Wednesday, August 24, 2016

127 - Selected Israeli Press Comments on FM Sharett’s Resignation, June 1956

*** Herut, “Behind the Curtains of Sharett’s Disposal,” June, 15 1956, (by a Special Correspondent)

[This article related that Ben-Gurion became fed up with Sharett for the following reasons: Sharett struck a deal with the religious parties; he would appoint 15 of their members to Foreign Ministry posts in return for their voting with him in the Cabinet against Ben-Gurion. Another proof of Sharett’s undermining of Ben-Gurion was his speech in Kibbutz Mizra upon the release of Mordechai Oren: this step was likewise carried out in order to gain Mapam’s support of Sharett against Ben-Gurion. In view of all this Ben-Gurion decided that Sharett had to go. The article ends with:] “The day of his departure is near.”

*** Herut Editorial, June  15, 1956

The onslaught of Ben-Gurion’s group on Sharett’s position has continued this week incessantly. Those who are after Sharett’s head continue to spread news about internal deliberations inside Mapai regarding Sharett’s dismissal. Nobody inside Mapai is coming forward to help Sharett or defend him. Only the Progressives and Mapam have dared to argue in the Cabinet that Sharett’s dismissal is not an internal issue of Mapai but a matter pertaining to the coalition.

[The article contended that, in fact, Sharett’s policy was tantamount to that of Ben-Gurion’s. Thus] a change at the Foreign Ministry will not change anything in the failing policy of the regime. Even if Sharett is thrown out of the Foreign Ministry, his spirit  would stay. Not a change of the minister is needed now but a change of the regime.

*** Davar editorial, June 18, 1956:

If a question is posed in responsible and serious political circles why it is that Sharett resigned now, it is possible to answer openly and sincerely with no beating around the bush that a defense and political situation has been created in which the foreign minister has realized that his cooperation with the Prime Minister and Defense Minister would not be beneficial now.

*** Moshe Zak, “Two Personalities – Two Attitudes,” Ma'ariv, June 18, 1956:

The difference [between the two] was not only in that Moshe Sharett was more sensitive to foreign matters while Ben-Gurion was more sensitive to defense matters. The difference was much deeper and more basic. Both have striven for a settlement of relations with the Arab countries, but Moshe Sharett believed that this could not be attained without the support of the powers and of world public opinion, and therefore Israel’s first aim should be to attain the sympathy of the powers and of world public opinion, presenting Israel as a country devoted to peace, hence his opposition to launching a preventive war and even to large-scale reprisal operations. MS believes that the way to convince that Arabs and bring them to recognize Israel is the long road of buttressing the state and establishing relations with close and far-away states, and attaining international economic aid.
            The other school of thought, of which Ben-Gurion seems to be a supporter, contends that our position in the world and our possibility to enlist friends among the powers is a result of our relations with that Arabs: insofar as we can prove to the world that we are able to wrestle with the Arabs and pacify our borders by our own means, our influence on the world will grow proportionally. In other words, it is not that our relations with the Arabs would be influenced by our coming to terms with the powers, but on the contrary, our relations with the powers are a function of our power vis-à-vis the Arabs.
            [- - -] For instance, in the very days of Sharett’s visit to Washington, waiting there for Dulles’ reply regarding supply of arms to Israel, the Kinneret operation was carried out. Sharett believed that that action could foiled his efforts to obtain weapons, while his opponents did not believe that by Israeli concessions to the Arabs regarding the Kinneret Israel would obtain sympathy in the world. Israel’s retreat before the Arabs could increase their pressure in world capitals against supplying arms to Israel. The same holds for the Jordan canal issue. Ben-Gurion believed and continues to believe that only by the renewal of work it is possible to bring the Arabs and the powers to a settlement of the water problems between Israel and its neighbors, while Sharett stressed the attainment of a prior agreement by the western powers about the renewal of work, and thus also to ensure financial aid to the great project. He believes in the power of our just cause to convince the powers.
            Ben-Gurion differs here. He wants world public opinion to support us, but believes that first of all we must seek it among the Arabs, which means that it is necessary to convince the Arabs that war with Israel doesn’t pay – neither guerrila war nor one by economic boycott. And wherever such a war is on, it should be brought to a showdown, and thus, as a result, attain the powers’ support.
            [- - -] In the course of time, Arab military power and Arab enmity have been growing, and Ben-Gurion thought that this process was endangering Israel militarily and also politically. He feared that the strengthening of the Arabs would cause the powers to press Israel into making concessions, and therefore he strove to [take] immediate [powerful] decisions. This is the background of developments occurring since his return from Sde Boker. [- - -] While Sharett believes that Israel should first of all obtain the western powers’ support, Ben-Gurion believes that sources of arms supply [i.e., France] are open to us not because of restraint towards the Arabs, but precisely because it was proven that we are a dynamic [military] force in the Middle East.