Soviets Look to Arafat for a Base

Newspaper: Jerusalem Post
posted on:
4 In jan 1976
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Arabs of Israel, Palestinians, PLO. Foreign Policy - Cold War, Diplomacy, Fundamentals of Foreign Policy, UN. Ideologies - Communism, Communists. Security - Fundamentals of Israeli Security. Greater Land of Israel - Greater Israel. Individuals - Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat. States - Jordan, Soviet Union (Russia), USA
An op-ed Begin wrote for the Jerusalem Post. Yasser Arafat is a frequent visitor and patron to the Soviet Union. He not only means to destroy Israel, but if he gets a state it is guaranteed to become a Soviet base in the Middle East, with a steady supply of airlifted modern arms from the USSR. This would be an existential threat to Israel, but it would also be a threat to the free world to have a Soviet base in such a strategically important region. No matter who Israel gives the land to, if it pulls out of Judea and Samaria the Arafat State and the Soviet base would result. Israel needs to make the west, especially the USA, understand the danger a Palestinian State would pose to them in addition to Israel. And the Jews and Israel have every right to the land of Israel.
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Soviets look to Arafat for a base

By Menachem Begin M.K.

What kind of state would the Arafat State be, in terms of its internal regime or its international relations?  Incontestably, it would be the most pro-Communist or pro-Soviet regime in the whole Middle East.  Arafat visits Moscow more often than Assad or any other Arab leader.  No one who is familiar with Moscow's undercover operations can doubt for a second that the head of the murderers' organization keeps in continuous contact with the secret services of the Soviet Union, or that his messengers who rush to and from Moscow and the capitals of its satellites do likewise.

On the other hand, it is, of course, no mere chance that the USSR was in such a hurry to grant full recognition to the murderers' organizations-long before the Security Council did so-and now demands the establishment of a Palestinian State under their rule.  That is a new Soviet policy in this part of the world, which derives from Russian calculations of superpower policy.  To gain a Soviet base in the heart of the Middle East is surely an ambition of no mean importance.

Any "Palestinian" State would immediately become an Arafat State: and should it come into existence we would immediately see its Angolization.  In no time, we would see landing strips being prepared on our very doorstep, ready to receive the giant planes bringing Soviet arms and equipment of the most modern and sophisticated types.  If the Soviet Union maintains such an airlift to Luanda, it would certainly do the same in a region which, as they are fond of pointing out in Moscow, lies close to its own southern borders.  In that event Dr. Kissinger would naturally again warn the Kremlin that such a policy of military expansion endangers the famous détente, but the impression that even a severe warning of that kind would make on Moscow would not be much different from the one we hear of in connection with the military aid to the MPLA in Africa, far from Russia's borders.

There is no need to spell out the consequences for us of such a development.  No one in his right mind can doubt that our very existence would be in greater danger than before.

But we must also say, before it is too late, what an Arafat State would mean in international terms.

It would mean that the Soviets would penetrate into the strategic heartland of the Middle East, whence they can advance in all directions: north, east, and south.  It should be remembered that from ancient times to this day, all empires and world powers have fought or vied for control of Eretz Israel.  The Middle East continued to be referred to as one of the strategically most important parts of the world; and within the Middle East, Eretz Israel is the crossroads of internal lines of crucial importance.

The establishment of a Soviet base in this key are, with Russian or "Czechoslovakian" arms and with Russian advisors, in or out of uniform, would mean a basic change in relations between the Communist world and the free world-one of the most unfavourable and dangerous changes in our time.  Moscow talks détente; but makes Angolas.  It is only awaiting the opportunity to entrench itself in Nablus and Bethlehem, both of which are earmarked as part of the Palestinian-Arafat State.

That too is a question of political and military pragmatics.  It can be explained to anyone in his sense in the free world, and particularly in the United States.  If it is explained and understood while there is still time it is possible to create an awareness that the free nations and we have a common interest in keeping Arafat and his henchmen and allies out of Eretz Israel.  Admittedly, the awareness of this joint interest has faded considerably since we abandoned the Suez Canal; but a simple, clear explanation, using events in Angola as a pointer, should be able to revive it.  Such a campaign must be conducted continuously and determinedly; there is no point in waiting until the Security Council session on January 12 or even later.  The dynamics of international relations are there for all to see, while Israel's diplomacy floats complacently on stormy waves.

Erezt Israel belongs to the Jewish people by right.  That right is completely integrated with our right to security.  Only if it is upheld, can we look forward to peace.

If one wants to buttress these general principles with pragmatic arguments, one need not look too far to find them.

If we relinquish Judea and Samaria to Hussein, he will be forced to hand them over in turn to the murderers' organizations.  A Palestinian State cannot be anything but an Arafat State.  An Arafat State is a danger to the very existence of Israel; and a Soviet base within Eretz Israel (that an Arafat State would be a Soviet base is beyond doubt) is a grave danger for other nations, too.

In practical terms, the choice comes down to one of two possibilities: either we are in Judea and Samaria, or Arafat and his Soviet advisors are.  And the very definition of the alternatives shows which is to be preferred.

This is the basis on which a national consensus can be established and acted upon.