Palestinians and Iraq War
Your editorial (Feb. 5) criticizes Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir for bringing into his cabinet Rehavam Zeevi, leader of the small Homeland Party, which advocates the transfer of the Arab population of the West Bank (Judea-Samaria) and Gaza to neighboring Arab countries, especially Jordan, a Palestinian state.
This does not mean that Shamir has endorsed Zeevi’s point of view. Why did Shamir make this move? It seems to me that there were several factors that led to his decision. His Knesset majority has now been broadened to 66. That helps.
It has also been made clear to the Israelis, despite their acceptance of the American request that they maintain a low profile, show restraint in the face of Iraqi Scud provocation, and not retaliate in any way, that as soon as the Gulf War is over the Bush Administration will exert extreme pressure on Israel to participate in an international conference on the Palestinian question. Shamir has said that will not happen. Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick says that Israel would be mugged at such a conference, and Shamir knows that Zeevi will support him in resisting such a betrayal by the United States.
Beyond this, Iraq’s threat to destroy Israel, the PLO’s support of Saddam in his war against Israel, the fanatical demonstrations by the Palestinian-Arabs in support of Iraq, the raging expressions of hatred by these Arabs against Israel and their cheers as each Scud missile, launched to kill Jews, flies from Iraq toward Tel Aviv tell the Israelis that a message has to be sent to the Arabs. That message is Zeevi and his Homeland Party.