Anorak News | The Six Day War: 40 Years Ago In Israel

The Six Day War: 40 Years Ago In Israel

by | 5th, June 2007

EGYPT, Syria and Jordan were attacking. Back then the story was of little Israel, the Jewish state fighting for its right to be. The people fearful of being slaughtered again. Rightfully. Richard Chesnoff writes:

I was one of the handful of foreign correspondents who reached the front during that monumentally brief battle. I was in Sinai on the first day, then returned north and managed to enter Gaza just as that benighted city was falling to Israel’s largely civilian tank corps. Then it was on to Jerusalem.

Like anyone who believes in the justice of Israel’s existence, I was deeply relieved by its victory on June 10. I had heard the bloodthirsty Arab threats of a new Holocaust. I had seen the “Kill the Jews” posters in Gaza schools. I had seen the bunkers and mass graves that Israel had been forced to dig in expectation of invasion, if not defeat.

Yet, as we mark its 40th anniversary, it’s become fashionable in some circles to rewrite the history of the Six-Day War. Radicals, so-called “humanitarians” and others who love to hate Israel now claim that what was essentially a war for survival was in fact just an excuse for Zionist imperialism. Even serious journals like Britain’s The Economist say that while the war may have been necessary, it has ultimately proven “a calamity for the Jewish state.”

It as an extraordinary triumph for Israel. And then, as David Aaronovitch writes:

The victory of 1967 was so fast, so complete, that to many Israelis it seemed like some kind of miracle: and if it were some kind of divine act of will, then what could it mean but that the biblical Israel – the Whole Land – should be reunited? Mysticism fused with insecurity, expedience with exaltation, to create an argument for somehow keeping the newly conquered lands. In east Jerusalem the Arab mayor was summoned to be told that his council was being abolished. When the mayor asked for the abolition on paper, the translator had to find a napkin to write it on. Meanwhile, bulldozers moved into the Mughrabi quarter next to the Western wall and knocked down an entire neighbourhood. Israeli diplomats were told not to talk about annexation but “municipal fusion”.

What next?

Posted: 5th, June 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink