683.84A/1–1852: Telegram

No. 385
The Ambassador in Israel (Davis) to the Department of State1


725. Pass Army and Air. Had no opportunity pursue further with Eban discussions reported Embtel 627 Dec 272 since he obliged depart earlier than planned. Have impression however he did not have much success in influencing his govt to modify Arab policy or take less legalistic approach. As to former, believe mil influence too strong at present (see Embtel 712, Jan 16). As to latter, recent action Arabs in ad hoc policy comite serve to confirm Israelis in their negative attitude toward making any great effort themselves to improve relations with neighbors.

Believe view expressed by Eban to Jones Dec 53 that Israel now convinced peace settlement very remote is correct. Govt leaders seem have no hope for improvement situation near future. It appears however their attitude may be due to more than mere discouragement. Local reporter states be proposed sometime ago in FonOff press conference taking more favorable line toward Arab countries but says his suggestion was not well recd. About same time author of newspaper articles advocating better treatment Arab minority groups from mil briefing on security and danger to state represented by Arab residents here, which put end to this endeavor to influence public opinion to improve lot of Arabs.

Army is popular and there is considerable tacit agreement with mil views. Polit opposition criticizes bitterly govt, histadrut and some times police but not citizen army, which represents cross section of public. People here are painfully conscious of vulnerability of state to attack and believe firmly that their only chance of survival is through strength of their own mil. There is number question but what mil thinking has extensive popular support which extends through govt to PriMin himself.

As to recent bombing, service attachés are of opinion that demolition involving use such quantities explosives must have required expert planning as well as execution and probably had at least tacit approval from immed mil superiors. They believe results may have been worse than intended but feel spirit of reprisal is quite gen.

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Policy of preventing Arabs from living near frontier set forth in security regulations which are being followed as indicated by report from Consul Haifa who recd tel from former Arab residents Iqrit village near Leb border to effect that their former homes had been demolished Dec 25; alleged they had been evacuated 1948; had requested mil frequently to return without result, had succeeded recently in obtaining court order in their favor but homes were dynamited before they cld return to them. On Jan 16 news broadcast reported defeat of opposition motion in Knesset for debate on alleged destruction village by Army. Broadcast reported further that PriMin acting in capacity MinDef explained destruction necessitated by security considerations and that former inhabitants wld be fully compensated.

Early occasion will be sought to make representations along lines suggested Deptel 495 Jan 15.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Ankara, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, and Jerusalem.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. V, p. 973.
  3. See the memorandum of conversion, ibid., p. 953.