Alan Cowell's News Analysis (New York Times of May 9, 1990) lacks balance. Not everything that happened in the East bloc was to the benefit of Israel and to the detriment of the Arab states, as he suggested when he said: "Israel has emerged as the beneficiary of changing times in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union while the Arab world confronts losses". He seems to espouse the views of Dan Neveh, an Israeli Foreign Ministry aide: "We feel better if many countries that were supporters of our enemies are no longer supporters of our enemies".
"Changing times" does not necessarily mean changing sides. It can also mean taking a fair and neutral stand. After restoring ties with Israel and achieving democracy and self-determination, the Eastern European countries can argue that these wonderful principles also apply to the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation. They also can set an example for the Arab states urging them to adopt the same democratic principles. Furthermore, Mr. Cowell mentions that "the end of superpower rivalry ... leaves the Arab few options but to try to close ranks" (which incidentally shouldn't be seen negatively), but, strangely enough, he doesn't mention the options left to Israel after losing its status as a "strategic asset" for the U.S. One option for Israel would be to reflect on how can it stop being a heavy financial burden for the American taxpayers.
I hope that this contribution provides a certain balance to Mr. Cowell's analysis.
May 14, 1990]