The New York Times published an article Monday which referred to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War as “accidental.” Exactly how a large scale military conflict involving multiple nations can occur accidentally remains unclear.
In the third paragraph of the piece, the author, TheNYTimes Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ian Fisher, says “the accidental war and stunning victory also made the Israelis occupiers.”
Fisher’s interpretation of the events of 1967 are at best incomplete, as he fails to provide his readers with even a brief summary of the events leading up to the 1967 war until the sixteenth paragraph of the piece.
Fisher likely neglected to provide information about the context surrounding the outbreak of the conflict early in his piece because in doing so he would have contradicted his characterization of the war as an accident.
The extremely important context for the outbreak of the war, which Fisher buried in the middle of his piece, centers around Egypt’s closing of the Straits of Tiran, a move that Israel and the U.S. repeatedly said would constitute an act of war.
“Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, a crucial shipping lane for Israel in the Red Sea. With Arab armies clearly preparing to attack, Israel struck first, and took out nearly the entire Egyptian Air Force in one day,” Fisher wrote.
While Fisher at least touches on the role the closing played in Israel’s decision to launch a preemptive strike, he neglects to mention the numerous instances of Arab aggression that preceded the closing of the strait.
Perhaps most significant among these aggressions was Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s call for the removal of the U.N. Emergency Force from the Israel-Egypt cease-fire lines of the 1956 conflict. The U.N. troops withdrew on May 19, and three days later Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping.
In addition to the removal of U.N. troops and the closing of the strait, Israel had to contend with the prospect of a pan-Arab force materializing in its midst. On May 30, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt and Syria, and Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria sent troops to join the Arab coalition forces massing near the Israeli border.
Throughout the period leading up to the war, the Israelis were subject to ruthless Arab anti-semitic propaganda.
It is in this context, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Arab troops, sent by nations which threatened to drive the Israelis into the sea, that the Israelis decided to launch a preemptive strike against Egypt.
This context demonstrates the clearly intentional nature of the conflict, on the part of both the Israelis and their Arab coalition enemies.
Hopefully, this explanation will reach Fisher and his New York Times colleagues, but that remains uncertain in light of their recent decision to fire their public editor, opting instead to outsource feedback on their work to social media. (RELATED: The NYT Justification For Killing The Public Editor Position Is Woefully Inadequate At Best)
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