Originating from Israeli encroachments on Arab owned lands, the 1967 war broke out between Israel and its Arab neighbors as Israel launched a blitzkrieg against the Egyptian air force 2 days before the Egyptian Vice President was to visit the United States.
Israel initially claimed their attack was retaliatory to an Egyptian attack. Within a month however, Israel admitted as to launching the first strike.
Although a number of Arab countries were involved in the war, Israel’s claim of feeling threatened has been widely questioned. A number of senior Israeli military and political figures have subsequently admitted that Israel was not faced with a genuine threat of attack, and instead, deliberately chose war.
Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli army chief of staff during the war, later stated: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.
- General Mattityahu Peled, a member of Israel’s general staff in 1967, opined that “the thesis according to which the danger of genocide weighed on us in June 1967, and that Israel struggled for its physical existence is only a bluff born and developed after the war.”
- Menachem Begin, not yet prime minister but a member of the Israeli cabinet, allowed that: “The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
- Consequent to the war, Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza including East Jerusalem, thereby taking control of 100% of the land of Palestine. For the last 60 years, Israel has maintained a harsh military occupation over the Palestinian population. In addition, there are hundreds of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, all of which are illegal under international law.
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