Crossman Warns Israel Cannot Survive Another Decade of ‘jewish Military Domination’

Richard Crossman, Minister of Social Services in the Wilson government and now editor-in-chief of the weekly New Statesman, has warned Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban and the Israeli government that Israel cannot survive a “decade of Jewish military domination.” It is the “simple fact” that “within a day Israeli forces can be in Amman, in Beirut, in Damascus” that has “driven the Arabs to seek Russian assistance and compelled the rulers of the Kremlin to intervene on their side more extensively and dangerously than they wished, because intervention breeds counter-intervention,” Mr. Crossman declared. He made his comments in a front-page open letter that marked, he said, the first time in six years “that I can write to you freely” without having to consider “hostile Arab reactions.” Mr. Crossman. 63, was Minister of Housing and Local Government prior to his Social Services post, and was assistant editor of the New Statesman & Nation from 1913 to 1955. “Not once,” he noted, “could we confide in each other as we used to do in the terrible, exhilarating years when the issue hung in the balance whether the great powers would allow the Jewish nation to be reborn in Palestine or stifle it at birth.” Israel’s “military ascendancy” is “a wasting asset,” Mr. Crossman contended, “Just as the territories you have occupied become heavier liabilities the longer you hold them.”

Continuing, Mr. Crossman stated: “I know you did not want this military ascendancy. I know that your occupation of the West Bank was unpremeditated, that you recognize that the Suez Canal is not your natural frontier. I also know that any peace initiative you now take involves military risk. But in a year’s time the risk will be even greater and you will be even more reluctant to take it.” At that time, he added “the vision of Arab-Jewish accord which was so fervent in 1948 and which has grown so dim today will grow dimmer still.” Mr. Crossman charged that Israel “feels compelled by military necessity” to maintain settlements in Hebron, “an area which could not possibly remain Israeli in any peaceful solution,” even though the occupation of the West Bank grows “more oppressive the longer it lasts.” Stressing his support of the United States peace proposals. Mr. Crossman referred to military-minded Israeli leaders in criticizing Mr. Eban’s “failure to persuade those soldiers to see that the greatest military risk they face is not the dangers of the peace initiative but certain consequences of continuing without one.” Referring to Israeli youth, he remarked that the young people “have not forgotten the other half of the Zionist vision,” the role “of Israel in the Mideast renaissance.” Mr. Crossman added, “there will always be a powerful minority in Israel” that will prefer “a peace initiative which involves some military risk” to “a policy completely dominated by military considerations.” Mr. Crossman concluded by stressing to Mr. Eban that “I only hope and pray that you will not disregard the growing dismay of that minority until the doorway to peace, forced open by your military strength, is irrevocably closed. The Arabs can survive a decade of Jewish military domination. The Israel you and I believe in can’t.”

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