Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War



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    "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."

    Gamel Abdel Nasser, May 3oth 1967.

    The Daily Telegraph Magazine, June 7 1968

    Was it a bitter victory? A year ago Israel won a crushing victory over the Arabs. It ensured Israel's survival, writes YAEL DAYAN. But what now?

    .... In order to understand June, 1968, we have to return to May, 1967. A year ago I was in uniform with a division on the Egyptian border. We, in the front, had no doubt as to the inevitability of war. We also knew we were going to win it. We were not going to win because we were more numerous, more battle-happy or more ambitious. We were going to win, at whatever cost, because losing meant extermination. ...

    These obvious facts should be remembered, simply because we were victorious. When a David wins, he stops being David in a way, and his motives become suspect. On June 5, 1967, we risked all we had.

    ... The first few weeks after the war realised the most horrible of facts - that war does not automatically terminate in a peace treaty. Please who were sure this was going to be their last war were shocked to find that a country that fought to obtain peace remained as far from it as before.

    What did the war solve? It did not settle the basic conflict. It did not make the Arabs admit our right to this country. It neither frightened them into peace nor woke them up to the fact that we are here to stay...

    The war, however, has secured our existence. The cartoons which show us drowning in the sea hang in Israel homes while bikini-clad girls stretch out on our beaches.... the Six Day War did not give us peace but it gave us security and if we have to choose between them, we'd rather have security.

    ... We know we did it alone, we know that apart from the help of the Jews in the Western world, we cannot count on others doing the job for us - be it war or peace, and for once isolation does not mean brave suicide but brave survival.

    June 1967 did not solve the refugee problem, but it did expose it. It is not a sociological problem, nor an economic, but a political one. The refugees exists not because of us, because both East and West refuse to exercise pressure to bring about resettlement in Arab and our territories, as this would have to be part of an overall solution to co-existence in the area.

    ... The Arabs are not prepared to meet for peace talks and their armies are reorganized, re-equipped and re-armed. Russia has infiltrated the Mediterranean and hold the key to the renewal or cessation of war in the Middle East.

    ... It (the war) has revealed to us the predicament we are in, and will continue to be in. That of lone people. Small people. A small nation - tragically small - so that when it hurts, the whole body feels it. A predicament of small people paying a daily price in order to exist - before, during and after the war.

    If you were not hit today, it may be tomorrow, but it is bound to happen to you, your family, your friend, your child, a boyfriend, a father. If the war has taught us something, it is what our lives are all about. We are a people glued to the wireless set with anxiety, never free of the horrible feeling that there is no foreseen end, that it isn't over, that every day we may face it again, a permanent sacrifice to a hungry earth.

    ... We did not fight in order to gain land. But eh war has placed within the new secure frontiers of Israel about a million Arabs. We are not liberators of these areas, we are occupiers and we are faced with the profound moral problems of an occupying power... we shall stay there until it is no longer necessary for us to protect our lives and settlements... we leave them alone as long as they don't co-operate with saboteurs.. we try to turn the Ex-Jordan West Bank into a link between us and Jordan rather than vet a further barrier.

    I believe in their right of self-determination. I believe in a Palestinian State, federated with Jordan but demilitarized. Perhaps this is the next step. If so, they will have to have the courage to declare it and approach us with it... and to admit our right to exist. ... A great deal depends on us, much also depends on them.

    ... The war revealed that the UN is unable to cope with major conflicts. Its forces were evacuated within a few hours of Nasser's demand for withdrawal and the Security Council's verdict on clashes are nothing but headlines in evening papers.

    "Blown up by a mine"; "A tractor shot at", "A school bus - two dad - three dead - two civilians - five soldiers - three mines - mortar fire on kibbutzim" - our daily life. The war ended and the terrorists took over. Backed fully by Jordan, Syria and Egypt, they were successful for a while and the price again was high.

    Our propaganda machine is slow and often useless and the world reacts more to a napalm bomb thrown on a Jordanian army camp than to our school bus blown up by a mine.

    ... If... people really cared for the future of the Palestinian Arabs they would have known there is only one way to go about it - a peaceful one. They could negotiate for a free Palestine, they could benefit from peace and break away from Nasser, who cares very little for the well-being of the Palestinians.. a real liberation front will have first to liberate them in their own countries and then examine and see whether their interests truly conflict with ours.

    ... If our face is changed, it is only because security and peace did not prove to be synonymous and we have chosen the first, are not offered the second, and have to live with the results.