Ball Warns a Reversal of the Mideast Power Balance Could Result in Destruction of Israel

“With the reversal of the balance of forces now taking place, America must wake up to the fact that a renewed Middle Eastern war could result in the destruction of Israel, the passionate objective of millions of Arabs,” former Undersecretary of State George Ball wrote in an article in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine. Mr. Ball, an investment banker who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the Johnson administration, warned that “The destruction of Israel with the help of an active Soviet military effort would be a disaster the West could never accept, for it would establish effective dominion of the Soviet Union over most, if not all, of the Arab world.” According to Mr. Ball, “In any approach to a confrontation with Moscow, the President must, at least by implication, take account of the fact that in the eyes of the world, the Russian hand was in part forced by an excess of Israeli zeal; thus any American demand that the Soviet Union remove its forces from Egypt should be accompanied by steps to assure that the humiliation of Egypt–and in fact that conflict that caused it–will be halted permanently.” Continuing, Mr. Ball observed: “The beginning of wisdom regarding the Middle East is the recognition that the immediate parties to the struggle–Israel and the Arab states (which in practice means the UAR)–are quite in-capable of reaching a settlement.” At the same time he noted, except for “the refugees and perhaps even more critical, the problem of Jerusalem which for both sides is encysted in multiple layers of history and religion and sentiment–the basic lines of a reasonable settlement are not difficult to delineate. Yet passion, mistrust and internal differences within each camp preclude progress.”

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