Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?

Hits: 215

Up to June 1967, a border separated Jews living in Israel and Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza. The Six Day War, which occurred exactly fifty years ago, erased that line. Israel has been occupying these territories ever since. This has been the source of an endless conflict between Jews and Arabs. Who started that war? Having won the war, Israel set out to give an answer to that question which would suit its needs.

To cement its hold over the new territories Israel had sought to mold the story of the Six Day. The attempt to frame the debate started on the first day of the war when Israeli state media claimed that the army had launched an attack to forestall the advancement of Arab tanks and jets toward Israel’s borders. However, on 5 June, the day war started, Arab forces were static. It was Israel that opened the war with a stealth air attack that caught Arab air forces unawares. Israel used the element of surprise to bomb Arab aircraft while they were on the ground. This was they key to its resounding victory.

When that became known, Israel responded with another gambit. It leaked Arab documents captured during the war. These were contingency plans which elaborated on air and land attacks against Israel. The implication was clear: had Israel not attacked, the Arabs would have. Were the Arabs to do so, they could have wiped off the Israeli air forces at the beginning of the war. The result could have been catastrophic to the Jewish state. The first to popularize this version were three Newsweek journalists – Robert Littell, Richard Chesenoff and Edward Klein – who wrote in 1969 a novel titled “If Israel Lost the War.” Purporting to be a counterfactual history, the novel claimed that the Arabs could have done to Israel what Israel did to them. According to Littell et al., the world, including the US, would have watched Israel’s obliteration with indifference. The Arabs would have then used their victory to slaughter the Jews, rape their women and inflict a brutal occupation.

This version of events has been supported by Michael Oren, who published in 2002 a new history of the war. Oren, who currently serves as Deputy Minister in the Israeli government, averred that on 27 May Egypt was on the verge of launching an aerial attack against Israel, which was canceled at the very last minute due to an American ultimatum. Oren, however, based his claim on a testimony made by the Commander of the Egyptian air force during the war; a man who had a strong interest to lie in order to minimize his responsibility for Egypt’s defeat.

Moreover, this storyline has been challenged by none other than Yitzchak Rabin. In 1968, Rabin, the Chief of Staff during the June 1967 War, told a French journalist that: “The two divisions that [Gamal Abd al-]Nasser [the Egyptian President]  sent to Sinai on May 14 [1967], would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” Ezer Weitzman, who served as Rabin’s deputy in 1967, told a newspaper that “there was never a danger of extermination.” Likewise, Mati Peled, the head of logistics at the time of the war, penned an article in 1972 in which he maintained that the claim that Israel was under existential threat in 1967 was “a bluff born and developed only after the war.” Years later, a member of the 1967 cabinet, Menachem Begin argued that “the Egyptian army concentrations in 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.”

How could these public officials be so sure? Because they read the intelligence reports. These showed that a successful Arab attack would have been implausible. True, Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptians troops were amassed on Israel’s borders in June 1967. However, these armies were trained and equipped for defense purposes only. The Soviets, the patrons of Syria and Egypt, had built massive lines of fortifications in the border areas and it would have been a folly for Arab troops to desert them. According to Israeli and American reports, throughout the month-long crisis that preceded the war, Arab armies were deployed in a defensive posture.

Syria and Egypt indeed had contingency plans to attack Israel, but their armies never trained in how to execute them. This was revealed during the war when Syrian tanks failed to reach their pre-jump positions because no one bothered to find out whether the bridges over the Jordan river were as wide as the Soviet-made tanks (they were not).

Furthermore, a third of the Egyptian army, the largest in the Arab world, was in Yemen, serving Nasser’s hegemonic ambitions. Many of the troops sent to Sinai consisted of poorly trained Egyptian reserve soldiers. They were thrown into the desert by a corrupt dictatorship without uniforms, weapons or maps. Israeli eavesdroppers could hear them, cry out over the radio to their superiors, begging for a supply of water and food.

In addition, the Egyptian air force would not have been able to launch a surprise attack against Israeli airfields because most of its jets did not have enough range. It had only one squadron of heavy bombers, which never trained in how to fly at low altitude; something that could have helped them to evade Israeli radars.

The Syrian army could not be of much help either, as it was torn apart by ethnic tensions. The Jordanian army was simply too small to fight on its own. The Arab military coalition that converged on Israel borders in June 1967 was less than the sum of its part.

For Israel, the Six Day War was a war of choice. It did not have to fight it. The main reason that Israel went to war was the incessant pressure that the general staff applied on the cabinet. Israeli generals sensed the enemy’s immense weakness and wanted to use this opportunity to strike a deadly blow. For over a decade, the Israeli army had perfected plans for a swift offensive that would allow it to conquer significant chunks of Arab territory. Another key aim of Israeli war plans was to trap Egyptian forces in northern Sinai and turn that area into a killing zone. Peled, the Israeli general, let the cat out of the bag four decades ago when he wrote: “When we were mobilizing all out forces… this power was necessary to eliminate definitively the Egyptians.”

Israeli planning and preparations paid off during the war. The victory, though, proved to be a devastating one. Israel has never recuperated from it. Fifty years after, much of the Jewish state’s energies are devoted to maintaining the brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And the protracted debate about whether to continue and hold these territories tears Israel’s society apart.


Originally published on 2017-06-06

About the author: Guy Laron is Senior Lecturer in International Relations Department at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author of “The Six Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East” (Yale UP, 2017).

Source: Counter Punch

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

 

READ MORE!
Bosnia: The Cradle of Modern Jihadism?
Back in the 1990s something happened in central Bosnia-Herzegovina that inspired people to this day and helps explain why that country now has more men fighting in Syria and Iraq (over 300), as a proportion of its population, than most in Europe. The formation of a "Mujahideen Battalion" in 1992, composed mainly of Arab volunteers in central Bosnia, was a landmark. Today the dynamic of jihad has been reversed and it is Bosnians who are travelling to Arab lands. "There is a war between the West and Islam," says Aimen Dean, who, as a young Saudi Arabian volunteer, travelled to fight in ...
READ MORE
Ukraine: US-installed Fascist Tyranny in Europe’s Heartland
Ukraine matters. It’s territory is Europe’s largest after Russia’s. It borders seven countries in Europe’s heartland – Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Russia. It shares a strategically important 1,500-long land and sea border with the Russian Federation. The country is resource rich. Zbigniew Brzezinski once said: “without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” Separately, he said if Russia reunites with Ukraine, it’ll be a Eurasian powerhouse. If Ukraine allies with Western Europe, Moscow will be significantly weakened geopolitically. The Obama regime’s February 2014 coup d’etat replaced democratic governance in Kiev ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
What could cause Russia to invade Israel At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister had flown to Washington, and was making a desperate bid to get Obama’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Only a few weeks earlier a discovery had been made that would serve to increase tensions on the question of sovereignty over the Golan – huge oil deposits were found on the Golan Heights, and verified by an Israeli company. Yet, weeks later, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel having failed to secure Obamas support. It wasnt long before the United Nations – including Russia – condemned Israels “occupation” of the ...
READ MORE
Democratizing the US Constitution: An Idea Worth Considering
The grandees of the Republican Party are on the ropes. Donald Trump has them by the balls, but, even without Trump, they would be in what Bush the Father would call deep “do-do.” Any Republican candidate for President whom two-thirds of the electorate could abide would be anathema to the one-third that Republicans have recruited into their rank and file. Mitt Romney was the final straw. The establishment’s situation is so pitiful that even Chris Christie is starting to look good to them. If his candidacy survives into the Spring, late night TV comedians will rejoice; others, not so much. Ted Cruz remains ...
READ MORE
The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!
Has your electric garage door stopped working? Does your dog wake up in the middle of the night and begin howling? Is the weather unseasonably hot, cold, windy, dry or wet? Has your television set (or refrigerator, or sound system or home alarm) inexplicably turned on, or off? If one uncritically viewed the corporate-controlled media and accepted at face value the statements of much of official Washington, especially the Democratic Party, one could easily draw the conclusion that the Russians did it. A paranoid frenzy is gripping the US political and media establishment. A ruling elite that commands the world’s largest economy ...
READ MORE
Mainstream Media: Fake News Through Lying by Omission
Fake news is simply a new, Trump-popularized descriptive for media lying that occurs in 2 basic forms, lying by omission and lying by commission. Lying by omission is far, far worse than lying by commission because the latter can at least admit refutation and public debate. Western Mainstream media impose a huge burden of fake news on Western societies through entrenched and pervasive lying by omission. Indeed the most egregious and pervasive Mainstream media lie of omission is suppression of reportage of such lying by omission. The unimpeded, remorseless, corporate-dominated Mainstream media, politicians and pliant intellectuals are now going further, and ...
READ MORE
Terrorists or “Freedom Fighters”? Recruited by the CIA
Note: First published by GR in February 2015 in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Terror Attacks. The barbarous phenomenon we recently witnessed in France has roots that go back to at least 1979 when the mujahedeen made their appearance in Afghanistan. At that time their ire was directed at the leftist Taraki government that had come into power in April of 1978. This government’s ascension to power was a sudden and totally indigenous happening – with equal surprise to both the USA and the USSR. In April of 1978 the Afghan army deposed the country’s government because of its oppressive measures, ...
READ MORE
Americans Pay Price for Criminal Wars From Mass Shootings at Home
America’s horrendous gun violence can be attributed to many factors, but there is one factor that is hardly talked about or explored in public discourse – the apparent link between mass shootings and the rampant culture of US militarism.Mass shootings in the US – involving four or more persons – occur on an almost daily basis. The most recent major atrocity was in Virginia Beach last month in which 12 people were killed. The shooter was reportedly a military veteran.Turns out that US military veterans are disproportionately responsible for violent gun deaths among American civilians. Investigative journalist David Swanson has ...
READ MORE
Netanyahu Victory Lays Bare Israel as Racist, Colonial State
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is elating after his right-wing Likud Party secured a firm victory in the Israeli elections on March 17. It was a very close race against the Zionist Union Party, led by Isaac Herzog. Our next guest, Shir Hever, in an interview he did with us last month, predicted that Prime Minister Netanyahu would win in spite of many strikes against him at the time. So, defying election polls leading up to the election, Prime Minister Netanyahu has ...
READ MORE
Syria, the United Nations, and the  Slobodan Milosevic Treatment
It’s long been obvious the United Nations is a rubber stamp lapdog of the United States. It set the stage for a decade of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and piled sanctions of Libya that resulted in the US and NATO (another lapdog) taking military action that killed around 30,000 Libyans. Now that supposedly august body has signaled it will investigate war crimes in Syria. The Associated Press reports the “resolution adopted by the assembly said the body, known as the ‘International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism,’ would help collect and analyze evidence of violations of human rights and international ...
READ MORE
Russophobia and the Specter of War
Could global warming pose the greatest threat to the future of life on the planet? Quite possibly, if we believe the international (and scientific) consensus, despite a widening stratum of debunkers, deniers, and skeptics. What about the prospects of thermonuclear war between the United States and Russia, two countries armed to the max and seemingly moving toward the brink of military conflict? Where does that rate? If the question is asked of most any Beltway denizen, the response might be something along lines of “sounds frightening, but right now we have other priorities, and we can’t lose sight of the ...
READ MORE
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )
GR Editor’s Note The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of  Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007.  The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate. Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies. We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”.  Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, ...
READ MORE
Who was US Special Representative to Kosovo Frank G. Wisner?
On December 19, 2005, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the appointment of Ambassador Frank G. Wisner as the Special Representative of the US Secretary of State to the Kosovo Status Talks. Who is Frank G. Wisner, Jr.? If his name sounds familiar that is because he is the son of Frank Gardiner Wisner, Sr., the CIA agent most responsible for the recruitment of Nazis by the US government after World War II. A former member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II precursor to the CIA, Frank G. Wisner, Sr., was one of the most infamous ...
READ MORE
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities (a list up to 1993)
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: ...
READ MORE
Neo-Nazi Network in German Army Exposed
The arrest of a German army officer suspected of plotting the assassination of leftist politicians and high-ranking state officials has exposed the operations of neo-Nazi forces at the highest levels of the German military (Bundeswehr). The information that has emerged thus far indicates that the suspected officer-terrorist was part of a broader network of fascists within the Bundeswehr, and that his activities were known to his superiors and covered up by them. Most astonishing is the official reaction to these alarming revelations. They have prompted an outpouring of anger in the German media and from the establishment parties directed not at the ...
READ MORE
International Law? The Americans don’t give a Damn
The United States of America has sunk to a new low in diplomacy and civilized relations between nation states with its demand that Russia close its consular missions in San Francisco, Washington and New York, quickly followed by its order that the consular staff leave the premises while the FBI conducted a search of the premises and staffers personal apartments. To order the closure of a mission, or to order the withdrawal of a member of diplomatic staff, is within its right but a search of consular property is not. It is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on ...
READ MORE
Myths and Facts аbout the 1967 Six Day War
June 5 marks the 50th anniversary of Israel’s Six-Day War of conquest. Any objective examination of that war, and the events leading to and following it, make clear that the dominant narrative in the United States is reality turned upside down. It is “fake news” that is perpetrated on the public by the corporate media continually, right up to the present day.The Six Day War began on June 5, 1967. Israel launched the war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan with what could correctly called a “sneak attack,” although it is never referred to that way here. In the vocabulary of ...
READ MORE
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
24 March 1999 was a day of gross shame and ignominy in the historical annals of Britain and America. It was the day when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation became the North American Terrorist Organisation. NATO, for the first time since its founding in 1949, launched a vicious, unprovoked and illegal attack against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia, in a preplanned act of aggression sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. The 78 days of NATO air strikes took place without the necessary UN Security Council authorisation. It is equally loathsome that Clinton’s violence against the Serbs, who were our gallant allies ...
READ MORE
** FILE ** President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 sent Iraq legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals to President George W. Bush and a certain veto.  On the fourth anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Senate Majority Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Bush "has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. A change of course is needed."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report.The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence.What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.The jihadists are ...
READ MORE
My Grandfather (Jonas Noreika) wasn’t a Nazi-Fighting War Hero — He was a Brutal Collaborator
Eighteen years ago, my dying mother asked me to continue working on a book about her father, Jonas Noreika, a famous Lithuanian World War II hero who fought the Communists. Once an opera singer, my mother had passionately devoted herself to this mission and had even gotten a PhD in literature to improve her literary skills. As a journalist, I agreed. I had no idea I was embarking on a project that would lead to a personal crisis, Holocaust denial and an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government. Growing up in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood — the neighborhood that had the ...
READ MORE
Bosnia: The Cradle of Modern Jihadism?
Ukraine: US-installed Fascist Tyranny in Europe’s Heartland
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
Democratizing the US Constitution: An Idea Worth Considering
The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!
Mainstream Media: Fake News Through Lying by Omission
Terrorists or “Freedom Fighters”? Recruited by the CIA
Americans Pay Price for Criminal Wars From Mass Shootings at Home
Netanyahu Victory Lays Bare Israel as Racist, Colonial State
Syria, the United Nations, and the Slobodan Milosevic Treatment
Russophobia and the Specter of War
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )
Who was US Special Representative to Kosovo Frank G. Wisner?
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities (a list up to 1993)
Neo-Nazi Network in German Army Exposed
International Law? The Americans don’t give a Damn
Myths and Facts аbout the 1967 Six Day War
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War
My Grandfather (Jonas Noreika) wasn’t a Nazi-Fighting War Hero — He was a Brutal Collaborator

Global-Politics.eu

Written by Global-Politics.eu

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu