87. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders and William B. Quandt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Israel’s Policy Toward Occupied Territories

As you know, the Israeli Labor Party has developed a program for dealing with the occupied Arab territories over the next four years.2 There is nothing we can do to affect the adoption of the program, but its eventual implementation is yet to be determined. In the past, Israeli leaders have read our silence as acquiescence in the steps Israel has taken toward annexing or settling parts of the occupied areas. The most [Page 261]explicit statement made on this topic was by Ambassador Yost in 1969 [Tab B],3 which was reaffirmed by the State Department on August 23.4

Three elements of the new Israeli program could cause us difficulties if a genuine negotiation were ever to take place. First, the Labor Party is calling for an expansion of Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries. Second, the policy of restricting private land purchases by Israelis in the occupied territories may be loosened. Third, a sizable Israeli town is planned for the northeastern Sinai, which would effectively cut Gaza off from the Egyptian town of al-Arish.

Ambassador Keating has suggested in a cable to you [Tab A]5 that we should talk to the Israelis to try to persuade them to delay implementation of the new program. He feels that Ambassador Dinitz would be the proper person to discuss this with at the outset, and that he be authorized later to raise the matter officially in Israel before the elections are held.

Assistant Secretary Sisco has indicated an interest in talking to the Israelis about this when he gets back to Washington this week.6 Before then, you may want to make the point quietly with Dinitz that any Israeli actions in the occupied territories that make negotiations less likely will not have our support. In addition, if this process leads toward disguised annexation, the US and Israel will end up inevitably on opposite sides of some of the key issues of a peace settlement. One purpose of talking to Dinitz yourself is to avoid the appearance of a major public US démarche on the subject.

Recommendation: That you talk informally with Ambassador Dinitz about our concern with Israel’s new policy toward the occupied territories.

Approve7

Let Sisco talk to Dinitz about this, but tell him not to make a public démarche.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 610, Country Files, Middle East, Israel, Vol. 12, Mar. 73–Oct. 73. Secret. Sent for action. All brackets are in the original.
  2. The Israeli Government announced the new policy on August 22. See The New York Times, August 23, 1973.
  3. Attached, but not printed. Ambassador Charles W. Yost addressed the UN Security Council on July 1, 1969. The Security Council was meeting to consider Jordanian charges that Israel was deporting Arabs from Jerusalem and attempting to destroy parts of the Arab sector. The U.S., U.K., Soviet, and French Representatives warned Israel against acting to absorb the Arab sectors of Jerusalem. See ibid., July 2, 1969.
  4. Department of State spokesman Paul Hare reiterated during an August 23 news briefing U.S. opposition to changes in the status of Israeli-occupied Arab territory. See ibid., August 24, 1973.
  5. Telegram 6846 from Tel Aviv, August 30; attached, but not printed.
  6. This sentence is underlined and a handwritten notation in the margin reads: “Henry—note.”
  7. Kissinger initialed his approval.