Decade of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the origins by Abraham Ben-Zvi

By Abraham Ben-Zvi

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23 The policy prescription derived from this perception of the Soviet threat to Western interests in the Middle East (and of the strategic importance of the region as the optimal springboard for the launching of military operations against the Soviet Union in the event of a general war between the two blocs), which was further reinforced by the growing American recognition that the British decision to gradually disengage from the region created new opportunities for Soviet diplomacy in its quest for new strongholds, was clear and unequivocal.

Did the direct encounter with the revolutionary forces in the Middle East contribute directly to the administration’s decision to abandon its initial desire to forge a multilateral regional alliance and instead to proceed incrementally, by consolidating agreements on bilateral rather than multilateral bases? S. inextricably linked to the lessons which the Eisenhower Administration drew from its 1958 engagement? In an effort to answer these questions and shed light on the dynamics of American policy toward Israel during the period 1953–1962, the following analysis will focus, in chapter 2, on President Eisenhower’s initial perceptions of, and policies toward Israel as they unfolded from 1953 to 1956.

Said that if the [Arab] boycott [is] lifted it would enable Israel to earmark funds to pay compensation to the refugees, or, should a special loan be raised for this purpose, Israel would, with funds derived from the lifting of the boycott, repay the loan over a period of time. Mr. 7 Divergence Dominates 23 Not only was the course of this conversation characteristic of the general, innate nature of American-Israeli relations during this period, which were permeated with tension and fraught with disagreement and misunderstanding, but its inconsequential outcome reflected the recurrent failure of a strategy that relied almost exclusively upon coercive tools and methods while avoiding any significant concrete and tangible reassuring accommodative measures vis-à-vis Israel.

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