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  Israel Faxx                                      \/ /  \/ /
  August 25, 1994 Volume 2, #159                   / /\__/_/\
  Electronic World Communications, Inc.           /__\ \_____\
  8916 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215             \  /
  Internet: Phone: (513) 563-7424   \/

Sheriff's deputies in North Carolina have rescued a driver who'd been stranded for four days. 71-year-old William Setliff is physically disabled and drives a van. When the van's battery stopped working on Interstate 85, so did the van's electric doors and windows. Setliff's family filed a report saying he was missing; help arrived early Tuesday. All Setliff had to eat or drink during his four days of waiting was a can of Diet Pepsi. When he got home, he drank three glasses of water and two glasses of milk and ate some cookies. Then he went to bed.

Cairo Talks Move Toward PLO Control

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

Israel began transferring the education administration in the West Bank to the Palestine Liberation Organization. It is the first move towards Palestinian control, beyond the self-rule areas of Gaza and Jericho.

Palestinians are taking charge of the education department in the West Bank town, Ramallah. It is the first phase in the implementation of an agreement between Israel and the PLO and early empowerment for Palestinians in the West Bank.

In May, Palestinians established self-rule in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area of the West Bank. Under the agreement, Palestinian rule is to extend to the rest of the West Bank in five spheres: education, health, taxation, tourism and social welfare.

Israel has promised to complete the handover of the education administration in time for the beginning of the school year, September 1.

Negotiators in Cairo are moving towards the agreement on the transfer of the tax authority. Palestinians are eager to complete this phase of the agreement and move on to the next-- redeployment of Israeli troops in the West Bank followed by Palestinian elections.

Syrians Take to the Polls

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

Millions of Syrian voters cast ballots Wednesday and Thursday for 250 new representatives in the People's Assembly. There are 7.5 million registered voters. More than 7,000 candidates -- including 512 women -- are vying for seats.

Syrians are voting for a new parliament, but results of the balloting will not be known before the weekend. The People's Assembly provides counsel and deals with domestic economic and social concerns.

But policy decisions on foreign affairs and security remain in the hands of the president. President Hafez al-Assad also directly supervises Syria's peace talks with Israel. The ruling Baath Party is expected to win more than half the parliament seats as it has for the past five elections. Candidates from the five other legal parties and independent candidates are vying for the remaining seats. More than 500 women are among the candidates. Twelve women held parliament seats in the last four-year term.

'The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East'

By Dan Sreebny (Washington)

An old proverb says we should "learn from our mistakes." But what happens when the mistakes are made by nations? A recent book by a former diplomat studies several examples of mistakes made during events in the Middle East, and tries to understand why they took place.

Ambassador Richard Parker had a long and distinguished career as an American diplomat, including assignments in Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon and Morocco. During that time, he saw national leaders and diplomats make serious errors of judgment.

"About 25 years ago I began thinking about the problems of foreign policy in the Middle East and how often it seemed things went wrong."

In his new book, "The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East," Parker analyzes three examples of serious mistakes by a variety of nations. Much of the book focuses on the months preceding the June 1967 war between the Arab states and Israel. The author also studies errors made during the 1970 "War of Attrition" between Israel and Egypt and the 1983 peace agreement between Lebanon and Israel.

"I picked the June (1967) war because it seemed to me to be an outstanding case of Egyptian and Soviet miscalculation. One of the purposes of the book is to show that miscalculation is not confined to the Americans or the Egyptians or the Soviets, but that everybody does it."

Throughout the book, Parker draws on extensive research and numerous interviews, plus his own direct experiences as a diplomat in the Middle East. But the author says he quickly discovered how little he really knew when he was working in the region.

The author writes that the 1970 War of Attrition was a "sideshow in a world arena where Vietnam was the main event." However, he believes it was a deadly and serious confrontation which set the stage for the Egyptian offensive in 1973 and led to the first commitment of Soviet Union troops outside of the East Bloc.

"The big thing we didn't know at the time (was that) we didn't realize how much damage the Egyptians were doing to the Israelis. The Egyptian army was much more effective than we realized. We understood the Egyptian purpose to be, at the time, to make the problem seem acute enough so that the international community would do something about making Israel withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula. That's what we heard from Egyptian officials. I think now, in retrospect, that (Egyptian President Gamal Abdel) Nasser's goal went beyond that and he was, in fact, preparing for the eventual effort to retake Sinai by force. He continually said to people that 'we're only going to get that land back by force.' And I think he was right."

Parker does not provide a simple menu of recommendations for avoiding international errors in the future. However, he suggests that knowledge may be a key component.

"Well, I think that miscalculation is inevitable between humans, because what's involved is judging how somebody else is going to react. And we are forever making mistakes in this respect. But it seems to me that if, (as) the first thing, you know something about the other people you're dealing with -- the culture they come from, their history, what their objectives are, what their personalities are like, if you know something about their languages -- (then) you're in a better position to judge how they're going to react than if you're ignorant."

The Trap
Opinion by Jochanan Bloch

(Editor's note: in 1970, Dr. Bloch, professor of philosophy at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, authored this essay in response to the decision of the Israeli government to accept a ceasefire at the Suez Canal. No Israeli newspaper would publish it.

"(...) The worse our position becomes, the more we will be dependent upon the help of the United States. Yet the more our situation deteriorates, the more the United States will hesitate to come to our assistance, for fear of confrontation with our enemies, and she will demand with greater sternness our retreat, a retreat we have in any case agreed to and signed. If we point to the dangers involved in a retreat, the principle of 'protection' will be extended whether we want it or not...

What the government does not realize at this point is that we will essentially have to retreat to the borders of 1949. A peace treaty we won't get; we'll get guarantees. Here there will be demilitarization; there will sit a UN force; here will be a corridor; there a mixed police force; here shared administration; there an enclave. Immigration will stop, for such a state will not be able to attract newcomers. Emigration will resume and reach dimensions which we have never known...Defense expenditures will not decrease but grow in direct proportion to the worsening of our situation. And peace? It is clear that the Palestinian forces will increase their activity with the support of the Arab states; even if for the time being states don't enter into war with us. Our defensive capability will be desperately handicapped in the choking collar of the 'peace borders,' and the international guard forces. And then we shall turn to our friendly protecting powers, and will ask for their help. And it isn't hard to guess what they will say.

They'll tell us that they are not willing to get involved in a world war, that we must not bring war upon the world. The process of blackmail will begin. If immigration has not yet ceased by itself, they'll demand that we stop it. And the guaranteeing powers will explain to us that it is evil for us to exist on this outdated Zionist principle that can drag us to war...We will, in fact, be returning to the Mandate period and in two or three years they will say in America that the 'experiment of the Jewish state' has failed, and that it is necessary to find a reasonable solution for the problem of Israel. And why not a Palestinian state in which one will 'guarantee' the lives of the Jews? What began with the silly slogan "territories for peace" is likely to end with the liquidation of the state, unless we can retrace our steps and escape from the nightmarish trap we have fashioned with our own hands."

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