Egypt signed the Sinai treaty not because Sadat alone, of all Arabs, abandoned the Palestinians. No Arab regime cares about Palestinians. Other Arabs often hate Palestinian immigrants. Sadat signed the Camp David treaty because he was smart, much smarter than the terrorist soldier Begin. Sadat was bluffing as a poker player. He pressed his demands, never expecting them to be met, but only to settle. The agreement gave Sadat more than he ever imagined. He had lost the war. Israel had expanded. Arabs were humiliated. No one in Egypt cared about Sinai. And suddenly Sadat got it all back—free. What nation ever got such a deal: to start several wars, lose them, and get back strategically important occupied territory which the occupying nation considers historically its own—indeed considers central to its national conscience?

American politicians are somehow blind to bluffing. Not surprisingly, Americans are stereotyped around the world as oddly straightforward people. The Americans missed Sadat’s bluff, as well as Khrushchev’s in Cuba, Stalin’s in West Berlin, and many other instances. It was politically impossible for the Soviets to fight a Jewish state. The Soviets never directly intervened outside the Warsaw bloc.
It is odd how Western analysts missed the defining point of the Soviet regime. The gerontocracy was cowardly. They could not have been otherwise, having grown under Stalin when every functionary was in danger of political repressions. They staged the Soviet withdrawal from Egypt before the 1973 war, and refused to acknowledge minuscule Soviet participation in its course. The Soviets would never risk direct confrontation with nuclear Israel.

The American nuclear alert in 1973 came not as a lightning response to the Soviet alert, but as a belated threat to the attacking Egypt, which both the second-rate Israeli General Staff and the Americans perceived as militarily dominant and poised to establish a Soviet proxy hegemony in the Middle East. The American alert was also designed to stave off Soviet involvement in the air defense of Egypt—which was evident from the opening hours of the war—rather than non-existent Soviet nuclear threat. With the nuclear alert, America did not defend Israel, but rather its own interests, the doctrine of containment of the Soviets.

Acquiescence to the American arm-twisting is only one thing among many. The Temple Mount is in Arab hands. English, the language of those who exiled Jews from their country centuries ago and prevented us from returning to our country just recently, is an official language of Israel. How many international conferences avoid raising the Israeli flag so as not to offend the Arabs? Apparently that does not offend the Israelis. The millennia of Exile sent Jewish rulers desperately looking for foreign approval and support, but Israeli cowardice has other roots: the establishment is ashamed of its Jewishness, which it plays down along with Israeli interests, and readily succumbs to foreign influence. Israel should ignore American pressure. Israelis can win wars. We can sustain our state in the hostile Middle East. We just want to be left alone to do that.