Fifty years ago, between June 5 and June 10, 1967, Israel invaded and occupied East
Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. The Six-Day War, as it
would later be dubbed, saw the Jewish David inflict a humiliating defeat on the Arab
Goliath, personified perhaps by Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt.
"The existence of the Israeli state hung by a thread," the country's prime minister,
Levi Eshkol, claimed two days after the war was over, "but the hopes of the Arab leaders
to annihilate Israel were dashed." Genocide, went the argument, had been prevented;
another Holocaust of the Jews averted.
There is, however, a problem with this argument: It is complete fiction, a self-serving
fantasy constructed after the event to justify a war of aggression and conquest.
Don't take my word for it: "The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung
over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical
survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war," declared Gen.
Matituahu Peled, chief of logistical command during the war and one of 12 members of
Israel's General Staff, in March 1972.
A year earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a member of the wartime government and one of 37
people to sign Israel's Declaration of Independence, had made a similar admission. "This
whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated
upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories," he said in April
Even Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former terrorist and darling of the Israeli
far right, conceded in a speech in August 1982 that "in June 1967 we had a choice. The
Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was
really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him." . . .
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings: "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only
an international crime; it is the supreme international crime
differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated
evil of the whole."
[For Americans, the myth that the occupation is unsustainable is a crucial element in
maintaining and excusing the United States' financial and diplomatic abetting of
it.--Nathan Thrall, "The Past 50 Years of Israeli Occupation, And the
Next," nytimes.com, June 2, 2017]
[However, on 5 June, the day war started, Arab forces were static. It was Israel that
opened the war with a stealth air attack that caught Arab air forces unawares. Israel
used the element of surprise to bomb Arab aircraft while they were on the ground. This
was the key to its resounding victory.--Guy Laron, "Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?,"
counterpunch.org, June 6, 2017]
Sharon Abraham-Weiss, "50 years of occupation - 50 years without borders," June 8, 2017
[After fifty years of violence, oppression and war both peoples deserve a better future.
Admitting the reality of Apartheid is the first step in that direction.--Neve Gordon and
Mark Levine, "After
50 years, Time for a Paradigm Shift," counterpunch.org, June 8, 2017]