349. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1

114. Ref: Amman 0124.2

We did not gather from our conversation with Safran that he had any strong personal commitment to idea autonomous Palestine state. [Page 629] His impression that autonomous state idea had edge over other schemes for disposition West Bank seemed to us reasonable as reflection informed comment, though not necessarily official GOI position.
We believe that GOI has not yet made any definitive decision re ultimate disposition West Bank or Gaza; if it had it would be moving much more decisively in many realms than it is. It is waiting—and has been waiting for over a month—for Arabs to decide to talk peace.
It will not wait indefinitely. In our contacts with middle level Israelis concerned with West Bank and Gaza we sense a growing feeling of impatience and frustration at being unable, in absence of basic policy decisions, to attack many problems outstanding. We would expect this feeling to become more pervasive as Israelis generally became aware of cost and complications Gaza and West Bank mean for them. Being rational people they will surely seek to minimize them. In one area, refugees, Israeli problem solvers are already at work: Eban told Senators Gore and Bayh Sunday Israel is planning to resettle at least token number of refugees on West Bank. This kind of action, as long as number is limited, can be taken without knowing the ultimate political disposition of West Bank. Others cannot. Steps to integrate Gaza and West Bank economies into Israeli economy would minimize economic costs, including foreign exchange costs.
Policy questions posed in para 3 of reftel are not for us to answer. We would observe only that any USG efforts to persuade GOI return of West Bank is “must” are going to be increasingly unavailing the longer Jordan seeks to avoid dealing with Israel on the issues. The more time passes the more faits accomplis Jordan and the Arabs will find themselves facing.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Exdis. The date of transmission is incorrect; the telegram was received on July 11 at 9:31 a.m.
  2. Telegram 124 from Amman, July 7. (Ibid.)