Why History Still Matters: The Six-Day War
Stand for Israel | June 6, 2019
These days, it seems that so many want to erase the past — especially the past that’s troubling and troublesome — despite the fact that we can learn from it. This should not be, American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris writes at The Times of Israel, for while the lessons we can learn from history, in this case Israel’s 1967 Six-Day War which occurred 52 years ago this week, dismissing the past will never work:
Mention history and it can trigger a roll of the eyes.
Add the Middle East to the equation and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes.
But without an understanding of what happened in the past, it’s impossible to grasp where we are today — and where we are has profound relevance for the region and the world.
Fifty-two years ago this week, the Six-Day War broke out.
While some wars fade into obscurity, this one remains as relevant today as in 1967. Many of its core issues remain unresolved.
Politicians, diplomats, and journalists continue to grapple with the consequences of that war, but rarely consider, or perhaps are even unaware of, context. Yet without context, some critically important things may not make sense.
First, in June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn’t exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.
Second, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem. To make matters still worse, they desecrated and destroyed many of those sites.
Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule imposed on local residents.
And the Golan Heights, which were regularly used to shell Israeli communities far below, belonged to Syria.
Third, the Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip any day of the week. They didn’t. There wasn’t even discussion about it. And Arab leaders, who today profess such attachment to eastern Jerusalem, rarely, if ever, visited…