Israeli Diplomacy Is Damaging Its Intelligence Agencies' Reputation

Israel has been relegated to the status of the mistress who isn't invited to appear in polite (and hypocritical ) company.

Letitia Long, a civilian with the status of a three-star general, is the most senior woman in the American intelligence community. Long is director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency which is responsible for visual intelligence - aerial and satellite photographs, mapping, imaging and producing accurate models for mission training. Her role in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden received wide professional praise.

Not long before that operation, and without any connection to it, Long visited Israel and met with the director of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and other senior officials. When she returned home, she instructed the agency to devote the July-August edition of its bimonthly journal, Pathfinder, to the topic of "partnerships around the world."

The journal was published this week. Its cover is decorated with the flags of dozens of nations whose intelligence apparatuses have some type of partnership with the NGA: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and numerous others.

Israel is not mentioned anywhere in the magazine. This wasn't an absent minded omission, but an expression of embarrassment. They are embarrassed to have Israel as a partner. They aren't embarrassed to get intelligence from Israel, just not publicly.

Israel - whose leaders complained decades ago that the country was being treated like a mistress, and had since enjoyed a period of being put on proud and public display - has been relegated once again to the status of the mistress who isn't invited to appear in polite (and hypocritical ) company.

The intelligence agencies are not to blame for this. It's the diplomatic echelons above them, which have made Israel ostracized and loathsome.

Because of the bin Laden assassination and the fact that CIA director Leon Panetta has become U.S. defense secretary, the decision makers in Washington are relating to the U.S. intelligence agencies with more respect. The data these agencies submit will inform the working premises of these officials - no matter what Israeli experts, real or imagined, will say.

A summary of the data is offered in the CIA's open annual report. In this report, which is updated frequently, it emerges that there is near-equality in the dem Sea, with some 6 million Jews, as opposed to 5.7 million Arabs. While one would expect that demographers from the Israeli right will dispute these figures and the trends they portend, this data will be the foundation for determining policy in Washington.

In Israel there are some 7.5 million citizens and residents, of whom 1.5 million are Arabs and fewer than 6 million are Jews (when you deduct the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers ). The Palestinians in the territories number 4.2 million, of whom 2.57 million are in the West Bank and 1.66 million live in Gaza.

If this near-equality weren't enough, the population growth rate is 3.2 percent annually in Gaza, 2.1 percent in the West Bank and 1.6 percent in Israel - an average that includes both Jews and Arabs. This means that some 100,000 Palestinians are added to the territories each year. A similar number of Jews are added to Israel, but the tie is broken by the 25,000 Arabs added to the Israeli population annually. Unless there is a major wave of Jewish immigration to Israel, or mass emigration of Arabs from Israel and the territories, the curves will meet in a few years.

The CIA, meanwhile, counts some 300,000 Jews in the West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Half a million people, nearly the size of some veteran U.S. cities. It would be much too difficult to relocate five-sixths of the population of Boston or Baltimore, thus, with no realistic alternative, there will be an exchange of territorial strips, without increasing the size of the State of Israel.

This reality, which U.S. intelligence is presenting to the senior echelons, will not change, even if Barack Obama is creamed in the 2012 elections and replaced by a Republican who eats Arabs for breakfast. No American president is going to allow any Israeli prime minister to avoid making the tough decisions. Maps with tentative borders, along the Green Line and in the Golan Heights, are ready and waiting in the safes of the CIA and the NGA.

These American intelligence agencies serve the president, the US Armed Forces, and Congress. Are Kochavi and his colleagues at Israeli intelligence informing their superiors and the public of the reality in all its severity? Or have they learned from the onslaught against their predecessors - Gabi Ashkenazi, Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin -- that it's preferable to be silent, even if it means being a silent partner to the impending disaster?