The Israeli-Arab 6 Day War: History Gets Lost Along the Way

When it comes to war and devastation, there was no shortage of it during the 20th century. From World War II to the Rwanda genocide and the Syrian civil war, millions of people perished in what is widely described as massive human rights atrocities.

Wars, like people, are complex. However, based on historical facts and military evidence from both sides, there is a global understanding of what happened in each and every one of these wars. Yet, there is one war that is frequently a hot topic of debate as to what happened: the Israeli-Arab 1967 Six-Day War.

Winston Churchill states that history is written by the victors. While this may not actually be true regarding many other 20th century wars, several pundits argue that this is precisely what happened after the ’67 war in Israel.

Let’s take a step back. What actually transpired over those 6 days is documented, readily available to virtually anyone with an internet connection, and is accepted by both Israel and Arab states. However, when it comes to who started the war, this is frequently analyzed with great scrutiny. This small piece of information is essential in understanding who was in the right and who was in the wrong.

Recently, Bret Stephens wrote an op-ed about Six Days and 50 Years of War in The New York Times. Stephens notes that it was the Arabs who initiated the war, by claiming that the Jordanians attacked first on the morning of June 5th, 1967, not heeding the Israeli warnings not to initiate hostilities. On the other side, you have people claiming that Jordan attacked well after the Israelis launched a surprise attack on the Egyptians. While this may be true, they oftentimes forget to mention that Egypt expelled the UNICEF forces from the Sinai and lined up their troops for war. Furthermore, Egypt closed the Straights of Tiran, which Israel stated on many occasions that they would view this as an act of war. U.S. President Lyndon Johnson himself stated, “If a single act of folly was more responsible for this explosion than any other, it was the arbitrary and dangerous announced decision that the Straits of Tiran would be closed. The right of innocent, maritime passage must be preserved for all nations.”

Events and their leads up during the ’67 War, like the one presented above, are often fiercely debated, even if the history is concrete. That’s why it’s imperative that we continue to educate people worldwide with historical evidence. One specific organization which focuses on Israel and its history is Jerusalem U. In the case of what happened in 1967, they have a project called “The Countdown to the Six Day War” which provides an accurate timeline of everything pertaining to this war.

Let’s all try and keep history intact regarding the greatest military victory in the world.