Looking Back at the June 1967 Middle East War

by

1. Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (Basic Books, 1977, 5th ed., 2015), 82-85.

2. David S. Robarge, “CIA Analysis of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War: Getting It Right,” Studies in Intelligence (vol. 49, no. 1, 2005).

3. Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (Columbia University Press, 1998). On what the U.S. government knew: U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968 (Volume XVIII, Document 415, May 1, 1967). (Hereafter this series will be cited as FRUS, years, volume:document number, and date. They are available online.)

4. See citations in John Quigley, The Six-Day War and Israeli Self-Defense: Questioning the Legal Basis for Preventive War (Cambridge University Press, 2013), 125, 135.

5. George W. Gawrych, “The Egyptian Military Defeat of 1967,” Journal of Contemporary History (vol. 26, no. 2, Apr., 1991), 280; Moshe Shemesh, Arab Politics, Palestinian Nationalism and the Six-Day War (Brighton, UK: Sussex Academic Press, 2008), x, 200-201.

6. Ben D. Mor, “Nasser’s Decision-Making in the 1967 Middle East Crisis: A Rational-Choice Explanation,” Journal of Peace Research (vol. 28, no. 4, Nov. 1991), 369, citing Randolph S. & Winston S. Churchill, The Six Day War (Houghton Mifflin, 1967), 75, and Michael Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis: Diplomats and Demagogues Behind the Six-Day War (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1970), 176.

7. Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis, 120.

8. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:61, May 25, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:72, May 26, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:73, May 26, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:77, May 26, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:80, May 27, 1967. See also FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:79, May 26, 1967.

9. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:124, June 1, 1967.

10. Address by Prime Minister Begin at the National Defense College, August 8, 1982.

11. Yitzhak Rabin, The Rabin Memoirs (Little, Brown, 1979), 96-97. See also Ami Gluska, “Israel’s Decision to Go to War, June 2, 1967,” Middle East Review of International Affairs (vol. 11, no. 2, June 2007), 4.

12. Ian Black and Benny Morris, Israel’s Secret Wars: A History of Israel’s Intelligence Services (London: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), 217.

13. Tom Segev, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East (Metropolitan Books, 2005, translated 2007), 335.

14. Segev, 1967, 336.

15. Michael B. Oren, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2002), 92-97, 119-21.

16. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:65, May 26, 1967.

17. This point is made by Roland Popp, “Stumbling Decidedly into the Six-Day War,” Middle East Journal (vol. 60, no. 2, Spring 2006), 295-96n53.

18. Richard B. Parker, ed., The Six-Day War: A Retrospective (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996), 45.

19. For further evidence that Nasser did not approve striking first and that ‘Amr complied with and enforced this decision, see Laura James, “Nasser and His Enemies: Foreign Policy Decision Making in Egypt on the Eve of the Six-Day War,” Middle East Review of International Affairs (vol. 9, no. 2, June 2005), 33-34.

20. Segev, 1967, 258-59.

21. Segev, 1967, 256.

22. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:63, May 25, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:71, May 26, 1967.

23. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:61, May 25, 1967.

24. Abba Eban, Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1992), 382, 384.

25. Segev, 1967, 257.

26. Segev, 1967, 257.

27. U Thant, View from the UN: The Memoirs of U Thant (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978), 238, 435; Indar Jit Rikhye, The Sinai Blunder: Withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force (London: Frank Cass, 1980), 70-71, 78-79; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:72, May 26, 1967.

28. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:5, May 16, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:129, June 2, 1967; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:132, June 2, 1967; Anthony Nutting, Nasser (E.P. Dutton, 1972), 410-11; Charles W. Yost, “The Arab-Israeli War: How It Began,” Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1968, 317; Mahmud Riyad, The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East (London: Quartet Books, 1981), 20-21; Dean Rusk, As I Saw It (W.W. Norton, 1990), 35-36.

29. Abba Eban, An Autobiography (Random House, 1977), 360.

30. Ahron Bregman and Jihan El-Tahri, The Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs (London: BBC Books/Penguin Books, 1998), 83.

31. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:77, May 26, 1967.

32. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:142, June 3, 1967.

33. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:77, May 26, 1967 (quote from Eban).

34. E.g., Eban, Autobiography, 399.

35. Michael Brecher, Decisions in Israel’s Foreign Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), 323n2; Jean-Pierre Filiu, “France and the June 1967 War,” in The 1967 Arab-Israeli War, ed. Wm. Roger Louis and Avi Shlaim (Cambridge University Press, 2012), 247, 256-57, 262.

36. Eban, Personal Witness, 407 (De Gaulle quote); Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis, 184-85.

37. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:77 May 26, 1967.

38. Gawrych, “Egyptian Military Defeat of 1967,” 284.

39. Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis, 141.

40. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:97, May 29, 1967.

41. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:71, May 26, 1967; Michael Brecher with Benjamin Geist, Decisions in Crisis: Israel, 1967 and 1973 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 153; Eban, Autobiography, 383.

42. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:130, June 2, 1967 (McNamara).

43. FRUS, 1955–1957, XVII:152, Feb. 26, 1957 (U.S. UN ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge reporting account of UN Under-Secretary-General Ralph Bunch).

44. FRUS, 1955–1957, XVII:194, March 5, 1957.

45. FRUS, 1955–1957, XVII:195, March 7, 1957. See also FRUS, 1955–1957, XVII:197, March 6, 1957.

46. Parker, Six-Day War, 88. On requests, see Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days that Changed the Middle East (Linden Press/Simon & Schuster, 1984), 70.

47. U Thant, View from the UN, 223; Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso, 2003, 2nd ed.), 277n13.

48. See, e.g., statement of Ephraim “Eppy” Evron, the minister at the Israeli embassy in Washington, in Parker, Six-Day War, 307. Oddly, Avi Shlaim, generally such an astute analyst of Israeli-Arab relations, has recently written that he considers the closing of the straits for all intents and purposes to be the firing of the first shot. (Avi Shlaim, “Israel: Poor Little Samson,” in 1967 Arab-Israeli War, ed. Louis and Shlaim, 54.)

49. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:77, May 26, 1967 (LBJ); FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:80, May 27, 1967; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 137.

50. Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis, 93; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:133, June 2, 1967.

51. E.g., Charles B. Selak, Jr., “A Consideration of the Legal Status of the Gulf of Aqaba,” American Journal of International Law (vol. 52, no. 4, Oct. 1958), 660-698; Mohamed ElBaradei, “The Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty and Access to the Gulf of Aqaba: A New Legal Regime,” American Journal of International Law (vol. 76, no. 3, July 1982), 532-554.

52. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:130, June 2, 1967; Leo Gross, “The Geneva Conference on the Law of the Sea and the Right of Innocent Passage through the Gulf of Aqaba,” American Journal of International Law (vol. 53, no. 3, July 1959), 589.

53. Arthur H. Dean, “The Geneva Conference on the Law of the Sea: What Was Accomplished,” American Journal of International Law (vol. 52, no. 4, Oct. 1958), 623.

54. See, e.g., Rosalyn Higgins, “The June War: The United Nations and Legal Background,” Journal of Contemporary History (vol. 3, no. 3, July 1968), 266-67.

55. FRUS, 1955–1957, XVII:198, March 6, 1957.

56. Eitan Barak, “Between Reality and Secrecy: Israel’s Freedom of Navigation Through the Straits of Tiran, 1956-1967,” Middle East Journal (vol. 61, no. 4, Autumn 2007), 669.

57. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:28, June 2, 1967. See also Quigley, Six-Day War, 51.

58. Barak, “Between Reality and Secrecy,” 672.

59. Richard B. Parker, The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 111. See also Parker, Six-Day War, 295-96. Egyptian press statements that the straits had been mined turned out to be untrue (Nutting, Nasser, 411).

60. Parker, Politics of Miscalculation, 111; Parker, Six-Day War, 295-96.

61. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:69, May 26, 1967, (paraphrase by U.S. recorder).

62. Barak, “Between Reality and Secrecy,” 679.

63. Rikhye, Sinai Blunder, 78. See also Parker, Politics of Miscalculation, 47, and Thant, View from the UN, 235.

64. Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis, 92.

65. Barak, “Between Reality and Secrecy,” 679.

66. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:134, June 2, 1967.

67. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Radio and Television Address to the American People on the Situation in the Middle East, February 20, 1957 (The American Presidency Project, John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters, Santa Barbara, California.

68. Barak, “Between Reality and Secrecy,” 673-74.

69. Rikhye, Sinai Blunder, 74; Nutting Nasser, 411; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 125; Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship (HarperCollins Publishers, 1991), 141; Bar-Zohar, Embassies in Crisis, 167-68; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:130, June 2, 1967.

70. Brecher with Geist, Decisions in Crisis, 167; Quigley, Six-Day War, 69; Ami Gluska, Israeli Military and the Origins of the 1967 War: Government, Armed Forces and Defence Policy 1963–1967 (Florence, KY: Routledge, 2007), 252-53.

71. E.g., Rusk, As I Saw It, 386-87.

72. E.g., Moshe Gat, “Let Someone Else do the Job: American Policy on the Eve of the Six Day War,” Diplomacy & Statecraft (Vo1.14, No.1, March 2003), 153.

73. This argument was made by the Israeli ambassador to the United States. See FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:132, June 2, 1967.

74. Walid Khalidi and Neil Caplan, “The 1953 Qibya Raid Revisited: Excerpts from Moshe Sharett’s Diaries,” Journal of Palestine Studies (vol. 31, no. 4, Summer 2002), 81 (Jordanian offers), 85 (stain). UN Security Council resolution 101 (Nov. 24, 1953).

75. Black and Morris, Israel’s Secret Wars, 110-13.

76. Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001 (Vintage, 2001), 299.

77. See Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009), 101-04; David Bowen and Laura Drake, “The Syrian-Israeli Border Conflict, 1949-1967,” Middle East Policy (vol. 1, issue 4, 1992), 17-28; Finkelstein, Image and Reality, 131-34, 185-88.

78. Carl von Horn, Soldiering for Peace, (David McKay, 1967), 86.

79. Parker, Six-Day War, 253 (Andrew Cockburn).

80. Cited in Maoz, Defending the Holy Land, 103.

81. July 21, 1964, telegram from U.S. Consulate, Jerusalem, to secretary of state, printed in Stephen Green, Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel (William Morrow & Co., 1984), 346-48.

82. FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:330, October 31, 1966.

83. FRUS, 1964–1968, XVIII:332, November 13, 1966.

84. FRUS, 1964–1968, XVIII:333, November 15, 1966. The U.S. later revised the scale of the attack downward, but it was still the largest IDF operation since Suez.

85. FRUS, 1964–1968, XVIII:353, November 30, 1966.

86. Moshe Gat, “On the Use of Air Power and Its Effect on the Outbreak of the Six Day War,” Journal of Military History (vol. 68, no. 4, Oct., 2004), 1209-10. See also Parker, Six-Day War, 97 (F.T. Liu).

87. Gat, “Air Power,” 1210.

88. CIA Daily Brief, May 13, 1967. See also FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:4, May 15, 1967; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 59; Gat, “Air Power,” 1213; Morris, Righteous Victims, 304; Parker, Politics of Miscalculation, 224; Parker, Six-Day War, 7, 14-15 (L. Carl Brown & Parker); Popp, “Stumbling Decidedly,” 287-88; Thant, View from the UN, 228; Yost, “The Arab-Israeli War,” 309; Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (Norton, 2001), 236-37.

89. Oren, Six Days of War, 169; Segev, 1967, 337; Odd Bull, War and Peace in the Middle East: The Experiences and Views of a UN Observer (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1976), 113; Parker, Six-Day War, 100; FRUS, 1964–1968, XIX:169, June 5, 1967; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 210.

90. Rusk, As I Saw It, 388; Morris, Righteous Victims, 313. For further quotes along these lines, see Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest: A Modern History of Palestine (Olive Branch Press, 1989), 222-23.

91. Rusk, As I Saw It, 388.

92. Brecher with Geist, Decisions in Crisis, 100. The article was published after the war but written before.

93. Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 195.

94. Morris, Righteous Victims, 321.

95. See, e.g., the quotes in Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, 223-26; Seth S. King, “Dayan Rules Out Total Pullback from Arab Areas; Links Security of Israel to Occupied Territories,” New York Times, August 11, 1967, 9. Note that Israel indicated its refusal to return to the 1967 lines before the Arab states’ September 1, 1967, Khartoum Conference with its famous “three nos.” On Jerusalem, Dayan declared on June 7, “We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again.” (Quoted in Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 233.)

96. As Patrick Tyler (A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East—from the Cold War to the War on Terror [Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009], 103) suggests.

97. The offer to Egypt and Syria was probably never communicated to them. (Shlaim, Iron Wall, 253-54.)

98. Morris, Righteous Victims, 327-29. See also Segev, 1967, 523-42.

99. The government resolution on settling Golan lands was adopted at the end of August 1967 and “classified top secret.” (Segev, 1967, 574-75.)

100. Donald Macintyre, “Secret memo shows Israel knew Six Day War was illegal,” The Independent (London), May 26, 2007; Segev, 1967, 576. About six months after the war there were more than 800 settlers. (Segev, 1967, 580.)

101. Kenneth Pollack, “Air Power in the Six-Day War,” Journal of Strategic Studies (vol. 28, issue 3, June 2005), 474.

102. Maoz, Defending the Holy Land, 310. See also van Creveld, Sword and Olive, 179-80, 191.

103. Eyal Zisser, “June 1967: Israel’s Capture of the Golan Heights,” Israel Studies (vol. 7, no. 1, Spring 2002), 172, 181.

104. Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 229.

105. Shlaim, Lion of Jordan, 249, 245, 251.

106. Zisser, “Israel’s Capture…,” 188, 168, 169, 185, 189, 187. As Lt. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev put it, “I do not want to think of a situation where the war ends without the Syrians getting what they deserve.” (Ibid.)

107. Shlaim, “Israel,” in Louis & Shlaim, 38; Gluska, Israeli Military..., 249.

108. Paul Breines, Tough Jews (Basic Books, 1990); Norman G. Finke lstein, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End (OR Books, 2012), 36-43.