Holy Land Grab - the Six Day War 50 years on

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Jun 15 01:23:40 BST 2017

50-Year Occupation: Israel’s Six-Day War Started With a Lie


<https://theintercept.com/staff/mehdi-hasan/>Mehdi Hasan June 5 2017, 2:07 p.m.

FIFTY YEARS AGO, between June 5 and June 10, 
1967, Israel invaded and occupied East Jerusalem, 
the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan 
Heights. The Six-Day War, as it would later be 
dubbed, saw the Jewish David inflict a 
humiliating defeat on the Arab Goliath, 
personified perhaps by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt.

“The existence of the Israeli state hung by a 
thread,” the country’s prime minister, Levi 
two days after the war was over, “but the hopes 
of the Arab leaders to annihilate Israel were 
dashed.” Genocide, went the argument, had been 
prevented; another Holocaust of the Jews averted.

There is, however, a problem with this argument: 
It is complete fiction, a self-serving fantasy 
constructed after the event to justify a war of 
aggression and conquest. Don’t take my word for 
it: “The thesis according to which the danger of 
genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according 
to which Israel was fighting for her very 
physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which 
was born and bred after the war,” 
Gen. Matituahu Peled, chief of logistical command 
during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s General Staff, in March 1972.

A year earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a member of the 
wartime government and one of 37 people to sign 
Israel’s Declaration of Independence, had made a 
similar admission. “This whole story about the 
threat of extermination was totally contrived, 
and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to 
justify the annexation of new Arab territories,” 
in April 1971.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 
terrorist and darling of the Israeli far right, 
in a speech in August 1982 that “in June 1967 we 
had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in 
the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser 
was really about to attack us. We must be honest 
with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

The reverberations of that attack are still being 
felt in the Middle East today. Few modern 
conflicts have had as deep and long-lasting an 
impact as the Six-Day War. As U.S. academic and 
activist Thomas Reifer has 
it sounded the “death knell of pan-Arab 
nationalism, the rise of political Islam 
 a more 
independent Palestinian nationalism” and 
“Israel’s emergence as a U.S. strategic asset, 
with the United States sending billions of 
 in a strategic partnership unequalled in world history.”

Above all else, the war, 
by the London Daily Telegraph in 1967 as “the 
triumph of the civilized,” forced another 300,000 
Palestinians from their homes and ushered in a 
brutal military occupation for the million-odd Palestinians left behind.

The conflict itself may have lasted only six 
days, but the occupation that followed is now 
entering its sixth decade ­ the longest military 
occupation in the world. Apologists for Israel 
often deny that it is an occupation and say the 
Occupied Territories are merely “disputed,” a 
disingenuous claim belied by Israel’s own Supreme 
Court, which 
in 2005 that the West Bank is “held by the State 
of Israel in belligerent occupation.”

Fifty long years of occupation; of dispossession 
and ethnic cleansing; of 
demolitions and 
curfews; of 

Fifty years of 
raids and 
raids; of 
killings” and 
shields”; of 
Palestinian kids.

Fifty years of 
discrimination and 
prejudice; of a 
but unequal” two-tier justice system for 
Palestinians and Israelis; of 
courts and 

Fifty years of humiliation and subjugation; of 
pregnant Palestinian women 
birth at checkpoints; of Palestinian cancer 
access to radiation therapy; of Palestinian 
from reaching their matches.

Fifty years of pointless negotiations and failed 
peace plans: 
What did they deliver for the occupied 
Palestinians? Aside from settlements, 
settlements, and 
settlements? Consider: In 1992, a year before the 
Oslo peace process began, 
Bank settlements covered 77 kilometers and housed 
248,000 Israeli settlers. By 2016, those 
settlements covered 197 kilometers and the number 
of settlers living in them had more than tripled to 763,000.

These settlements have rendered the 
much-discussed “two-state solution” almost 
impossible. The occupied West Bank has been 
carved up into a series of 
cut off from each other and the wider world. The 
settlers are not going anywhere, anytime soon. 
They are Israel’s “facts on the ground.” To 
ignore them is to ignore perhaps the biggest 
obstacle to ending the occupation. “It’s like you 
and I are negotiating over a piece of pizza,” the 
Palestinian-American lawyer and former adviser to 
the PLO, Michael Tarazi, explained in 2004. “How 
much of the pizza do I get? And how much do you 
get? And while we are negotiating it, you are eating it.”

It wasn’t just the 1967 war that was launched on 
a lie; so too was the occupation that began after 
it. It was never supposed to be temporary, nor 
were the Palestinians ever supposed to get their 
land back. If Israel had planned to withdraw from 
the Occupied Territories, as some of its 
supporters suggest, then why was the first 
settlement in the West Bank, 
Etzion, established less than four months after 
the Six-Day War, in defiance of 
advice from the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s legal 
adviser that “civilian settlement” in the 
territories would contravene “the explicit 
provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention”? Why 
has it revoked the residency rights of hundreds 
of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza and the 
West Bank over the past 50 years? Why has the 
Jewish state spent the past five decades 
the charade of a “peace process” to gobble up 
more Palestinian land and build more illegal 
settlements? The truth is that the Jewish state, 
from the very beginning, “used negotiations as a 
smokescreen to advance its colonial project,” to 
borrow a line from imprisoned Palestinian 
militant and activist 
Barghouti. Fifty years on, it is time for both 
the Palestinian leadership and the international 
community to stop pretending otherwise.

The legendary Israeli general and Defense 
Minister Moshe Dayan, who was one of the 
architects of Israel’s victory in 1967 and was 
adamant that the country should hold onto the 
territories it had seized, best summed up the 
cynical attitude of Israeli governments of both 
right and left over the past five decades. “The 
only peace negotiations,” 
Dayan, when asked about the possibility of a 
peace deal with the Palestinians in November 
1970, “are those where we settle the land and we 
build, and we settle, and from time to time we go to war.”

Top photo: Israeli soldiers search Jordanian 
prisoners during mopping up operations in the old 
city of Jerusalem on June 8, 1967, as the city 
came under Jewish control during the Six-Day War.

So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish 
participation in Bormann companies that when 
Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv 
to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the 
Jewish and German communities of Buenos Aires. 
Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities 
in no uncertain terms that this must never happen 
again because a repetition would permanently 
rupture relations with the Germans of Latin 
America, as well as with the Bormann 
organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish 
money to Israel. It never happened again, and the 
pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of 
these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an 
Argentinian safe haven, protected by the most 
efficient German infrastructure in history as 
well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being.
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