With their dominating victory over three powerful Arab States in the Six-Day-War, Israel change the world. It moved the Arab world from pan-Arab nationalism to every country for its-self, it established that underdog Israel was no longer the underdog, and she was going to be around for a long time.
Fifty years ago with an attack by the Egyptian Army imminent, the Israeli Air Force launched a preemptive strike on the Egyptian Air Force destroying their airplanes. 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. That was the start of what is now called the Six-Day-War.
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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 7:45AM 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 50 Years ago vs today reminds me of one of those Star Trek episodes where Kirk and the boys go back in history and change the past–it seems like two different wars.
Fifty years ago the media reports spoke of the underdog Israel and her need to defend herself against the warlike acts of the big bullies led by Egypt. They wrote about how Egypt 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, sending illegal spy-plane fly overs to reconnoiter Israeli sensitive areas and massing troops and tanks on Israel’s borders.
But Israel had the nerve to WIN! So it all had to change. After the Six Day War, Israel was no longer seen as the underdog–and everything changed. You see, to most of the world 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.
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, President Johnson imposed an arms embargo on the region (France, Israel’s other main arms supplier at the time, 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’s revisionist history argues maybe the Six Day War was bad for Israel, since it lead her to become the evil “occupier” nation she is today. Much of the media will tell a different story, they will relate 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. What is lost from history in the past half-century is that Judea, Samaria, and the Old City of Jerusalem (commonly known as the West Bank) were never part of an independent Palestinian State, neither was the Gaza Strip. In fact that Palestinian State never existed, and before June of 1967 Judea, Samaria, and the Old City of Jerusalem were occupied by Jordan, Gaza was occupied by Egypt.
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, ISIS and even Fatah today–there will be no Israel in another 50 years.
Despite what the media will write this week, the Palestinian refugee camps, were the most successful anti-Israel program created by the Arab League and especially Egyptian President Nasser. Nasser figured out that it would make a great weapon against Israel (he was right). He knew that by forcing them into “camps” rather than allowing them to be absorbed by the countries they settled in the Palestinians would remain the Arab League’s best weapon against the Jewish State.
Another anti-Israel creation birthed by Gamal Nasser (with some help from the Russians) was creating the PLO as a terrorist organization in 1964. That’s not a typo, the PLO led by Yasser Arafat was created almost three years to the day before the start the Six-Day-War at an Arab League meeting in Jerusalem on June 2, 1964. There first act of terror was in January 1965 with an attack on Israel’s National Water Carrier. So, when the mainstream media tries to tell you this week that Palestinian Terror was a retaliation for the “occupation,” know that you are being lied to.
In the immediate aftermath of the war 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 50 years ago, with rare exception those three “nos” are still the official policy of the official Muslim world–but there is a thaw. Egypt and Jordan has finally made peace with the Jewish State and the Saudi’s are working with Israel through the back channels. But the Palestinians talk peace in public and teach war at home via their TV sets, newspapers etc.
At least twice in the past twenty years, Israel offered the Palestinians a deal that gave them very nearly everything they wanted, both times they said walked away, because they haven’t taught their people about the opportunities of peace.
The Sunni Arab world has begun to see Israel as a potential ally against Iran, and there are signs that the Saudis maybe losing their patience with the Palestinians. For example, in his May 21, 2017 column in the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, Saudi Mash’al Al-Sudairi bashed Palestinian leaders that began with “Some Palestinian leaders, while in power, excelled in two things: rhetoric and missing opportunities.” That was reminiscent of the late Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban who once said, “the Arab’s never miss an opportunity, to miss an opportunity.” I would argue that while peace still seems elusive, it is less elusive than it has been in years.
The past fifty years have seen many changes in the way Israel is viewed, but very little of that matters in the end. In that time, the western world began to recognize and even finance Yasser Arafat and the PLO, eventually expanding to Hamas and Hezbollah. What they didn’t recognize then and still don’t now is their support of those terrorist groups taught al Qaeda, ISIS and others that terrorism is a legitimate way of getting what they want.
And tiny little Israel? They survived more war, more terrorism, and even Barack Obama a United States’ President who did all that he could to de-legitimize the Jewish State–perhaps because it is a Jewish State.
But the real secret to the success of Israel, you see it never really was the underdog even in 1948, or 1967. Sure, the IDF is a powerful fighting force, and Israeli intelligence agencies are the best in the world, but the fact that the land was given to the Jews, by a much higher power who promised as long as we obey his rules it will be ours forever. That gives Israel the advantage over any human fighting force.