Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 5 anniversary

June 5 passed last week without notice or comment, but it was the anniversary of one of the most momentous days in Jewish history, the start of the Six Day War of 1967, when the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon threatened to invade Israel.  Not only did they not succeed, but the IAF destroyed their air forces on the ground in a lighting strike and thus ensured the survival of the Jewish State.
I well remember those awful days leading up to the war when Pres. Nasser of Egypt closed the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and ordered the UN peacekeepers to leave the Sinai peninsula, which they did without hesitation.  US Pres. Johnson promised Israeli PM Eshkol to send an "armada" of ships from many nations to break the Egyptian blockade, which was illegal under international law and a causus belli for Israel.  But, in the event no other nations agreed to join.  So on June 5, after much hesitation, Eshkol gave his military commanders the go-ahead to attack.  Many nations warned the Israeli government against taking such unilateral action, including Pres. Charles De Gaulle of France, who instituted a military arms embargo against Israel.  But, this lightning strike destroyed most of the Egyptian and Syrian air forces on the ground and enabled Israel to maintain total air superiority that allowed the armored ground forces to advance unhindered.
The result of this war changed the face of the Middle East forever, it catapulted Israel into an era of superiority and self-reliance and showed the Arab nations that they were backward and incompetent.  Unfortunately, all our subsequent woes have rested on the fact that the Arabs were unable to accept the fact of their utter defeat and they have continued trying, through war, terrorism and delegitimization of Israel, ever since.  The fundamental mistake of the west and particularly the Americans is that by giving the Arabs what they think they want (Israeli withdrawal, and an end to the "occupation") that this will lead to peace.  There are so many examples that show that this is not the case, yet Secty of State Kerry continues the charade, coming to Israel every month to waste time on more useless discussions. One definition of madness is trying to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. A fundamental change is needed in the Arab world, and it is happening, but has not yet reached anywhere near its end-point, a fundamental realignment of the forces of Sunni, Shia and Kurdish interests.
The Jerusalem Post editorial today (Monday, June 10) entitled "Sykes-Picot and Israel," points out that this all but forgotten formerly secret British-French agreement made in 1916 prior to WWI was the victor's way of carving up the former Turkish Empire and led to the founding of Lebanon and Syria from the French Mandate and Israel, Jordan and Iraq from the British Mandates.  Some of these States, particularly Syria and Iraq, were artificial entities cobbled together from various ethnic groups, such as Sunni, Shia and Kurdish, that have never cohered into stable states, similar to Yugoslavia in the Balkans.  They are still struggling to find their stable form, if they ever can.  Meanwhile Israel remains the only island of calm within the Middle East, a fact that the US should be celebrating.


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