In this volume, the author seeks to fully reconstruct the process by which the Kennedy administration decided to sell to Israel Hawk surface-to-air missiles. He argues that such domestic considerations as the approaching congressional elections, and such political calculations as the administration's desire to promote a Palestinian settlement, were all part of a highly complex decisional setting which affected the thinking and behaviour of members of Washington's high policy elite on the very eve of the Hawk decision, albeit not to the same degree. Ultimately, a winning coalition was formed between the Middle Eastern experts of the National Security Council and the president's liaison to the Jewish community, Myer Feldman. President Kennedy's decision to join this coalition and to approve the sale without any prior Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, determined the outcome of this process. This sealed the fate of the Department of State's efforts to prevent the sale or later to make it dependent upon an Israeli commitment to soften its traditional Palestinian posture.
This book identifies the individuals and groups involved in each phase of the decision-making process of the sale of Hawk missiles, examines their relative power and capacity to mobilize support for their respective positions, and assesses the immediate and middle-range consequences of the sale, both in the context of American-Israeli relations and Washington's relations with the Arab Middle East.