Israel’s Unilateral Action – a Test of Sovereignty

Maintaining Israel's independence of action – in face of Iran's nuclear threat – is consistent with Israeli/Jewish history, with common sense, regional stability and with the enhancement of vital US national security interests.On the other hand, surrendering Israel's inalienable right of self-defense would undermine Israel's sovereignty, erode its posture of deterrence, jeopardize its existence, fuel regional chaos and undermine US interests in the Middle East.

On June 3, 1967, President Johnson pressured Prime Minister Eshkol against preempting the pro-Soviet Egypt-Syria-Jordan military axis, which threatened the survival of moderate Arab regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia) and Israel's existence. Johnson advised that "Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone. We cannot imagine that [Israel] will make this decision."

Johnson warned that a unilateral Israeli military preemption could trigger severe regional turmoil, transform Israel into a belligerent state, and preclude assistance by the USA. Johnson refrained from implementing the 1957 unilateral and multilateral guarantees issued to Israel by Eisenhower. He insisted that Israel should rely on the diplomatic-multilateral option.

Eshkol defied Johnson. He preempted the anti-US Arab axis; devastated a clear and present danger to vital Western interests; rescued the House of Saud from the wrath of Nasser; expedited the end of the pro-Soviet Nasser regime and the rise of the pro-US Sadat regime in Egypt; dealt a major setback to Soviet interests; and demonstrated Israel's capability to snatch the hottest chestnuts out of the fire, without a single US boot on the ground. He transformed the image of Israel from a national security consumer (a client state) to a national security producer (a strategic ally)....

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