Obama, take a leaf from Truman's book to spur peace process
An American-sponsored package that couples a US-Israel defense treaty with a Clinton two-state format addresses the deep anxiety of Israeli Jews of almost all political hues for their and Israel’s future.
Harry Truman with his wife and daughter Photo: reuters
Despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, 70 percent to 80% of the Israeli
Jewish public if given security guarantees is willing to embrace a two-state
Clinton Plan solution.
It is in the newly re-elected president’s power to
harness this majority and break a 65-year Israeli-Palestinian impasse by
following a path laid down by Harry Truman over 60 years ago.
outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, and the reversals inflicted by the
Chinese intervention in November of that year, the Truman administration was
desperate to permit the partial rearmament of Japan in an effort to expand the
coalition of the allied forces. What stood in the way was the “No War” article
in the Japanese post-World War II constitution, which in effect demilitarized
Having been attacked and threatened with invasion by Japan during
WWII, Australia viewed Japan as a major threat to its national security. Both
Australia and New Zealand strongly objected to the Truman administration’s
request. As a condition to their rescinding their opposition to Japan’s
rearmament they demanded that the US provide a security umbrella in the form of
a three-country Defense Treaty.
The impediment to Japan’s rearmament was
resolved in San Francisco on September 1, 1951.
A three-nation treaty
signed by the US, Australia and New Zealand bound the signatories to consider an
armed attack in the Pacific area on any one of them as endangering the security
of the others. The general feeling at the time was that the Defense Treaty
provided Australia with the most foolproof protection it had ever
The thread that connects Australia and New Zealand of 1951 to Israel
of 2012 is the existential threat to national security perceived by the peoples
of Australia and New Zealand in 1951 and Israeli Jews in 2012. This was
quantified this year in Israel where according to a poll conducted in April
2012, 43% of respondents reported concern that the State of Israel could be
How would the implementation of the Australia-New Zealand
model impact on the willingness of Israeli Jews to accept the Clinton Proposal
as a vehicle for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict? This question was
investigated in December of 2010 by DAHAF, one of the most highly regarded
polling institutes in Israel.
According to this study 70% of the Jewish
public supported a peace agreement that included a US security guarantee and
assurance of the Jewish character of the State of Israel. This agreement when
including the dismantling of Hamas’s military capabilities, a security fence and
a mutual US-Israel defense treaty was supported by 81% of the Jewish
Given the historic upheavals occurring in the Arab countries and
the ensuing uncertainty that they generate these majorities have probably
increased since the 2010 poll.
A mutual defense treaty would formalize
the close relationship that already exists between the US and Israel as
expressed by two presidents. In 2012 Obama declared: “I will say that we have
closer military and intelligence consultations between our two countries than we
have ever had.
And my number one priority continues to be the security of
the United States, but also the security of Israel,” and in 2006 George W. Bush
said in relation to the Iranian threat: “I made it clear, I’ll make it clear
again we will use our military might to protect Israel.”
American-sponsored package that couples a US-Israel defense treaty with a
Clinton two-state format addresses the deep anxiety of Israeli Jews of almost
all political hues for their and Israel’s future. Given the large majority among
Israeli Jews that such a package commands, a US-Israel defense treaty is a most
expeditious path to follow in order to resolve the Israel-Palestinian
The writer is the head of the Long Range Urban Planning
Department TAHAL –Water Planning for Israel, ad a consultant on optimal
management and utilization of natural resources.