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Lyndon Johnson Administration: CIA Warns that Terrorist Groups Seek to Provoke Arab-Israeli War

(December 3, 1965)

Special Report Prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency 1

SC No. 00699/65A


The frustrations of more than a million Arab refugees from Israel are leading to new efforts, both peaceful and violent, dedicated to the "liberation" of Palestine. Formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization is the latest of several attempts to provide a political focus for the refugees, and it has the nominal backing of the Arab League. At the same time, however, two independent terrorist groups seem to be trying to trigger incidents which would bring the Arab states into military action against Israel.

Jordanian King Husayn opposes either approach to eliminating Israeli rule because his country is the Arab state most exposed to any Israeli reprisal. Moreover, Jordan includes part of Palestine and is the haven for half of the refugees, and Husayn is wary of pro-Nasir subversion among Jordan's Palestinians. Syria, on the other hand, whose support of the terrorism offers greater provocation to the Israelis, enjoys the advantage of being more difficult to retaliate against.

Although Nasir, like Husayn, seems anxious to avoid any escalation of the sporadic border incidents, these Palestine-Arab activities could, with little advance notice, lead to the largest Arab-Israeli clashes since Suez.

[Here follows detailed discussion of the refugee problem the Palestine Liberation Organization, Jordan and the PLO, and Fatah.]


1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. V. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence.

Sources: U.S. Government. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 18, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1964-1967. DC: GPO, 2000. Department of State.