Joint Chiefs of Staff on Defensible Borders

(June 29, 1967 — declassified: June 1979)



Subject: Middle East Boundaries

  1. Reference is made to your memorandum, dated 19 June 1967, subjects as above, which requested the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, without regard to political factors, on the minimum territory, in addition to that held on 4 June 1967, Israel might be justified in retaining in order to permit a more effective defense against possible conventional Arab attack and terrorist raids. [emphasis added]

  2. From a strictly military point of view, Israel would require the retention of some captured territory in order to provide militarily defensible borders. [emphasis added] Determination of territory to be retained should be based on accepted tactical principles such as control of commanding terrain, use of natural obstacles, elimination of enemy-held salients, and provision of defense in-depth for important facilities and installations. More detailed discussions of the key border areas mentioned in the reference are contained in the Appendix hereto. In summary, the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding these areas are as follows:

a. The Jordanian West Bank. Control of the prominent high ground running north-south through the middle of West Jordan generally east of the main north-south highway along the axis Jennin-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem and then southeast to a junction with the Dead Sea at the Wadi el Daraja would provide Israel with a militarily defensible border. The envisioned defensive line would run just east of Jerusalem....