683.84A/6–2251: Telegram

The Ambassador in Israel (Davis) to the Department of State


906. For Dept only. Comment on Embtel 905 June 22:1 After consultation with Gen. Riley, Emb believes Huleh situation deteriorating and unless effective action taken promptly, serious consequences likely.

It is foregone conclusion no agreement with Arab landowners will be reached. They know they dare not expose themselves to Arab displeasure that wld result. This means also agreement cannot be reached with owners for continuation work Huleh Project on Arab-owned land. Development company is completing work on Jewish-owned land and within few days progress on project may have to be halted. It is believed govt here will appeal case to SC as first step but has no intention permitting Arabs halt work for long and may take direct action if decision delayed, in which case Arabs will no doubt repel hostilities in some form.

Significance exchange correspondence in reftel is that Arabs in Shaab also under pressure from two sides. Fon Min apparently encountered difficulty in form of political disagreement and lack of cooperation in making arrangements for interview of former residents demil zone, and after interviewing started number of Israeli police at Shaab was increased. While difficult to prove, UN reps concerned became convinced Arabs not reacting freely, fearing Israel pressure on one side and Arab displeasure on other.

Chief of Staff view that about 750 will desire return to former homes and request that Chairman MAC make necessary arrangements will precipitate practical problems involved in return to villages where homes of many have been destroyed. It is believed, moreover, Israel will resist by indirect means implementation SC Resolution May 18 in this and certain other respects to be discussed later.

As indicated last para Embtel 771 May 18,2 it is believed prestige of UN requires that resolution be completely and effectively implemented. Issue may now be made by Israel over return of Arabs, but even more [Page 728] serious question is that UNTSO is now confronted with substantial failure to accept basic decision implicit in explanatory note of Ralph Bunche dated June 26, 1949, quoted in SC Resolution May 18 relating to civil admin in demil zone. Israel police are now in control of area and while Emb has not discussed this matter with any official of this govt, it doubts that Israel will carry out exact terms of resolution with regard to policing demil zone. Matter is regarded as so serious that Emb believes Chief of Staff shld be recalled for consultation and important decisions taken before parties to conflict have opportunity to exploit politically above points.

  1. In order to implement a provision of the Security Council resolution of May 18, United Nations observers during the period June 3–12 had interviewed a number of the Arabs being held at Shaab to ascertain which of them wished to return to their homes. Telegram 905 consists of an exchange of correspondence of June 21 between Minister Sharett and General Riley on this subject. General Riley had stated in part that no useful purpose could result from further interviews, that it was anticipated that approximately 750 Arabs would desire to return to their homes in the Demilitarized Zone, and that he had asked Colonel Taxis to obtain from Israel transport to facilitate their early return. (683.84A/6–2251)
  2. Ante, p. 691.