Ten years ago, I wrote a column on the 40th anniversary of Israel's June 5, 1967, sneak attack on Egypt, an attack that followed provocations by both sides. This Israeli attack basically won the war by destroying Egypt's air force still on the ground and giving Israel control of the skies.
The U.S. media has terribly misled the public on this issue. Little reported was that both U.S. and Israeli intelligence services strongly believed that Israel would quickly win a war against the combined Arab forces. In addition, the following quotes clearly demonstrate that this war wasn't defensive or preemptive, but a war of choice for Israel.
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in his autobiography, "Nasser did not want war; he wanted victory without war." James Reston of the New York Times wrote from Cairo on June 4 that "Cairo does not want war and it is certainly not ready for war."
In 1968, Yitzak Rabin said: "I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai in May (1967) would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it." In 1982, Israeli Prime Minister Begin admitted: "In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."
In March 1972, Gen. Ezer Weizmann, former commander of the Israeli Air Force and chief of operations in 1967, claimed there was "no threat of destruction." In another 1972 interview, Mordechai Bentov, a former member of the Israeli ruling coalition during the June war, said: "This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived and then elaborated on afterwards to justify the annexation of new Arab territories."
Unfortunately, the situation on the ground has greatly worsened for Palestinians during the past 10 years. Israel, with Egypt's help, still imposes its criminal siege of Gaza. In 2012, the U.N. predicted that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020 unless urgent actions were taken. This prediction preceded the 2014 murderous Israeli attack that further devastated Gaza and made conditions even more dire.
Israel also continues its brutal occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem. It has additionally added thousands of colonists in either existing or new illegal colonies while destroying over a thousand Palestinian homes.
Unless the world, and particularly the U.S. as Israel's enabler, finally comply with human rights and international law, the Palestinians' dire situation is going to worsen and Israeli legitimacy will be further eroded.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.