Secret Israel NIE warns of irreversibility of Israeli colonization

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This post originally appeared on the Palestine Center’s blog Permission to Narrate.

How much longer can the two-state solution survive? It seems analysts in the American intelligence community realize that it is in serious danger. This is what a National Intelligence Estimate prepared by the CIA on Israel suggests. Here is the money quote from the secret document I’ve managed to get my hands on:

If Israel continues to occupy conquered territory for an extended period, say two to three years, it will find it increasingly difficult to relinquish control. Domestic pressures to establish paramilitary settlements in occupied areas would grow, and it would be harder to turn back to the Arabs land which contained such settlements.

Finally, it seems the US intelligence community has figured out that Israel is approaching a danger zone beyond which it will become impossible to relinquish the West Bank. Settlements and domestic Israeli politics will make withdrawal from the West Bank increasingly difficult in “two to three years”. I guess it is better late than never. Meron Benvenisti argued that Israel had reached this point of no return 30 years ago but apparently in Langley they think the deadline might be somewhere around 2015.

Since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 it has illegally colonized the territory and exploited its resources all while marginalizing and disenfranchising the native inhabitants; the Palestinians. At long last, the US intelligence community has realized that this process will become irreversible.

Wait……..something is not right…….


Oh, here’s the problem:


The NIE is from April of 1968, not even one year after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in June, 1967. At this early stage, the US intelligence community was well aware of the likelihood that in “two to three years” which was then considered an “extended period of time”, colonization and domestic politics would make it impossible for Israel to relinquish the West Bank. If “two to three years” is an “extended period of time” what would they call 47 years, hundreds of new colonies and 650,000 more settlers?

I’d call it the institution of an Apartheid regime.

The quote is found among plenty of still redacted paragraphs, which likely have to do with the world’s worst kept secret; Israel’s nuclear weapons program. It is on page 6:


The NIE is available through the digital national security archives and can be read in its entirety here. This shows that Washington has long been well aware of the consequences of Israeli colonialism and how it precludes the establishment of a Palestinian state and yet it has continued to support this colonialism from the beginning. Can we stop pretending now?

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i recommend reading a recent book review in the LRB about ’67 and the WB, with important references to ben-gurion’s and dayan’s handwringing about the failure of zionists to take the WB in ’48, the establishment of administrative mechanisms for managing the WB several years before the ’67 war, and… Read more »

Not that anybody wasn’t conscious of that, but reading of that 1968 National Intelligence Estimate is sickening, insofar as it demonstrates in all its entirety, in written, the greed and bad faith of Israel while they keep yelling of direct negotiate, and US plenty of awareness about a “peace path”,… Read more »

Ho hum. The game is to say, “We want a 2SS” but to DO acts that prevent it. That way, Israel can claim that apartheid is purely temporary (but not explained and has no apparent explanation except as a prep for permanence) and therefore not a threat to peace. Hum… Read more »

It was probably easier to do nothing and assume the wiser heads in israel and the diaspora would lead the people away from slow burning catastrophe.

Once the costs of the Occupation become too great for the US, the US will pressure Israel successfully. There are many instances where US interests have engendered US pressure on Israel: 1957 Sinai withdrawal; 1990-1992 loan guarantees for a settlement freeze; 2004 sales by Israel to China; etc. “If supporting… Read more »