A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
June 4, 2007
War Unlikely This Summer/Israel May Choose to Negotiate With Syria
For the past few months there has been a great deal of talk about the possibility of war this summer. Yesterday Israeli Television Channel 10 interviewed UN commanders from both South Lebanon (UNIFIL) and from the observers from the UN force along the Syrian border (UNDOF). Both stated that there are not any signs of forces getting ready for a war, and both stated the only reason there would be a war would be that either side keeps talking about a war that neither wants.
Today the he head of the research division of Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, testified before the Knesset and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In that testimony he largely agreed with the UN commanders. He stated that there has been no change in the preparedness of the Syrian forces and there is no indication that they wish to go to war. He disagreed with the UN representative who stated that Hezbollah forces have not moved south of the Litani River by saying that they have moved to the South and are using this time to prepare for war. Baidatz stated however, that Hezbollah does not want a war.
Tonight Minister of Transportation Shaul Mofaz was interviewed by London and Kirshenbaum and he agreed as well that neither the Syrians nor Hezbollah want a war. Mofaz called for secret talks with Syria. He stated that holding talks would decrease the possibility of an accidental war. Mofaz stated that the Palestinians and the Middle East are at a crossroads between extremism and more moderation. Mofaz is joining a high level delegation that is heading to Washington tomorrow.
Israeli Television Channel 10 reported tonight that the Israeli government is now convinced that the US will not take military action against Iran. One analyst suggested that this information has convinced Israel that it needs to pursue peace talks with Syria, and try to break the alliance between Syria and Iran. That is said to be the major agenda in Washington in the coming days.
With the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War tomorrow, the retrospectives continue. Today London and Kirshenbaum hosted General Shlomo Gazit, historian Benny Morris, and Col, (Res.) Ami Gluska, PhD. Gazit stated that once Nasser had escalated and called for the ouster of UN forces from the Sinai and UN Secretary General U-Thant had acquiesced, war was inevitable. He rebutted some of the New Historians' views that claim Israel could have avoided that war. Gazit also stated that the recent claims that the Soviets had conspired to start the war are also not based on reality.
Gluska, a history and political science professor at Hebrew University that in the past professor of made it clear that the Israeli government at the time did not expect to be able to hold on to any land captured, not even the Old City of Jerusalem. Therefore, any claim that Israel went to war to gain land is absurd.
All of the participants agreed that in retrospect, Israel fails to appreciate how great the Arab embarrassment was in 1967 and as a result how unable they were to enter into any negotiations. They also all agreed that at the time Israel did not realize how profoundly this defeat would affect the Arab world
Interestingly, the Arab media is also reflecting on the anniversary with a number of shows. They seem to be reflecting for the first time on how great the defeat was and recognize some of what I wrote above on the long-term effect of the war. Al-Jezeerah ran a street poll in which few Arabs could identify who fought in the Six Day War. They also interviewed some teenage Palestinian refugees from camps in Lebanon. Much to the surprise of the interviewer none showed any interest in returning to Palestine.