Forty Years Of Israeli Occupation
by Stephen Lendman
This June will mark an anniversary that will live in infamy for the people affected by the event it commemorates following a far greater one 19 years earlier on May 14, 1948.
On June 5, 1967, Israel launched its so-called "Six-Day (preemptive) War" against three of its neighboring Arab states – Egypt, Jordan and Syria – claiming it was in self-defense to avoid annihilation Israeli leaders later admitted was spurious and false cover for a large-scale long-planned, calculated war of aggression it believed it could easily win and did.
The New York Times quoted Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s (1977 – 83) August, 1982 speech saying: "In June, 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that (President Gamal Abdel) Nasser (1956 – 70) was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."
Two time Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1974 – 77 and 1992 – 95) told French newspaper Le Monde in February, 1968:
"I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offense against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."
General Mordechai Hod, Commander of the Israeli Air Force during the Six-Day War said in 1978: "Sixteen years of planning had gone into those initial eighty minutes. We lived with the plan, we slept on the plan, we ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it."
General Haim Barlev, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief told Ma’ariv in April, 1972: "We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility."
Other Israeli leaders and generals voiced the same sentiment that in June, 1967 Israel was under no threat, yet preemptively undertook a war of aggression falsely telling the world it had no other choice. It had a clear one.
It could have chosen peace, but didn’t and never did earlier or since to the present because discretionary aggressive wars of choice serve Israeli interests as they do its US imperial partner. . . .
Gideon Levy, "Israel Does Not Want Peace," Haaretz, April 9, 2007
[The declaration by Theodor Meron, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser at the time and today one of the world’s leading international jurists, is a serious blow to Israel’s persistent argument that the settlements do not violate international law, particularly as Israel prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the war in June 1967.–"Secret memo shows Israel knew Six Day War was illegal," Independent, May 26, 2007]
["The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO’s [Palestine Liberation Organisation] standing in France and to prevent what they see as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans.–Mark Tran, "Documents claim Israel aided Entebbe hijack," Guardian Unlimited, June 1, 2007]
[A state based on religion rather than the will of all of its inhabitants was at the end of the 19th century not only a medieval notion but also a very eccentric idea, one Herzl concocted in the rarified environment of cafes where ideas were produced with scant regard for reality. . . . In the end, all that was to unite Israel was a military ethic premised on a hatred of those "others" around them – and it was to become a warrior-state, a virtual Sparta dominated by its army.–Gabriel Kolko, "Israel: Mythologizing a 20th Century Accident," antiwar.com, June 2, 2007]
Isabel Kershner, "Anniversary of 1967 War Shows Lasting Divisions," New York Times, June 6, 2007
[Le Monde Diplomatique . . . recalled vividly – and shamefully – how the world’s newspapers covered the story of Egypt’s "aggression" against Israel. In reality . . . it was Israel which attacked Egypt after Nasser closed the straits of Tiran and ordered UN troops out of Sinai and Gaza following his vituperative threats to destroy Israel. "The Egyptians attack Israel," France-Soir told its readers on 5 June 1967, a whopper so big that it later amended its headline to "It’s Middle East War!".
Quite so. Next day, the socialist Le Populaire headlined its story "Attacked on all sides, Israel resists victoriously".–Robert Fisk, "It was Israel which attacked Egypt after Nasser closed the straits of Tiran," Independent, June 9, 2007]
Note: Rabbi Arthur Waskow, an historian, and one of the founders and 15-year Resident Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, challenges Robert Fisk’s assertion. He writes: "So it was not an ‘attack’ on Israel to close the Tiran Straits, a crucial supply corridor for a legitimate state? That was not a violation of international law? If the Soviet Union had blockaded the Gulf Of Mexico so that New Orleans could not ship or receive goods, that would not have been an ‘attack’ on the United States?"
[The highest ranking UN official in Israel has warned that American pressure has "pummelled into submission" the UN’s role as an impartial Middle East negotiator in a damning confidential report. . . . Mr de Soto condemns Israel for setting unachievable preconditions for talks and the Palestinians for their violence.–Rory McCarthy and Ian Williams, "Secret UN report condemns US for Middle East failures: Envoy’s damning verdict revealed as violence takes Gaza closer to civil war," Guardian, June 13, 2007]
Ian Black, "UN envoy: anti-Hamas rhetoric undermines democracy," Guardian Unlimited, June 13, 2007
Allister Sparks, "Israel’s hopes of a two-state solution is a fantasy," Pretoria News, June 13, 2007
Donald Macintyre, "A triumph for Hamas… but a tragedy for the Palestinians? A war in Gaza threatening to redraw the map of the Middle East," Independent, June 15, 2007