Who Started the Six Day War of June 1967?

by Jun 5, 2017Foreign Policy71 comments

US President Lyndon B. Johnson and his national security team in the White House Situation Room during the Arab-Israeli crisis of 1967. (LBJ Library and Museum)

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens defends Israel’s occupation of Palestine by regurgitating Zionist propaganda about who started the 1967 Six Day War.

“In June 1967,” Bret Stephens writes in the New York Times for the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, “Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven.

“Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation.”

Stephens disagrees, asserting that the view that Israel’s ongoing occupation is unjustified “is ahistoric nonsense.”

In fact, it is Bret Stephens who is demonstrably guilty of that charge, as his article, titled “Six Days and 50 Years of War”, does nothing more than regurgitate standard Zionist propaganda.

Distorting the 1967 War

Stephens proceeds to blame the “Six Day War” of June 1967 on the Arabs by noting that a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai Peninsula was withdrawn at Egypt’s insistence and referring to an “Egyptian blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat.”

Then Stephens writes, “On June 5, the first day of the war, the Israeli government used three separate diplomatic channels to warn Jordan—then occupying the West Bank—not to initiate hostilities. The Jordanians ignored the warning and opened fire with planes and artillery.”

By this means, Stephens disgracefully deceives his readers into believing that Jordan fired the first shots of the war.

In truth, the Six Day War was begun by Israel on the morning of June 5 with a surprise attack on Jordan’s ally Egypt that obliterated its air force while most of its planes were still on the ground.

It is true that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had instructed the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) to evacuate Egyptian territory. The conclusion readers are evidently supposed to draw is that Egypt, in partnership with Jordan, was preparing to invade Israel.

The UN peacekeeping force was “intended as a buffer with Egypt”, Stephens states. This is true, but the implication, given his provided context, is that its purpose was to protect Israel from Egyptian aggression—which is a distortion of history.

What Stephens declines to inform readers is that UNEF was established after Israel conspired with Britain and France to wage a war of aggression against Egypt in 1956, following Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. UNEF’s purpose was not only to secure the cessation of hostilities and serve as a buffer to prevent future aggression, but also to supervise the required withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the occupied Sinai.

To lead readers to the desired conclusion, Stephens omits additional relevant context, such as how Nasser had been accused by its allies Syria and Jordan of hiding behind UNEF—such as failing to come to Jordan’s assistance when Israel on November 13, 1966, invaded the West Bank to collectively punish the civilian population of the village of Samu for the killing of three Israeli soldiers by the Palestinian group al-Fatah two days earlier.

Israel’s assumption was that by terrorizing the villagers, they would appeal to King Hussein of Jordan—which administered the West Bank in the wake of the 1948 war and ethnic cleansing of Palestine—to clamp down on Fatah. After rounding up villages in the town square, Israeli forces proceeded to engage in wanton destruction that included the razing, according to UN investigators, of 125 homes, a village clinic, and a school. Three civilians were killed and ninety-six wounded, and the UN Security Council condemned Israel for its “violation of the UN Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan”.

By omitting the context of Nasser’s humiliation in the face of such Israeli aggression, Stephens leaves his readers with the impression that Egypt was preparing to attack Israel—rather than Nasser ejecting UNEF to save face in the wake of accusations that he was hiding cowardly behind the UN peacekeepers.

In fact, UN Secretary-General U Thant, after Nasser requested its evacuation from Egyptian soil, proposed repositioning UNEF on the Israeli side of the border, but this proposal was rejected by Israel.

It’s also true that Egypt had announced the closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. In Egypt’s view, the straits were its territorial waters. Israel considered this announcement a casus belli—a justification for war—but was repeatedly warned by the US government that its grievance with Egypt over the use of the straits would need to be resolved through diplomacy, not military force.

Stephens’ reference to Egypt’s closing of the straits occurs in the context of his characterization of France and the US as having abandoned Israel in its time of need: “France, hitherto Israel’s ally, had imposed an arms embargo on it; and … Lyndon Johnson had failed to deliver on previous American assurances to break any Egyptian blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat.”

While Stephens offers no explanation for France’s refusal to supply Israel with addition arms (it was already recognized as the most formidable military power in the region), it is relevant that France had been censured along with Israel by the international community—including the US—for their joint aggression against Egypt in 1956.

Presumably an oversight, Stephens does not mention the movement of Egyptian armed forces into the Sinai Peninsula prior to the June war—a fact usually cited in such Zionist propaganda accounts as proof of Nasser’s intent to invade Israel. In fact, Israel’s own intelligence had assessed, following the Egyptian movement of troops, that Nasser had no intention of attacking Israel (they judged him not to be insane), which was an assessment shared by the US intelligence community.

The CIA observed that Egypt’s forces had taken up defensive positions after having received an intelligence report from the Soviet Union that Israel was amassing forces on the border with Egypt’s ally, Syria. (“The Soviet advice to the Syrians [sic] that the Israelis were planning an attack was not far off,” State Department Middle East analyst Harold Saunders subsequently assessed, “although they seem to have exaggerated the magnitude. The Israelis probably were planning an attack—but not an invasion.”)

The CIA also accurately predicted and warned President Lyndon Johnson that the war was coming, and that it would be Israel who would start it. The documentary record of diplomatic cables during this time (i.e., the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States collection) is replete with warnings to Israel that it would not be politically feasible for the US to intervene on Israel’s side—as Israel was pushing the Johnson administration to do—if it was the party responsible for firing the first shot of the war.

“As your friend,” President Johnson wrote in a letter delivered to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on May 28, for example, “I repeat even more strongly what I said yesterday to Mr. [Abba] Eban [Israel’s ambassador to the US]. Israel just must not take any preemptive military action and thereby make itself responsible for the initiation of hostilities.” (Emphasis added.)

Having omitted all of this relevant context and deceiving readers into believing that the first shot of the war was fired by Jordan, Stephens proceeds to characterize Israel as the party seeking peace, while the recalcitrant Arabs rejected its reasonable overtures. His evidence for this is the decision by the Israeli cabinet on June 19, nine days after the end of the war, to “offer the return of territories conquered from Egypt and Syria in exchange for peace, security and recognition.”

Had Israel wanted peace with its Arab neighbors, however, it could have simply chosen not to launch the six-day war in the first place and instead heeded the Johnson administration’s advice to seek a resolution to the escalating tensions through diplomatic means in accordance with Israel’s obligations under the UN Charter.

Cautioning his readers to not “fall prey to the lazy trope of ’50 years of occupation,’ inevitably used to indict Israel”, Stephens argues that “There would have been no occupation, and no settlements, if Egypt and its allies hadn’t recklessly provoked a war.”

Needless to say, there would be no ongoing occupation after 50 years, and no illegal Israeli colonization of the occupied West Bank, if Israel hadn’t started the 1967 war with its act of aggression against Egypt and used the opportunity to engage in land-grabbing in pursuit of the Zionist dream of establishing Jewish control over all of the territory of historic Palestine.

“In 1967”, Stephens concludes, “Israel was forced into a war against enemies who then begrudged it the peace.”

In 1967, rather, Israel chose to wage war against its neighbors and then attempted to use occupied territory as a bargaining chip to draw concessions from Egypt and Syria, such as acquiescence to Israel’s rejection of the right of Palestinians who were made refugees by the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of Palestine to return to their homeland.

In the words of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, just as in 1956, “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Defending Israel’s Occupation Regime

Stephens rounds out his retelling of how the 1967 war was begun by summarizing the history since then with repetition of additional standard talking points of Zionist propaganda.

“In 1973 Egypt and Syria unleashed a devastating surprise attack on Israel,” he writes—by which he means that Egypt and Syria attacked Israeli forces occupying, respectively, the Egyptian territory of the Sinai Peninsula and of the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights.

He then rolls out the lazy trope (to borrow his phrase) that the Palestinians have nobody to blame but themselves for Israel’s ongoing occupation because they have rejected repeated Israeli offers of statehood under what is euphemistically dubbed the “peace process”.

Stephens characterizes “the Oslo Accords of 1993”—(the second Oslo Accord was signed in 1995, actually, not the same year as the first)—as a “serious” effort to reach a peace agreement. In reality, as I document in my book Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the US-led so-called “peace process” is the means by which Israel and its superpower benefactor have long blocked implementation of the two-state solution, in favor of which there is otherwise a consensus in the international community.

To illustrate, Stephens writes that, “In 2000, at Camp David, Israel offered [PLO leader Yasser] Arafat a state. He rejected it.”

In fact, what Israel “offered” the Palestinians at Camp David fell far short of sovereignty and Israeli respect for their right to self-determination. Within the proper framework of what each party has a right to under international law—as opposed to the framework adopted under the “peace process” of rejecting the applicability of international law and replacing it with what Israel wants—Israel made precisely zero concessions at Camp David.

Every single concession demanded and made rather came from the Palestinian side, which had already conceded to Israel the 78 percent of the former territory of Palestine on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice lines (also known as the pre-June 1967 lines or the “Green Line” for the color with which it was drawn on the map).

What Arafat was seeking at Camp David was an agreement that would allow the Palestinians to establish their state in the remaining 22 percent of the territory comprising the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. (Israel’s moves to annex East Jerusalem have been repeatedly recognized by the UN Security Council as illegal, null and void; and it remains under international law “occupied Palestinian territory”, to quote the International Court of Justice on the matter.)

Israel’s “offer” at Camp David included the demand that the Palestinians give up even more of their land by acquiescing to Israel’s annexation of about 9 percent of the occupied West Bank—including East Jerusalem and some of the best land where Israel had established settlements in violation of international law.

Another non-starter for the Palestinians was Israel’s demand that they surrender the right of refugees from the Zionists’ 1948 ethnic cleansing to return to their homeland.

“Our people will not accept less than their rights as stated by international resolutions and international legality”, a frustrated Arafat told US President Bill Clinton.

Contrary to Stephen’s characterization, Israel’s supposedly generous offer at Camp David fell far short of Israeli compliance with international law and respect for Palestinians’ rights.

In the same vein, Stephens writes that, “In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a Palestinian state in Gaza and 93 percent of the West Bank. The Palestinians rejected the proposal out of hand.”

He doesn’t bother to explain to readers why the Palestinians should have agreed to accept Israeli annexation of 7 percent of the occupied West Bank, including of course East Jerusalem, as well as the surrender of Palestinian refugees’ internationally recognized right to return to their homeland. (Olmert’s “offer” also consisted of the demand that the Palestinian Authority—the administrative body established under the Oslo Accords to effectively serve as Israel’s collaborator in enforcing the occupation regime—oust Hamas and regain control of Gaza. Limited in the extent of his own collaboration with Israel by the will of the people he claimed to represent, Mahmoud Abbas justifiably dismissed the series of ultimatums dubbed an “offer” as a “waste of time”.)

“In 2005,” Stephens continues, “another right-wing Israeli government removed its soldiers, settlers and settlements from the Gaza Strip. Two years later Hamas seized control of the territory and used it to start three wars in seven years.”

In reality, Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, masterminded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was simply a means of gaining the political leverage required to expand and further entrench its illegal settlement regime, including the illegal construction of an annexation wall within the occupied West Bank.

It’s true that Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, but what Stephens declines to inform Times readers is that this was a consequence of a joint effort by the US and Israel to overthrow the Hamas-led government after it legitimately gained power through democratic elections the previous year.

To punish the civilian population of Gaza for having voted the wrong way, Israel then implemented a siege of the territory, severely restricting the movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza.

The purpose of Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza was summed up by Sharon’s senior advisor Dov Weissglass thus: “It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”

The US government was well aware of Israel’s intent to collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza. A cable from the US embassy in Tel Aviv to senior Bush administration officials including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice relayed that “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis”—with “humanitarian crisis” being used euphemistically to mean the point at which Gazans would begin to drop dead from outright starvation.

As for the three “wars” Stephens refers to, this is his euphemistic description for Israel’s military assaults intended to inflict further punishment on the defenseless civilian population of Gaza: Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

In fact, prior to each of these attacks on Gaza, it was Israel that violated ceasefire agreements with Hamas.

In 2008, for example, while Hamas strictly observed a ceasefire that had gone into effect that June, Israel routinely violated it with its continuation of the blockade, cross-border shootings, and a November 4 incursion that killed six Hamas members.

Its 2012 assault was launched the day after Hamas had again persuaded other military factions to abide by a ceasefire agreement, which Israel used to draw a senior Hamas official out of hiding in order to assassinate him at the start of its planned operation.

And in 2014, by the time the Hamas launched its first rocket attack against Israel, on July 6, Israel had already been bombing Gaza for a week (and rejected Hamas’s efforts through Egyptian mediators to reestablish a ceasefire).

In each of these military assaults on the defenseless Gaza Strip, Israel effectively implemented what its military establishment has dubbed the “Dahiya doctrine”—a reference to the leveling of the Dahiya district of Beirut to collectively punish its civilian population during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon.


It requires a great deal of chutzpah for Brett Stephens to accuse others of “ahistoric nonsense” while himself doing nothing more than regurgitating standard Zionist propaganda and deliberately misleading readers of his New York Times column into believing that it was not Israel that started the June 1967 war.

He reinforces this deception by falsely characterizing Israel as also not having been the party responsible for violating ceasefire agreements with Hamas prior to its operations in Gaza in 2008-09, 2012, and 2014.

And while Stephens tries to defend Israel’s ongoing occupation by characterizing the Palestinians as unreasonably rejecting its supposed offers of peace, the reality is that the Palestinian leadership has long accepted the two-state solution, which has since its inception been rejected by Israel and its superpower benefactor, the government of the United States of America.

This article was originally published at Foreign Policy Journal.

Did you find value in this content? If so and you have the means, please consider supporting my independent journalism.

About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

By recognizing when we are being lied to and why, we can fight effectively for liberty, peace, and justice, in order to create a better world for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

Please join my growing community of readers!


My Books

Related Articles


  1. William Brutton

    Thank you again Jeremy for remembering the truth about that war ….I remember it very clear since I was following the developments for some months. I could sense the manipulating of the press which of course was totally pro Israel. And yes it was Israel that attacked first, they even mentioned that it was necessary to destroy the Egiptian Air Force, which they did in a swift and surprised bombing attack of all their air fields.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Another relevant fact generally omitted is that Israel initially lied that it had come under attack from Egypt.

      • Misterioso

        Jeremy Hammond – you are entirely correct as is William Burton.
        To wit:
        Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former Minister without portfolio in PM Levi Eshkol’s cabinet, while addressing Israel’s National Defence College on 8 August 1982: “In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” (New York Times, 21 August

        Meir Amit, chief of Israel’s Mossad: “Egypt was not ready for a war and Nasser did not want a war.” (Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality)

        Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” (Le Monde, 25 February, 1968)

        In short, the June 1967 war was another premeditated massive land grab of Palestinian and other Arab lands by Israel.

        Israel’s Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol: “The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military buildup there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel.” (Yediot Aharonot, l8 October 1967)

        Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defence: “Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter [and] it was our best judgment that a UAR attack was not imminent.” (The Vantage Point, Lyndon Johnson, p. 293)

        An article published in the New York Times (4 June 1967) just hours before Israel attacked, notes that Major General Indar Jit Rikhye, Commander of UNEF in the Middle East, “who toured the Egyptian front, confirms that Egyptian troops were not poised for an offensive.”

        On May 26, in reply to Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban’s assertion that according to Israeli intelligence, “an Egyptian and Syrian attack is imminent,” Secretary of State Dean Rusk
        dismissed the claim and assured Eban that Israel faced no threat of attack from Egypt. On the same day, during a meeting at the Pentagon, Eban was also told by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and his aides that “…Egyptian forces were not in an aggressive posture and that Israel was not opening itself to peril by not attacking immediately. The contrary was true, Eban was told.”
        (Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, pp. 140-41)

        As the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) Commander, Major General Idar Jit Rikhye, revealed, Nasser was not enforcing the blockade of the Tiran straits: “[The Egyptian] navy had searched a couple of ships after the establishment of the blockade and thereafter relaxed its implementation.” (Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality, p. 139)

  2. sab1053

    Great article, Jeremy. Unfortunately most Americans are brainwashed about the real facts of this never ending conflict​. One thing you might want to add to your explanation was the attack of the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967. It was a cowardly attack on US sailors by the Israeli Airforce that killed 34 and wounded 170. The Israelis knew that the Liberty would have gathered the truth and that couldn’t happen.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Yes, I’m familiar with the attack on the USS Liberty. I didn’t mention it in this particular piece as it isn’t relevant to the thesis.

      • sab1053

        Hi Jeremy

        Again great piece. I thought it might enhance your thesis. The Liberty would have spilled the beans on the Israeli’s offensive of the Six Day War. As you know most people say the Arabs were on the offensive. Please keep up your great works.


      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean about spilling the beans. Could you please be more specific about how you think it would bear on my thesis?

      • sab1053

        A retired Navy Vet friend recently died. He had a friend on the USS Liberty. The Liberty was an information gathering ship as you know. Some may call it a spy ship. His friend said that the Liberty had information that would prove that the Israelis were the aggressors and started the Six Day War. The Israeli government wanted everyone to believe that they were the victims of Arab aggression. These Vets were sworn to secrecy regarding the information that they gathered along with the actual attack. They were threatened with Court Marshalls. So if the survivors “spilled the beans” (telling the truth), it would have been another detail to support your thesis. In my opinion, your presentation of the events were clear, logical and factual. I don’t know how anyone could dispute your thesis. I apologize for not being clear.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        But the fact that Israel fired the first shot is not even controversial, as I already noted in the article, which is to say it is totally unnecessary to broach the subject of the Liberty for the purpose of this piece.

      • sab1053

        I agree with you, Jeremy. Your presentation was enough for me. But for some people who are deniers, more documentation is better. Yet, even with the info Zionist Propagandists will do their best to neutralize the truth. On many occasions, I’ve debated Hasbara Trolls and when they could not counter what I stated, I was called names and an anti Semite.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        I don’t know anyone who denies the fact that Israel fired the first shot. It’s not debated. Everyone knows it’s true. That is what I mean when I say it is uncontroversial.

      • sab1053

        Hi Jeremy,

        I know that the facts speak for themselves and yes everyone knows that Israel struck first, but why does Israel get a free pass for this as a just offensive strike? I’ve debated numerous Hasbara Trolls who deny that Israel started the Six Day War. Even the Jewish Virtual Library (Lie-brary ) justifies the Israeli aggression. They say in a round about way that if Israel didn’t strike first the Arab forces would have. I don’t agree with this. The Israeli intent of this aggression as you know was to steal more land while the whole world watched and barked, but took no action.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Yes, the argument is that Israel’s attack was “preemptive”. My article addresses debunks claim. The matter of the USS Liberty is a separate issue.

      • sab1053


        I have been convinced for a long time. Your works on this subject are convincing and so we’ll written with indisputable facts. Knowing that there is someone out there like you gives me hope that people’s opinion will change.
        Did you ever get invited on C-SPAN?

        Thank you for your contributions to the truth.


      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Nope, never invited onto C-SPAN. :D

        Thanks for the encouragement!

      • sab1053

        You are welcome. If I had the money, I would send “Obstacles to Peace” to every Senator and Representative.



      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        LOL! As would I. Maybe a future fundraising project…


      • sab1053

        But that wouldn’t be enough. Once they got a copy, I would call a Senate meeting and House meeting. Then I would force the Speaker of the House to read every page of “Obstacles to Peace”. And while Ryan reads it, I would have C-SPAN, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Post, The WSJ and so to record it.

  3. Javed Mir

    –For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven–

    The whole tragedy of Palestinians has been well put forward but so briefly.

  4. john g

    Another excellent, well reasoned piece, Jeremy. Your work is invaluable.
    Thank you.

  5. Muhammad Ismail

    Thank you very much sharing such an informative article….

  6. jimmy

    You say In fact, Israel’s own intelligence had assessed, following the Egyptian
    movement of troops, that Nasser had no intention of attacking Israel
    (they judged him not to be insane)’

    (1)Insane or not Nasser thought that he would win any war against Israel which is why he planned to attack Israel under operation “The Dawn ”
    (2)according to both oren and cia Israel had liitle choice but to attack, which makes it an act of self defense rather than aggression.

    Oren has this to say

    ” The plan, codenamed “The Dawn ” (or al-Fajr), was set to be implemented on May 27 but was blocked when the United States and the Soviet Union together pressured the Egyptians not to attack. The danger of an Egyptian offensive against Israel remained. However, with hundreds of thousands of Arab soldiers gathered on its borders, Israel could not respond to even a minor Palestinian guerilla attack without precipitating a general Arab assault. Pre-emption was the only option.


    The most likely course seems to be for Nasser to hold to his present winnings as long as he can, and in as full measure as he can. As of the moment he has vastly enhanced his own prestige in Egypt and throughout the Arab world, diminished the standing of Israel and, at least for the moment, administered a serious setback to the US. Moreover, by simply standing where he is he places the Israelis in an extremely difficult position. He keeps the crisis at high pitch, and as long as this continues the Israelis must remain mobilized. This they cannot do for long without adverse effects upon their economy.
    The Israelis face dismaying choices. Surprised and shaken by Nasser’s action, they failed to take the instant military counteraction which might have been most effective. If they attack now they will face far more formidable opposition than in the rapid campaign of 1956. We believe that they would still be able to drive the Egyptians away from the entrance to the Strait of Tiran, but it would certainly cost them heavy losses of men and materiel. We are not sure that they have sufficient stockpiles of ammunition and equipment for a war lasting more than three or four weeks, and it is possible that they would not embark upon a major campaign without prior assurances from the US of adequate resupply.
    But the alternative for the Israelis is perilous. To acquiesce in the permanent closing of the Strait of Tiran would constitute an economicand political setback from which no early recovery would be foreseeable. The Israelis would expect, correctly we believe, that the Arabs over the long run would be encouraged to undertake new and still more dangerous harassments. We are inclined to believe that unless the US and other major powers take whatever steps are necessary to reopen the Strait, the Israelis will feel compelled to go to war.

  7. jimmy


    (1)if you believe that nasser knew he would lose a war against Israel how come he asked kosygin permission to attack israel
    see 34mins,00sec and at 1hour 33 mins in the above video nasser admits he did not know he would have lost against a confrontation of Israel

    also the fact that nasser asked kosygin to attack israel shows his army was not there for defence purposes as you claim.

    (2) not all generals agreed with rabin that egypt was not planning to attack.
    see 43:24 in video where general yaffee says the egyption goal was to annihilate us. and 51:37 where general dayan writes

    the cabinet decision was to prevent an impending assualt by the united an arab command

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      The quote from Kosygin at 34 mins does not support the narrator’s claim, which you are parroting, that Nasser intended to attack Israel.

      And at 1 hour 33 mins, contrary to your claim, it is not Nasser speaking, but his secretary, who also says nothing to support your belief that Nasser intended to attack Israel. He simply says Nasser was sad that the Egyptian armed forces were so badly defeated by Israel’s attack on Egypt.

      • Jimmy

        Thanks for your response which I appreciate.

        (1)Kosygin told egypt “I will report this request to the politbureau but I
        must tell you that we cannot give our accord for a pre-emptive strike
        against israel and for starting hostilies”

        Surely the implication of the quote is that kosygin was being asked to approve a pre-emptive strike against israel.?

        (2)According to Nasser’s personal secretary Farid, Nasser said ” If I knew the army was incapable of military confrontation I would have avoided it I am a chess player I can play politics I didn’t have to go to war”

        I understood from the quote that Nasser believed his army was capable of military confontation with Israel and defeating it.

        Was that not his belief. ?

        (3)Am I right in saying that general yaffee and general dayan disagreed with Rabin and believed that egypt intended to attack Israel.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        I understood from the quote that Nasser believed his army was capable of military confontation with Israel and defeating it.

        Was that not his belief. ?

        Whether that was his belief or not is besides the point, which is that the secretary’s statement does not support your claim that Egypt intended to attack Israel.

        Am I right in saying that general yaffee and general dayan disagreed with Rabin and believed that egypt intended to attack Israel.

        I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that Israel’s own intelligence assessed Nasser would not attack and the US intelligence community also assessed that it would be Israel that would start the war, which is of course exactly what happened.

      • Jimmy

        (A) I agree that the secretary’s statement in itself does not support my claim that Egypt intended to attack Israel. (it would imo however be quite relevent in assessing if Egypt intended to attack Israel . The same applies to operation ‘the dawn’)

        But you say “In fact, Israel’s own intelligence had assessed, following the Egyptian movement of troops, that Nasser had no intention of attacking Israel
        (they judged him not to be insane),”

        But what the secretary’s statement does show is that Israel’s intelligence was faulty regarding nasser, does it not. ?

        (B) regarding point (3)Bearing in mind that intelligence is no oracle If a number of Israel’s military experts disagreed with Israel’s intelligence, then it would be encumbent upon the prime minister to decide whose assessment is more reliable Israel’s military experts who say nasser will attack and Israel’s intelligence who say nasser would not attack. It is hardly a slam dunk decision is it ?

        (C) would it be possible for you to address question (1) above ?

        thank you


      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        It is puzzling how you acknowledge that “the secretary’s statement in itself does not support my claim that Egypt intended to attack Israel”, yet go on to argue that it does.

        No, the statement does not show that Israel’s assessment that Nasser would not attack was faulty.

        But thanks for acknowledging that you’ve offered no evidence to support your claim that he intended to do so.

      • Jimmy

        (1)the secretary’s statement by itself is not a smoking gun. It is potentially though an important piece of evidence together with other pieces of evidence that egypt intended to attack.

        (2)you say ‘No, the statement does not show that Israel’s assessment that Nasser would not attack was faulty. ‘ ( israel presumably referring to its intelligence community.)

        My point is that if Israel’s intelligence comunity’s confidence that Nasser would not attack was based on nasser’s realisation that his army was incapable of military confrontation with israel. Then it was false confidence as one can see from Nasser’s secretary that Nasser believed that his army was capable of military confrontation with israel.

        Had Israel’s intelligence comunity known of Nasser’s confidence it may well have changed its assessment of Nasser’s intentions.

        (3)If nasser’s 6-7 divisions were only there for fear of an Israeli attack, why did he remove the un keeping force which was put there to avoid war ? So from nasser’s point of view, they were very important in preventing an Israeli attack.

        (4)when you say egypt did not want war against Israel. Are you just talking about Egypt or do you mean no arab country wanted war aginst Israel in june ’67 ?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        (1)the secretary’s statement by itself is not a smoking gun. It is potentially though an important piece of evidence

        No. It is not just that it is not a smoking gun. It’s that it isn’t any kind of evidence whatsoever to support your BELIEF that Israel on Junee 5 was facing an imminent threat of attack from Egypt.

        My point is that if Israel’s intelligence comunity’s confidence that Nasser would not attack was based on nasser’s realisation that his army was incapable of military confrontation with israel.

        You are simply confusing Nasser’s faith in his military’s capability under two different circumstances. That he believed Egypt could withstand an attack from Israel does not mean he believed Israel would not be able to withstand an attack from Egpt.

        Nasser knew Israel’s military was qualitatively superior to his own. As Israeli intelligence assessed, he would have to have been insane to think he could invade Israel and defeat the Israeli military.

        If nasser’s 6-7 divisions were only there for fear of an Israeli attack, why did he remove the un keeping force which was put there to avoid war ?

        To save face. He was accused of hiding behind UNEF after Israel attacked the village of Samu in Jordan.

        But we should also ask the question: Why did Israel reject the proposal to restation UNEF on its side of the border? By your own logic, this is evidence that Israel intended to attack Egypt.

        when you say egypt did not want war against Israel. Are you just talking about Egypt

        When I say “Egypt”, I mean Egypt.

      • Jimmy

        So nasser was under pressure from arab countries to attack Israel and stop using UNEF as an excuse why he could not attack Israel ?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        So nasser was under pressure from arab countries to attack Israel and stop using UNEF as an excuse why he could not attack Israel ?


      • Jimmy

        I would appreciate it if you could respond to (1)

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This