Prime Minister Barak's Fear of – and Susceptibility to – Pressure

Makor Rishon Weekly , January 05, 2001

Contrary to all his predecessors – who served until the1993 Oslo Accords – Prime Minister Barak has been extremely susceptible to US Administration pressure.  Unlike the leaders of Egypt, Turkey Germany and Italy, who have demonstrated tenacity in combating terrorism, and in contrast with his own outstanding service as the commander of special operations, Barak has been apprehensive of a resolute military battle against terrorism.  


More than all his predecessors since 1993, and unlike the pre-1993 Israeli Prime Ministers, Barak has deluded the People of Israel that excessive concessions, rather than the power of deterrence, would distance war and bring peace closer in the Mideast, which has been ridden with inter-Muslim bloody conflicts since the seventh century.


More than all his predecessors since 1993, and in contrast to those serving before 1993, Barak has resorted to scare tactics, in order to coax the People of Israel into supporting sweeping and unprecedented concessions, which endanger the survival of Israel.  Just like all his predecessors, since 1993, Barak has actively pursued an accord with a terror organization, which has systematically violated all agreements with Arab states and with Israel, has always stabbed the backs of those feeding it (Syria in 1966, Jordan in 1970, Lebanon in 1975, Kuwait in 1990 and Israel since 1993) and has institutionalized Hate Education among Palestinians against Jews, Israel and the USA.


Under Barak’s leadership – and in defiance of its unprecedented military and economic vigor - Israel has been transformed from a role-model of combating terrorism and defying the security odds at any price, to a role-model of peace-at-any-price, while succumbing to pressure and giving-in to terrorism, unnecessarily, hastily and shamefully.


Unlike Barak, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion declared independence in 1948 in defiance of a brutal pressure by the US Administration, of an invasion by the surrounding Arab countries, of a US embargo, in spite of the absence of an effective lobby and a supportive Congress in Washington DC, while having only 600,000 Jews and a $20MN annual GNP (compared with over 5MN Jews and a $110BN annual GNP in Israel in 2001!).


In a non-Barak manner, Prime Minister Eshkol launched the 1967 preemptive Six Day War, ignoring harsh threats by the US Administration and by Western Europe and the UN, discarding doomsday assessments by Israel’s military intelligence, and overlooking public weariness and the critical dependency on foreign aid (only less than 3% of GNP in 2001!).


Prime Minister Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 in spite of severe pressure and intimidation by the US Administration, and despite the opposition expressed by both the Mossad and the Military Intelligence.


Prime Minister Shamir fought against the absorption of Soviet Jewry in the US and for their direct flight from Moscow to Israel, defying the US Administration, the Jewish establishment in the US and Israel’s best friends in Congress. 


Succumbing to pressure, exerted by the US Administration on these former Prime Ministers, could have doomed the future of the Jewish State.  The principle-driven steadfastness displayed by them, in defiance of pressure, has been the chief cause for the growth of Israel.


These leaders realized that withstanding such pressure, in the battle for Israel’s survival, could cause a short-term political tension, but in the process it would nurture a long-term strategic respect for the Jewish State.  They understood that the willingness to employ the military option would enhance Israel’s stature as a strategic ally of the US.  Hence, the Six Day War and the deployment of the IDF – in response to a US request – in order to rollback Syrian invasion of Jordan, upgraded Israel’s strategic posture in the US from a mere democratic ally into a strategic ally.  Also, the most comprehensive US-Israel strategic agreement was concluded in 1988, at the height of the Intifada and the resulting Israel-bashing campaign by the US Administration and media.  The preceding strategic accord was signed in 1983, in the aftermath of the controversial war against the PLO in Lebanon, which caused another confrontation between Israel and the US Administration.  In addition, the four leaders were aware of the centrality of US public opinion and Congress (which possesses the Power of the Purse) in the battle against an adversarial Administration.  Unlike Barak, they were not enchanted by the US Administration.


Barak, on the other hand, has made the fear of US pressure, and the apprehension of using military power, a critical feature of his national security policy.  He has transformed restraint from an exceptional tactic into an ideology. He has, therefore, severely eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, undermining the strategic cooperation with the US, encouraging Arab belligerency and terrorism, radicalizing Arab expectations and demands, increasing the blood toll of both Jews and Arabs, setting peace farther and bringing a costly war closer and under worse conditions.