| ||We, the undersigned, believe that during the current upheavals in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces have exercised remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of a Palestinian Authority that deliberately pushes civilians and young people to the front lines.
We are appalled by the Palestinian political and military leadership that teaches children the mechanics of war while filling their heads with hate. We are appalled by Palestinian "police" and "military commanders" who place armed adults amid civilian rioters, betting their children's lives on the capabilities and restraint of the IDF and then callously using the inevitable casualties as grist for their propaganda mill.
The behavior of those Palestinians, who use civilians as soldiers in a war, is a perversion of military ethics.
We have traveled to Israel over the years with The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. We do not claim to be experts in the political affairs of Israel and its neighbors. However, in those travels, we brought with us our decades of military experience and came away with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a matter of great importance to US policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as around the world. A strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on.
Israeli military innovations, shared with America, in tanks and tank warfare, ballistic missile defense capabilities, reserve mobilization, the uses of air power and early warning, among others, are astonishing. But what makes the US-Israel security relationship one of mutual benefit is the combination of military capabilities and shared political values - freedom, democracy, personal liberty and the rule of law.
We met in Israel with leaders from left to right on the Israeli political spectrum, and we met with soldiers from privates to generals and Chiefs of Staff. We traveled throughout the north, along the coast, in the Negev, Jerusalem and the territories. We reconfirmed the ageless lessons that every military professional knows - how geography and topography can predict destiny.
Throughout our travels and our talks, the determination of Israelis to protect their country and pursue a fair and workable peace with their neighbors at the same time was evident. It is with this background that we view the current conflict in and around Israel with such dismay. Yitzhak Rabin said at the beginning of this peace effort with the Palestinians that one can only make peace with one's enemies. But what every soldier also knows is that the enemy must have decided to put down his weapons - rocks as well as rifles - and make peace in good faith. The Palestinian-initiated violence in Israel now strongly tells us that the necessary good faith is sorely lacking on the Palestinian side.
America's responsibility as a friend to Israel, the only country in the Middle East that shares our democratic and humanitarian values, should never yield to America's role as facilitator in this process. Friends don't leave friends on the battlefield.
Lt. Gen. Marcus Anderson, USAF (ret.) - Inspector General, US Air Force *
Lt. Gen. Robert Baer, USA (ret.) - Deputy Commander, Army Materiel Command
Maj. Gen. Max Baratz, USAR (ret.) - Commander, US Army Reserve
Lt. Gen. Jared Bates, USA (ret.) - Inspector General, US Army
R. Adm. Charles Beers, USN (ret.) - Commander, Submarine Group Ten
Lt. Gen. Arthur C. Blades, USMC (ret.) - Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations, Marine HQ
Lt. Gen. Anthony Burshnick, USAF (ret.) - Commander, Military Airlift Command
Adm. James Busey, USN (ret.) - CINC, US Navy Europe
Lt. Gen. Paul Cerjan, USA (ret.) - Deputy Allied Commander, Europe
Adm. Hank Chiles, USN (ret.) - Commander in Chief, US Strategic Command
Gen. J.B. Davis, USAF (ret.) - Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Adm. Bruce DeMars, USN (ret.) - Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion
Maj. Gen. Lee Downer, USAF (ret.) - Director of Operations, Air Combat Command
Adm. Leon Edney, USN (ret.) - Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, Atlantic, and Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command
Gen. John Foss, USA (ret.) - Commanding General, Training and Doctrine Command
Maj. Gen. Donald Gardner, USMC (ret.) - Commander, III Marine Expeditionary Force
Maj. Gen. William Garrison, USA (ret.) - Commander, Joint Special Operations Command
Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, USA (ret.) - Assistant Vice Chief of Staff
Maj. Gen. David Grange, USA (ret.) - Dir., Operations, Readiness, and Mobilization
Lt. Gen. Tom Griffin, USA (ret.) - Chief of Staff, Allied Forces Southern Europe
Gen. Alfred Hansen, USAF (ret.) - Commander, USAF Logistics Command
Adm. Jerome Johnson, USN (ret.) - Vice Chief of Naval Operations
V. Adm. Dennis Jones, USN (ret.) - Deputy Commander in Chief, US Strategic Command
R. Adm. Herbert C. Kaler, USN (ret.) - Dir., Joint Theater Air and Missile Defense Organization
V. Adm. Anthony Less, USN (ret.) - Commander, Naval Air Forces, US Atlantic Fleet
Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch, USMC (ret.) - Commander, Eastern Marine Recruiting Depot
Lt. Gen. Charles May, USAF (ret.) - Vice Chief of Staff, USAF
Maj. Gen. James McCombs, USAF (ret.) - Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command
R. Adm. William F. Merlin, USCG (ret.) - Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District
Maj. Gen. William C. Moore, USA (ret.) - Director, Operations, Readiness and Mobilization
Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson, USAF (ret.) - Commanding General, 23rd Air Force
V. Adm. James Perkins, USN (ret.) - Deputy Commander in Chief, US Southern Command
Lt. Gen. Everett Pratt, USAF (ret.) - Vice Commander, US Air Forces Europe
Maj. Gen. Milnor Roberts, USA (ret.) - Deputy Chief, US Army Reserve
R. Adm. Norman Saunders, USCG (ret.) - Commander, 7th Coast Guard District
Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, USA (ret.) - Commanding General, JFK Special Forces School
R. Adm. Sumner Shapiro, USN (ret.) - Director, Naval Intelligence
Adm. Leighton Smith, USN (ret.) - Commander, US Forces & NATO, Southern Europe
Maj. Gen. Larry Taylor, USMC(R) (ret.) - Commanding General, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing
Adm. Carlisle A. H. Trost, USN (ret.) - Chief of Naval Operations
V. Adm. Jerry Tuttle, USN (ret.) - Director, Space and Electronic Warfare
Brig. Gen. Thomas E. White, USA (ret.) - Executive to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
R. Adm. Guy Zeller, USN (ret.) - Dir., Surface Warfare OPNAV
*Former Command listed for identification purposes only
Signatories as of Oct. 16, 2000