43 years and a few days ago, Israel miraculously defeated the combined Arab world in just 6 days. In the months that preceded, the world heard an endless litany of threats and promises from the Arab leaders that the time had come to “liberate Palestine”, and annihilate the Jews and throw their remains “into the sea”. It was to be a war of extermination, they promised, and a massacre the likes not seen since the days of genghis khan.
The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was founded by the Arab League, 3 years prior to the war, in 1964, with the declared intent to liberate historical Palestine. Jordan controlled the West Bank, while Egypt ruled over the Gaza strip. Neither Jordan nor Egypt tried to create a Palestinian State, and the Palestinian people conceded to Jordanian sovereignty over the Land they now claim is all they want, or ever wanted, for a State.
In June of 1967 Israel drove Egypt out of Gaza, and ended the Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Israel took the eastern part of Jerusalem, which had been under Jordan’s control for 19 years. It was a time of great celebration and a moment of pride for Israel, and Jews worldwide. But did Israel really win the 6 day war?
Jews had waited a mere 2000 years to reclaim the Temple Mount. Within days, Moshe Dayan turned it over to the Arabs, an appeasement that would have shamed even Neville Chamberlain. Israel offered the West Bank back to Jordan, and Gaza to Egypt, and was met with the infamous Arab League Khartoum Resolution of the 3 No’s: No negotiation with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No peace with Israel. As Golda Meier famously said back then, there was simply no one to return the territories to.
Since that day, Israel has been branded and burdened with the label “occupier”. 5 years ago, Israel left Gaza to the Arabs own devices. There are no Jews left in Gaza, save for the captive Gilad Shalit. Both Israel and Egypt have a border with Gaza, but within the confines of the UN and purported international law, Israel is still considered as “occupier” of Gaza, and therefore responsible for the welfare of it’s 1.5 million residents. Just the other day, Israel asked Egypt to open up their border to allow the flow of goods and traffic of people to and from the strip. Egypt has refused and declared that they will not let Israel off the hook and assume responsibility for the Arabs of Gaza. In effect, Egypt said that Gaza is, and will remain, Israel’s problem.
It is because of this that historians, and Israelis, should reconsider whether they actually won the 1967 war. Had it not taken place, Egypt would still be ruling over Gaza and keeping the cage locked even tighter than Israel. There would be no Palestinian State there, nor any call for it. There would be no flotillas of aid or international “peace activists” challenging Cairo. Over in the West Bank, the King of Jordan would rule, all the Holy Sites of the eastern part of Jerusalem would be off limits, and there would be no call for a Palestinian State there either. The Arabs would still be shrilling for the liberation and destruction of pre-1967 Israel, but that has been going on since 1948 and didn’t change with the 1967 “victory”. 43 years and a few days later, in retrospect, Israel actually lost the 1967 war.