Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Six Days That Shook The World

Not really in a good mood to write something heavy today, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention something about the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, which pitted tiny Israel against the combined might of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. TIME magazine has a nice article summing the history of the war, and how its legacy is still being felt today.

The war was a triumph for Israel. Within hours of its start, the Egyptian air force had been destroyed in pre-emptive air strikes. Israeli troops sliced through Egyptian defenses in the Sinai Peninsula, moved against the Syrians in the Golan Heights and outflanked King Hussein's Bedouin army in the West Bank. In 132 hours, it was all over. Israel had more than tripled its territory, its forces moving into ancient Jerusalem, fulfilling the age-old quest of the Jews to return to their holy city. The war changed mental maps in the Middle East as much as it did the political landscape, altering hopes and fears. In 1967, Israel as a nation was not quite 20 years old, born in the shadow of the Holocaust and a war in which Arab armies attempted to throttle the new state at birth. So for Israelis, 1967 was a time of euphoria, only to be followed by years of letdown as victory's hoped-for fruits--peace and coexistence with their neighbors--seemed ever less likely. Hardened by terrorism, many Israelis now want to wall off the Palestinians behind a mass of concrete and razor wire.
Powerline also has a post about how some critics claim the war was a Pyrhicc, not a total, victory for Israel because it inherited the Palestinians, who are a constant thorn in Israel’s side. Perhaps, but it is a problem Israel can easily live with because the alternative—the destruction of the Jewish state—would have been much worse.