Monday, June 04, 2007

Demonizing victory: The `67 War revisited

The Arab-Israeli War of 1967 hits its 40 year anniversary this month...and the knives are already out for Israel.

If you're the `Zionist Entity', winning a war for survival is even more of a problem than than losing one, according to the deconstructionist fables making the rounds.

Deconstructionism, by the way, means that if the facts don't fit the political agenda, you're free to come up with new facts that do.

The dinosaur media is redolent of retrospectives on the `67 war with titles like `Endless occupation', `Endless War', `The Unending struggle', `The price Of Victory' and `The Victory that Wasn't'.

Most of these accounts are rife with factual errors, and ignore what actually happened.

Fortunately, my memory, as well as the memory and accounts of contemporaries who participated in the war is unimpaired, and the factual record still exists, no matter the attempts to pave it over.

I dislike reiterating history, but it appears to be necessary.

It's frequently forgotten that the pre-1967 lines between Israel and the Arab states surrounding it were never formal borders, for the simple reason that the Arabs never accepted Israel's existence in the first place. They were merely the front lines of a war the Arabs still regarded as ongoing.

In the Sinai, the border between Egypt and Israel was policed by a UN peacekeeping force, the legacy of the 1956 war in which Israel decimated the much larger and better equipped Egyptian army and advanced to the Suez Canal in less than 100 hours.

The Israelis pulled back out of Sinai when they were given security guarantees by the UN, and told that the UN would police the border, keep the Straits of Tiran, Israel's outlet to the Red Sea open and prevent future raids and aggression by the Egyptians.

After the debacle of 1956, Egypt's Gamel Abdul Nasser rebuilt his military courtesy of his Soviet allies, who began shipping Egypt the most modern armaments they had available, including the latest MIG fighters and tanks. This was coordinated with Egypt's ally Syria, also a recipient of Soviet largess.

Both Nasser and Hafez Assad, the father of Syria's present Thug-In-Chief put together a massive military buildup on Israel's borders, and made bellicose speeches openly threatening Israel with annihilation. Nasser then formed military pact with Jordan, who also began building up forces on Israel's borders....all of nine miles wide at the narrow `neck' bordering Jordan.

On May 16th, 1967 Nasser demanded that the UN peace keepers leave the Sinai. They did so within 24 hours without bothering to inform the Israelis, and the Egyptian forces moved in, exposing Israel to attack from the south.

Nasser then closed the Straits of Tiran in the Gulf of Aqaba, thus blockading Israel's only Red Sea port, Eilat.

Blockading another country's port is normally seen as an act of war - unless you're Israel, in which case you're supposed to consider it merely a bit of diplomatic nastiness.

Egypt's Nasser, backed by Arab states (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq l-r), kicking Israel out of the Gulf of Aqaba. (al-Jafrida, May, 1967)

Faced with massive hostile military buildups on its borders, its outlet to the Red Sea blockaded, and the UN doing absolutely nothing about it, the Israelis were hit with another last minute threat to their survival - an arms embargo.

In those days, the US was not selling arms to Israel, and the Israeli air force was mainly equipped with French Mystere fighters. On the eve of war, Charles De Gaulle informed the Israelis that France was cutting off all shipments of arms and spare parts to the Israelis. In a relatively short time, this would have made the Israeli air force obsolescent.

Faced with strangulation and eventual annihilation, the Israelis chose to act. They risked the lives of every Jew in Israel on one roll of the dice, launching attacks on the Egyptian and Syrian forces massed against them. The attack was spearheaded by almost the entire 200 plane Israeli air force, attacking combined Arab air forces with a total of 900 planes. Had the initial Israeli attacks failed, had the air force been destroyed, they would have been left with all of 12 planes left to defend Israel.

That's the kind of gamble it was.

Oddly enough, the so-called `occupation' the Arabs and most of the dinosaur media is so concerned with was an accident, and entirely due to Arab aggression and miscalculation. Israel had its hands full fighting numerically superior Egypt and Syria, and begged Jordan's King Hussein to stay out of the war. But when Nasser personally told King Hussein that Egypt had annihilated Israel's air force and that the Egyptians were advancing on Tel Aviv, Hussein decided to get in on the booty. He sent Jordan's Arab legion into the fight.

Big mistake.

With all the Arab caterwauling about Jerusalem and al-Aksa, it's worth noting that if it were not for Arab aggression, the Old City of Jerusalem would still be Jew free.

Israeli troops at the Kotel, the Western Wall, 1967

The Israeli victory in 1967 was one of the most amazing in modern times. And the Arabs have spent 40 years and literally billions of dollars trying to undo it.

The consensus in the dinosaur media and among Middle East `realists' is that Middle East peace would magically return and sweetness and light would reign if Israel would only return to the ceasefire lines of June 4, 1967, which one time Israeli ambassador to the UN aptly called `the Auschwitz lines.' They make a great deal of noise about the Saudi `peace' ultimatum, which supposedly offers Israel unspecified `normal relations' in exchange for moving back to those indefensible borders and swamping what's left of Israel with millions of hostile Arab `refugees.'

These people have conveniently forgotten the lesson of buildup to the 1967 war, when Israel relied on paper security guarantees from the west and the UN that turned out to be worthless and her Arab enemies were busily preparing Israel's extinction...while the world did absolutely nothing to prevent it.

A hat tip to Soccer Dad and the Old General for pushing me to write this...


Anonymous said...

......well, last night the PBS affiliate in oklahoma had a two hour segment on the '67 war. i was going to send ff an e-mail, so as to not post one of my too numerous to mention, off topic comments.
instead ff either used ESP or some sort to actually describe my thoughts about the PBS segment. the joooos were described as religious zealots waging jihad.
one thing i did not understand about the PBS piece and ff essay did not clear up/mention was that prior to the out break of hostilities every army in the region had signed over command to nassar. that meant that an egyptian general had command of hussein's forces pushing into jerusalem. the segment protrayed hussein as initially hesitant on "throwing in" with his arab brothers. but in the end, arab pressure, more likely palestinian pressure, forced his hand.
it was interesting to see our eternal friends, even then, sounding off about exterminating the jooos.
the PBS segment also went into some detail regarding the USSR painting their jets with egyptian markings and preparing to send them into the fray.
in the end, it is as always, the same example of the failed arab/muslim culture. they would rather remain lodged in the 7th century with a loser of a leader, than to improve their way of life, simply because the leader wants to fight the joooos.
......oh my, i can't believe i said something as polically incorrect about our sensitive arab brothers........
what i meant to say was, in the end, it was the joooos fault.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Louie,
It's PBS, you expect it to make sense? Or to be accurate?

In terms of Arab command, the PBS piece has it wrong. Jordan, Egypt and Syria had coordinated their strategy and forces and had security agreements, but maintained independent commands.

Hussein did indeed hesitate, as I wrote, because the Israelis asked him not to get involved. But Jordan came in after Nasser personally lied to Hussein about the state of the war. The King and his Arab Legion got soundly thrashed.

The bit about the Soviets painting aircraft is SILLY, because the Russians had already given the Arabs the latest MIGS. There were in fact some Soviet pilots flying for Egypt and Syria, but they were flying planes the Arabs had already been given.

The Israelis captured a number of Soviet `advisers' and turned them over to our CIA.

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece. The al-AP article today talking about the Arabs blaming all of their current problems on the Six Day War is a ridiculous piece of journalism. These reporters are so dishonest/don't care that they refuse to reject the Arab claims of "It's all Israel's fault" because it won the war! Like democracy would have broken out in the Arab world if Israel was defeated.

I'm sure you've read "The Hope" by Herman Wouk, but the part of the book that covers the Six-Day War is particularly moving.

Anonymous said...

I watched the PBS program too, and I didn't find it biased.

Louielouie makes an interesting note on the arab/muslim culture. After Nasser lost the war, he was exailed as a hero and a visionary. Normally, something like the debacle that Egypt endured in 1967, would bring any other government down completely, not make it stronger.

But I guess the arab world isn't normal.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

PBS = Palestinian-Arab Broadcasting System

Demonizing Israel and deconstructing history is the name of the game over there at PBS.