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Secret Israel NIE warns of irreversibility of Israeli colonization

on 12 Comments

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?

Yousef Munayyer

Yousef Munayyer is Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, The Palestine Center.

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12 Responses

  1. marc b. on November 1, 2012, 10:46 am

    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 the desire of dayan and others to clear as many palestinians as possible from the WB, with any attempt by palestinians to return to the WB from Jordan being met with deadly force. (the bullsh*t propaganda about egypt starting the war is debunked, yet again, as if it weren’t old news.)

    i believe that non-subscribers can get temporary access to pay-wall articles.

  2. pipistro on November 1, 2012, 12:29 pm

    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”, long since built without any hope to reach any goal.
    And they keep on blaming the fact that Palestinian leadership has refused to directly negotiate with Israel. Directly? You kidding? Have you ever seen occupier negotiate with occupied? Guard with convict? Master with slave?
    But, well, say, let’s go and negotiate without any US backing anyone. Without some 3.5 billions/year gift. To begin with. And… yes, obviously, without Israel threatening to nuke any people.

    • Hostage on November 1, 2012, 5:38 pm

      And they keep on blaming the fact that Palestinian leadership has refused to directly negotiate with Israel. Directly? You kidding? Have you ever seen occupier negotiate with occupied? Guard with convict? Master with slave?

      The proposition violates several conventional and customary norms of international law.

      A negotiated settlement between local leaders and the Occupying Power could not contain a special agreement that would undermine the rights of the protected population to be repatriated or give official sanction to any deportations and population transfers which have occurred. See Articles 6, 7, 8, and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

      According to Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty is null and void if it is procured by the threat or use of force. According to Article 53, a treaty is null and void, if at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of international law – like the prohibitions against the acquisition of territory by war and population transfers. So there is simply no way for the Palestinian leadership to negotiate a treaty during a belligerent occupation that deals with subjects like territorial accessions or repatriation. The IDF would have to be withdrawn from the occupied territory before any terms could be concluded.

  3. pabelmont on November 1, 2012, 12:44 pm

    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 ho. 1968, hunh? How prescient. and how useless against the march of the USA/Israeli Juggernaut.

  4. seafoid on November 1, 2012, 2:12 pm

    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.

  5. Rudolph on November 1, 2012, 5:02 pm

    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 the Israeli occupation becomes a major political burden for Washington, as it might if the Arab Spring ushers in governments responsive to popular opinion, a serious rift could open up between the United States and Israel.”
    And, despite relentless settlement growth, it is important to realize that it is not too late for the two-state solution. According to Shaul Arieli, one of Israel’s leading experts on the demarcation of the future Israeli-Palestinian border, “It is true that over the years the settlements have driven a network of wedges between the clusters of Palestinian villages. But these wedges have not created a Jewish dominance that would make unilateral annexation by Israel possible. Some 85 percent of the settlers live in the settlement blocs that cover less than six percent of the area of the West bank. In the rest of the area, there is a clear Palestinian dominance. The number of Israelis living outside the blocs is only 2.6 percent of the population, while inside the blocs, it soars to 95 percent.”

    • Mooser on November 1, 2012, 6:16 pm

      Rudolph, you make no allowances for Israel’s demonstrated intransigence. Only the most dire and direct pressure will ever make them change. Faced with existential dilemmas, they might agree to a 2s solution. Offered a 2s solution, Israel will give nothing.

      • Rudolph on November 1, 2012, 8:56 pm

        Mooser, Rudolph does not expect any beneficience from Israel. As you know no country gives up land and resources unless it is pressured to do so. Indeed, Israel would not have returned the Sinai to Egypt unless Egypt had proved itself as a military threat in 1973. (Israel has a long record of missing opportunities for peace. In 2012, new information concerning the 1973 War was made public. It is now known that “eight months before the war, Anwar Sadat sent his trusted aide, Hafez Ismail, to the almighty US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. He offered the immediate start of peace negotiations with Israel. There was one condition and one date: all of Sinai, up to the international border, had to be returned to Egypt without any Israeli settlements, and the agreement had to be achieved by September, at the latest.”
        As my former post indicates, the pressure will have to come from the US; and the US has pressured Israel in the past. Of course Israel and the Lobby will make matters difficult. However, the US has prime interests which it will ensure.
        Unfortunately, the US will only care about oppressed Palestinians if such oppression affects its prime interests such as control of the Persian Gulf. (The US is not uniquely evil. It is, however, uniquely powerful.)

  6. DICKERSON3870 on November 1, 2012, 5:04 pm

    RE: “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.” ~ National Intelligence Estimate, 1968

    AU CONTRAIRE, FROM ELLIOTT ABRAMS, The Washington (Neocon) Post, 04/08/09:

    [EXCERPT] . . . Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state. . .

    SOURCE –

    P.S. Elliott Abrams has totally convinced me [by the sheer power of his (il)logic and his very impressive math skills] to wholeheartedly support the Israeli settlement project in the West Bank.
    As I understand it, the ‘Abrams Principle’ stands for the proposition that more Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank will result in a larger area for the Palestinian state. That’s why I say: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with the settlement actvity; so as to result in the largest Palestinian state possible (from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River). Fiat justitia! ( “Let Justice Be Done!” )


  7. douglasreed on November 1, 2012, 6:18 pm

    This well described political subterfuge together with the greatest military error of the 20th century – Israel’s build-up of a massive nuclear arsenal under cover of a stratagem known as ‘nuclear ambiguity’ – have been supported by all US presidencies since the death of JFK in 1963, right up to the present day.

    The question is: how did the American Israel lobby manage to influence, if not actually control, the foreign policy of every Congress over the past 60 years? What incentives were individual legislators offered to ensure that they subscribed to the agenda of a lobby that exists to support not America, but Israel? And why did the majority in the House of Representatives, over all these years, feel obliged to accept whatever inducements, if any, were offered?

    Was it in order to safeguard their own individual positions as Congressmen and women? If so, what exactly were they safeguarding against? Was it re-election? If so, how did the lobby manage to control or influence what is ostensibly a free and open, democratic selection and election procedure which is intended to ensure genuine representation of the American people?

    These are the relevant questions that require urgent answers for, incredibly, this position still pertains in the US legislature, today, whereby legislators are elected apparently not to serve the interests of 300 million Americans, but the interests of 6 million Israelis in the Middle East, instead.

  8. straightline on November 1, 2012, 11:20 pm

    An Australian Government critical of Israel is unlikely under Gillard and impossible under Abbott if elected:

    Look at what happened to the last Prime Minister of Australia who tried to break free of the Zionist stranglehold on Australia’s I/P policy.

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