Sunday, November 22, 2009

Observations Concerning Palestine and the Arab Countries

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

INFORMATION REPORT

18 Mar 1949

Country: Israel/Arab States

Subject: Observations Concerning Palestine and the Arab Countries

The Military Situation in Palestine

The new State of Israel is strong in military equipment, finances, and morale, and possesses a striking power which could easily seize the remainder of Palestine as well as adjacent parts of Lebanon, Syria, or of Egypt north of the Suez Canal. It is probable that the next military adventure will be to annex the Jerusalem area. The Arabs cannot successfully renew the appeal to arms: they lack unity, leadership, arms and airplanes.

This is a striking reversal of the situation as it was on June 1, 1948. Israel then was screaming to high Heaven for a "cease fire" order from the United Nations, whereupon the Great Powers forced the first truce using explicit threats to Arab countries failing to comply. At that time, the Arabs, assured by treaty with Britain of continued supply of arms and ammunition, were on the offensive, had reached to a point eight miles from Tel Aviv, and had cut to the coast between Haifa and Nakoura. With the truce and its stipulation that neither side should get military advantage of any kind during the truce, Britain suspended the military supplies to the Arabs, previously delivered in accordance with treaty agreements. Meanwhile, however, arms procured from many sources -- including more than fifty Messerschmidt fighters -- poured into Israel. By the time the first truce expired these Messerschmidt fighters took complete control of the air and were able to disperse enemy infantry and to "strafe" Arab towns and villages just as before. Dunkirk and French troops had been rendered impotent by Messerschmidt planes.

Arab morale was further damaged by the success of British diplomacy in detaching Trans-Jordan and Iraq from the joint Arab military program and by the battle defeats inflicted by Israel on the Arabs in the successive seizures by Israel of Arab territory without regard to United Nations orders to retire to positions held at the various "cease fire" dates.

No comments: