Forty-five years ago with an attack by the Egyptian Army imminent. The Israeli Airforce launched a preemptive strike on the Egyptian Air Force. Egypt had by far the largest and the most modern of all the Arab air forces, consisting of about 420 combat aircraft, all of them Soviet-built and with a heavy quota of top-of-the line MiG-21 capable of attaining Mach 2 speed. Initially, both Egypt and Israel announced that they had been attacked by the other country.
Of particular concern to the Israelis were the 30 Tu-16 “Badger” medium bombers, capable of inflicting heavy damage on Israeli military and civilian centers.On June 5 at 7:45 Israeli time, as civil defense sirens sounded all over Israel, the IAF launched Operation Focus (Moked). All but 12 of its nearly 200 operational jets left the skies of Israel in a mass attack against Egypt’s airfields.The Egyptian defensive infrastructure was extremely poor, and no airfields were yet equipped with hardened aircraft shelters capable of protecting Egypt’s warplanes. Most of the Israeli warplanes headed out over the Mediterranean Sea, flying low to avoid radar detection, before turning toward Egypt. Others flew over the Red Sea.
Reading reports about the war from 40 Years ago and today reminds me of one of those Star Trek episodes where Kirk an the boys go back in history and change the past—it seems like two different wars.
Forty-five years ago the media reports spoke of the underdog Israel and her need to defend herself against the warlike acts of the big bullies lead by Egypt who was committing many acts that could be interpreted as acts of war including: conspiring with other belligerent countries (in this case, Syria and Jordan) for a coordinated attack, closing Israel’s access to international waterways (the straits of Tiran),violating the terms of the 1956 armistice by re-militarizing the Sinai. Expelling the UN and USA peace-keeping troops form the Sinai, perpetrating illegal spy-plane fly-overs to reconnoiter Israeli sensitive areas. Massing troops and tanks on Israel’s borders.
But Israel had the nerve to WIN! So it all had to change. A Jewish State is only permissible when it is an underdog–the world doesn’t like any uppity Jews!
Just like today–The United States tried to prevent the war through negotiations, but the other side did not want peace, The US could not persuade Nasser or the other Arab states to cease their belligerent statements and actions. Still, right before the war, President Johnson warned: “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone.” Then, when the war began, the State Department announced: “Our position is neutral in thought, word and deed.”
While the Arabs were falsely accusing the United States of airlifting supplies to Israel, Johnson imposed an arms embargo on the region (France, Israel’s other main arms supplier, embargoed arms to Israel). By contrast, the Soviets were supplying massive amounts of arms to the Arabs. Simultaneously, the armies of Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were contributing troops and arms to the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian fronts.
Today, the retrospective tell a different story, the tale of the cynical Zionist nation that saw an opportunity to deal a blow to the Arab world expand her territory, and rule over the Palestinian people. Today’s revisionist history argues maybe the Six Day War was not the best thing for Israel, “since it lead her to become the evil rogue nation she is today”
But there is one indisputable fact that today’s revisionist history keeps forgetting, if Israel didn’t fight and win the Six Day War—there would be no Israel today. Just as if Israel doesn’t protect herself from the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah today–there will be no Israel in 45 years.
In the immediate of the war e Israel offered to give everything except Jerusalem back in exchange for peace. Rather than respond to Israel’s invitation, the Arab states met in Khartoum, Sudan, for a conference in August, 1967. They unanimously decided in favor of the now famous three Khartoum NOs”: No recognition, No negotiation, No peace. Better that Israel hold on to the territories taken in the war. Better that the refugees continue languishing in their squalor and misery. Better that the Arab states re-arm for round 4…than to recognize Israel’s right to exist or negotiate toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict. “
While the world’s perception of Israel changed on 45 years ago today, with rare exception those three “nos” still are still the policy of the Muslim world.