For this American Jew, the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War is a time for celebration.
As Jane Eisner described in her recent Forward editorial, the small Israeli defense forces in June 1967 were able to defeat the much larger Egyptian air force, then their ground troops, and then defeat the Jordanian, Iraqi and Syrian military forces that came to Egypt’s aid. These spectacular results gave the Israelis confidence in their defense forces’ ability to overcome Egypt’s initial devastation of the Israeli army six years later during the start of the Yom Kippur War. It also provides the Palestinians a reminder that a military option to achieve their goals will be futile.I agree with Ms. Eisner that the Israeli government in the past few years allowing new Israeli settlements in the Israeli West Bank area owned by Palestinians is a negative step with respect to achieving full, long-term peace with the Palestinians. The absence of Palestinian peace initiatives has put the Israeli government in an awkward position to resist the settlement growth.
What Ms. Eisner neglected to highlight is that the Palestinian government has shown no willingness to eliminate their Charter clauses calling for the destruction and elimination of the State of Israel and to drop teaching hatred of the Israelis in their public schools. Until these happen, no long term peace in the area is achievable and new Israeli settlement actions troublesome to achieving peace may occur.
However, just this week there have been intentions of seeking peace expressed by the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, bolstered by President Trump’s remarks about aiding the peace process. The key to achieving lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is to have the Palestinians develop a strong economy that will give them self-respect and societal stability, and less cause for antagonism towards Israel. Fortunately both Netanyahu and Trump have expressed their intention of supporting this goal.
Ralph Shapiro is author of “Jewish History 4.000 Years of Accomplishment, Agony and Survival.”