Friday, March 26, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister admonishes the US President

From Israel MFA, 29 May 1981:

Statement by Prime Minister Begin on U.S. Measures Against Israel, 20 December 1981.

In an unprecedented move, Mr. Begin summoned the United States ambassador to Israel, and read to him the following statement. ...

Three times during the past six months, the U.S. Government has "punished" Israel.

On June 7 we destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor "Osirak" near Baghdad. ...our action was an act of salvation, an act of national self-defense in the most lofty sense of the concept. We saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including tens of thousands of children.

Nonetheless, you announced that you were punishing us - and you left unfilled a signed and sealed contract that included specific dates for the supply of (war) planes.

Not long after, in a defensive act - after a slaughter was committed against our people leaving three dead (including an Auschwitz survivor) and 29 were injured we bombed the PLO headquarters in Beirut.

You have no moral right to preach to us about civilian casualties. We have read the history of World War Two and we know what happened to civilians when you took action against an enemy. We have also read the history of the Vietnam war and your phrase "body-count". We always make efforts to avoid hitting civilian populations, but sometimes it is unavoidable - as was the case in our bombing of the PLO headquarters.

We sometimes risk the lives of our soldiers to avoid civilian casualties.

Nonetheless, you punished us: you suspended delivery of F-15 planes.

A week ago, at the instance of the Government, the Knesset passed on all three readings by an overwhelming majority of two-thirds, the "Golan Heights Law."

Now you once again declare that you are punishing Israel.

What kind of expression is this - "punishing Israel"? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we youths of fourteen who, if they don't behave properly, are slapped across the fingers?

Let me tell you who this government is composed of. It is composed of people whose lives were spent in resistance, in fighting and in suffering. You will not frighten us with "punishments". He who threatens us will find us deaf to his threats. We are only prepared to listen to rational arguments.

You have no right to "punish" Israel - and I protest at the very use of this term.

You have announced that you are suspending consultations on the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation, and that your return to these consultations in the future will depend on progress achieved in the autonomy talks and on the situation in Lebanon.

You want to make Israel a hostage of the memorandum of understanding.

I regard your announcement suspending the consultations on the memorandum of as the abrogation (by you) of the memorandum. No "sword of Damocles" is going to hang over our head. So we duly take note of the fact that you have abrogated the memorandum of understanding.

The people of Israel has lived 3,700 years without a memorandum of understanding with America - and it will continue to live for another 3,700. ...

...Some say we must "rescind" the [Golan Heights] law passed by the Knesset. "To rescind" is a concept from the days of the Inquisition. Our forefathers went to the stake rather than "rescind" their faith.

We are not going to the stake. Thank God. We have enough strength to defend our independence and to defend our rights.

If it were up to me (alone) I would say we should not rescind the law. But as far as I can judge there is in fact no one on earth who can persuade the Knesset to rescind the law which it passed by a two-thirds majority.

Mr. Weinberger - and later Mr. Haig - said that the law adversely affects UN Resolution 242. Whoever says that has either not read the Resolution or has forgotten it, or has not understood it.

The essence of the Resolution is negotiation to determine agreed and recognized borders. Syria has announced that it will not conduct negotiations with us, that it does not and will not recognize us - and thus removed from Resolution 242 its essence. How, therefore, could we adversely affect 242?

As regards the future, please be kind enough to inform the Secretary of, State that the Golan Heights Law will remain valid. There is no force on earth that can bring about its rescission....
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