Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War

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"Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living ... to see the day Israel is liquidated"

Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs broadcast,
May 18th 1967.

Personal recollections from the Diaspora

 

Memories of the build-up to the Six-Day War are indelibly imprinted in my mind and in my heart. I was in London at the time, and will never forget the growing tension, as every day the TV reported the growing animosity and aggressive threats of Israel's neighbours to "push the Jews into the sea", the moving of their troops nearer Israel's borders, and then Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran. When the UK Foreign Secretary, Douglas Home, was asked on TV whether the UK would go to Israel's aid, in view of an earlier undertaking to do so, he replied with his stiff upper lip that it would not, adding: "We do not have friends, we have interests".

Every day, another arrow, representing another hostile Arab army, appeared on a map, pointing at Israel, until Israel was totally surrounded by 7 arrows, each representing a hostile army. I felt there was no hope for Israel.

And then after the euphoric news of Israel's seemingly miraculous victory, I went on a demo in Hyde Park, where we joined Israel in offering land-for-peace. No one wanted to hang on to Judea, Samaria or Gaza, and we were sure the offer would be accepted. How wrong we were!

Shortly afterwards, I went on a trip in Israel to the Golan Heights, where the guide explained to us why the old border was called the "green line": because on Israel's side, everything was green and cultivated, whereas the Syrians had used the more fertile land on their side to build bunkers and military installations from which they had constantly and continuously bombarded the Israeli kibbutzim below

Forty years ago, the UK media was fair and honest, and well understood the motives of the Arabs and the issues involved.

- Naomi Benari

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