Years Of Occupation: The Six-Day War Is Built On A Myth

On Wednesday, Israel will mark 50 years since that battle, part of what it calls the Six-Day War, which began June 5, 1967, when Israel launched a preemptive strike against the armies of three Arab nations: Egypt in the south, Jordan in the East and Syria in the north.

The US president has called on Netanyahu to hold back on settlement building as he seeks ways to relaunch peace efforts with the Palestinians, but the Israeli leader also faces political pressure from the powerful settler movement.

There are around 400,000 Israelis living in the occupied West Bank in settlements which Israel has continued to expand despite being considered illegal under worldwide law.

Israel captured the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights during the 1967 war, which broke out after Egypt, Syria and Jordan mobilized to attack Israel.

The Six-Day War's Hebrew calendar anniversary, including Israel's annual celebration of its reunification of Jerusalem, had been marked May 23-24.

There are now 350,000 Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank with an air of permanence.

Israeli officials say that despite several serious Israeli offers to withdraw from most of the West Bank, Palestinians have not been willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and drop all future claims.

Nearly two thirds of Jewish Israelis felt that Israel's control of the West Bank contributed to the state's security, and nearly half felt Israel should still annex the territory claimed by Palestinians as their state. "The moment the Palestinian leadership abandons terror, ceases to incite against our people and finally returns to direct negotiations, then real progress can be made towards peace".

Israel has pursued an increasingly aggressive settlement regime despite broad worldwide condemnation, eating away at Palestinian territory and torpedoing the chances of success for a two-state reality. And most Israeli national security experts, including a vast majority of former military generals and former Mossad and Shin-Bet chiefs, point out that a two-state solution is necessary for Israel's survival as a democracy and a Jewish state.

Fifty years later the West Bank remains occupied and the Gaza Strip is under a tight Israeli blockade.

Trump visited Israel and the Palestinian territories last month, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises for peace but offering no specifics on how to resolve the 50-year-old conflict.

"But when the intifada [the violent Palestinian uprising against Israel] started in the 1980s, Israelis could not believe that these populations, which had lived peacefully with us for two decades, would do this", Sela said.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinian fell apart in April 2014 after just over a year amid mutual recriminations, despite an intensive effort by then USA secretary of state John Kerry to push the sides toward an agreement.

  • Leroy Wright