116. Israel did attacking

In his guest column of November 4, Mr. Gordon Friedlander wrote that "Israel was attacked and invaded by Jordan, Syria and Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War." I read such an inaccurate statement about the 1967 war before, but this is the first time that I read it from a "former senior staff writer and a senior editor" who should have known better.

The following are the facts. On Monday June 5, 1967, a little before 8 am, Israel started the war with a massive air strike against Egypt and Syria only. Jordan, obligated by a mutual defense pact (which Israel was well aware of), came to the assistance of its allies and launched an artillery attack that afternoon. Israel responded with a successful ground assault on East Jerusalem the night of June 5 and its forces reached the Jordan River the next day. Five days later, Israel completed its occupation of Sinai and the Golan.

As a matter of fact, Arab countries have never attacked Israel. It was always the other way around, whether in 1956 against Egypt, or 1967 against Egypt and Syria, or 1978 and 1982 against Lebanon. Even the 1948 and 1973 wars were not an attack on Israel.

Regarding the 1948 war, after Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes by force or terror. The next day, May 15, military units from the Arab countries came to their aid. But this war, erroneously called by Israel war of "independence," had begun in April, by Ben-Gurion's own admission in his book Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, ostensibly against the indigenous Palestinian population.

As for the 1973 war, Egypt and Syria didn't attack Israel but rather the Israeli army occupying Egyptian and Syrian soil, for the sole purpose of recovering Sinai and the Golan after Israel rejected all the peace overtures made by Sadat.

November 22, 1993

For a reply see [122]and [125]