Gen. Moshe Dayan (center) and Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin (right)
walking through Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. (Israeli archival
With the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War of June 1967
coming early next month, pro-Israel pundits like syndicated columnist
Charles Krauthammer are again promoting Israel's faux-narrative on the
reasons behind Israel's decision to attack its neighbors.
The Krauthammers of our domesticated, corporate media seem bent on
waging pre-emptive war against an accurate historical rendering of the
actual objectives behind that Israeli offensive that overwhelmed Arab
armies and seized large swaths of Arab territory, land that hard-line
Zionists refer to as "Greater Israel," i.e. rightly theirs.
With its surprise attacks on June 5, 1967, Israel rapidly defeated
the armies of its Arab neighbors. It gained control of the Gaza Strip
and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem
from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
The Sinai was returned to Egypt in 1979 as a result of the Camp David
peace accord, a land-for-peace swap that U.S. President Jimmy Carter
demanded and that then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin deeply
Jewish settlement has proceeded apace on other territories conquered
in the Six-Day War, particularly in the Palestinian West Bank, which
Israel's ruling Likud Party refers to by its Biblical names Judea and
Likud's charter declares that "the Jewish communities in Judea,
Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of
the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish
people to the Land of Israel. " The Likud will continue to strengthen
and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting."
In other words, in the Six-Day War, Israel seized land that hard-line
Zionists consider to be part of their ancestral legacy. The surprise
attack in 1967 was the means to that end. The Likud Party emerged
several years later with the explicit intent of consolidating that
control through a settlement policy called "changing the facts on the
Time to Worry
Yet, despite Israel's continued expansion into those Palestinian
lands, pro-Israel pundits are in a defensive mood these days, and with
good reason. They see a particular need this year to whitewash Israel's
surprise attack on its Arab neighbors 45 years ago -- not only because
the anniversary is likely to draw more than the usual attention -- but
also because Israel's strategic position has deteriorated markedly in
the past year.
For instance, the 80 million-plus Egyptians are no longer neutered by
the joint Mubarak-Israel-U.S. effort to repress them and co-opt them
into passivity vis-a'-vis the Palestinians. Serious contenders in the
upcoming Egyptian election have said they would reconsider the
Egypt-Israel Treaty of 1979.
Some leading Egyptian politicians have added that they would fling
wide open Egypt's border with Gaza, where about 1.5 million Palestinians
live in what amounts to an open-air prison. These Egyptians also are
saying strongly sympathetic things about the widespread suffering in
Gaza and the West Bank.
Equally important, Egypt's present government has already nullified
the sweetheart arrangement under which Egypt was providing natural gas
to Israel at bargain basement prices. (That alone is a very big deal.)
And, in sad contrast to the deafening silence of senior American
officials regarding Israel's reckless killing of U.S. citizens, such as
Rachel Corrie in 2003, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
continues to demand an apology for Israel's killing of Turkish citizens
aboard the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.
The result of that dispute is a sharp diminution in what used to be
very close military ties between Turkey and Israel -- not to mention a
lot of ill will, which can be very corrosive over the longer run.