NationStates Jolt Archive

Israel, Palestine, and 1967

27-03-2005, 23:26
The War of 1967 is the war most commonly cited by anti-Israeli pundits as making it responsible for the current crisis, as Israel took the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights then. However, this view ignore several historical realities. I'm going to point out a few problems in the common arguments that I got from here:
* The media didn't accurately portray the hostilities that preceded the war. Reporter, Rami Tal quoted Moishe Dayan as stating:
... "at least 80 percent of two decades of border clashes were initiated by Israel. We would send a tractor to plow some (disputed) area...and we knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was."
This is perhaps the most common argument - the war was Israel's fault. However, it ignores a few historical realities: 1. The Arab troops weren't normally there. Syria and Egypt had recently signed a historic alliance against Israel and as a result of meetings discovered by Israeli intelligence, moved troops in for an imminent invasion. Because Israel had advance warning, they attacked directly before an attack was about to occur. So perhaps Israel initiated the border clashes. But if they didn't, the war would have started inevtiably, and Israel simply could not have defended itself.

* As early as 1964, Israel had diverted the headwaters of the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to Israel's South. Syria responded by building its own diversions in the Golan. The Israel forces attacked these facilities on several occasions.
The water diversions in the south discussed above were necessary to Israel getting its own, independent water supply. If it didn't make those diversions, Arab countries could simply have held Israel hostage to its thirst, essentially destroying it due to lack of water. Thus, these "provocations" were steps necessary to ensure national survival, and the Syrian diversions were part of a strategy to thirst Israel out existing before the Israeli diversions.

* On April 26, 1967, two months before the start of the 6-day war, Israeli jets shot down 6 Syrian planes over Syrian territory in the Golan Heights. Later that day Israeli jets flew over Damascus.
Those Syrian planes were on their way to scouting Israeli targets as part of intelligence work desigend to facilitate joint Syrian-Egyptian war on Israel two months later.

* Israel bombed all Egyptian airfields before any declaration of war. No Egyptian planes bombed Israeli targets.
Had the United States known that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked (disregarding conspiracy theories that they did in fact know and just wanted a pretense to go to war), it would have shot down the Japanese planes before they could have killed American soldiers and civilians. Same thing here with Israel, only in this case, a successful Egyptian airstrike would have crippled Israel's airforce which was essential to protecting its territorial integrity and thus national survival.

* Although Israel accused Egypt of preparing for an immediate attack, no Egyptian soldier set foot on Israeli territory.
No, really! That was the whole point. The reason they didn't get a chance to get onto Israeli territory was because Israel didn't give them a chance as it had better intelligence. If France had stopped Germany in either of the WW's before it advanced onto French territory, would people have said the Germans weren't the aggressors? I doubt it.

* Israel captured and occupied the entire Sinai.
I'm sorry, but if you're planning to invade a nation, and then they kick the crap out of you and take some of your territory, don't whine about losing. You started it. Additionally, Israel returned ALL of the Sinai in return for a peace treaty with Anwar Sadat, Egypt's president later assasinated by Arab radicals for wishing for peace.

* Israel continued attacks in the Golan after a preliminary truce had been declared and did not stop the attacks until the entire Golan had been captured.
That's because of something peculiar about the Golan Heights. Whoever controls it can shell almost all of Israel's major population centers, and gives them a perfect route into the heart of Israel. If Israel didn't control the Heights, a future invasion or, at the very least, continued unprovoked murder of civilians would occur with no way for Israel to stop it.

* Israel occupied the entire West Bank and all of Jerusalem and,contrary to international law, transferred an additional 100,000 Palestinians from captured territory.
Again, the thing about losing territory in wars you provoked. Jordan, who controlled the region at the time, attacked Israel before it attacked Jordan as Egyptian soldiers, fearful of the wrath of their superios, lied about their fortunes, causing Jordan to invade, hoping for a piece of Israel. Israel has also offered ALL OF THAT TERRITORY BACK IN EXCHANGE FOR A PEACE TREATY, in 2000. Yasser Arafat rejected the offer, and then the current Intifada began, causing the Israeli right to take power. As for the second charge, at the least those numbers are inflated - many citizens of those regions fled, and then weren't permitted into Jordan. I also believe that this claim is entirely unsubstantiated - if there were a serious desire to remove Palestinians by force, it would have happened en masse, and none would have remained. My guess is that those who ran from Israeli forces were percieved as being expelled or were told to say that they were expelled, in hope of galvanizing international support to their side.

* Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. The obituary of William McGonagle, Captain of USS Liberty, who died on March 3, 1999, described this aggressive act.
Israel attacked the American naval vessel with planes, three torpedo boats and helicopters. They bombed, dropped napalm and shelled the Liberty. Of 294 men aboard the Liberty, 34 were killed, and 171 were wounded.They claimed they mistook the ship for an Egyptian ship. Since they made no attempt to identify the ship, intelligence observers believe they bombed the ship to prevent it from gathering intelligence on Israel's attempts to capture the Golan Heights from Syria.
This is perhaps the most laughable. The United States has always been one of Israel's staunchest supporters. That the US would object to Israeli war successes that were necessary to its national survival seems wildly implausible. Additionally, where does the information in this "obituary" come from, and why does it discuss geopolitical events rather than the person's life, as obituaries generally do? I'm not actually sure the thing cited is an obituary at all. It in fact is very plausible that it was an accident. How can one verify if Israel had tried to make contact with the ship? Additionally, one person on the plane may have miscalculated - not something you can blame the government for.
27-03-2005, 23:41
*bookmarks for later reading*
28-03-2005, 00:39
28-03-2005, 01:16
Good work...I don't have any bones to pick with this at present, though I intend to look into the american boat that was sunk. A Salute to the brave soldiers of the IDF, past and present.
28-03-2005, 01:17
The circumstances of the attack on the US ship are suspicious. I pretty much agree with most of your thread. The middle east always has been pretty much a lawless land. The arrival of the Jews brought the threat of the rule of law and also gave them a target of opportunity to galvanize their people. it was easy to stoke their racism. Arabs are quite likely the most racist people in the world.
28-03-2005, 01:25
Arabs are quite likely the most racist people in the world.
Irony overload... can't cope...
28-03-2005, 01:30
Thanks. I actually didn't know about the ship before I started doing some research, so under further inspection I realized it didn't hold up.

Arabs are quite likely the most racist people in the world.

Irony overload... can't cope...
28-03-2005, 01:32
Arabs are quite likely the most racist people in the world.
It is certainly true that there is very prevasive hatred of Jews and general intolerance of "others" in Arab nations. I don't like huge generalizations much, though.

Hre's some more info on the USS Liberty, from this source ( , where you can find more links and info. It seems reasonably reliable.
On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli high command received reports that Israeli troops in El Arish were being fired upon from the sea, presumably by an Egyptian vessel, as they had a day before. The United States had announced that it had no naval forces within hundreds of miles of the battle front on the floor of the United Nations a few days earlier; however, the USS Liberty, an American intelligence ship assigned to monitor the fighting, arrived in the area, 14 miles off the Sinai coast, as a result of a series of United States communication failures, whereby messages directing the ship not to approach within 100 miles were not received by the Liberty. The Israelis mistakenly thought this was the ship doing the shelling and war planes and torpedo boats attacked, killing 34 members of the Liberty's crew and wounding 171.

Numerous mistakes were made by both the United States and Israel. For example, the Liberty was first reported — incorrectly, as it turned out — to be cruising at 30 knots (it was later recalculated to be 28 knots). Under Israeli (and U.S.) naval doctrine at the time, a ship proceeding at that speed was presumed to be a warship. The sea was calm and the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry found that the Liberty's flag was very likely drooped and not discernible; moreover, members of the crew, including the Captain, Commander William McGonagle, testified that the flag was knocked down after the first or second assault.

According to Israeli Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin's memoirs, there were standing orders to attack any unidentified vessel near the shore.1 The day fighting began, Israel had asked that American ships be removed from its coast or that it be notified of the precise location of U.S. vessels.2 The Sixth Fleet was moved because President Johnson feared being drawn into a confrontation with the Soviet Union. He also ordered that no aircraft be sent near Sinai.

A CIA report on the incident issued June 13, 1967, also found that an overzealous pilot could mistake the Liberty for an Egyptian ship, the El Quseir. After the air raid, Israeli torpedo boats identified the Liberty as an Egyptian naval vessel. When the Liberty began shooting at the Israelis, they responded with the torpedo attack, which killed 28 of the sailors.
28-03-2005, 15:34
It is certainly true that there is very prevasive hatred of Jews and general intolerance of "others" in Arab nations. I don't like huge generalizations much, though.

Sugar coating it won't help the problem go away. There is institutionalized racism, sexism and religious discrimination in nearly all Arab countries. Call it what it. There are certainly some Arabs in the middle east who are not racist - but they are in the extreme minority and dare not speak out under threat of violence. Tolerance and making excuses for the problem will never resolve the issue. Before you can get better you have to admit there is something wrong.