425. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State 1

524. Ref: State 23385.2

1.
We share Dept’s concern at recent spate statements by Israeli political leaders indicating hardening of positions in [garble] permanently expanded Israel. (See also our A–109 and A–113.)3 If Arabs continue unready to talk peace and Israeli political scene continues as hotly competitive as it has been—at this juncture both contingencies seem likely—then Israeli opinion, stimulated by politicians staking out ever more advanced frontiers in the occupied territories, must perforce be increasingly conditioned to accept [as] permanent many aspects of the present territorial situation.
2.
It should be emphasized however that matters have not come to this bleak point yet. Eban told a press conference August 14 (our 479)4 by way of disassociating the GOI from Dayan’s territorial claims that the GOI had no “public view on territorial specifics of problem.” We continue believe that in spite of what Dayan, Allon and others say GOI if it could make peace now with one or more of its neighbors, achieving its security desiderata, would be willing to restore substantial Arab territory it now holds (Jerusalem and probably Gaza Strip being most important exceptions).
3.
I doubt whether any formal approach to GOI at this time would be productive. It would probably draw simple retort that such statements do not reflect GOI policy and GOI cannot limit freedom speech. My staff and I have left no doubt in minds our Israeli interlocutors our view permanent Israeli possession of occupied territories would foreclose indefinitely any chances of Arab-Israel peace.
4.
Low key Dept. approach to Israeli Embassy in similar vein pegged to recent statements would I think be helpful in indicating we do not discount these statements as empty political rhetoric but recognize they could eventually have undesirable consequences.
Barbour
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Confidential. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, London, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 23385 to Tel Aviv, August 18, states that the Department had noted with increasing concern recent statements by Israeli public figures about long-term Israeli policy on the West Bank and other occupied areas and was concerned that they might indicate increasing Israeli determination to occupy permanently the territories currently under military occupation. (Ibid.)
  3. Airgram A–109 from Tel Aviv, August 15, reported a discussion with several Knesset members concerning the occupied territories and refugees. (Ibid., POL 28 ARAB) A–113 from Tel Aviv, August 16, reported a talk by Minister of Labor Yigal Allon concerning the West Bank and refugees. (Ibid., POL 1 ISR)
  4. Telegram 479 from Tel Aviv, August 15. (Ibid., POL 15–1 ISR)