195. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Israel and Jordan 1

186696. Subj: Attacks on Israeli Settlements.

Israeli Ambassador Rabin June 19 acting under instructions expressed to Assistant Secretary Battle grave GOI concern over new tactics being used in Jordan in connection cease-fire violations.
In past, exchanges fire began with small arms, then escalated. However, in last ten days there were two or three cases where Israeli settlements in Beisan area, e.g., Gesher, shelled by mortars or artillery.
GOI wants USG to know that if these tactics continue IDF will be forced to respond with artillery fire directed against Jordanian settlements and populated areas. Rabin asked USG convey GOI concern to GOJ and recommend GOJ exercise greater control activities this area. A similar message was being given to HMG in London.
In response questions, Rabin said perpetrators not small groups, since 60mm mortars and large amounts ammunition used. Declared JAA units might be involved. Noted that relatively small sector involved, i.e., Israeli territory opposite ADL.
Assistant Secretary said he strongly hoped GOI would not take threatened drastic action until USG had time discuss with GOJ.
For Tel Aviv. Embassy should assure GOI we conveying their and our concern to GOJ, and express hope IDF will not act precipitately.
For Amman. Embassy should (a) convey Israeli concern and seek GOJ comment, (b) advise GOJ we believe GOI serious in its threat respond in kind and (c) urge GOJ concentrate on greater control described sector. At your discretion you may wish point out once again usefulness of neutral observers in border area.2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Bahti, cleared by Houghton and Atherton, and approved by Battle. Repeated to Jerusalem, London, Beirut, and USUN.
  2. Ambassador Symmes made a coordinated approach with the British Ambassador to King Hussein on June 22. Hussein professed ignorance about the mortar attacks the Israelis complained of, and he detailed his government’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks on Israeli-held territory. (Telegram 5456 from Amman, June 22; ibid.)