A scouring academic investigation of the fallout from the Six-Day War.
Raz delivers a compelling study of Israeli intransigence and deception after the huge territory gains it made in June 1967 by seizing the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Peace with Israel’s aggressive Arab neighbors was the ostensible goal (“We have no aims of conquest,” declared Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to the nation), yet as Raz demonstrates, the emotional argument surrounding the gain of biblical lands largely immobilized and blinkered the Israeli leadership to the outcry from the rest of the world. Two peace options were put forth within days of the invasion: one by West Bank notables who wanted to be free of Jordanian control and declare a Palestinian state with Arab Jerusalem as capital; and the other tendered by King Hussein of Jordan, a close ally of the United States, who was eager for peace. Yet Raz shows how Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Dayan and Foreign Minister Abba Eban embarked on a “calculated double game” to appease the U.S. (from whom Israel desperately needed more fighter planes) and gain time, thus allowing the territories to empty of thousands of fleeing Palestinians and Israel to quietly “annex” Gaza and Arab Jerusalem. Indeed, using Eshkol’s metaphor, Israel wanted the “dowry” (the occupied territories) without the “bride” (the Arab population). Raz shows an Israeli government riven by indecision and plurality of opinion, Palestinians in shock and despair, King Hussein hanging on to the survival of his reign and grasping at some kind of honorable settlement, and the Palestinian guerrilla resistance gathering force in the wings.
A scrupulously researched work likely to open deep old wounds.