Thursday, October 15, 2009

History (Part 4) - The Six Day War

The Question omitted by the media, never addressed by the politicians, and totally distorted by the Christian Right is: Whose land is it? All of these so called “authorities” on the matter of Israel/Palestine often proclaim, “Israel has offered to give land, (mostly small disconnected enclaves like city-states surrounded by Israel’s military), back to the Palestinians in exchange for the recognition of Israel’s right to all the rest of it including control of borders, air space and water. The question remains. When it comes to the West Bank and Gaza, Whose land is it?

The biggest myth concerning the occupied Palestinian territory is the claim that the Six Day War of 1967 was begun by Egypt and poor Israel only defended itself. Those who hold to the opinion that Israel was the victim claim to know more than some of Israel’s most respected leaders. For instance:

Yitzhak Rabin - “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”[1]

Mattiyahu Peled - Israeli General Staff - To pretend that the Egyptian forces massed on our frontiers were in a position to threaten the existence of Israel constitutes an insult not only to the intelligence of anyone capable of analyzing this sort of situation, but above all an insult to the Israeli Army.”[2]

Mortecai Bentov - Israeli Cabinet - 1972 - “Israel’s “entire story” about the “dangers of extermination” was “invented” of whole cloth and exaggerated after the fact to justify the annexation of new Arab territories.” [3]

Menachem Begin - 1982 - “The Egyptian army concentrated on the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” [4]

Moshe Sharett - Former Prime Minister, writing years before '67 exposed the "defence/security" screen - “Israeli political and military leadership never believed in any insuperable Arab dangers to Israel. They sought to maneuver and force Arab states into military confrontations which the Zionist leadership were certain of winning so Israel could carry out the destabilization of Arab regimes and the planned occupation of additional territory.”[5]

Egypt was no threat. The U.N., the U.S., and Israel’s political leaders knew that Nasser had no intention of aggression but Israel had its excuse. Early Monday morning, June 5, 1967, Israeli jets flying low across the Mediterranean to avoid radar detection, turned south and struck the Egyptian air bases from Suez to Cairo. In less than three hours, the Israelis had broken the back of Egypt’s air force. By Wednesday, Israel had taken Jerusalem; then by Thursday, the Egyptians, who had fought a bloody battle in Suez and Gaza, surrendered. Three days later, Israel attacked the Golan Heights. By the end of the week, Israel’s occupation of Arab land was four times the size of Israel before the war. All the territory that had been allotted to the Palestinian Arab State by the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan was now under Israeli control.

During this war, Israel captured East Jerusalem, West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza Strip. Immediately the Israeli government and the fundamentalists, from Tel Aviv to Texas, referred to these occupied lands as “Judea and Samaria,” claiming some God endorsement for its actions. God outranks the Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.[6] At any rate, the results of this war left Israel with 78% of what had previously belonged to the Palestinians.

So, when we hear something like, “Israel, after being attacked by its Arab neighbors, only kept the land it needs to defend itself,” which is exactly what I heard someone say last week, we would do well to remember just whose land are we talking about.

Thomas L. Are
October 16, 2009
[1].Paul Finley, Deliberate Deceptions, Facing the Facts about the U.S., Israeli Relationship, (Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago,. 1993.) p. 36.
[2]. Clifford A. Wright, Facts and Fables: The Arab-Israeli Conflict, (Kegan Paul International, New York, 1989.) p.132.
[3].Paul Finley, Deliberate Deceptions, Facing the Facts about the U.S., Israeli Relationship, (Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago,. 1993.) p. 36.
[4].Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict, (Verso, London, 2003) p. 192
[5].Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, (Veritas Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1988) p.59.
[6] Article 49 (1949) “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

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