Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?

Hits: 652

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.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

 

READ MORE!
Photo Evidence of Russian Terror over Crimean Muslim Tatars Today
Save  SaveOrigins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe 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.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
With Monday’s procedural vote in the U.S. Senate to allow Montenegro into NATO, the Washington elite proved once more that heightening tensions with Russia might not just be inevitable, but actually desirable. With the exception of Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the entire 100-strong body of the Senate rallied behind the motion that would see the tiny Adriatic state admitted into the Atlantic alliance over the objections of many Montenegrins . The vote set off a 30-hour countdown, during which Senators will debate before putting the issue to a final vote. If you needed more proof that US foreign ...
READ MORE
Washington is Ramping Up Military Confrontation With Russia and China
On November 26 the New York Times asserted that “Russia’s seizure [on November 25] of three Ukrainian naval vessels was the first overt armed conflict between the two since 2014, when Russian forces occupied Crimea.” There was no armed conflict in Crimea and not a drop of blood was spilled. There was no “occupation” because, under treaty, over 20,000 Russian troops were stationed there. Crimea’s citizens have always been Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and in general pro-Russia. Following the US-sponsored rebellion in Ukraine that went the way the US intended it to go, there was the awkward matter of Crimea which had been part of Russia until, as noted ...
READ MORE
The Demonization of Islam
Much is being written regarding the Charlie Hebdo issue in Paris, France. I do not condone any killing but at the same time I do not support issues that violate human rights, religious freedom or freedom of speech and thoughts. Using cartoons to condemn Divine thoughts and beliefs is utterly wrong because they fall under hate crimes and not under freedom of speech as we are lied about. The perpetrators of hate continue to be protected. Islam is under attack and its adherents, the Muslims, are being targeted through provocation. In a recent article Charlie Hebdo and Tsarnaev’s trial: Cui ...
READ MORE
The Harvesting of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?
A picture taken on July 4, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians from the province of Daraa staging a protest (top L) calling for international protection, in the Syrian the village of al-Rafid, near the border fence with Israel. / AFP PHOTO / JALAA MAREYWith the recent failed bid by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League at the UN security council, to try and end Israelis’ occupation of Palestinian land and to create a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, it seems an appropriate moment to review the situation for Palestinians since 1915.What ...
READ MORE
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan’s security agencies which nurtured the Afghan so-called “mujahideen” (freedom fighters) on the behest of Washington.Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the rest of oil-rich Gulf states which generously funded the jihadists to promote their Wahhabi-Salafi ideology. And last but not the least, the Western capitals which funded, provided weapons and internationally legitimized the erstwhile ‘freedom fighters’ to use them against a competing ideology, global communism, which posed a ...
READ MORE
The 6 Reasons China and Russia are Catching Up to the U.S. Military
Why the Gap In Military Superiority Is Closing? China and Russia are still behind the U.S. militarily. But they are both showing surprising breakthroughs that – sometime down the road in the future – could threaten U.S. hegemony. The Washington Times reported last month: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday warned Russia and China are quickly closing the military technology gap with the U.S. as inconsistent military budgets and slower innovation threaten America’s lead in the military world. *** “It’s evident that nations like Russia and China have been pursuing military modernization programs to close the technology gap with the United States,” he continued. “They’re ...
READ MORE
Golan Heights, Kosovo and Crimea: A Case Study in Hypocrisy and Double Standards
The recent announcement by United States President Donald Trump that the US will recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights draws attention yet again to the double standards applied by NATO and its satraps including Australia to the issues of territorial integrity, the right to self-determination, and international law. Three cases illustrate the duplicity and double standards of the Western nations. They may be reviewed chronologically.A picture taken on July 4, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians from the province of Daraa staging a protest (top L) calling for international protection, in the Syrian the ...
READ MORE
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part VA follow-up of Professor Vladimir Kozin’s comments on NATO’s Fact Sheet about relations with Russia published in December 2014. The topics to be covered in this part:NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failure;The NATO-led mission in Afghanistan failed to stop the Afghan drugs trade;NATO’s operation over Libya was illegitimate;NATO’s operation over Kosovo was illegitimate;The cases of Kosovo and Crimea are identical;Russia’s annexation of Crimea was justified;The Ukrainian authorities are illegitimate.NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failureNATO claim: NATO took over the command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ...
READ MORE
The Ambiguity: The Case of Democracy
The Great Financial Crisis, the Occupy Wall Street rising, Wikileaks and Snowden exposure, imperialist interventions in Iraq-Libya-Syria, the economic-political developments in Greece, and the on-going string of revelations in the US politics take away all ambiguities related to democracy, development and state. With broad and fundamental connections and character the incidents and processes – parts of democracy and development – being witnessed by the contemporary world are significant with far-reaching implications, and helpful to comprehend issues of democracy, development and state.No ambiguity: Ambiguous and confusing narratives of democracy and development are vigorously sold in markets despite the reality of repeated ...
READ MORE
America’s Culture War Mercenaries
USAID is spending $300,000 to fight traditional Christian morality in the Republic of Macedonia.A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):Macedonia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention. Through ratification of these human rights treaties, Macedonia has ...
READ MORE
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
It’s all over but the postmortems. Trump and Clinton are their parties’ presumptive nominees. Choice for voters in November amounts to death by hanging or firing squad. Democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. Trump was the last GOP aspirant left standing after all others dropped out, an unlikely choice, a surprise winner, prevailing despite party bosses opposing him.Democrat power brokers chose Clinton before primary/caucus season began. The race was over before it started.Voters in November get to choose between a dirty business as usual billionaire racist, demagogue and a recklessly dangerous neocon racketeer, war criminal, Wall Street tool she ...
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
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
As the U.S. and NATO casualties rise from the war in Afghanistan, with 2010 being the deadliest year of the nine-year war for the U.S., the question needs to be asked of how we got involved in that interminable and unwinnable conflict? The Afghan war has been dubbed Barack Obama’s War but its origins go back much earlier. Is the U.S. military disaster in Afghanistan an instance of blowback? What is the standard definition of “blowback”? The U.S. intervenes illegally in a volatile and unstable scenario and over time the consequences of that criminality come back to reek havoc on U.S. ...
READ MORE
Deconstructing Russophobia
Imagine that Vladimir Putin were not a murderous autocrat and kleptocrat who has spent his fourteen years in power living up to his KGB past and dragging Russia ever back towards Communist autocracy, illiberalism, and expansionism. Imagine that instead he were one of the greatest leaders that Russia has had, whose policies have helped produce a massive rise in living standards and life expectancy, recuperation of national pride, and enforcement of the rule of law, who has tackled kleptocrats and gangsters wisely and well, whose foreign policy has on balance been realistic, diplomatic, and conducive to peace, who has presided ...
READ MORE
NATO & the Humanitarian Dismemberment of Yugoslavia
On March 24th, 1999, NATO launched its 78-day round the clock aerial assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. Over a thousand NATO warplanes delivered over 2,000 airstrikes in nearly 40,000 sorties, dropping over 20,000 bombs over the former Yugoslavia, killing thousands of civilian men, women, and children, as well as upwards of a thousand Yugoslav soldiers and police.[1] [2] [3] NATO employed weapons considered criminal by international law such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs.[4] [5] [6] [7]The popular narrative is that is that the Western powers dropped these bombs ...
READ MORE
Cold War, Today, Tomorrow, Every Day till the End of the World
“Russia suspected of election scheme. U.S. probes plan to sow voter distrust.”That’s the Washington Post page-one lead headline of September 6. Think about it. The election that Americans are suffering through, cringing in embarrassment, making them think of moving abroad, renouncing their citizenship; an election causing the Founding Fathers to throw up as they turn in their graves … this is because the Russian Devils are sowing voter distrust! Who knew?But of course, that’s the way Commies are – Oh wait, I forgot, they’re no longer Commies. So what are they? Ah yes, they still have that awful old hangup so worthy ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: The US “Psyche”, US Culture and US Foreign Policy
Michigan-based filmmaker Michael Moore makes the connection between Kosovo and the Columbine shooting in his Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002). Moore puts Kosovo in the context of a broader U.S. foreign policy agenda and a domestic culture of violence. Moore asks: “Are we a nation of gun nuts or are we just nuts?” In the first scene, Moore walks into the North Country Bank in Michigan to open an account. He saw an ad in the newspaper that the bank would give out free guns to those who open accounts there. Moore walks into the bank and tells the ...
READ MORE
The Lies that are Used for Denying the Legitimacy of Crimea’s Breakaway
Crimea’s breakaway from Ukraine and rejoining Russia is treated in the US-and-allied world as being justification for the explosive re-emergence in 2014 of America’s Cold War NATO alliance as being a restored war against Russia; and, so, whether or not that ‘justification’ is truthful is the paramount geopolitical issue in our era; and it will therefore be discussed and (via the links here) documented in this article.Though international law is generally an unenforced mess that is interpretable far more by partisanship than by any clearly applicable principles, the US Government does quite blatantly violate it on a routine basis, by ...
READ MORE
Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust
GR Editor’s Note Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon. Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war.   Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books. Should we be concerned?  Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons ...
READ MORE
Photo Evidence of Russian Terror over Crimean Muslim Tatars Today
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Washington is Ramping Up Military Confrontation With Russia and China
The Demonization of Islam
The Harvesting of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
The 6 Reasons China and Russia are Catching Up to the U.S. Military
Golan Heights, Kosovo and Crimea: A Case Study in Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
The Ambiguity: The Case of Democracy
America’s Culture War Mercenaries
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
Democratizing the US Constitution: An Idea Worth Considering
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
Deconstructing Russophobia
NATO & the Humanitarian Dismemberment of Yugoslavia
Cold War, Today, Tomorrow, Every Day till the End of the World
Kosovo: The US “Psyche”, US Culture and US Foreign Policy
The Lies that are Used for Denying the Legitimacy of Crimea’s Breakaway
Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust

Written by Policraticus

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