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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 27, 1953


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    Report on Israeli military strength and position on the military strength of the other Arab countries.
    "Untitled report on an Israeli plan to attack the Palestinians," November 27, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 8, File 33G/8, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford.
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Although the British-Jordanian Agreement commits Britain to safeguard the Jordanian Kingdom's borders, it refers to the Kingdom's borders of 15 May 1948. Israel is therefore certain that Jordan will not be able to prevail upon the British to help it fight a war over Palestine.

As for the tripartite declaration issued by the three Western countries, Britain, America, and France, Israel will give it neither importance nor consideration.

As for Arab joint cooperation, Israel knows all it needs about the Arab countries' movements, policies, military preparations, and internal concerns, and views them in the following light:

First: Egypt’s internal problems have given rise to a strong opposition movement against the current regime by former authority figures and politicians, on one hand, and by communists and their supporters among businessmen and other groups, on the other. Internal instability makes it difficult for decision-makers to seriously consider any military move against Israel because any failure by their forces is bound to have considerable impact on their standing in the country. If the Egyptian Army is ever compelled to move, it would be confined to monitoring and protecting its own borders.

Second: As for Trans-Jordan, Israel is certain that it would not be able to do anything that could potentially affect its plans, especially without Britain's help. Therefore, all that Jordan can do is mobilise forces, in agreement with Iraq, to defend its old borders especially since Israel will refrain from attacking or carrying out military activities in these particular areas.

Third: Regarding Lebanon, Israel will not transgress against its borders since it has no ambition beyond these borders. It would therefore just station border guards along the Lebanese Israeli borders to guard against an attack.

As for Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Israel lends them no importance whatsoever, and views them as countries that routinely issue meaningless statements and make useless protests.

Israel sees Syria as the most powerful Arab country militarily, as well as from the point of view of training, organisation, and armament; however, it does not think that Syria can undertake a serious military move against it if it ever decides to activate its plans. Israel knows that there are divisions within the Syrian Army, government, and people and is therefore certain that it would not undertake military action on its own, especially since al-Shishakli, who is in power, would be reluctant to jeopardise his position with another military adventure.

The report by Colonel Dan Nalkowski, Chief of Israel’s Air Force, clearly indicates that Israel has sufficient air power not only to overcome Syrian resistance, but also the joint Arab forces if they ever attempt to unite against it.


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