Why History Matters: The 1967 Six-Day War

...While some wars fade into obscurity, this one remains as relevant today as in 1967. Many of its core issues remain unresolved and in the news.

Politicians, diplomats, and journalists continue to grapple with the consequences of that war, but rarely provide context. Yet without context, some critically important things may not make sense.

First, in June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn't exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.

Second, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem. To make matters still worse, they destroyed many of those sites.

Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule imposed on local residents.

And the Golan Heights, which were regularly used to shell Israeli communities far below, belonged to Syria.

Third, the Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip any day of the week. They didn't. There wasn't even discussion about it. And Arab leaders, who today profess such attachment to eastern Jerusalem, rarely, if ever, visited. It was viewed as an Arab backwater....

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