Broken Covenant: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis between the US and Israel
by Moshe Arens (London 1995)
Moshe Arens’s recollections of the last Likud government will not impress the faithful, recording as they do some candid insights from a seminal figure at the centre of power.
Arens was Foreigia Minister in the National Unity government between 1988 and 1990 and Defence Minister’ in the unstable Likud coalition of the far Right with the strictly Orthodox until the election of 1992.
Some diaspora Jews believed that his American background and quiet eloquence suggested a latent liberal — a nationalist mensh among wild men. Others insisted that his diplomatic charm and silver tongue concealed frosty policies.
With had a point. Arens’s approach to the intifada attempted to minimise provocation and injury to both sides. Yet he was also a strong advocate of Israeli intervention during the Gulf war to eliminate Iraq’s missile sites — while Shamir refused to budge.
Arens expounded a security-conscious pragmatism which came before ideology or personal ambition. His relations with Shamir were, to put it mildly, somewhat troubled.
Arens concluded early on that “there was nothing to be gained by continued control of the Gaza Strip’ since it was of no strategic value to Israel, as well as a social and economic burden. “I had no illusions about who would rule Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal,” he writes.
Shamir had no time for such seditious thoughts. For him, Gaza would always be part of Eretz Israel. But, as this book shows, there was an alternative view. This is an insider’s account of how the Likud’s recent history could have been so different.
Jewish Chronicle 27 October 1995