands be broken. As far as I can figure out, there is no possible way of employing an arms embargo
short of true peace. And lastly, it seems to me quite clear that if we go back into a situation of armed truce,
there will be another war and the next war will be nuclear.
How can peace be sold to both sides in the Middle East, Mr. Polk?
Well, I think the most important thing of all is that we must attempt to create what might
be called a negotiating climate, that that is really the true role of us on the outside, that we must try, in so
far as we can, to help the more statesmanlike and constructive of the people on each side to move toward a
situation in which they are responsibly protecting their national interests. That means, above all else that we
recognize that the negotiating situation is not unlike all negotiating situations, that the people who sit on each
side of the table must not only agree with one another, but must be able to go home and sell to their own
constituents what they have agreed to.
What is the importance of the security treaty we speak of here?
Well, I think the most important aspect of all of this is the impact on the domestic
politics, on the negotiating climate, again, if you will, of each side. I don't happen to believe that the
security guarantee is a major new step of any kind. As Mr. Griffith points out, it is in fact a formal
codification of a situation which has existed de facto in American politics since 1948. But I do believe that the
symbolic impact of that on the negotiating situation makes it more easy for the statesmen on both sides to go home
and show their constituents that they are in fact operating in a statesmanlike way.
Well, in that connection, what do both sides actually have to gain from this
I think both sides have a very great deal to gain; in fact, the whole world community has.
Israel's most important single national objective is to be accepted in the Middle East neighborhood, and only if
that is accomplished does it have any real, long-term security. On their side, the Egyptians who have suffered
grievously from a past of neglect and poverty have almost everything to gain by a true achievement of peace in
which a serious attack can be made on the problems of a burgeoning population, of poverty, and of the destruction
of part of their environment. Of course the Palestinians have a great deal to gain in the sense of the recognition
of their nationhood. And the whole world community has to get out from under the shadow of this terrible,
destructive fear and danger of warfare.
One very brief question.
Could you sum up for us very briefly why you support this proposal?
It seems to me the most important thing about the proposal is that this is an opportunity
for peace. It probably will not remain an opportunity very long, and everything must be done to bring it to a
head. Responsible politicians on both sides must be encouraged and helped to do what they must do to protect their
nations, and we on the outside must help them to achieve that degree of flexibility which alone will make
negotiations really possible.
All right, thank you, Mr. Bloomfield. Mr. Rusher, your witness.
Mr. Polk, you spoke of the proposal that is made, at least by Mr. Bloomfield tonight if
not by Mr. Griffith, as formalizing , or codifying, what has been American policy since 1948, is that
Is it your impression that the United States has been informally committed since 1948 to
nuclear warfare with the Soviet Union if necessary in order to defend the borders of Israel?
I believe that it is very likely that any American government would have been pushed in
It would have been pushed. I'm asking you whether that has been the informal policy of the
government of the United States?
I don't believe that the policy, per se, was ever codified in that sense.
I didn't say it was. I said "informally."
Yes, sir, I believe it has been...
Do you think that the American people have known since 1948 that they were committed
informally to nuclear warfare for the sake of the state of Israel?
I think that every American government has made it very clear that it would defend
Do you think that this is the policy approved and known to be approved by the people of
the United States?
And therefore when it is to be codified, it will consist of no more, but it will now be a
codified commitment, will it not, to go, if necessary, to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union on behalf of the
borders of Israel?
I think your continued emphasis on nuclear warfare is an impossible formulation of the
question, if I may. I'm not trying to avoid your question.
What's so impossible about it?
Impossible in the sense that all American commitments throughout the world, including the
NATO treaty, the Southeast Asia treaty, the CENTO treaty and so forth, have talked about the use of force to
defend the treaty obligation. It has been certainly the policy of every American administration to use what force
was necessary to defend Israel. Everyone may question when one finally reaches the issue of whether it's nuclear
warfare or not what the final decision will be, and I don't believe that any American President would take your
codification of an a priori, pre-determined decision on that.
Mr. Polk, there is either a policy or there isn't. Now, I do not necessarily expect that
everything that happens in the Middle East will lead to the third World War. I haven't said that. But you and Mr.
Bloomfield and to some ill-defined extent even Mr. Griffith are attempting to lead the United States into a
codification of a policy. You have revealed to us that this is a policy that in your opinion has contemplated, at
least tangentially, nuclear war since 1948, and that therefore you're not asking for anything different. I suggest
to you, sir, that you have the courage to be candid with this audience and to admit that what you are asking is
something that no American Administration has ever given, that no American Administration would dare face to the
American people or present, and that your own side tonight is running from because it doesn't dare face it
Is that a question?
Yes, it's a question, and it's directed to you.
My answer is very simple: that the policy of the American government since the creation of
the state of Israel in 1948 has been based on the defense of that state. That policy is what I would advocate and
what I believe Mr. Bloomfield's side is advocating tonight, period.
Defense to what extent?
Mr. Kissinger described it a few days ago as defending the integrity of the state of
Israel but not its conquered territory.
Well, Mr. Rusher, are you trying to pin him down...
As to exactly what the military commitment will be?
Yes, I've been trying to do that progressively with a side that has failed miserably to
state what it is presenting to this audience.
Well, let me interrupt for just one second, Mr. Rusher, and get off the nuclear war kick
for just one minute.
It is not a kick, Mr. Semerjian.
Well, however you wish to characterize it.
Let me ask the witness: Mr. Polk, I take it you're advocating a treaty with Israel, a
military treaty, is that right? If the United States entered into such a military treaty with Israel, do you think
the Soviet Union would then enter into such a military treaty with the Arab nations?
What my hope would be, sir, is that a multiparty treaty would be entered into in which a
recognition would be made by each side of the action of the other.
Well, I take it your proposal has no control over what the Soviet Union will do.
My proposal certainly doesn't, but I believe that in the course of negotiations there
would be several conditions put forth.
Go ahead, Mr. Rusher.
When Mr. Tom Wicker of the New York Times warned the other day that this proposal of this
type is precisely the kind of open-ended, possibly uncontrolled, military commitment in a volatile situation that
Vietnam should have taught us to avoid, was he wrong?
No, I don't think an open-ended commitment is wrong. I think what we're all trying to
create, as I suggested, is a climate in which a different kind of situation can be made to arise.
When Mr. Wicker went on to say that the only real guarantee of security Israel could ever
have is a stable and amicable peace with its neighbor, was he wrong?
No, sir, certainly not.
Then what good is a guarantee?
I tried to explain that, sir, in my answer to the question earlier, that it helped to
create a situation in which both sides could in fact work toward peace.
How good are U.S. guarantees in that area anyway? In 1957 Secretary of State Dulles gave
the Israeli ambassador a written guarantee that the United States would assure passage of Israeli ships through
the Strait of Tiran in return for Israel's withdrawal from Sharm el Sheikh. Do you know what happened
One very brief answer.
Yes, sir, I know what happened.
We ran out on the commitment, didn't we?
No, I don't think we did.
All right, I'm going to have to interrupt here. I'm sorry. Let's go to Mr.
As a factual matter, we did not run out on the commitment, and we're prepared to implement
it. Mr. Polk, just to put this issue in better balance, as a lifetime expert on international relations, would you
say that formalizing a treaty commitment to Israel would increase or decrease the chance of a nuclear war between
the United States and the Soviet Union, arising out of a Middle Eastern clash?
It would certainly decrease it.
All right, Mr. Rusher.
Israel, I would submit, can hardly be expected to welcome your proposal for its withdrawal
to these shrunken borders. Would you comment on the following statement of the Foreign Minister: "The acceptance
of such a proposal would amount to a voluntary and complete mutilation of the state in every respect. She would be
completely paralyzed, and from a strategic point of view her position would become extremely difficult. Sooner or
later she would fall." What is your comment?
My comment, sir, is that the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and the government, indeed, as a
whole, has also said that it would be prepared to withdraw from the territories under conditions of peace.
And therefore this statement is a mistaken description of their policy and
I think the question--or the statement--is a statement of a policy given a certain
situation, given no...
Well, you're quite right. It was actually the statement of the Czechoslovak Foreign
Minister in rejecting the idea of British guarantees of the border of Czechoslovakia, which did subsequently
All right, thanks very much. Thank you, Mr. Polk, thanks for being with us tonight. Mr.
We believe, as does the Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, that the United States has a
chance now which may not come again to help achieve a real settlement in the Middle East. To break the dismal
cycle of diplomatic failure that brought suffering to both Arabs and Israelis for a quarter century we need a new
approach, we need new ideas, we need new momentum, and that is tonight's proposal.
Thank you, Mr. Bloomfield. For those of you who may have joined us late, Mr. Bloomfield
and his witnesses have presented the case in favor of a U.S. military pact with Israel to help the chances of
peace in the Middle East. And now for the case against, Mr. Rusher, the floor is yours.
America, and indeed the whole world, has a high stake in peace in the Middle East, hut how
is peace to be achieved? On the one hand there is Israel, supplied by us with weapons and presently occupying
important areas of Arab territory along her own vulnerable borders. On the other are the Arab states determined to
repossess those territories. Surely common sense would tell us to let the two sides negotiate with Israel
ultimately agreeing to draw back from much of her buffer zone in return for a genuine peace with her neighbors.
Tonight's proposal, on the other hand, and I urge you not to be deceived by the desperate attempt to conceal its
real implications that we have seen by the two witnesses tonight, is one of those typically professorial
constructions that seek to dispense with the tedious business of negotiations and the inevitable tensions between
neighbors by two bold strokes: first, Israel is to be compelled by American pressure to withdraw to borders she
rightly considers utterly indefensible, and then America is to stand guard forever over that emasculated Israel,
threatening World War III if necessary if anybody dares to attack it. Bold indeed, and more than a little insane.
To explain why, I call first upon Mr. Edward Luttwak.
Mr. Luttwak, nice to have you with us tonight.
Mr. Luttwak is an author and consultant on military affairs, formerly a resident of
Israel. Mr. Luttwak, tonight's proposal first requires the United States to compel Israel, by threats of
withdrawing our support, to pull back to something very close to her 1967 borders. What will be wrong with that
from Israel's own standpoint?
Well, in the first place it would remove every incentive for the Arabs to make peace
because the one incentive the Arabs have to negotiate seriously is to obtain the return of the territory they held
previously. If you give them back the territory on a platter, the negotiations will be like a fixed ballgame
because everyone will know what the result is.
What if the United States thereupon guarantees these shrunken borders of Israel? Doesn't
that solve Israel's problem nonetheless?
In other words, Israel gives back the territories, the Arabs are not compelled to
negotiate a peace because they've got them anyway, but then the United States steps in and offers a guarantee.
Well, in the first place, the security problems of Israel have been mainly, throughout the period, small border
incidents--there have been three thousand border incidents, or thereabouts, since independence. Now, if the United
States will honor its guarantee, it will have to intervene roughly once or twice a day. If it does not honor the
guarantee, its words will be exposed as hollow within a matter of days of this fixed-up settlement.
And what about the credibility from the Israeli standpoint of the American...?
Well, if you're talking here about a guarantee against a major war--you see, you could
argue that the guarantee would only come in the case of a major war--so then you have the small problem that you
have parts of Israel that are so narrow. This is the squeezed oranges, the 1967 borders of Israel. Here you have
about six miles across; here you have nine miles across. Now, a guarantee for Australia is fine because it would
take about six months for anyone to prepare for an invasion in Australia. But here, the Arabs could prepare,
invade and reach the capital city of Tel Aviv, the centers of the country itself, before you would even have time
to wake up the President of the United States.
What about this famous "buffer zone" of Professor Griffith's? Doesn't that afford
Well, I find it really quite an extraordinary proposal...
Could you talk this way a little, please?
Yes. Well, he was proposing, I take it, a de-militarized zone where both sides would be
forbidden to have military forces for a certain depth. Now, of course, Katyusha rockets travel for about ten miles
or so, so you need at least that much, since you've had about 5,000 Katyusha shot over the border. Now, if you try
to have a ten mile buffer zone here, you just couldn't be able to fit it in, and here it would go right into the
Mediterranean Sea, so you have the United Nations troops gliding over the waves.
Mr. Luttwak, then what is Israel's best hope in your opinion?
I think Israel's best hope for peace is the same as any other country's best hope for
peace, which is to allow the natural military equilibrium to establish borders through conflict, through war,
through negotiations leading to peace, as the borders of every other country have been shaped in the past.
For that purpose they continue to need and will continue to need American military
supplies, is that correct?
So long as the United States is willing to supply one tank for every three tanks the
Russians supply, one plane for every three planes the Russians supply, that will be plenty.
All right, thank you. I'm sorry. Let's go now to Mr. Bloomfield. No, wait a minute. Okay,
that's all right, Mr. Bloomfield, go ahead with your questions.
Just a factual point. Of course no one, including the Arabs, is now asking for withdrawal
before negotiations. Mr. Luttwak, on the border issue, the issue of defensible borders, how did Israel's post-1967
borders, all of that extra land, protect her better last October than the shrunken borders protected her in
Well, in the first eighteen hours of the war the Syrians penetrated to a depth of
approximately 19 miles; superimposed on the pre-1967 borders, that would have been right into an area of about
100,000 -- they would have reached 100,000 civilians whose fate I would not like to contemplate.
How long did the 1967 war last, Mr. Luttwak?
The 1967 war lasted for six days because...
With small borders. And how long did the 1973 war last with the large borders, Mr.
Ah, yes, it is true of course that although they were attacked by surprise, it took the
Israelis all of three weeks to get the Arabs to a position where they had to beg for a ceasefire to bail them out.
I know three weeks is a long time.
But what about casualties? How about the casualties in the 1967 war with very small
borders, the casualties in the 1973 war with great big, defensible borders?
The 1973 war was a general Arab war like the 1948 war. In 1948 Israel lost one percent of
its population. In 1973 it lost one-tenth of one percent. The reason was exclusively the fact that you have room
in which to withdraw and room to maneuver. Without this room you'd be fighting Syrian tanks in the streets of
Tiberias and Egyptian tanks in the streets of Tel Aviv.
Mr. Luttwak, I understood you to say that this would be dealt with through conflict and
other normal measures--the word "normal" was not yours, but the word "conflict" was yours. Do you think Israel can
stand another round of fighting? What weapons would likely be used in the fifth round?
Well, I think that neither side wants to have another round of fighting. After
But I heard you say through conflict they would continue to deal with their
the Israelis are now 20 miles from Syria, they're 60 miles from Cairo, and if another
round of fighting--this gives a major disincentive to the Arabs not to start another round of fighting. The
Israelis also have a disincentive not to start another round, and it is through the acceptance of the military
reality that you move to peace, as has happened all over the world everywhere. The people interfere and fix the
ballgame every time the result is coming out...
Do you still assume that the Arabs wish to annihilate Israel, that that is their
objective, Mr. Luttwak?
I am not an expert on these matters. I am only a nuts and bolts man, but I will draw your
attention to the fact that the editor of the Lebanese newspaper Al Nahar is in prison for having revealed the
secret conclusions of the Algiers conference, in which it was said in the first stage we will get back the 1967
territories, in the second stage we will get back the rest. He is in jail, sir, for having revealed this
Isn't the effect of what you're saying that we can't have peace when the Arabs refuse to
make peace and we can't have peace when the Arabs agree to make peace?
Not at all. In 1948 all the Arabs fought Israel, including Lebanon that was a fierce
antagonist. In 1967 the Lebanese were out, and the border of peace of sorts has been established. In 1973 the
Arabs fought minus Lebanon and minus Jordan. The next war, if it happens, could well see the Egyptians out, and at
this point you will have the Middle East move towards a natural peace, the same sort of natural peace that exists
between France and Germany, between Italy and France, France and Spain, that is the peace arrived at by the
natural processes, not with schemes and plans or guarantees that no one means to honor.
May I read you a quotation, Mr. Luttwak, without identifying the author for the moment and
see if you recognize it? "Peace," this man said, "real peace is now the great necessity for us. It is worth almost
any sacrifice. To get it we must return to the borders before 1967. As for security, militarily defensible
borders, while desirable, cannot by themselves guarantee our future. Real peace with our Arab neighbors, mutual
trust and friendship, that is the only true security." Do you recognize the author?
I fully agree, and this is to be arrived at by negotiation. You...
May I tell you who said that?
You prefer ... I know who said that.
Prime Minister Ben Gurion...
One of the greatest Zionist leaders.
Precisely. In the context of negotiations, not Professor Blumenfeld, that we'll return to
the Arabs the territory.
Bloomfield, thank you.
And then--he was talking in the context of negotiations.
I must repeat again that no one is asking territories be returned before
In the context of free negotiations the Israelis are willing to return--and I've said this
a hundred times--most of the occupied territories; I fully agree, but not in a fixed deal.
All right, let's go back now to Mr. Rusher for a question.
Mr. Luttwak, I would like to go back to the question of the Israeli attitude toward an
American guarantee, assuming that guarantee means guarantee in the ordinary sense in which you and I would
understand it. What is wrong with the credibility of such a guarantee, if anything, from the Israeli standpoint,
or is it a credible guarantee?
The American guarantee would not be credible because of the fact that no American
President could possibly allow himself to get involved in a situation where he would be forced to intervene
militarily twice a day. And the geography is so inimical to any such guarantee that it couldn't possibly be
All right, let's go back to Mr. Bloomfield.
What evidence is there, on the basis of this long and lugubrious record, Mr. Luttwak, that
the Arabs and the Israelis can by themselves, unaided, reach a settlement?
The evidence is the very war of 1973, when instead of having all the Arabs fight, you had
the Lebanese out and the Jordanians out. The next war there will be a third one out, if there is a war. But if you
are going to have a fixed up, contrived settlement, you will probably have a war in which the United States will
be involved, and then God knows what happens. If you don't have a fixed up settlement, then I'm sure that the
Israelis and the Arabs, negotiating freely, will--could--very well come to a solution, especially with Egypt, and
the Israelis--as I've said a hundred times--are willing to give up most of Sinai for a genuine, negotiated peace
with Egypt, with full diplomatic relations, commercial relations, and so on.
All right, thank you, Mr. Luttwak, for being with us tonight.
And now, having heard of this matter from the standpoint of Israel primarily, let us hear
of it instead from the standpoint primarily of the United States. I call upon Professor Uri Ra'anan.
Professor, welcome to THE ADVOCATES.
Professor Ra'anan is Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy near Boston and an affiliate of the Center for International Studies at MIT Professor Ra'anan, what is
wrong with the idea of an American guarantee of Israel's borders after they have been reduced to about their 1967
What is primarily wrong in my opinion is that it will achieve the exact opposite of the
intention of those who propose it, namely to avoid a direct confrontation between the United States and the Soviet
Union. Let me explain, please. An Israel, with topography, the frontiers that render her defensible, plus the
supply of American weapons, is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, as she has shown very recently. And in
that case all the United States has to do is to persuade the Soviet Union from staying out of direct intervention
as long as the United States itself stays away from direct intervention; a quid pro quo: We don't come in and you
don't come in. If you render Israel topographically indefensible and then guarantee these indefensible frontiers,
the meaning is that American manpower has to be used to come in on the ground and defend Israel. In that case the
United States has lost all its leverage over the Soviet Union not to come in. The inevitable result is that you
have American and Soviet forces facing each other on the ground in the Middle East, whereas now you do have a
confrontation, but it is merely one by proxy, through friends and allies and clients who are supplied
Wouldn't an American guarantee solve all these problems by its very finality?
I think its very finality--if it be a final one--is what renders it least credible, least
credible to Israel, to the Arabs, and I'm sorry to say, to the Soviet Union, and most probably to the Congress of
the United States.
It is least credible because they do not, in fact, expect that the United States would
carry all the way through on that commitment, is that it?
That is exactly correct.
And how far might that carry-through extend?
If necessary, if the Soviet Union and the United States confront each other on the ground,
But how else can we achieve permanent peace, sir, in the Middle East except by such a
I still believe, as others have said, through free, untrammeled, direct negotiations
between the parties involved, and that has never yet happened, and I my add, there are no signs--and I'm sorry to
say this--that it is about to happen in Geneva. I heard President Sadat with my own ears saying in English at a
press conference, "We will sit in the same room with the Israelis, but we will not negotiate with them directly."
And it is also a fact that the meeting of Arab heads at Algiers stated that there were going to be two stages: one
stage in which Israel was driven back to the 1967 frontiers, and a second step which was called euphemistically
the restoration of the national rights of the Palestinian people, but it was added, the national rights as
interpreted by the National Charter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and that Charter states
specifically that instead of Israel, there shall be a Palestinian state consisting of Moslems, Christians, and
those Jews who were there prior to 1948--that is to say, 20 percent of Israel's population.
All right, let's see what kind of questions Mr. Bloomfield has for you.
Mr. Ra'anan, is it not the case that for about twenty-four years Israel sought
negotiations with the Arabs and the Arabs refused to negotiate with them, rather than the issue of being direct
negotiations while in the same room. Wasn't the question negotiation or not negotiation?
You're absolutely right. That was correct. But I would like to add here that Israel
offered negotiations at a time when she was still living within the 1967 frontiers. She was not occupying any Arab
territory at that time, and the Arabs refused to negotiate in spite of the fact that Israel was not sitting on
Arab territory. In other words, the territories have not been the obstacle to peace.
Well, but things do change, of course, and you did quote President Sadat accurately, I'm
sure. But do you recall a statement President Sadat made in 1971 in which he spoke of a willingness to enter into
a peace agreement with Israel, and wasn't that a milestone, a change, in two decades of unremitting Arab refusal
to do that?
I know to what you are referring. You're referring to the Egyptian answer to Ambassador
Yariv's famous memorandum.
That answer was qualified. A number of qualifications were added as to the nature of the
peace, as to the nature of the contact, and Egypt asked, as a pre-condition, that Israel accept her version of the
final frontiers between the two countries.
Excuse me for a minute, Mr. Bloomfield. Let me see if I can clarify one thing. Professor,
I believe you've testified that you're against an American military treaty with Israel, is that correct?
Under the circumstances that have been outlined.
Are there circumstances in which you would propose one?
I would say that if there were merely supplementary guarantees to a freely negotiated
peace agreement, one that, in fact, showed the willingness of both sides genuinely to live in peace, and these
guarantees were supplementary to that, I would not then be opposed to them. What we are discussing here is a
guarantee in lieu of a freely negotiated peace settlement, guarantees which go with an imposed settlement.
I think, Mr. Ra'anan, that may misstate somewhat the position of our side, but it may
represent your interpretation of our position. Let me come back to something else. You spoke of Israel taking care
of herself. I seem to recall General Dayan as being quoted during the period when some Israeli soldiers were
objecting to the ceasefire as saying, "The arms you're using today," in effect, "arrived from the U.S. this
morning." isn't Israel really completely dependent on American arms? Are there any other supporters of Israel in
the world who are willing to supply her armament so she can take care of herself?
Well, I would agree with you that it is correct that the United States is the main arms
supplier of Israel. There is a reason for that. The main arms supplier for the Arabs is the Soviet Union, and it
is only the United States today manufactures arms at the level at which the Soviet Union is sending them to the
But shouldn't we all be worried, those of us who are interested in the support of Israel's
integrity, that American support might waver if a chance for peace were to be passed up at this time? Shouldn't we
take advantage of every opportunity including this one to work for a major settlement?
I agree with you whole-heartedly that one should take advantage of every genuine
opportunity. I am questioning, to my regret, whether Geneva, under the circumstances I have outlined, when one of
the sides is still saying no direct negotiation, which means, "We don't really recognize your existence,"
constitutes as such a genuine opportunity, and secondly, I must agree with what Mr. Luttwak said before that if
you can start a war, a kind of Pearl Harbor like the Yom Kippur War, and know that at the end of it you're going
to be rewarded with a settlement imposed on your adversary, that means you cannot lose--you attack and you win,
its great; you lose, someone will come and rescue you. That is asking for further wars.
One very brief question and answer.
To come back just for a moment...
Wait a minute.
I hope that won't be taken out of my time, Mr. Moderator.
Go ahead and ask it.
Unless it's reciprocated at some other occasion. Doesn't defensible imply the past? In
other words, isn't it true that there are missiles now in Egypt which can reach Tel Aviv, and that one really can
no longer define Israeli security, or anyone's security, in terms of this or that boundary?
One quick answer, Professor.
Yes, there is no such thing as absolute security, I agree with you. But we are talking now
not about an odd missile hitting, an odd place in Israel, we are talking about the occupation of Israeli soil and
the destruction of its population. And the nature of the weapons that exist today argue most strongly for greater
strategic depth and not for less so.
All right, let's go back, then, to Mr. Rusher.
Professor Ra'anan, you mentioned in our original discussion that neither the Arabs nor the
Soviet Union nor the people of the United States would believe in the kind of guarantee that is proposed, or was
supposed to have been proposed, by the other side tonight. Will you tell me why?
It is self-evident that to go into a situation where, as I said earlier on, the United
States would have troops on the ground and the Soviet Union reciprocally would have its troops on the ground, to
then implement such a guarantee means a direct confrontation with the Soviet Union not by means of supplying arms
to each other's friends, but by means of shooting at each other. Under these circumstances we're talking about
World War III.
All right, Mr. Bloomfield, one very quick question.
Perhaps you'd let me have two very quick ones.
One very quick question.
All right. Do you agree that a Mid-East settlement is in the United States' national
It is in everybody's interest.
Isn't it true that our current treaty commitment to Israel is a powerful one right now?
Excuse me, our current security commitment to Israel.
The security commitment at the moment consists of two factors.
But isn't it quite strong?
It is not anything like a commitment to send in manpower, and Israel has never asked for
that. It consists of giving arms to Israel, number one, and of keeping the Soviet Union out while the United
States is there.
All right, thank you. I'm going to have to interrupt. Thank you, Professor, for being with
In 53 programs on THE ADVOCATES I have never seen a more desperate effort to avoid the
clear and necessary implication of a straight-forward proposal. If an American military guarantee to Israel means,
or is intended to mean, anything, then the American people surely are entitled to know what its possible
consequences are. One of them, and it is not remote, as Professor Ra'anan has pointed out, is nuclear war, and
while I can understand the reluctance of Mr. Bloomfield and his witnesses to admit this, I can neither forgive nor
disregard their bare-faced attempt to conceal it.
Thank you. That completes the cases, and now its time for each of our advocates to
summarize his case, and, Mr. Rusher, could we have your summary?
In the Munich agreement of 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain forced
Czechoslovakia to concede to Hitler those very border areas which alone could have made her defense conceivable.
In return he gave Czechoslovakia a guarantee of those shrunken borders. Six months later Hitler occupied
Czechoslovakia while Britain stood idly by and did exactly nothing. Eighteen months later still World War II
began. It is the repetition of this tragic blunder that you are being asked to endorse tonight. First, Israel is
to be forced by American pressure to give up the only borders that make military sense, and then America is to
guarantee that we will defend what is left to Israel at the risk of nuclear war with the Soviet Union if
necessary. In the end Israel would be swallowed up by her neighbors and then will come World War III. To
paraphrase Winston Churchill, America will be offered the choice between dishonor and war. She will choose
dishonor and she will have war. Israel has asked no such thing of us. She seeks only the arms she needs to defend
reasonable borders herself. She should be allowed, with our help and blessing, to negotiate her own destiny.
Thank you. Mr. Bloomfield?
Our side has been accused tonight of proposing to take away not only Israel's security,
but her ability to negotiate as well. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the major purpose of this
proposal is to make possible a settlement which will guarantee the future of Israel, offer relief to the war-torn
people of the Middle East, and conform to the over-riding national interest of the United States to prevent World
War III. Before you vote on tonight's question, ask yourself, do you agree that a settlement is essential, do you
think a settlement is possible without Israeli withdrawals such as we have proposed, don't you think that the
U.S., in the interest of such a settlement, should be prepared to formalize its commitment. I hope you will
consider these questions and agree that we should weigh in in the service of world peace now.
Thank you, gentlemen. Now it's time for you in our audience to get into the act. What do
you think about the question debated tonight? Should the United States press for Israeli withdrawal from occupied
territories and offer to guarantee Israel's security? Send us your "yes" or "no" vote on a letter or postcard to
THE ADVOCATES, Box 1973, Boston 02134. Under the Constitution, for any treaty to take effect, it must first be
ratified by the Senate, and that's where you come in. How would you want your Senator to vote on this question?
Let us know and we'll tabulate your votes and distribute them to all members of Congress and to others interested
in the question. Remember the address: THE ADVOCATES, Box 1973, Boston 02134. Now THE ADVOCATES will not be seen
in the last week of December but will return to its regular time in the first week of January, so let's take a
look ahead to that program.
Yeah, Fairmont Avenue, I know where it is. You know, you're lucky tonight lady, you got me
instead of one of those college kids. They can barely find their way back to the company garage, let alone
Fairmont Avenue --"The Lost Generation," I call 'em. Which makes me wonder, why do they go to college in the first
Would the nation be better off if fewer people went to college? A question next time for
And now, with thanks to our able advocates and their distinguished witnesses, we conclude