Faced with a growing Egyptian military buildup in Sinai the Cabinet tried to determine if the time had come for military action, or if additional diplomacy would strengthen America's support of Israel. No consensus was reached and the decision was postponed.
May 26, 1967
Protocol number 62 of the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Friday, May 26, 1967 at 4 pm, in The Kirya, Tel Aviv
Protocol number 62
From the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
That took place on Friday, May 26, 1967
At 4 pm, in The Kirya, Tel Aviv
D. (David) Hacohen - Chairman
M. (Menachem) Begin
R. (Reuven) Barkat
A. (Aryeh) Ben-Eliezer
A. (Akiva) Govrin
Y. (Yizhar) Harari
Y. (Yaakov) Hazan
M. (Meir) Yaari
G. (Gavriel) Cohen
H. (Haim) Landau
M. (Mordechai) Namir
Y. (Yosef) Serlin
S. (Shimon) Peres
H. (Haim Yosef) Zadok
Z. (Zeev) Tzur
E. (Elimelekh) Rimalt
Y. (Yitzhak) Rafael
L. (Levi) Eshkol - Prime Minister
H. (Haim-Moshe) Shapira - Minister of Internal Affairs
Z. (Zerach) Warhaftig - Minister of Religions
Z. (Zalman) Aran - Minister of Education
Y. (Yisrael) Galili - In charge of publicity in the Prime Minister Office
Z. (Zvi) Dinstein - Deputy Minister of Defense
Y. (Yitzhak) Rabin - IDF Chief of Staff
A. (Aharon) Yariv - Head of Aman, the IDF's military intelligence
Y. (Yaakov) Herzog - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Chairman D. Hacohen: I’m opening the meeting. I didn’t agree to hold the meeting with my whole heart today, Shabbat evening, in such a late hour, but I’m running into great difficulties in organizing our meetings.
Some of the committee members came to me asking for a permission to go to the Negev. I’m afraid to say, but the Chief of Staff has asked me to be excused from this burden, he said that we cannot allow us to wander around the area just like that, it requires escort and so on, which we cannot organize today.
E. Rimlat: I would like to remind the chairman, that I asked in the name of my Party, to consider the option that these days the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee would be recruited every day. It’s possible that a meeting, not a long one, is required every day. If the Minister of Defense can’t join every single meeting, it’s possible that the Minister of Foreign Affairs would join other meetings. This committee is being tested on performing its duties mainly at a time like we’re experiencing. It must have a meeting every single day.
Chairman D. Hacohen: I’m not going into the issue of if it’s justified or not, but from my experience I know that sometimes it is impossible. When the Prime Minister arrives, I’d suggest you refer the request to him.
E. Rimlat: I oppose this procedure. These things are recommended by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Its members shouldn’t have to be lobbyists at the Prime Minister.
Chariman D. Hacohen: Mr. Prime Minister, the members have once again expressed their opinion on whether it would be possible to meet almost every day, not necessarily with yours or the Chief of Staff’s presence, and not for many hours. I don’t know how this can be done, but I’m asking that in all the efforts you put into these issues, you’d find time to seat with us as more as possible. But on that, times will tell.
Aluf A. Yariv, Head of Aman, has the stage.
A. Yariv: For the last twelve days, from May 14th to May 26th, there has been a far reaching change in Egypt’s military status, in its relations with Israel and the inter-Arab relations. The roots of this change that has occurred lay in several factors. First of all, in the Soviet Union initiative actions in the middle east for over a year, an initiative we were aware of relatively soon, and we pointed at it in Israel, we pointed at it in front of allies, and unfortunately outside of Israel we didn’t always find a sympathetic ear.
In face of the Soviet Union initiative actions in the middle east, we’ve witnessed a week west, mainly the United States. This action, initiated by the Soviet Union, was built on the assessment that the Soviet Union’s interests in the region are in danger, and especially their main interest, the regime in Egypt. That is due to developments around the world, in light of the failure of Ben Bella, in light of what happened in Ghana and so forth. I think that the Russians also saw the Islamic Treaty as a grand plan by the west to harm their interests in the Middle East.
Another factor of these changes was the continuing military strengthening by Egypt.
And the last factor I’d like to mention - is actually in regard to the situation today which might be a very important factor - the declining credibility of Israeli deterrence in Egypt’s eyes, which is due to the lack of an offensive action against Syria.
Over the months, since October 1966 when the defense treaty was signed between Syria and Egypt, we followed closely after the development of the relations between Syria and Egypt and between these two nations and the Soviet Union. We’ve seen, based on proven reports, that the Soviet Union did advice Syria to be cautious, advised - not pressured. The Russian interests in the current Syrian regime are clear and do not require proof. They talked in a manner of “Don’t give your opponents the excuse to complicate you with harsh scenarios.” No more than that.
As for the Syria-Egypt relations, there’s high suspicious although the defense treaty. Diplomatic relations weren’t formed, and not by accident. Egypt’s will to not get tangled here because of Syria was clear, as they know it well, but for a certain price, at the price of getting military control and political influence. Military control - so the Syrians wouldn’t act foolishly in a manner that would complicate the Egyptians not in the place or time they desire; Political influence - to gain profit for a long term and maybe to be great once again.
In spite of that - a Syrian will to complicate the Egyptians without paying the price that the Egyptians would like to receive.
After April 7th, when the IDF shot down the six Syrian MIGs - there has been a change in these relations; in the Egyptian-Syrian relations and the relations between Egypt and the Soviet Union. This change has happened mostly because of the event itself which was meaningful as it displayed the Syrians as week. And so, these three agents had an interest in making some actions.
Here we know to add an anecdote regarding the Soviet Union. A lot has been written and said about a long-term Russian conspiracy. Such a conspiracy might exist. I don’t have a proof to contradict this thesis completely, and I don’t have signs to proof it completely. There are signs that contradict this thesis, and signs who support it. There’s no doubt that Russia has enhanced its “cooking” in Egypt and Syria in April-May. There’s no doubt that Russia was active, among others, in bringing reports about Israel to these two agents. The Egyptians saw the need to act due to the same weakness they showed - as the Arab world sees it - on April 7th. After an attack treaty was established - the Jews attack and they don’t rush to help Syria. Therefore we’ve seen some Egyptians steps to coordinate with the Syrians. We witnessed two high-ranking delegations in Syria. Few days after the incident, a delegation headed by the Egyptian Air Force Commander has visited Syria. By reports we have he explained to the Syrians: “You can trust our help, but only when there’s a total Israeli Attack upon you. In case the Israelis repeat something similar to April 7th - you would have to solve it by yourself.” On this occasion, he said, we’ll see how you’re prepared. And there was what to check and do to them. He gave them advices and stimulated them to turn to the Soviet Union to ask for reinforcements and weapons and so on.
A second delegation was headed by the Egyptian Prime Minister Suliman, which arrived at Syria on the end of April, and firmly stated that the Syrian regime does have plans and tough tasks against the Egyptian interests - and I mention this to explain the relations between the two states - but it was clear to Suliman that Syria’s desire was to complicate Egypt by creating tensions between Syria and Israel. All of this around sabotage actions. We have no doubt - and we can supply an evidence file - that the sabotage actions for the last three quarters of the year, if not the whole last year, were being held not by Syrian aid, but ordered and intended by Syrian rulers. The Egyptians clearly understood that this is a Syrian move with several purposes, among them complicating Egypt.
Suliman also repeated the same formula of Egypt getting closer to Syria in case Israeli would do something on a grand scale.
This should serve as a background to what has happened since May 14. We’ve been seeing the following steps: First step since May 14 to May 19. It was a planned stage by Egypt, in which large forces have entered the Sinai Peninsula. From May 19 to May 22 was the unplanned stage by the Egyptians, in which there was a deterioration, however used by Nasser for his success, but not planned by him. He didn’t plan the second stage which resulted in the evacuation of the (United Nations) Emergency Force, the capturing of Sharm El Sheikh and the declaration of the closure of the straits.
We have proofs - that may be not that good but for now none other exist - that Nasser, once he entered his force to Sinai, couldn’t have allowed himself on an inter-Arab level to make a force so massive to sit there and hide behind the cover of the UN force. And as he did already in 1960 - then quietly and without publicity, which is secret information - he contacted the UN and didn’t tell them: go away. He said: step aside, enter your bases and allow me to be on the borders.
Here happened a development, planned by no one, or maybe by U Thant. U Thant has made a step that forced Nasser to do what he did. Because once U Thant made public, before getting contacted from the Egyptians, that if Egypt would demand the evacuation of the UN forces it’s within its rights and it should be done, it can’t be that Nasser won’t evacuate and won’t insist an evacuation. Then Nasser Faced the question, what to do with the straits. To catch them - clearly they had to be caught with force. And then he faced the question - should he declare they’re closed. He also had the option to not say anything and to act this way or another, selectively, he had another option to do nothing and wait.
In light of the state of things, seeing total weakness by all of the international bodies, mainly by the west, that didn’t speak and didn’t declare anything, he did what he did. U Thant created a fact, and him, Nasser, took the risk and declared what he declared regarding the closure of the straits.
From May 23 we’re in a stage I would call a retaliation and success exploitation stage. What retaliation? A retaliation to the concentration of large forces of the IDF in the south, because he finds it as a threat, and rightfully so. Success exploitation stage - meaning exploiting success in the Arab world. He’s doing it with all of the means of propaganda in his disposal. Nasser’s prestige in the Arab world is growing now. On the other hand, Cairo Radio allows itself horror propaganda against Israel, as it has hasn’t allowed itself since 1956.
With that in mind, in light of this success and its exploitation, we’re seeing Arab gathering around Nasser. After the success he has today, it’s hard not to join. In light of that we’re seeing an Iraqi offer, a Jordanian offer.
To summarize these stages in terms of Egyptian-Israeli relations, I would define it as follows: In case of undesire and unwillingness to fight now - Nasser has always declared he won’t go to war with Israel now and the Israelis won’t dictate to him the time and the place - this position has now changed into a position of unwillingness to initiate war, but willingness to accept it. It was on this stage he entered the Sinai with his forces.
Today he’s in a position of being willing to get entangled in total war of Israel. And maybe - and I emphasize the word “maybe” - maybe even initiate such a war using provocations.
How did these stages develop now? It started the week before Independence Day and climaxed towards the weekend. There has been big strengthening by Syria. They felt they’re about to get attacked with 15 regiments, the same total attack which was mentioned by the Egyptians. At first, Egypt wasn’t impressed. The same report was probably at the hands of the Soviet Union. On Sunday there were signs that the Egyptians are also beginning to be more aware. It turns out today - not with total certainty but there’s enough basis to the option of evaluating it, pure intelligence evaluation - that these three factors are drawing the same pictures, that Israel is going to attack Syria in a large scale, which is the reason to the concentration of force in northern Israel. Whether they, the Syrians, believed these reports, or were interested in creating this picture, I do not know. Whether the Soviets believed that - I do not know; whether the Egyptians trusted that or not - I also don’t know. Anyway, on Sunday May 14, in light of these reports, the Egyptians have decided to act. As a result, they sent their Chief of Staff, Mahmud Fauzi, to Damascus.
Y. Serlin: When did we find out of this decision?
A. Yariv: We’ve found out about the decision to act and to send the Chief of Staff on Sunday evening, we immediately checked what’s going on with the Egyptians and found that the general preparedness in the Egyptian Armed Forces has grown immensely. Despite that, by Monday morning no troops have moved. On Monday afternoon, the Egyptians started moving their troops. Moving their troops in public and in advertising. They did some things so these troops would be seen moving.
What do we believe were the reasons for this publicity? Once already troops were moved into Sinai unannounced, and a big number of them. The Egyptians considered this: After they coordinated with the Syrians on Sunday evening, they need to enter Sinai. First of all they had interest in gaining as much prestige as possible. Second of all, they might have had an interest in deterring us. If they announce it and make a noise, maybe the Jews would panic from the whole thing, won’t attack Syria, Egypt would gain a lot and won’t get entangled in war. It’s possible Egypt told Syria: Alright, we’re going for it, but don’t you make any untimely provocations to complicate it.
The question arises, assuming there was no publicity, when could I have told the Chief of Staff that the Egyptian army is entering Sinai? The first report of that arrived on Monday morning at 10:30 am. Afternoon, when these reports were at the ends of the press agencies, the report of the troops movement was already in my hands.
There was a big noise, but the forces which really entered Sinai were few. After that, on Monday afternoon until the early evening, many reports came in regarding an expected entry to Sinai. These were real reports. I could have told the Chief of Staff on Monday evening, that we seem to have a serious movement of troops from Egypt to Sinai. We’ve seen that in light of what we’ve already known about Egyptians and Syrian intentions.
On May 16, we’ve seen the issue developing, and the Chief of Staff will speak about the steps held by the IDF due to these reports. On May 17 / 18, we’ve received further reports, many of them, which gave us a clear sense of the size of the force about to enter Sinai. Due to that, I could’ve reported to the Chief of Staff that we’re about to have a massive entry of troops from Egypt to Sinai.
On May 15, 16, 17, we’ve seen at the same time a defensive formation of the troops in Sinai. There are always 20-25 thousand Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. They spread in a defensive formation along the border. On May 17 / 18, when further reports came in, on May 18 on the evening reports came in that gave us a reason to assess that the formation of these troops would be one that allows them also an offensive option, and not only a defensive one. These forces, on the 18th on the evening weren’t in Sinai yet.
What was the picture we drew towards the morning of May 19, which I see as the first stage? The picture was like this: a forward line held by a relatively big number of troops, two Palestinian regiments and other units in the Gaza Strip, an independent force on the Rafah-El-Arish area equivalent of two regiments, second division on the Um-Katef-Qosimah area with many tanks, many openers. Also two clusters from behind, one cluster north of a road on Jabel-Ibni, cluster of 3 divisions based on infantry and armor, artillery and also a division in the Dir-Hasla area, also with many tanks, armor and infantry.
These forces report to an army command, and the commander is General Mortagy. Not far from him in Hotmara is the front headquarters of Marshall Amar.
When we’ve seen that we told ourselves that it’s both a little suspicious and also a little strange. Suspicious of what? - These clusters have an offensive potential. Strange - because they’re formed strongly in the middle while the flanks remain exposed. You could go throw the border and drive straight to the army command. Today we know the answer to this strange picture. They took a while to organize. These units aren’t organic. Meaning, it was done in a bit of a rush and urgency. When they arrived, they needed time to start organizing. And indeed, we’re seeing that this cluster, which included about four infantry divisions - a force equivalent to four infantry divisions - and armor division, this force began to spread out. In the (Gaza) Strip they started to dig in, organize, do everything a normal army does. They started filling the exposed flank. We’ve seen that from these clusters they began spreading out and take positions. It received a much more defensive nature and the offensive potential that was in the previous cluster has decreased greatly.
Ever since May 19 until today there have been some changes. We’ve found out of an order to recall two infantry regiments from Yemen, a paratroopers battalion and two armor battalions. During all these processes, a very important act was done in the Navy and Air Force, spreading all the forces in an operational formation, the Air Force spread through all the air bases and reinforced in Sinai, until reaching five squadrons - three MIG-17 squadrons, one MIG-19 squadron and one MIG-21 squadron. It is roughly 70 aircrafts.
Upon deciding to close the straits, there has been further development. At the beginning, they parachuted a paratroopers battalion in a demonstrative manner. Once the decision to close took place, they launched a bigger force. They brought a paratroopers battalion, another infantry battalion, started bringing an armor battalion. There’s an unconfirmed report about SL2 missiles and also a reinforcement of the Naval force in the Gulf of Suez, they brought torpedo ships, a large number of MIG-19 and MIG-15 aircrafts and a MIG-17 squadron was brought there from Sinai.
In this picture we’ve looked for something that we’ve been missing the whole week, which is the 4th armor division, which is the classic Egypt’s strategic reserve. We’ve waited for it and it didn’t show up. This was until we found out a day after the closure of the straits, that it received the order to move and it will take it two days to arrive to this region. And after two days it did arrive.
I’d like to tell something curious, that on the first Monday we’ve received a report that a certain tank unit is supposed to enter Sinai. We’ve looked for it and it wasn’t there. Finally it arrived Monday this week… It was on route for a week.
Together with the order to move the division, the armor regiment in Yemen received orders to return to Egypt, although four days earlier it received order to stay put. In four days it received an order to turn back.
We’ve received a report of intentions to establish another army. It’s not difficult. They can base it on troops left in Egypt, which are an infantry division, an armor division and some other regiments. In fact, it’s what is called a corps in Europe.
What can this army be used for? - We can see several potential purposes: This commander has many troops. Controlling them isn’t easy. This additional army can command some of the troops. A second option: Offensive. These are protecting and this is the fist, which would hit in a provocation or will counter attack if the Jews attack. Third option - there are concerns that one of the “imperialists” would do something against them like in 1956 in order to protect Israeli land. They brought back from the Gulf of Suez missile battleships and submarines and transferred them to the eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile we’re seeing steps of an Arab gathering. The Iraqis have offered the Syrians an infantry regiment, commando, tanks, airplane assistance. At first the Syrians said no. Later they accepted. And now the Iraqis are thinking whether to send them or not. The Iraqis have offered the Egyptians an infantry battalion. The Egyptians accepted. The Egyptians asked the Iraqis for assistance in fighter jets and bombers. I believe the answer is they’ll send them four fighter jets and two bombers. The pretext is they don’t have enough pilots.
The Jordanians have declared they’re willing to allow Iraqi and Saudi troops in. A single Iraqi or Saudi soldier is yet to have entered Jordan, Iraq declared the Jordanian consent is too late. A negotiation is being held regarding the entry of the Saudi.
Several words regarding Syria and Jordan: the Syrians have reinforced their troops on the front back in the end of April, following the incident. They roughly doubled their troops they had there. Meaning that in addition to the three regiments they had there the whole time, two regiments and armor were added. Since the development that happened, the Syrians concentrated 90 percent of their land forces in front of the Israeli front, while the fist of the mechanized armor and their artillery is north-east of Quneitra.
The Jordanians have entered an emergency formation, raised their alertness, brought their two armor regiments, placing one north of the Dead Sea and one north of the Jordan Valley.
These days many changes happened. We have to be strict in showing what the changes in the processes are. What options do the enemy have? Today Nasser has space to maneuver politically and military. Political action options - he can play with the straits. He can say that ships carrying the Israeli flag may not pass through, but without the Israeli flag may. He can set several conditions to the passage of several ships. In addition he has military action options. As he’s formed, with the forces he has, he can attack. We’re thinking it’s the most unlikely scenario, but he can do it. He can do some kind of provocation, which will draw our response and then attack. He can also do nothing. Even if he does nothing there might by developments, which might be harsh for us.
In the atmosphere created, all the states surrounding us will have to walk his line. Whatever is regarding the sabotage actions will receive a new stronger momentum and he can activate his sabotage actions from the Gaza Strip whenever he wants. I hope the members of the committee remember the time of the sabotage actions from the Gaza Strip.
Lebanon will find it hard to withstand the pressure in this scenario. In the Gaza Strip there are Palestinian saboteurs. Jordan on the other hand would be under extreme pressure, internal pressure. Hussein would have to join the choir.
These issues would serve as a harsh and strong pressure on us, going along with the hopes beating in the Palestinian hearts. Nasser has time. During this time he can act freely in different directions, and as long as it takes longer, he can accumulate power and options. This situation isn’t the best for us, this being an under-statement.
Y. Rabin: As the head of Aman has mentioned the development has had some stages. The first stage of the troop movement was before the UN evacuation. We assessed then that it was related to the will to show cooperation and disconnect the so-called offensive threat on Syria. During that time there was no concentration of Israeli troops on the Syrian border. In front of three Syrian regiments, stood two Israeli companies. Every story of troops concentration - is unfounded and whoever told it and built it, I’m not sure if it’s the Syrians or the Russians. At this stage we’ve decided, that since there’s a big military movement here, to not trust in the south only on Nasser to not advance. We concentrated a regular force and quietly called up around 16 thousand men. There were two armor regiments and some other units. We didn’t enlist in the country any other soldier, as to prevent the enlistment from becoming a deteriorating, scary and impeding factor, if this is the whole intention.
The second stage was to do with the UN development. I for once accept on this manner the assessment by Aman. We know what Nasser has asked, we know what U Thant has done, and we know how Nasser went as far as to closing the straits. I don’t believe this was his intent. When this situation was created, we made another enlistment, and as a result we reinforced our troops in the north also a little - and still not near the border but at sea. It has been an enlistment of an infantry regiment, armor regiment and concertation of appropriate force in the south, a force that would allow us to attack, as well obviously as to defend.
The third stage was the day before yesterday, with the announcement of the closure of the straits, which is basically setting the stage to the fight. At this stage we recruited most of the IDF field units. Still not the regional defense array, not the senior infantry. There is still several tens of thousands who haven’t been recruited. In front of the Egyptian concentration in the south, which I evaluate as 800 tanks, we’re standing with numbers which aren’t considerably lower than the number of Egyptian tanks. This isn’t a 2 to 1 ratio, it’s a much better ratio than 2 to 1. The entire IDF armor is concentrated in fact and is formed in the different sectors in front of Jordan, Syria and mainly a large concentration in front of Egypt. Meaning, today we’re in a state that if no out-of-the-ordinary surprise that would shift the power balance occurs, we can stand an Egyptian military attack. Not all of the IDF’s armor is in the Egyptian sector, as mentioned before.
M. Begin: Does the same ratio apply to the north and the east?
Y. Rabin: As for the north, no. As for the north the possibility of using armor is limited due to nature of the terrain. As for the east, I would say the ratio is better than 2 to 1. On some conditions we also have the possibility to attack the Egyptian army an attack which will not break the Egyptian army, but can achieve certain territorial accomplishments.
Chairman D. Hacohen: When you’re saying “certain territorial accomplishments”, are there such which can make it possible to say: we’re holding this position, open Sharm El Sheikh - and we’ll open the canal?
Y. Rabin: It’s impossible to open Sharm El Sheikh by waging war on Sharm El Sheikh.
Chairman D. Hacohen: You didn’t say which territory. By capturing a territory such as Suez Canal, is it possible to say: we’ll open the Suez Canal if you open Sharm El Sheikh?
Y. Rabin: I don’t wish to go into that.
M. Begin: The Chief of Staff’s (Rabin) lecture cleared almost nothing, and I’d ask the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense to allow the Chief of Staff to explain to the committee the array on both sides. Otherwise, we won’t be able to know what we’re being offered and we cannot assess what we think of the different proposals.
Chairman D. Hacohen: I don’t believe we have the right to ask the Prime Minister to tell to the Chief of Staff to present the exact operative plans of the army. What you’re asking for I’ll say this and I suggest the members to not pressure to give such details.
M. Begin: The Chief of Staff said, that we may attack, he doesn’t believe this attack would break the Egyptian Army, but that there’ a chance for territorial accomplishments. What does this expression mean to the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee?
Chairman D. Hacohen: I presented a question. He avoided answering it. It’s his right.
Prime Minister Eshkol: If Rav-Aluf (Lieutenant General) Rabin wishes to explain himself - I have no objection, I wish to repeat here an offer I offered before. I think it’s a wise and right offer, to establish a much narrower committee, narrower even than the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, and this whole table will participate in that committee. Then we may even maybe speak - which I doubt - in regard of operative plans, what the General Staff think.
I believe you shouldn’t have asked the Chief of Staff to go into details, suggestions and operative thoughts in this stage.
Y. Hazan: I believe we shouldn’t hear details regarding amounts of weapons. Hearing the intents - that we should definitely hear. I believe that we should talk about types of weapons as little as possible. I am for hearing regarding the actual plans.
I’m against setting a narrower committee for now. I think a wide shoulder is needed. Everyone should sit here.
Prime Minister Eshkol: The matter of the numbers may be less dangerous. You’re saying: We want to know what we’re preparing against, in which way, on what territory, in which corner. Someone has asked if it’s possible to take Suez as a basis to a negotiation. To this the Chief of Staff responded that he can’t talk about it. I’m doubting if that’s what he should speak about today.
Y. Rabin: We’ve yet to exhaust the full enlistment for defensive formations in other sectors.
M. Yaari: Why? We can face an attack from three sides.
Y. Rabin: I believe we still have time.
Y. Rafael: I believe that between operative plans and what we’ve heard today there’s some distance. I’m against hearing about operating plans, but we’ve heard today less than in the previous meetings, and I believe that we should’ve heard today much more than in the previous meetings. I don’t know why the power of this committee has shaken and suddenly cannot hear what it used to in the past. I give up about the numbers. I know all the numbers by heart, because we’ve heard them. What the Prime Minister has said isn’t an answer to the issue being dealt in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. It’s possible that the Prime Minister is right in what he’s said, but it isn’t an answer for here. The committee as a parliamentary committee on behalf of the Knesset on defense issues, is allowed and even qualified to know more on this issues.
Prime Minister Eshkol: I say to you once again and ask you to reconsider the matter in cold judgement. I don’t know what you’ve heard today less than in the previous meetings. Let’s say the government decides to stop sitting doing nothing, and you might find out about it when it’s decided, and meanwhile Knesset Member Yaari asks why we’re not enlisting more men…
M. Yaari: Can we stand on three fronts once attacked?
Prime Minister Eshkol: The Chief of Staff has responded that he believes the Jordanian front is less important and dangerous, the northern front is less serious right now and we have troops. Due to the General Staff assessment, it’s alright. If we need more - we can get it. By Knesset Member Rafael’s offer we should say that in Sinai we’re preparing to go in this and that direction, in this and that way, here will be this and that tanks and cannons. If so, we should bring the plans and say what we think should be done when in Sinai there’s lots of army and lots of Egyptian units with many weapons, how do we wish to penetrate, what can we gain, what would be the military movement. Rav-Aluf Rabin didn’t say that we can break and destroy the entire Egyptian Army - this is also up to Egypt - but we may gain important achievements. It might also answer the question, whether it may be a basis for negotiation regarding Sharm El Sheikh. Giving out details - If you think it’s good and necessary… I doubt that.
Y. Serlin: This committee is the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. There is no other moment in which the policy is so dependent on the defense and the defense is so dependent on the policy as this moment. I assume that afterwards we’ll be content or not or be forced to be content with what the head of Aman and the Chief of Staff have told us, we’ll hear political assessments too. As Knesset Member Hazan said, here sit no generals. And just because of that, I as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee cannot make any political stand if I don’t know the security state of the nation. What we’re asking from the Chief of Staff is not that we’ll decide whether to strike in one way or another, whether to go on with the operative action today or not. This is for him to present to the government and the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, there he awaits for a “green light” or a “red light”/
I’m not interested in receiving numbers from the Chief of Staff, in fact we’ve heard the numbers. It’s possible that the current estimations are a little different. After the meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs I was impressed, as were my friends, that regardless of the American request, the enlistment would be general. Today we’re hearing from the Chief of Staff that the enlistment isn’t completed yet today. They said you can’t take it everything out of the market. We should know about that also so we can arrive at some political assessment which would allow us to recommend something to the government. The government, if it’d like to - would accept our proposal, if it wouldn’t like to - it won’t accept it.
The Chief of Staff has said today less than any other time. You’d like us to express our opinion based on that? Therefore I’d like to have a second reconsideration from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, which would allow us to receive such an information on the security area that would allow us to decide on the political area.
S. Peres: I’m a delegate of a party in the Knesset. I have to deliver here the party’s thoughts. The party is asking to either receive the full picture of the formation of the enemy and ours, with a full plan, or that the government would announce that it won’t deliver anything, which is within its right to do. We won’t publicize our opposition to that, and will ask that our approval of that won’t be publicized. On the debate regarding the secrecy of the committee, I announced to whom I deliver information. I give information to one member who is member of the committee and isn’t here, and to another Knesset member who isn’t a member of the committee. This was agreed by everyone. The government is entitled to not give this information. We’ll be loyal, but we’ll ask that it’s clear that in this case the decision is by the government alone.
To the matter, I suggest the following: giving general numbers of the formation of the enemy and ours. This is nothing new to the committee. I suggest giving general numbers of both sides. I think the nation is in its worst state today, worse than in 1956 and worse than in 1948. I don’t think parties are related to this manner. I don’t think there’s any difference in anything. But it should be possible to lead a democratic life. Where the opposition should give up - it would give up.
Here we want to know plans and dates. If the Prime Minister desires to deliver plans and dates on another forum - he can go ahead. But we would like to know that in advance. I announce in advance that I won’t be able to express my opinion before consulting with the two men I mentioned, so my opinion would be balanced.
Prime Minister Eshkol: Regarding the plans?
S. Peres: Yes. I request to distinguish between the government level and the parliamentary level. This is a Knesset establishment. If the government wants to make these or other arrangements - it’s within its rights. It doesn’t involve us the parties nor the Knesset. But it can be suggested that the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee would be minimized, as it minimized on another subject. On this case it would be a committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, this isn’t an offer on the parliamentary level but on the government level. The government may negotiate however it wants and with whoever it wants. But we’re sitting here as an establishment filling in for the Knesset. I know we’re standing at a very harsh moment. I don’t envy anyone who needs to decide, and not even someone who needs to give advices.
E. Rimalt: This debate is a bit strange. I don’t know what the government has decided about the coming days. If the purpose of this meeting is getting information in regard to the developing deterioration and the Egyptian formation and that we’d know that the IDF is prepared and can stand even if we’re attacked, it’s a very important matter and can also be used as a newspaper headline. If this is the purpose - so be it. If the government still has no decisions, in this case we also have a right to ask: how does it assess the situation, what is enfolded in it, what is the deteriorating matter that might explode at any moment. I’m convinced and cannot imagine otherwise, that the situation as it is today, with everything it holds, is severe, and every day might be too early or too late.
If the government wishes to receive an opinion from this committee, we have to know not necessarily numbers regarding specific details, but different options. There are many options. There’s an option to attack on one front, there’s an option to attack on two fronts and there’s an option to attack on three fronts. The question is whether there’s sufficient personnel, is there enough equipment? If it’s clear that we have to attack first, we also need to know that. We need to know what goals we’re setting for ourselves for today. This committee isn’t allowed to be excused from its parliamentary and national responsibility, and if so, it cannot discuss anything based on the important matters we’ve heard. They are very important indeed, but not sufficient at all.
Y. Harari: I fear the entire meeting’s time will be used for things that while I do consider important, we won’t be able to discuss them before hearing the political information. That’s why I offer that before continuing the discussion, we’ll hear the information. Right now it’s the most important thing. After all, we’re fully in our rights to make all of our claims. I suggest we stop this discussion. Let’s hear a political report, and then get back to the rest of the problems.
Y. Herzog: Regarding the political state, we’re expecting a report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs who’s meeting now with the President of the United States. We’ve had reports of our talks yesterday with the American Secretary of State and with high-ranking officials. There’s basically two levels to the discussion. The first is the problem of Sharm El Sheikh and the sailing freedom; the other is the development of the last 24 hours, the developing danger of a surprise attack by Egypt on Israel.
Regarding the sailing freedom and Sharm El Sheikh we need to distinguish between two levels. The first level is a purely Israeli one, the problem of the Israeli sailing freedom in the (Suez) Gulf, and the second level is the international one. Meaning, the sailing freedom of ships on route to Eilat with materials Egypt has announced it won’t allow to be transferred to Israel, materials which include oil. Our basic tendency these last days since the closure of the straits has been clarifying the stance of other nations - mainly the three western ones, the United States, France and the United Kingdom - regarding their right and the international right to pass through Egypt. This might work hand in hand with our actions in the matter.
There is a pile of letters. Right now the state of the question of the straits is as follows: First of all, the United States has expressed through the President of the United States a public solidarity in regard of the sailing freedom, meaning, reaffirmed its stance from 1957, including publishing the memo from 1957. This memo mentions that the United States internationally recognizes that this is an international bay and that it will itself exploit its right of a free passage, meaning, sending ships. The first ship that arrived in Eilat in 1957 was American.
Now the United States has republished this memo, accompanied by the message of the President of the United States.
Second of all, in the same message Nasser’s act is referred to as an illegal one and with harsh consequences to peace in the region.
On the other hand, there has been no explicit announcement from the United States that it will breach into the bay. Diplomatically, it was announced that the United States won’t allow this blockade and will search for ways to remove it.
London has announced it will send ships and coordinate with others to break the siege. The United States and the United Kingdom are probably working together and making operative actions in Egypt. Maybe by working together with other nations, maybe by destroyers, maybe by ships. On the same international level of the international right - unrelated to our right which is both international and national - there’s an active handling.
In order to avoid an unbalanced assessment I might add that there might be complications. First of all it’s been mentioned that these troops will be UN troops. No one knows what it is yet. However, there’s a big effort to let Nasser know of the right, there are plans by U Thant. U Thant hasn’t shown enough alertness to the bay at all, and there’s no doubt his actions will make the American actions harder. It is assumed that the Americans will get over the tendency to look for U Thant and the Security Council, which has shown total helplessness, and the same positive position of the United States and the United Kingdom will grow stronger.
As for France, it supports the sailing freedom, and President De Gaulle has said that the siege on the gulf should be removed. Having said that, he didn’t volunteer any French ships to enter it and he supports the squared idea. For now, nothing came out of it and there’s no sign that anything will. He caused a situation where a western act in Egypt might upset the Soviets. He caused a situation where it may be possible to reach anything with the Soviets. No one knows what this is based on. I emphasize, there is no clear development here.
As for a direct Israeli act, this is up to the government decision whether to send a ship and when. The United States has asked for, as we can recall, for a pause of 48 hours. It continues asking us to not act right now, as long as they look into things from their side. I’m talking here about Sharm El Sheikh. France was also relieved when hearing a ship isn’t leaving immediately. The English were also against sending a ship right now. The international demand was like this: sit tight from a couple of days or sometimes, let us look into options to act. I assume that regarding the international stance on the straits, things will clear out in the coming days.
The harsher level is the one of an attack on Israel from Sinai.
M. Begin: What did Dean Rusk say to Abba Eban?
Y. Herzog: An urgent matter has been dealt with since yesterday, which is the concentration in Sinai and the danger of a provocative Egyptian action or a surprise attack that will complicate us with a total war. As for the straits, we’re setting the time. Once we’ll send a ship, there’ll be an explosions.
The discussion of Mr. Eban with Rusk wasn’t so much about the straits, although he’s been told about the American position. Eban received a message from the Prime Minister to emphasize the Egyptian danger of a total Arab attack on Israel. He asked Rusk what is the meaning now of the American commitment all these years that it will not allow hurting the Israeli integrity. How will this commitment will be realized right now, if at all. The Prime Minister had reasons to present the question as he did. The questions wasn’t only for clarifying the American position, it was also aimed at the case where we’ll have to act alone, we won’t hear: we told you not to act, you “Pearl Harbored” us.
This conversation of Eban-Rusk continues right now with the President of the United States. Rusk’s response was: if the situation is so dire and you’re claiming there is a danger of an attack at any time, I’m notifying the President right away. And he did report immediately to the President. Rusk is just a clerk. This is now being inspected by the President of the United States. The Prime Minister and Minister of Defense will now explain why he contacted and what will happen in case of an unsatisfying American reply - which will probably happen.
There has been contact with the Russians in Moscow. We’ve ran into a sealed wall, meaning: you’ve created a situation, don’t come complaining; we’ve warned you all the time.
From U Thant there’s no clear information. As for the notice from TASS (Russian News Agency), our experts claim it is serious but isn’t necessarily a military action. We’re sure the Russian stance in the Middle East is a function of the American deepening. If Russia will know that the United States won’t allow it to intervene in an active manner - it won’t. If it won’t know - there’s no telling. It’s up to the American position, which is still not clear enough for us.
A. Ben Eliezer: I believe the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee would like to hear not only details we’ve heard and not only details we haven’t heard, but to hear what the government thinks of the situation. I’d like to hear the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Eshkol: Following the meeting in which we announced we’ve been asked to wait a couple of days, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has left on his travel. The general shared inclination was to give two days. In the same conversation the option that we’ll have two wait another day or two was also mentioned; we’ve also discussed what will happen in case the United States will say that the Navy is staying put and protecting and ships can pass through. There were people who’ve said that at this moment the prestige doesn’t matter. Prestige isn’t a small thing either. But they said it isn’t the crucial thing right now.
I’ve told the Minister of Foreign Affairs: you’re going and you’re not bargaining. You need to know what it’s all about, what the Americans and the others are saying to us.
Meanwhile it’s been over two days. Meanwhile the matter of the Sinai desert has become much more crucial and compressed. There’s been a discussion with De Gaulle in France, there’s been a discussion with Wilson in London. I can’t say we liked the answers. Everyone recognizes that Nasser made an illegal step. We deserve, everyone believes, a free passage in the straits. They’ll help us, but we shouldn’t be the first ones to shoot. It will be a disaster and so on.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said: I hear what you’re saying, I’ll bring the answer to the government. He must have argued and explained. Meanwhile we pressured and announced that the issue of Sinai seems very important to us, maybe more important now than the issue of Sharm El Sheikh. Now we’re waiting for replies to our demands, what does the United States plan to do. General De Gaulle spoke about convening the four powers. He’s prepared to lead it. We don’t believe it will be done by tomorrow or the day after it. Anyway, there’ll be a face to face conversation with the President of the United States, to whom we make our more direct and assertive demands. Right now I can’t say that it will be easy and he’ll tell the Minister of Foreign affairs: go home, I’m giving the order that everything is for your defense right now.
Once the Minister of Foreign Affairs returns, the government will have to make its final decision. On this matter I know that there are different pieces of information going around, true and untrue which come from some source. We don’t see an option to open Sharm El Sheikh without going through Sinai.
That’s the reason the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that the matter of Sinai is more crucial for us right now. It doesn’t mean we’re giving anything up, but it’s a higher priority. That’s what the debate with the Americans is about. They’re saying the danger isn’t what we think. They have information, they’re asking us to stay in touch with their men in Israel, the Sixth Fleet is nearby. I recall that when it was about responsibility and guaranties, I would ask: what is this promising?
We’ve asked the United States to publicly announce that a strike on Israel is a strike on the United States. We’ve been said that it cannot be decided without the Senate, and the issue is still not that dangerous.
Today four airplanes flew over Israel. We immediately telegrammed Abba Eban about it. The purpose of a certain weapon can be crucial in this matter, and I don’t mean something which is out of this world. It’s a weapon that exists in others in the hundreds and thousands.
We’re considering. There are commanders saying: we cannot lose time, each half a day passing, every hour passing might be crucial. The very fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is in the United States, when he’s to talk with the President, gave us the feeling that if we act know it will somehow be unfair, as if actions are being taken here while the Minister of Foreign Affairs is there. I don’t wish that on some way they will be able to tell us: you’ve “Pearl Harbored” us, you’ve sent an emissary to put as to sleep, while you did what you did over there.
I have no doubt that there’s a serious game of the Soviet Union, Syria and Egypt here. I couldn’t imagine that the Soviet Union, Syria, and Egypt didn’t know the truth that we don’t have and didn’t have units or regiments on the Syrian border. You’re explaining, proving, ask people to go and see for themselves, but the Russian side won’t listen. It’s necessary to them.
S. Peres: What made the difference on the last two days, that we’re feeling Egypt is about to attack?
Prime Minister Eshkol: First of all, moving bigger forces in. Second of all, bits of information, reports. Head of Aman told me that we can’t prove it in a hundred percent. The Americans evaluate it differently. Our instructions for Mr. Eban were that he has to claim that we are living here, we are here and we have a feeling and these reports. The number of troops they are moving in speaks for itself.
Let’s say we decide to do something that might be crucial…
M. Yaari: A preemptive strike? Without approval from the United States?
Prime Minister Eshkol: Yes. Without the approval of America. It won’t be a sin to say that everyone thinks about it three times a day. Like that until the last moment. It’s very natural. You learn every memo. First the short memo and then the entire one. You’re saying: it’s been five days. You can already tell General De Gaulle: look what “good kids” we were.
I’ve told Abba Eban: You’re not bargaining. They’ve asked for 48 hours, because it was about Sharm El Sheikh. Meanwhile things have developed here. Once in France, he has gotten reports from our ambassador that Mr. Wilson is very interested in his movements and he thought he should also go to England. The conversation with Wilson was more than satisfactory, it doesn’t mean they’re giving what we’re after. It doesn’t mean Wilson said the fleet is standing by to protect Sharm el Sheikh, or giving you all the weapons you want, or: the day after tomorrow we’re joining you in war. Wilson would also like for the four powers to convene. He’s prepared to go hand by hand with the United States. Everything goes towards the United States.
It’s possible that within 12 hours there’s not going to be a choice. We thought Abba Eban would be back today. In this case we thought to set a government meeting tomorrow, go through all the reports and information and arrive at a conclusion.
Knesset member Serlin asked in an assertive way I cannot comprehend. When the head of Aman talked, member Serlin asked him: why did you wait?
H. Landau: Is there a declaration on Sharm El Sheikh for the last five days?
Prime Minister Eshkol: No, no, excuse me. I’m now clearly distinguishing between two affairs. If you want to wage war on Sharm El Sheikh, it can be done in 12 hours. I believe Sinai seems more important now. I don’t know how to reach Sharm El Sheikh without Sinai. And the problem isn’t I don’t know, the commanders don’t know. Maybe we should do something that could later serve as a basis for exchange. That’s what the members asked about. I’ve asked you: spare us and don’t ask detailed questions like these. There are thoughts, there are plans. The government is yet to finally summarize, and it couldn’t have because it can’t put Abba Eban in such a position where it sent him while doing what we’re doing here.
During these days we’ve made a fuss going through the telegrams, bringing in the American ambassador, in the event we don’t have to fear. It’s possible that there should have been a second and third round to the talks. It’s possible we’ll decide we’re not waiting. The danger is great. You don’t know what the enemy will do tomorrow.
If Abba Eban were to come back today, we would have a meeting anyway. If he’ll come back tomorrow - we’ll have a nightly meeting. Then I’ll be qualified to say what we’re thinking of doing. The head of Aman has said that the danger is great. The Chief of Staff, who kept quiet, has also said that. I pressured the Chief of Staff to say more than that, and he told me, that he’s very anxious to say anymore. Sinai isn’t empty now. There’s an opinion - one that I also suspect of - that say: sit and do nothing. I fear it’s dangerous. There are some good friends who are saying that. There are some who say it should have been done a day ago, and it could be crucial. This is no decision for one person. It’s a matter for the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs to decide, the government.
If you had taken my advice, it would be good. I know there are thoughts of expanding the government (coalition) because it is a serious matter. They’re already talking of a “war cabinet”. There are some presenting this as if it is worth 100 airplanes and 500 tanks. I don’t think so. But I told myself there is a right and permission and it would be good if the whole table would be in it. In my dream I thought that not even the Ministerial Committee should be that narrow body, as it is also too big. I’ve told myself that if we’re to add to that Committee, which is already 14 men big, some other representative of non-government parties, it is to get even bigger. Thus I thought that the entire committee, including the opposition men, should be made out of six-seven men only. It might have to reside every day now. Of course it will have to get basic instruction from the government once.
It is a serious and harsh matter. It’s harsh for both sides. To do - is harsh; not to do - maybe even harsher.
A. Ben Eliezer: But a decision has to be made.
Prime Minister Eshkol: I’ve explained why we’re not deciding yet. We’re now working with the American Jews, and doing it quite good. We are working with people in the Senate and everywhere. It’s possible we’ll have a second round of talks with General De Gaulle. Opinions of worse relations between General De Gaulle and Israel are sometimes heard. There is no bigger lie than that. Nowadays we receive what we’re asking for. Even some airplanes.
S. Peres: In addition to the nine?
Prime Minister Eshkol: Yes. You’d do me a favor by not asking, because afterwards I hear it all over the country. The “landlord” himself was very interested to know if this equipment got to us, since it was during the strike in Greece. But I’m not sure we would’ve wanted that the Arabs would know he’s giving now. Although they keep saying the relations between us are good, they probably also want relations with the Arabs.
Tomorrow night or on Sunday the government will meet. We’ll have to make conclusions. I suggest not to go into a revolutionary discussion regarding changes in the government right now. We won’t do that, although the members saying that it can be done now. It’s like that tale of that matchmaker, who’s saying half the work is done, the other side has agreed… I haven’t intervened in it yet. I don’t want it to be done now. It’s a serious matter. Let’s assemble a five-six-seven men committee that would be permanent together with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, after receiving general guidance.
Y. Rafael: I ask the members to agree to my request to not write a record for this meeting, due to the Shabbat.
Chairman D. Hacohen: You’ve already talked to me about it…
Y. Rafael: Not anyone can do whatever they want. It’s not a matter of “Pikuach Nefesh” (life threatening emergency which allows one to desecrate the Shabbat).
Chairman D. Hacohen: I agreed to the request to avoid smoking. If we’re having a meeting, there’s a record of it. If the record writer were religious and would’ve asked not to write today, it wouldn’t have occur me. A record is written. You’ve been on many meetings.
Y. Rafael: It’s not Pikuach Nefesh.
Chairman D. Hacohen: How can you determine that?
Y. Rafael: It’s not Pikuach Nefesh. It’s not your verdict to make.
Chairman D. Hacohen: If there’s no record, there’ll be no meeting.
Y. Rafael: You’re not allowing me to participate in the meeting. You should allow me to participate.
Chairman D. Hacohen: I’m not making you write anything.
Y. Rafael: It’s not a matter of Pikuach Nefesh.
Chairman D. Hacohen: I’m demanding there’ll be a record.
Y. Rafael: And I’m demanding there won’t be.
Chairman D. Hacohen: It’s up to the chairman to decide.
Y. Rafael: The committee will decide. All members can later submit a written version of what they’ve said. I won’t give up on any way. You won’t force me. I'm here on the same right you are. You’ll allow me to participate.
Chairman D. Hacohen: Even sitting in the meeting is a sin.
Y. Rafael: It’s not true. It’s not your verdict to make.
R. Barkat: I suggest there won’t be a record and we won’t fight about it. What has been said, has been said.
Chairman D. Hacohen: I’m asking you not to step into my authority on this matter.
M. Begin: There have been meetings without a record.
Chairman D. Hacohen: Besides Knesset Member Rafael there are other Shabbat observing members here. No one makes such a scandal.
Y. Rafael: You won’t teach me how to behave.
(Record-typing stopped at 6:45 pm)
Addition to the meeting’s protocol:
David Hacohen: I apologize I had to stop the typing of the record due to Mr. Rafael demand because of the Shabbat. I was sure that the discussion is about a matter which is more than Pikuach Nefesh. Mr. Rafael thought differently. Due to Barkat’s remark that it was better to stop the recording and the support of Begin to their opinion, I didn’t see any point to vote on the matter and the typing ceased. I remain certain that the authority to decide on this matter is reserved to the chairman alone and Rafael and his supporters had no right to intervene on the matter.
As suggested I’m writing the things I’ve said in the meeting once the typing has ceased and I’d ask the secretary to add it to the record.
I think that the Prime Minister was right in that we cannot “Pearl Harbor” the United States, as long as the Minister of Foreign Affairs is talking with the president we can’t surprise the world with fighting. I thought so far that the government did right by sending the Minister of Foreign Affairs to negotiate in an effort to prevent war. I don’t know if this pause made our situation worse. But I’m convinced that any other pause - and I no longer mean one day or two or three - is a danger to our existence. I don’t think Johnson, even with the help of England, would open Sharm el Sheikh for us if Nasser doesn’t want that. The United States and all of the powers headed by the Australian Menzies weren’t able to break Nasser when he grabbed Suez. To them the control of Suez was more important back then than worrying about our situation in Sharm El Sheikh that doesn’t hurt any of them except for us. However from everything we’ve heard from head of Aman in his detailed lecture, it’s clear that the danger is now in the military concentration in Sinai. You don’t move such an army unless you’re going to war. Nasser wishes to finally realize his promises to the Arab world. As I believe the head of Aman has said, with every day he grows stronger. I don’t know and I can’t support the members’ opinions that we’ve already lost time and we should’ve began acting some days ago. Maybe we weren’t prepared either. But it’s clear that every day Nasser will improve his formation with more troops from Yemen and recruits and mainly his logistics in Sinai.
In no way can we take responsibility to not go to war without permission from Johnson as Yaari claims or out of fear of having to give out blood. I believe the war is inevitable. That’s how I thought ever since I’m hearing and following the Arab announcements and preparedness, especially Nasser’s. Whoever is fearing from blood spilled now must remember that in any war with Arabs to come later, more blood will be spilled. We got information that our troops don’t fall short of Nasser’s concentrations in Sinai. There’s no doubt that our men’s control of the weapon is much better than the Egyptians’. We’ll spill blood but will win the war in Sinai and then open up Sharm El Sheikh and even reach the chances of much more important changes, I’m glad the Prime Minister emphasized it will be harsher if we don’t act. I’m not regretting waiting and doing anything in a negotiation. But we’re reaching the end and it’s better not to trust Johnson’s airplanes and anyways the IDF’s air force is better without comparison and it’s clear to me that there’s no escaping or disregard what the commanders are saying, and I’m meeting them too, who warn that we can’t lose any more time.
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