This article is based on a talk by Richard Becker at a PSL forum in San Francisco on June 3, 2017 […]

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 imperialism, there was one “sneak attack” in history, that was, of course, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

U.S. corporate media sometime refers to the Israel lightning assault on Egypt, Syria and Jordan as a “pre-emptive” strike, implying that Israel was about to be attacked, and only headed it off by attacking first, and was thus acting in self-defense.

Israel, as this one goes, was surrounded and about to be attacked by a “sea of Arabs” – another favored and demonizing expression common in the corporate media. So, as this false narrative goes, Israel had no choice but to launch massive air, land and sea assaults on neighboring countries, conquering the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights. Israel has held on to all those areas except Sinai for the past half-century.

In the opening hours of its attack, Israel destroyed the Egyptian and Syrian air forces, basically determining the outcome.

A war of conquest – testified to by Israeli leaders after the fact

Most of the mainstream media, along with Israel’s apologists in the United States, propagated the notion that the war was a rerun of the biblical “David versus Goliath” battle. Israel was pictured as the heroic underdog, with God once more on its side.

The misnamed, U.S.-based “Anti-Defamation League,” which has long served as propagandist for the Israeli regime, said that “Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt,” suggesting that it only did so to avert annihilation.

None other than the extreme right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin later exposed the utter falsity of such claims. Fifteen years after the war, in an Aug. 2, 1982, speech to the Israeli National Defense College, Begin said: “We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him [Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser].”

It was not just Begin who exposed the myth. Ten years earlier, Gen. Mattiyahu Peled, one of the Israeli commanders in the 1967 Six-Day War, told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz: “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only a bluff, which was born and developed after the war.”

In 1997, Israel’s minister of defense at the time of the Six-Day War, Moshe Dayan, talked to the New York Times about the events leading up to the war on the Syria-Israel front. He stated that the Israeli kibbutz (cooperative farm) residents in the area wanted to take over the rich farmland of Syria’s Golan Heights: “They didn’t even try to hide their greed for that land.”

Describing Israel’s tactics on its border with Syria, Dayan told the Times:

“We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was. … The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war [June 9, 1967], were not a threat to us.”

By the 1967 war, Israel succeeded in achieving its long-held objective of expansion. The remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine—the West Bank and Gaza—was conquered by Israel’s surprise attack, along with Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

More than 35,000 Arabs were killed, many of them burned to death by Pentagon-supplied napalm bombs. Thousands more were wounded. Most of the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air and armor forces were destroyed in the opening days of the surprise attack. The Israeli army drove more than 90,000 Syrians and Palestinians out of the Golan Heights, an agriculturally rich region north of the Sea of Galilee.

Many of the Syrian villages and Golan’s main city, Quneitra, were bulldozed by the Israeli military. Israeli settlers began arriving in Golan in July 1967. In 1981, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a law annexing the Golan Heights. The continuing occupation of Golan, as well as the West Bank and Gaza, defies scores of United Nations resolutions.

Loss of land in Palestine under Israeli occupation

Israel’s long-sought  “second round”

Israeli leaders had been seeking a “second round,” that is another war to expand their territory, since the formation of their state in 1948.

Moshe Dayan, a young military officer and protégé of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was quoted by a Tel Aviv-based U.S. diplomat in 1949 as saying: “Boundaries-Frontier of Israel should be on Jordan [River]. … Present boundaries ridiculous from all points of view.” To achieve that aim meant taking over the West Bank.

In the first years after their expulsion, Palestinians frequently crossed the illegal and artificial border separating the territory under Israeli control from the West Bank, usually to return to their stolen lands and homes. Most often this happened during the planting and harvest season. Smaller numbers returned as groups of fighters, or fedayeen, seeking to continue the struggle. Israeli army orders were to kill any “infiltrators,” including those who were unarmed.

In response to fedayeen operations, the Israeli army would often carry out large-scale “retaliation.” The aim was not only to punish – “retaliation” actually meant provocation. The intent was to get Jordan, then administering the West Bank, to react militarily, which could then be used by Israel as a pretext for a new war of conquest.

In October 1953, a unit of the Israeli military under the command of war criminal and future prime minister Ariel Sharon carried out one such assault on the small border village of Qibya, wiping out the entire population of 69 people, mostly women, children and elderly men, many of whom were burned alive inside their homes. The Israeli forces suffered no casualties.

The Qibya massacre elicited world condemnation, but not the new war with Jordan that Israeli leaders were seeking as a pretext to seize the West Bank.

Israel’s next major attempt at territorial expansion came in 1956, when the Israeli, British and French governments met in secret to plan a new war on Egypt. The three each had their own objectives.

When the progressive government of Gamal Abdel Naaser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956, the British ruling class’s reaction was rabid fury. The canal was a central symbol of British imperial power. It was also the key economic route to the British colonies and neo-colonies in Asia and East Africa.

The French government believed that overthrowing the Egyptian government would strike a lethal blow to the Algerian Revolution.

Israel’s aim was to vastly expand its territory.

The 1956 War and Ben-Gurion’s ‘fantastic proposal’

From Oct. 22 to 24, 1956, a secret conference was held in Sevres, near Paris, to put the final touches on the war plans. Ben-Gurion surprised the other leaders present by presenting what he called a “fantastic proposal” for the complete reorganization of the Middle East. Jordan, he suggested, was not a viable state and should become part of Iraq—which was still under British domination—with one condition: The new Iraq would have to agree to resettle all the Palestinian refugees from 1948 on the East Bank of the Jordan River. The West Bank, minus the Palestinians living there, would become part of Israel. (Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, New York, 2001, p. 172)

Next, Ben-Gurion proposed, Israel would take over southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. The rest of Lebanon would become a “Christian state” with the restoration of French domination. Lebanon had been a French colony until 1943.

The Nasser government would be overthrown, the Suez Canal would be “internationalized,” and British influence would be restored in Egypt. This would mean, in effect, British control of the canal. Israel would take over the Sinai Peninsula, the Straits of Tiran, and the Gulf of Aqaba leading to the Red Sea.

The downfall of Nasser, according to the Israeli plan, would undermine both the Pan-Arab movement and the Algerian Revolution, to the benefit of all three conspiring states.

Israel’s territory would be tripled in size by this plan. And while Ben-Gurion himself called the plan “fantastic,” he was dead serious about it.

Ben-Gurion’s proposal was too overreaching for the imperialist leaders of Britain and France. The plan they agreed on, however, was only slightly less ambitious.

On October 29, 1956, the tri-partite alliance attacked without warning. Israeli forces quickly swept across the Sinai, and British troops re-occupied the Suez Canal Zone. Ben-Gurion euphorically proclaimed that Sinai and Gaza would become “part of the third kingdom of Israel.”

But it was not to be.  The 1956 Suez War was seen widely as a blatant attempt to resurrect colonialism—especially in the Middle East, but also across the world. Israel was widely condemned as a pawn of imperialism.

Both the United States and Soviet Union responded swiftly and strongly to the Tripartite Invasion—but for very different reasons. The Eisenhower administration reacted furiously for not having been informed in advance by either its imperialist allies or Israel.

More fundamental than any emotion was the U.S. ruling class’s opposition to the restoration of British and French imperial power in the strategically key and oil-rich Middle East. From World War II to the present day, every administration—including Eisenhower’s—has held U.S. domination of the region as a central objective.

Nor would Washington tolerate Israel serving as proxy for other imperialist powers. The message was sent to the Israeli government that if it did not withdraw from Egypt, all aid from official sources as well as private fundraising efforts in the United States would be cut off. Further, the United States would allow Israel to be expelled from the United Nations.

Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin warned the British, French and Israeli governments that his country would unleash rocket attacks on their cities if they did not immediately withdraw. These warnings had to be taken very seriously, particularly because Eisenhower had ordered the withdrawal of the U.S. protective nuclear shield over the three countries.

Facing such irresistible pressures, the invading powers were forced out. As they withdrew, the Israelis waged a scorched-earth campaign, destroying every road, railroad and structure of any value in Egypt’s Sinai.

For the Israelis, while their “third kingdom” would have to be put on hold, significant gains were made from the episode. Israel acquired both vital military aid and the beginning of a nuclear weapons program.

The 1956 Suez War led within a very short time to Israel being brought fully into the U.S. camp. By its next war against the Arab world in 1967, Israel was closely aligned with and supplied by the U.S. military, and gained territory it had long been seeking.

Aftermath of 1967 – Rise of the Palestinian Resistance

With the conquest of the remaining 22 percent of Palestine in 1967, it appeared that the fate of the Palestinian people had been sealed. But in a seeming paradox, the Six Day War led to the rise of the Palestinian resistance movement and new wave of popular radicalization across the region.

Until the 1967 war, organizations such as Fatah- Palestine National Liberation Movement, and the Arab National Movement led by George Habash, had placed their main hope for the liberation of Palestine with the Arab armies. The outcome of the war brought that period to a close. In 1968, Fatah and two organizations which emerged from the ANM, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine, took control of the Palestine Liberation Organization and launched mass resistance against the occupiers.

Since then, the struggle has continued in many forms and the vicious Israeli repression funded by the U.S., has taken an enormous toll. The dispossession of the Palestinian, the killings, systematic torture, the illegal settlements, the house demolitions, the destruction of olive and fruit groves, the theft of water, the lethal blockade and isolation of Gaza, the apartheid practice of the right of return, the apartheid roads, the apartheid everything – continue day after day.

Since the 1967 war, according the Addameer prisoner rights organization, 800,000 Palestinian men, more than 40% of the adult male population, have been imprisoned. Today, there are more than 6,300 Palestinians in Israeli prisons – every one of them held in violation of international law. And there are 0 Israelis held in Palestinian prisons. If that were the one and only fact one knew about the conflict there, one would know who is the colonizer and who is the colonized, who is the oppressor and who are the oppressed.

The Palestinian liberation struggle continues under the most difficult conditions. Many times since 1948, the Palestinians have been counted out, but they have never surrendered.


Note: Historical material in this article is taken from Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire. PSL Publications, 2009.

2017-06-07

By Richard Becker

Source: Liberation

Save

Save

Save 

We Recommend
Ilan Pappé is a historian, socialist activist, professor at the University of Exeter, and supporter of the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Of Israeli origin, he is a world-renowned scholar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and has written numerous books on the subject, including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge.Pappé was interviewed by Alejandra Ríos for Left Voice, where this article first appeared.Alejandra Ríos (AR): You’ve talked and written about the concept of homeland as justification for destroying the native population. What is the meaning of this concept and ...
READ MORE
‘If you buy fruit from Israel you deprive another human being of water and life’Israel’s comparative economic success is essentially based on water stolen, since 1967, from Syria’s eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee – that provides Israel’s current primary source of fresh water. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment area feeds into the River Jordan to provide about 30% of Israel’s current water supply.Without this stolen water there would be no citrus fruit, melons, avocados or dates available for export under the label of ‘Produce of Israel’. And that is why the Netanyahu government is determined – with help ...
READ MORE
First published by Waking Times, posted by Global Research in May 2014, this article provides a historical viewpoint. It is of particular relevance in relation to the Monsanto-Bayer merger.Of all the mega-corps running amok, Monsanto has consistently outperformed its rivals, earning the crown as “most evil corporation on Earth!” Not content to simply rest upon its throne of destruction, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people.1901: The company is founded by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for which Monsanto Chemical Works ...
READ MORE
Israel has played an increasingly provocative role in the destructive conflict unfolding within and along Syria’s borders since 2011. To many observers, it appears Israeli policy borders between opportunistic and unilateral aggression. In reality, Israel’s role in the Syrian conflict fits a much larger and long-term pattern with Anglo-American plans not only for Syria but for the entire region.A more recent row between Israel and Syria was the reported incursion of Israeli warplanes into Syrian airspace, including attacks near the eastern Syrian city of Palmyra. Palmyra hosts an ongoing battle between Syrian forces and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) terrorist ...
READ MORE
Study: Joel Beinin & Lisa Hajjar, "Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. A Premier", Published by the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP), February 2014, pp. 16
READ MORE
“There was no battle and no resistance (and no Egyptians). The first conquerors killed from eighty to a hundred Arabs [including] women and children. The children were killed by smashing of their skulls with sticks. Is it possible to shout about Deir Yassin and be silent about something much worse?”For the first time ever, a letter quoting one of the Israeli soldiers who were part of the Al-Dawayima massacre in October 1948 is published in full.On Friday, February 5th 2016, Haaretz published an article in Hebrew by Israeli historian Yair Auron, which covers one of the biggest massacres of 1948. The ...
READ MORE
With 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 is the background to the demonization and brutalization of Palestinians? Most of all, why is the international community was assisting properly and why has it not assisted the Palestinians in protecting or restoring their inalienable rights over decades? Why is their situation so brutally upside-down almost a century after ...
READ MORE
GR Editor’s Note: This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels. A timely question: Why Does Hillary Want War… ? And why do people support her? *     *     *Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason ...
READ MORE
The following text was presented at the International Conference on “9/11 Revisited – Seeking the Truth”, Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), Kuala Lumpur, November 2012IntroductionThe tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history, a decisive watershed, a breaking point.Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society. The post September 11, 2001 era is marked by the outright criminalization of the US State, including its judicial, foreign policy, national security and intelligence apparatus.9/11 marks the onslaught of ...
READ MORE
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
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 ...
READ MORE
On February 5, Military Times published a report stating that Washington has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The investigation reveals that in Afghanistan in 2016 alone, the U.S. air force carried out at least 456 bombings. The open-source report published by the Air Force Command doesn’t include these figures.According to the Military Times, the information was obtained from “Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups” and it shows that much of what the Pentagon has disclosed may be misleading or simply ...
READ MORE
Each of the full-blown wars between Israel and its Arab neighbours have carried a great measure of significance. The War of 1948 led to the creation of the modern state of Israel, a cause for euphoria among the world’s Jews in the post-Shoah-era, in contrast to the Nakba inflicted on the Arabs of Palestine. The War of 1967, during which Israel routed three Arab armies in six days established Israel as a regional hegemon while its defeated Arab neighbours stewed in their humiliation and the Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza came under occupation. The Arab-Israeli War of ...
READ MORE
In the night of July 16-17, 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police murdered Russia's last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their 14-year-old son, Tsarevich Alexis, and their four daughters. They were cut down in a hail of gunfire in a half-cellar room of the house in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountain region, where they were being held prisoner. The daughters were finished off with bayonets. To prevent a cult for the dead Tsar, the bodies were carted away to the countryside and hastily buried in a secret grave.Bolshevik authorities at first reported ...
READ MORE
The Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s main evidence thus far in his “Russiagate” probe is not actually about possible Russian collusion with Trump to win the Presidency, but instead about definite Israeli collusion with Trump after Trump had already won the Presidency but before he became inaugurated. As a lawyer explained on the day when Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was indicted in a plea-deal: “Mr. Flynn has just become the prosecution’s star witness.” What Flynn had pled to was his trying to obtain Russia’s support for Israel’s Government, against the Palestinians. Russia said no; Putin said no to Flynn’s request, ...
READ MORE
As of this moment, from the gentrified hipster hellholes in Brooklyn to the pedophile-infested devil-den of Hollywood to Satan-occupied Washington DC, liberals nationwide are wailing, howling, shrieking and blubbering over Barack Obama getting out of the White House. Their tears are gushing like rushing rivers breaking through weak dams in pusillanimous sadness, their little Judaized hearts are breaking into pieces of Gefilte fish because an end has come to the presidency of this man they repetitiously and affectionately refer to as “American’s First ‘Black’ President” who brought “hope and change” not only to the USA but the world at large. ...
READ MORE
The Syrian battlefield is now witnessing an escalation of the war. This is despite the fact that it is supposed to be a time of cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia.The Syrian war has two major fronts. The first and most important is in southern Syria, on the borderline with Israel and the occupied territories of the Syrian Golan Heights.  This area is divided into two areas:  the liberated area of Al-Quneitra, and the occupied area of the Golan Heights where Jabhat Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda’s base their fighters.Israel has been attempting to drive the Syrian army out ...
READ MORE
To mark so-called ‘Independence Day’, Palestinian citizens forced to study the book that paints them as inferior to JewsRamallah: An Israeli civics textbook under the theme of ‘Being a Citizen in Israel’, launched to mark the regime’s commemoration of the 68th anniversary of its establishment, has been slammed for its negative and dismissive attitude towards the native Palestinian citizens.After the Israeli Education Ministry officially launched the textbook as part of the curriculum taught in Israeli schools, including those attended by Palestinian citizens, Palestinians reacted by condemning the move.Israel on Thursday marks the 68th anniversary of its 1948 founding in Palestine, ...
READ MORE
The U.S. public loves fascists; they elect them, constantly. Donald Trump, who “says he would raise the minimum wage and stop the endless efforts at regime change,” is called a fascist by some.  But Hillary Clinton “is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country,” and played a major role in mass Black incarceration. Barack Obama is the war-maker and deporter-in-chief. “All of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way.”“No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.”Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless ...
READ MORE
One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a “loss of democracy” due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government ...
READ MORE
Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
The Illegitimacy Of Israel’s Colonisation Of Land In Arab East Jerusalem, The Palestinian West Bank And The Syrian Golan Heights
The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”
Israel: America’s “Mad Dog” in Syria
Study “Palestine, Israel And The Arab-Israeli Conflict. A Premier”, 2014
‘Barbarism by an Educated and Cultured People’ — Dawayima Massacre was Worse than Deir Yassin
The Harvesting of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?
Why America Needs War
September 11, 2001: The Crimes of War Committed “In the Name of 9/11″
Deconstructing Russophobia
Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?
U.S. conceals thousands of airstrikes in Middle East
The Arab-Israel War of 1973 and Its Legacy
The Jewish Role In The Bolshevik Revolution And Russia’s Early Soviet Regime
“Russiagate” is Actually “Israelgate”: Trump as “Agent of Israel”, not of Russia?
The Obama Legacy: Genocide, Destruction, Chaos, Color Revolutions And Subservience To World Zionism
Here’s How the US, Israel, al-Qaeda and ISIS Work Together in Syria
New Israeli School Textbook Highlights Jewish Supremacy. Paints Palestinians As “Inferior”
Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: Who’s the Fascist?
The U.S. is not a Democracy, It Never was

Categories: Israel