paul sann journalism, letters, writing


                New York Post Wednesday, October 5, 1955

israelis tell why
arab-israel peace
    Jerusalem, Oct. 5--Nobody's singing hosannas here but neither does anyone expect war tomorrow morning or the morning after.
    Time is on Israel's side, time and stinging Arab memories of the battle disasters of seven years ago.
    The leaders of the Jewish state don't believe Egyptian Premier Nasser would push the button for war unless he felt he could win and for all his flagwaving it appears that he does not count himself a sure winner at the moment.
    And even if he can get arms contracts from the Soviet bloc, and maybe from the West, too, it would take Nasser a year or two to gather in the new and better machines of destruction and train his men to use them.
    The showdown, if it has to come between Israel (population 1,600,000) and the Arab world of 40,000,000, may be that far off.
    The training item is the big one for Nasser. The Arabs had vastly superior firepower when they sent their legions against the Jews in May of 1948 but it was no contest. They ran into better fighting men. They ran into guys who could take heavy tanks with homemade machine guns.
    Nasser evidently doesn't want to run that same risk again while riding atop a military dictatorship that could get shaky. If he did, this Middle Eastern tinder box might have gone up in flames during or after the 10 days fighting on the Gaza Strip in late August and early September.
    In those 10 days marked by the worst outbreaks since 1949, both Egypt and Israel moved big striking forces to the border.
    But Nasser went along with a UN truce even after a retaliating Israel armored column stormed into Khan Yunis and smashed the headquarters of his prized Gaza Strip commandos, the Fedayeen (self-sacrificers).
    It was then that Israel began to believe that Nasser would rather talk than fight at the moment, except possibly for some more quick but deadly adventures on the border.
    The past week's talk of arms deals has not altered the Israeli view at all.
    Right now Egypt's youthful strong-arm man is only brandishing headlines. The better fighter is still on this side. Otherwise the homeland that took 2,000 years to recapture would have been pushed into the Mediterranean long before this. Don't ever doubt that.


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