683.84A/1–1652: Telegram

No. 384
The Ambassador in Israel (Davis) to the Department of State1


712. Pass Army and Air. Deptel 490, January 14. Emb agrees importance MACS at this juncture and believes their task becoming more difficult. Sees in recent events evidence same influences believed responsible last year for mutual reprisals in Huleh region culminating in El Hamma bombing and attacks at Tel Al Mutilla, and fears they may cause another rapid deterioration in situation if not effectively deterred. Have ref to apparently deliberate incursions into Jordan and Gaza strip (see Amman Legtel 190, January [Page 879] 7, Jerusalem Congentel 96, January 122 and prior reports) and commission of bombing outrages.

Emb has referred frequently to mil influence which on occasion gets upperhand and becomes responsible for actions quite inconsistent with avowed policy Israel govt, e.g. while Eban declared central objective his govt’s policy is to reach formal understanding with neighboring Arab states, elements in mil committed acts certain to outweigh any friendly words and set back hopes for peace for long time to come.

Dominant mil clique obviously takes cynical view of efforts to improve situation through pacific means and pursues its own policies. It feels state was saved and enlarged purely by force and that adequate mil power is vital to its continued existence. Itals convinced harsh treatment of Arabs is essential and has followed a consistent policy of clearing Arabs from frontier zones. This was important contributing factor to Huleh difficulty last year, has tended frustrate UNTSO in implementing May 18 res, and is still being followed.

Emb understands there is some difference of opinion in mil circles: (1) Center group headed by Gen Yadin holds views about as above described, (2) More moderate group favors permitting captured infiltrators return with warning and otherwise giving Arabs opportunity cooperate if they will, and (3) Extremists who advocate shooting infiltrators on spot and immed reprisals for acts committed against Israelis. Second group recently lost influence as result ambush and murder of Israeli mil personnel at Ain Husub, Dec 26 (see mil section Weeka January 4).3

Ability of mil influences to have their way and degree of tacit agreement civil auths should not be underestimated.

Service attachés concur with above.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Ankara, Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, and Jerusalem.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Not printed.