203. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

209182. Ref: Jerusalem 1053.2

UNTSO report reftel deeply disturbing. You should urgently approach Fonoff at highest level to express deep concern this new indication military action by GOI. If reported bombardment correct, we would assume it prelude to military action against Syrian positions on [Page 360] Syrian soil. Such a development, following on heels Israeli acceptance SC cease-fire resolution would cast doubts on Israeli intentions and create gravest problems for USG representatives in Arab countries. You should stress we must at all costs have complete cessation Israeli military action except in cases where clearly some replying fire is necessary in self-defense.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Flash. Drafted and approved by Brewer and cleared by Katzenbach. Repeated Priority to Amman, Athens, Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem, London, USUN, and CINCSTRIKE.
  2. Telegram 1053 from Jerusalem, June 8, reported that at 1000 local time, UNTSO stated that the Israelis had just launched an intensive air and artillery bombardment of Syrian positions opposite the central demilitarized zone, as an apparent prelude to a large-scale attack in an effort to seize the heights overlooking the border kibbutzim. (Ibid.)
  3. Barbour replied in telegram 4007 from Tel Aviv, June 8, that he was raising the matter and expressing concern in accordance with telegram 209182, but he noted that Syrian shelling of the kibbutzim and settlements below the Syrian heights had been continuous and incessant, with continuous threat to their populations. He commented that he would not be surprised if an Israeli attack took place or had already done so. (Ibid.)