Missiles Continue to Land on Sderot- The Economist Reflects on Forty Years Since the Six Day War- May 27, 2007
An Israeli was killed today in Sderot from a Qassam while working in the city. Israel's long distance battle with Hamas continues without any answers. Yesterday former Chief-of-Staff Yaalon called on Israel to enter Gaza with massive forces. He said there is no choice. He claims that if Israel does not respond with strength, Kiryat Gat and Ashdod will be hit by Katyusha rockets within a year. He is probably right and it is a frightening prospect. The only chance of this being carried out successfully is with a new government. The Labor party primaries will take place tomorrow and whoever wins will probably push the matter along.
While Israel celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War a few weeks ago, the secular date is fast approaching and that date has been commemorated by the cover story in this week's Economist. The cover of the magazine has the famous picture of the soldiers at the Western Wall with the headline, "Israel’s wasted victory- The Six Day War, 40 years on".
The Economist ran three articles on the subject in the issue. In the lead editorial, the Economist gives a well balanced overview of the problem. After describing the war as a Pyrrhic victory it stated, "That is not to say that the war was unnecessary, Israel struck after Egypt’s President Nasser sent his army into the Sinai Peninsula, evicted United Nations peacekeeping forces, and blockaded Israel’s shipping through the Gulf of Aqaba. Israel’s victory ….averting what many Israelis sincerely expected to be a second Holocaust."
Later in the editorial in a paragraph headed "It's not Rocket Science", the Economist describes that "The answer has been obvious since 1937, when a British Royal Commission under Lord Peel reported that “an irrepressible conflict" had arisen between Arabs and Jews and the only solution is partition". The editorial ends with: "What self-defeating madness. For peace to come Israel must give up the West Bank and share Jerusalem; the Palestinians must give up the dream of return and make Israel feel secure as a Jewish state. All the rest is detail."
A long article on the effect of the war concentrated largely on the effects of the settlements. Interestingly, the article is much less clear that the war was necessary stating it was a war prompted by a gung-ho military, a misreading of the enemy’s intentions and political expediency; a huge gamble that stretched Israel's forces to the very limit. And, could have destroyed the country had it failed. This seems to be taken largely from a new book reviewed in this issue by Tom Segev called, 1967: Israel the War and Year that transformed the Middle East. After reading it I will see what Segev has added to Six Days of War by Michael Oren, an excellent book on the Six Day War from a few years ago. The Economist is making available its correspondents report from Jerusalem at the conclusion of the Six Day War I highly recommend reading it. We just want to teach them a lesson, June 10th 1967
To end with a sweet note: Israeli films had their best showing ever at the Cannes Festival, winning a number of important awards. Israel has gone a long way since Salach Shabbati.