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He misses central elements in the story, such as the fascinating objections in the Israeli cabinet to the capture of Jerusalem's Old City—and the Western Wall—by ministers from the National Religious Party, who maintained that it was too politically and ideologically hot to handle; this from a party that would soon after spearhead Israeli settlement efforts. The battle descriptions are incomprehensible, and Bowen, in searching for the illuminating detail or pregnant quote, more often ends up with banality and schmaltz.

Nevertheless, there are interesting glimpses of the players, particularly in the Egyptian camp. Bowen's description of how Egypt and the Arab world worked their way up with ever expanding rhetoric into war fever despite their near-total lack of preparation remains, even four decades later, an astonishment.

Middle East Quarterly. Should Israel Invade Gaza?

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Reuven Gal was a platoon commander in the Jerusalem Brigade, a unit of reservists from the city who fought within earshot of their homes. After a battle to control the UN headquarters the previous day, Mr Gal recalls advancing at dawn on June 7th towards Jordanian trenches on the hill of Jebel Abu Ghneim. To his relief the position had been abandoned. All around him, hardened soldiers wept at the news. And he thought that after such a defeat the Arabs would have to sue for peace. But peace did not come. Every generation of Israelis must still put on the uniform and prepare to fight.

It has had a tremendous impact on our morality, democracy, the souls of our children and the purity of arms [the morality of the use of force]. On the edge of the Jewish Quarter of the walled city, Abu Munir al-Mughrabi lives in a small one-bedroom flat that is a makeshift museum to the loss of Arab Jerusalem. On his wall of pictures of the city, one shows him as a year-old in a suit, standing amid the rubble of his neighbourhood, the Mughrabi Quarter. It was demolished by Israel immediately after the capture of the Old City, turning the alleyway in front of the Western Wall, the most important place of Jewish prayer, into the wide plaza it is today.

He holds up his hand-drawn map of the vanished buildings and a list of the families that were cleared out. Abu Munir had been in Amman when the war broke out. He slipped back across the border to reach Jerusalem just as his home was being torn down. For a time he smuggled people to and from Jordan.

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He also smuggled weapons for Fatah, then a rising militant movement, and spent time in jail. His story illustrates a change of mindset by Palestinians. In the war of , when Israel was established, Palestinians fled or were pushed out en masse. Hundreds of villages were destroyed.

By contrast, in most stayed on. There were also some unexpected benefits: Palestinians from the West Bank, which had been annexed by Jordan, renewed ties with Palestinians from Haifa and Jaffa, which had been part of Israel after ; and from Gaza, which had been occupied by Egypt.

Six-Day War - HISTORY

Until then the Palestinians under Israeli rule had remained mostly placid, while the Palestine Liberation Organisation PLO , dedicated to the removal of Israel by force, conducted cross-border attacks from abroad. The armed struggle was, for the most part, a failure. By contrast, the intifada was marked mainly by stone-throwing clashes. It dashed the illusion that Israel could hold on to the occupied territories at little cost.

Six-Day War

Extremists on both sides set out to destroy the deal with unprecedented violence. A Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians at prayer in Hebron in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both Islamist factions, embarked on a campaign of suicide-bombings. In a right-wing Jew murdered the prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin. The second intifada , precipitated by the failure of peace talks at Camp David in , involved guns and bombs. Mr Arafat often seemed to tolerate, or even encourage, the militants.

For Israelis, land for peace became land for suicide-bombs and rockets. But the second intifada moved me to the right. For most Palestinians, the Oslo deal brought a worse occupation: more bloodshed, internal division, loss of land to settlers and territorial fragmentation. Their ancestors had prayed three times daily for Jerusalem, and now it was in their hands. For the first time in two thousand years, Jews controlled the Western Wall.

Jews who had lived in the West Bank—the biblical Judea and Samaria—under the British Mandate were massacred or driven out, but now that land too was theirs. The religious movements could now stake a far more confident claim that they too had the right to rule. They hardly represented all Israelis; they could never win an election alone and never dominated the coalitions that governed Israel. But far from being a dying remnant of traditional Judaism, they would henceforth demand to be heard.

The Woodstockesque festival was attended by messianic followers of the premier extraparliamentary settler activist group, Gush Emunim Bloc of the Faithful , which was committed to building civilian settlements in biblical Israel after the war to redeem the land and its people. Yet fifty years since the first Jewish Israelis came to settle the occupied territories, the national-religious fringe that was the face and guiding force of the movement has given way to a much more complex mosaic of ideologies, constituencies, and discourses.


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  5. Controversies relating to the Six-Day War.

No longer a historical vanguard, the Israeli settlement enterprise has grown to be a heterogeneous coalition of some , individuals ,, if including Jewish residents of the parts of municipal Jerusalem over the Green Line, which Israel annexed after the war. Since the s the Israeli government has invested major economic and military resources in the occupied territories.

As links between the metropole and its colony have deepened, disengagements have become ever more difficult and the settlement project ever more entrenched. The erasure of the Green Line raises questions about the existence and future of any Zionist or Palestinian entity between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the possibilities for partition—or any other political configuration—on this small piece of real estate.


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  • Both the left and right are converging on the idea that there is little difference between the Israeli settlement of Tel Aviv and the Jewish colony of Tekoa, south of Bethlehem, but their visions for the future of Jews and Palestinians in a one-state reality diverge sharply. While the fiftieth anniversary of the war is a moment for deep reflection, even if every settlement disappeared tomorrow, the roots of the conflict, dating to , would still remain.

    Historical narrative matters, and reaching a final-status agreement on settlements will not resolve other issues or provide for a just and claims-ending agreement. Fifty years on, we must acknowledge that neither Israelis nor Palestinians may now consider it possible—or preferable—to pursue a two-state solution. The June war did not create the contemporary Palestinian national movement, but did establish the conditions for its meteoric rise and its ability to wrest custodianship of the Question of Palestine from the Arab states.

    The development has had far-reaching consequences to this day. From the conclusion of the —39 Great Arab Revolt against the British Mandate in Palestine until the war, the Palestinians were often little more than spectators to the regional and international decisions and developments that determined their fate—first and foremost the establishment of the State of Israel, which resulted in their collective dispossession. Although Palestinian nationalist movements, such as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah , began to emerge within a decade of the nakba Catastrophe , throughout the s and s most Palestinians sought and expected salvation from a mobilized Arab world.

    More Palestinians joined the various pan-Arab, communist or Islamist movements proliferating throughout the region, or pledged allegiance to specific Arab leaders or regimes, than volunteered for organizations bearing a distinctly Palestinian agenda. A mere six days in June transformed these realities.

    Six Days : How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East

    From the comprehensive defeat of the Arab militaries and thorough discrediting of the Arab regimes emerged one new Palestinian nationalist movement after another. George Habash, who had previously founded the pan-Arab Movement of Arab Nationalists, reemerged in December of that year as the general secretary of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The centrality of the Question of Palestine to the Arab-Israeli conflict and of Palestinian self-determination to the international agenda were critical if unanticipated consequences of the June war.