JERUSALEM (Jul. 17)
“No comment” was the comment of Naftali Lavie, a spokesman for Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, when questioned yesterday about a report that Gen. Dayan had intended to order Israeli troops to seize Cairo and Damascus during the Six-Day War but changed his mind under intense pressure from the US.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency raised the question after the magazine Ramparts published an article containing the allegation. The writer, who used the pseudonym Peck and was described as a former analyst for the National Security Agency, said Dayan’s alleged plans were learned by the US Navy’s electronics intelligence ship Liberty which was cruising off the Sinai coast in early June, 1967 under orders to intercept details of Israeli military intentions. The Liberty was attacked by Israeli fighter planes on June 8, 1967 killing 34 American sailors and wounding 75. The incident was described officially as an error and Israel paid compensation to the victims’ families.
It was after that, according to Peck, that President Lyndon B. Johnson brought intense pressure to bear on Israel to halt further troop movements. Peck stated that Johnson also warned Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin via the “Hot Line” against what appeared to be an imminent Soviet air-borne operation against Israel from bases in Bulgaria.