So what does Israel want now?

DQ again.  Thank you all very much for taking the time and effort to educate me on Israel’s rights to the occupied territories.   Having only a vague notion that Israel’s borders were larger in the first proposals for its creation, I had (and still have) much to learn. 

But, perhaps not surprisingly, the explanations raise as many questions as they answer.  It’s clear that 2,000 years ago, or 80 years ago, Israel would have had a strong claim to the occupied territories.  But it appears Israel was actually created in 1948 by a UN resolution (181?) which defined its borders as the pre-1967 borders.  Do I have that right?  Israel accepted this resolution.  By accepting this resolution, it would seem to the uninformed (me) that Israel gave up any claim to sovereignty over any territory outside of those borders.

The only answer to this I’ve seen in the explanations I’ve read is that this resolution had no force because the Arabs rejected it.  But since when do UN resolutions have no force if one party rejects them?  Or was acceptance by all sides a condition of the resolution itself?  Even so, under normal legal principles (if there is any such thing) by accepting the resolution and establishing a country under it, Israel would be estopped to deny its efficacy.  What am I missing here?

If Israel did accept the resolution, then, before the war in 1967, it was making no claim to the territories.   It made such a claim only after it physically occupied them.  Even then, as several commenters pointed out, it did not annex them.   In the earliest days, it appeared ready to bargain some or all of them away for recognition and assurances of peace.  It continued to physically occupy them (though it did give some of them back as a part of certain deals).  Why is the term “occupied territories” not appropriate?

Perhaps sovereignty over the territories could fairly be called disputed if Israel was attempt to annex them and actively disputing dominion over them.  But Israel appears not to be doing that.  Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but Amanpour seemed to accurately portray a serious debate within Israel itself.  Some Israelis want to settle the occupied territories and, presumably, eventually annex them to Israel.  Since some of the writers appear to share this view, perphaps you can help me understand why Israel’s acceptance of the UN resolution does not defeat such a claim.   Other Israelis want to trade land for peace and do not want to annex the occupied territories. 

If Israel has never annexed the land, and isn’t even sure it wants to do so, what can any commentator do but describe the land as currently physically occupied by Israel, but not a part of Israel?  It’s not “disputed territory” if Israel is not, as a nation, even putting in a claim for it.

In my limited understanding, I don’t see where it makes any difference whether Jordon at one time occupied and annexed the territories or whether the Arabs rejected the resolution.  The Arabs do all assert some sort of Arab dominion over the West Bank, perhaps with the details of how it is to be governed to be left up to the Arabs.  They certainly assert that Israel should not have dominion over that territory.  Israel does not appear to fumdamentally disagree, since, while it continues to occupy the territory, it does not attempt to annex it and even goes so far as to send troops in to  destroy certain settlements there.  And, of course, Israel seems ready to bargain much of it away (as they were prepared to do in at least one rejected deal).

So what should the territories, and the West Bank especially, be called if not occupied territories?  More important than names, what does Israel want to happen to this territory?  Or is this question even answerable, given the division within Israel itself?

That you all for your patience with me and I hope this discussion is as helpful and informative to many readers as it is to me.  I’d appreciate your help.


16 Responses

  1. The UN-mandated borders, of Israel and Jordan (Palestine), were violated by acts of war comitted by Israel’s neighbors, including the state of Jordan. Those states forfeited any right to the land they lost in that and following wars due to thier aggression. Though “Land for Peace” may play well in the Leftist media, it has not worked in reality. Loss of land following a war mat not always be just, but in the case of Israel I think it is just and justified.

    Under Israeli control, the places and people of the so-called “Occupied Territories” have been treated with a certain measure of respect, despite the ceaseless provocations of the losers in the various Arab-Israeli conflicts. This is something the Arabs could learn, but refuse to do. Arabs (including the Jordanians) have made a habit of desecrating tombs and Holy places of the Jews when they fall into thier hands. Jews forced out of thier homes and off thier lands by the Arabs were absorbed into Israel, with nary a word about “repatriation”. Arabs promised thier brethren that after they crushed the Jewish state they would be given back thier lands in Israel, lands the Arabs told them to leave to avoid the coming war. Thier demands for “repatriation” of dispossessed Arabs (Palestinians) are silly on thier face.

    A nation of the size and power of the USA can certainly hand back control of conquered territories following a war. Our borders are not threatened by a rising, recently defeated Germany or Japan. But for israel to do so would be suicidal.

    When the Arab states declared war on Israel, and lost, they could not logically, or justly, demand a “do-over” and pay no price for thier murderous folly. They paid for thier war-making with land and blood. That is as it should be. They lost. Had the Arabs won, would you now, years later, be asking them to hand that land back to whatever Jews survived? I doubt it.

    Let the Israelis hold on to the lands they won from the aggressors. Despite what the Left-leaning government of Israel avers, the people of Israel will only be safe by holding onto the lands that now serve them as a buffer from thier enemies.

  2. By your logic, Don, the US would be beholden to the legal terms of the Constitution when attempting to remove slavery, because they had already agreed to how slavery was supposed to be treated and would have to force territories to comply with the new idea. Also, the US having accepted a Confederation can now not be able to create a federated system to replace what they once accepted.

    Nations take on a life of their own after being created.

    perphaps you can help me understand why Israel’s acceptance of the UN resolution does not defeat such a claim.

    Why would previous terms and deals prevent future deals from being completed? If this was true, Don, the world would be in perpetual stasis and there would be no progress ever.

    It’s not “disputed territory” if Israel is not, as a nation, even putting in a claim for it.

    It is the Arabs disputing the territory as theirs and so much and so forth, Don. They wish to annex it. That is the point, in a way. They may disagree on who gets a piece of what, but like Hitler and Stalin they will eventually come to an agreement on the partition of Poland, so long as they have the power to do so.

    In my limited understanding, I don’t see where it makes any difference whether Jordon at one time occupied and annexed the territories or whether the Arabs rejected the resolution.

    This is important in the propaganda war that is occuring even now, in the thread before about children dying.

    Or is this question even answerable, given the division within Israel itself?

    Israel always did better on the first question than the last. Meaning, the question of “who are you”. With the second question being “what do you want”. Israel, because they no longer know what they want, also no longer know who they are.

  3. With apolgies to Pastor Martin Niemoller


    First they came for the Jews(it could be Palestinian)
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew(or maybe Palestinian).
    Then they came for the Conservatives(yikes BW)
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Conservative.
    Then they came for the Liberals(gulp)
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Liberal.
    Then they came for me(that’s right you)
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for ignorant me.

  4. So what should the territories, and the West Bank especially, be called if not occupied territories?

    They should be called Disputed Territories.

    To say Israel is making no claim on the land strikes me as a bit odd and inconsistent. Why else would the State have encouraged the building of Settlements, Villages and Cities. One other correction. The “Pre-1967″ borders were not borders, they were only Armistice lines. The War for Independence from 1947, has not really ended. The Arabs, with the exception of Egypt and Jordan are still belligerents. Again the Three No’s…

    181 was essentially superseded by the Arab attack in ‘47. Rendering 181 meaningless was more than one party accepting and one rejecting it. One party, the Arabs, set out to destroy the other… the Arabs have not let that goal go. 181 was superseded because of a continuous and ongoing state of belligerency which resulted in a number of subsequent resolutions. The borders defined in 181 were violated by war and essentially altered by the subsequent cessation of hostilities along the Armistice Lines at the end of each outbreak of hostilities initiated by the Arabs. Eisenman’s post at the Huffington Post is a good discussion of the history.

    The War continues today.

    It never ended. The UN stepped in to “mediate” and separate the warring parties in 1948, 1967, 1973, even 1983 and in 2006. In retrospect it would probably have saved countless lives and treasure had the FIRST war been allowed to run its course until one side surrendered to the other. Instead, the UN [primarily USSR, Europe, and America] stepped in to give the Arabs a breather. Israel, too, was happy for the “peace.” The same thing happened in 67 and we got UN Resolution 242. Again the Israelis were happy for the peace and willing to negotiate for permanent peace… but the Arabs refused again… they still refuse.

    181 was, as you said, accepted by Israel… in fact it was celebrated with dancing in the streets, even though the borders were untenable with such hostile neighbors. Israel at the partition was much smaller than it is today. The point is, that no matter what size… no matter where the borders are, the Arabs don’t, and never have, accepted the existence of the State of Israel.

    You are right, there was no claim to the territories prior to the ‘67 War… although there was a universal Jewish cry for access to Jerusalem, which the Jordanians forbade. (Which is another bone of contention.. comparing Arab administration of Jerusalem between ‘47 and ‘67 to Israeli governance since… but that’s another volume.)

    So, no claim prior to ‘67… and if the Arabs had decided to accept Israel, and live in peace, there would NOT have been a “claim.” However, continued hostilities, terrorism, and ultimately another breakout of the war meant that SECURE and DEFENSIBLE borders were required. Still, even after the ‘67 war, Israel tried to give Judea and Samaria back to Jordan… despite ancient ties to the land, Israel was willing and happy to trade the land for peace… Again the Arabs rejected it.

    In ‘67 the world stepped in and, once again, bailed the Arabs out by negotiating another cessation of hostilities… 242 came into the picture then and basically told the disputants that the status of the land occupied during the war (’67) needs to be settled through negotiation. The Arabs refused to negotiate… still refuse to negotiate… and have instead continued the war they started in 1947 with different tactics. The main problem throughout has been “Who does Israel negotiate with?”

    Egypt took the Sinai back but didn’t want Gaza… Gaza wouldn’t/couldn’t rule itself. Jordan wouldn’t take the West Bank back, and the West Bank wouldn’t/couldn’t rule itself. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon, all were happy keeping all authority from the palestinians yet steering the focus towards the wretched state of their Arab brothers. Meanwhile Arafat and the PLO terrorized their way into the international discourse.

    Thrown out of Jordan, Thrown out of Lebanon… no one wanted them… they were simply corrupt terrorists and murderers with the goal of destroying Israel. The PLO/Black September, were given the recognition they had not earned. For Arafat and the PLO, ALL of Israel was illegally occupied lands. That is why so many of us put so much emphasis on the maps the PLO used to teach their children, the way Arafat war his Keffiyah, the rest of the school curricula… everything indicated they thought all the land belonged to Arabs… NOTHING they said ever gave Israel any acknowledgment, let alone official recognition.

    Why did Arafat continually turn down generous peace offers??? Because he had promised his “people” ALL of Israel… the West Bank wasn’t enough… Sadly the western media kept feeding us the fantasy that Jenin and Ramallah, the West Bank and Gaza, was all they wanted, when in reality Arafat had promised the Arabs Haifa and Tel Aviv too. But the “overwhelming consensus” of western media was more in line with the fiction that Arafat fed to them in English. He was tremendously successful in getting the myth of his palestinian narrative to be accepted as truth.

    So, the terror campaign and media campaign against Israel continued… it was working marvelously, giving the Arabs victories they could never win on a battlefield. But Israel just wanted peace, was/is willing to give up almost all of the gains from ‘67 in exchange for peace. And for another 20 years they absorbed the terror, endured the lies and prayed for peace. Then came Oslo.

    When the Oslo process was concluded everyone was ecstatic…well the majority was… finally there would be an Arab “government” in the territories… Arafat was given the tools to set up a functioning government and the recognition as the negotiating partner… But it didn’t quite happen that way…

    Arafat proved he was still a corrupt, murderous thug even as the world’s heads of State welcomed him. The trouble was, and still is, that Arafat’s and the Arabs’ idea of living in peace was completely different from everyone else’s. We thought and assumed the Arabs wanted to live in peace with Israel and we just needed to find the right price in land and concessions to buy it. But, on the other side, what Arafat wanted and the Arabs want, is to live in peace WITHOUT Israel.

    So the main point is… The Disputed Territories for the Arabs include ALL of Israel. Even though so many, like you, limit the disputed/occupied territory to the ‘67 cease fire lines… The Arabs want it ALL.

    If they don’t want it all… If the Arabs are really interested in peace, they would recognize Israel, set up embassies in Israel, allow Israeli embassies in their own countries… they would trade with Israel and allow free travel. They would grant citizenship to their “palestinian” brothers who want it. They would set up a viable government in a nascent Palestine who would be the negotiating partner with Israel. None of that is even close to happening.

    The territories are disputed because the world and the UN kept the belligerent parties from settling it on the battlefield and demanded that they settle it peacefully. One side refuses to talk peacefully…

    The Arabs have never acknowledged defeat, indeed they have never really been defeated. Hell, in Egypt they still celebrate their “victory” in the ‘73 war. At every outbreak of hostilities, the UN has stepped in to save the Arabs from the humiliation of defeat. Having never lost, the Arabs continue the war by whatever means they can get away with… and the western press and governments let them get away with a lot.

    Many in Israel would like to annex the territories. Yes, there is dispute in Israel today on that matter, but virtually EVERYONE would gladly trade the land for peace… REAL peace. The fact Israel is willing to bargain much of the land away for peace does not mean the territory is not disputed.

    Again… Where are the borders? Who exercises Sovereignty now? Who will have Sovereignty when the final status is negotiated? Who is the negotiating partner for ending the State of War that has been ongoing since ‘47? If Israel were to withdraw every person from territory outside the ‘67 cease fire lines, would the situation be settled? I don’t think so. That to me sounds like disputed territories

    By the way… you may include in that equation whatever territory Israel won in ‘47. Although the Arabs are acutely aware of the land they lost in that war, the western press, and many reasonable and intelligent folks ASSUME that is rightly part of Israel… why? Because of their buy in to the palestinian narrative. Remember the PLO came to be in 1964 with the stated aim of driving Israel from the land they illegally occupied.

    I started to say earlier… Yes, many in Israel, and out, would like to annex the territories. (In fact, a small minority would like to take the biblical promise of the land from the sea to the rivers in Babylon…) At the time of partition, when Israel accepted 181, there were no claims on territory outside that which had been given to them. But, it is the constant and continuing war that began at Israel’s declaration of Statehood, that has changed the situation. As a result, there is a serious debate in Israel over what to do… What do fight for, what to bargain away, how many Jews have to be relocated (as it’s commonly accepted that and Arab State will not allow Jews, even though Israeli Arabs have more freedom than any Arabs in any other Arab country) Just look at the damage the Gaza withdrawal did to national unity… no there is no consensus on what to do… but it’s a Democratic country. Their decisions do not need unanimity to be binding.

    I happen to think that Israel should have simply annexed the land it conquered at the point Jordan refused to negotiate for it. But under international pressure and with a self-destructive desire to be accepted and loved, Israel never did. The land was, and remains for many, the most valuable bargaining chip to buy a secure and peaceful existence.

    But as I said before, you are wrong to assume the Arabs lost… They have never been defeated. Had they lost and sued for peace, we would not be having this discussion as the disputes would have been settled. But because the UN, with it’s penchant for talking problems out, stepped in and kept the Arabs from having to sue for peace they simply changed tactics. Each armistice was essentially a victory for the Arabs, for they were able to keep up the fight without giving anything up.

    But as to the particular status of Judea and Samaria… it belonged to no one in particular before ‘47. After the war for Independence, Jordan’s “occupation” was just as ambiguous/illegal as is Israel’s of the very same land. That tells me the status, today, is uncertain, and because so many opinions differ on what the status is… I call them disputed territories… “Territories of Uncertain Status” might be a more precise label. “Occupied” might have even been an acceptable term had not the palestinian narrative taken root, where the assumption is that the territory is “their” land… Who is they though? With Arafat’s success in using his “end the occupation” mantra, he was able to keep the heat on Israel and keep the war going. By always stopping short of ending the war, Arafat and the Arabs have kept alive their fight to destroy Israel. The War was begun by all the Arabs, and continues because all the Arabs want it to. The rest of the Arabs are quite happy forcing the palestinians to endure the hardships of the war and deflecting attention from their own responsibility.

    Am I exaggerating? Maybe. But if I am, then why haven’t the Arabs taken any of the steps I outlined above? Why no recognition, why no diplomatic relations?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears you assume that the Arabs actually want peace with Israel. My assumption is they do not. I’ve shared why. Please share why you think they do? Please… give me some hope that giving up everything that you think is “reasonable” to bargain away, will be met with recognition of Israel, normal relations, and the chance for prosperity for everyone, Arab and Israeli. And please assure me that if/when that DOESN’T happen that the world will step in, on Israel’s side, and correct the mistake.

  5. What If ?
    According to one historian/writer ten percent of the Roman Empire was once made up of Jews.He said keeping that ratio in mind ,if other factors(First Crusade up to the Holocaust etc. and dare I say(yes I do ) Arab Nationalism and/or Jewish intransigience there would be two hundred million Jews instead of thirteen million today.Go figure.Of course people battling for there survival already know this.How many Arabs are there in the world ? Let’s do the math.

  6. Here we go again with the mumbo jumbo twisted legalese LAWYELL loud enough talk. Again one of the most famous comedy acts to take place was Who’s on First? by Abbott and Costello.

    Abbott: Who is on first?
    Costello: I’m asking you who is on first?
    Abbott:That’s the man’s name?
    Costello: That’s who’s name?
    Abbott: Yes!

    One of the most famous religious tragedies to take place was and is Who was First? by Isreal and Palestine.Common sense anyone . . oh I forgot it is not that common anymore ?

  7. More important than names, what does Israel want to happen to this territory? Or is this question even answerable, given the division within Israel itself?

    I believe Israel wants the territory to be governed by an Arab ally. I think the division among Israelis stems from various individual interpretations of Arab actions to derive Arab intentions. Those who believe the Arabs are peace-loving folks who just want to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors favor giving more up to buy that peace. Those who think the Arabs are blood-thirsty barbarians want to keep it all. The truth almost certainly lies in the middle. Still the opinions on what should be used to bargain are spread out on a broad spectrum. So Israel holds what it has in hopes that some Arabs will come along that are ready for peace and cooperation.

  8. I’m as ignorant as any next fellow, so apologies for commenting. But I believe I have a valid point:

    Since when did a U.N. resolution become a factor that keeps one side from correctly engaging in a defensive war?

    1. Israel diligently kept to the borders indicated by the resolution, without violating them, BUT THEN WAS ATTACKED on all sides in 1967.

    2. Israel won the 1967 war that they did not start.

    3. Israel took control of territory as a result of winning this war that it did not start.

    By what sane measure should that territory be given back? So that its enemies may come at them again, and again, and again??? The assault on Israel violated any territorial claims that the attackers of Israel may have been allowed to claim. The attackers violated the resolution, did they not? the resolution no longer can possibly apply.

    Israel, upon successfully defending against this genocidal assault, has every right under any sense of the law to lay claim to territory won during the war. They are under absolutely no obligation to give even one inch of it back to its aggressors.

    If they give the territory back, they are within their rights to salt it, or irradiate it, so that it becomes a no-man’s land, a buffer zone, from which attacks can no longer be made against them. To me that would be stupid, but the aggressors still have not recognized Israel’s right to exist, and still seek to genocidally drive every single Israeli into the Mediterranean Sea itself until its surf turns red with blood and the few survivors are pulled to safety. I’ll not countenance, myself, any claim that Israel has violated the resolution until every single attacker nation admits it violated the resolution, offers its humble apologies for doing so, and recognizes the rights of the state of Israel to exist forever.

  9. the resolution no longer can possibly apply.

    Unless there are people that ensures that international law applies only to one party and one party only.

  10. Thank you all so much for taking the time to educate me. You’ve given me a lot to think about. For now, though, just a few comments:

    Y-man — the U.S. was beholden to the constitution and had to amend that document to end slavery. By analogy, the U.N. would have to amend 181 to change its effect. Otherwise, it would still state the rule even if none of the affected partied ageed to it.

    Oceanguy — I will correct you on your last point. The Arabs have told anyone who would listen that they will never make peace with Israel (or the rest of the Western world, for that matter). Anyone who believes otherwise is hopelessly naive or not paying attention. Even Anampour’s piece made this pretty clear.

    MikeD — Technically, Israel did start the 1967 war with a pre-emptive strike. Maybe Israel is not obligated to give the territories back, but they have not annexed them. Perhaps it’s just a reflection of the dispute within Israel itself, but they seem to want to maintain the occupied territories as just that — occupied. They can’t give them back without endangering their own security and annexation at this point would be viewed by the rest of the world as so provocative they might even lose American support (especially if a Democrat is elected in 2008, as seems near certain). Darned if they do, darned if they don’t, and stuck with the current situation which only gets gradually worse over time. Hard to see a way out of this mess in the long term.

  11. DQ,
    You said: ” Technically, Israel did start the 1967 war with a pre-emptive strike.”

    Gawd, do I hate being foolish. I was certain that after the massing of military might along the borders of Israel, and the warnings to Palestinians to temporarily flee Israel until the land was emptied and prepared for their return (which many Palestinians did in fact do, thus resulting in the massive refugee problem in surrounding nations when the Israelis were not wiped out), that the Arab nation tanks did first cross into Israel. I have to go back and research my faulty history. Sigh.

    I do appreciate your use of “technically”, which I also agree with; however I was utterly wrong in my remembrance of the facts that tanks crossed into Israel first to signal the actual outbreak of military hostilities.

  12. Hi Mike,

    Richard Baehr’s seminar describes it this way:

    “In 1967 the six day war, a defensive war under the UN Charter (article 51, page 105) begins. Egypt closes the straits of tiran, closing off the gulf of aqaba, a violation of the armistice agreement that ended the suez campaign of 1956,and demands that UN forces in Sinai leave immediately, and moves its forces into demilitarized zones. .Both are acts of war, and break agreements with Israel ending the 56 war. When Israel responds and attacks egypt on June 4, Jordan is contacted by the israelis and asked to stay out of the war. Jordan responds by firing on Israel. Israel then invades the west bank.”

    My understanding is that Egypt rolled into the demilitarized zone, but not onto Israeli soil. Israel launched what nearly everyone at the time accepted as a pre-emptive strike, but Israel did fire the first shots.

  13. For someone that prefers international law to first strikes, Don, you have a curious way of looking at military strategy in combination with international treaties.

    You can’t fire the “first shot” or conduct a “first strike” when the war has already been declared by the other side, Don. The initiative is almost never on the side that the war has been declared on.

    You can only speak of such in pure military terms, Don, which you aren’t. Since you don’t include two facts at the time.

    1. Egypt was too slow and incompetent to make fast use of their forces, allowing Israel to hit first.

    2. Israel would have lost if they refused to take the initiative and steal a march on the Arabs.

    Technically, as you say, they were already at war with the first blow struck by Egyptian actions. Hitler did the same thing with the Rhineland, except the French and the British didn’t attack him.

    Y-man — the U.S. was beholden to the constitution and had to amend that document to end slavery. By analogy, the U.N. would have to amend 181 to change its effect.

    The UN is not the US, regardless of what people wanted or thought. Thus the analogy is only valid between facets, not between radically different institutions. Details and principles, as opposed to generalities, falls under facets.

    The UN is more favorably comparable to the Confederacy, not the US. Do you think just “amending” the Confederacy would be the same as amending the US Constitution? You’re mixing in too many invalid facets, Don. There is no use pretending that the UN relationship to Israel is the same as the US relationship to New York or Georgia was. Unless you are forcing the analogy rather than simply recognizing one already in existence.

    Technically, Israel did start the 1967 war with a pre-emptive strike.

    That’s not even true on a technical basis. The likely scenario is that the Egyptians attempted to first strike, but was too slow. Israel, while behind the curve in terms of reactions, nevertheless had faster mobilization and command and control systems, allowing them to overcome the Egyptian advantage. A person thrusting a knife at his target can still be struck by a bullet fired from the gun of the target, Don. Does this mean in purely military and pragmatic terms, that the target struck first? Most likely. Does it mean that Israel struck first under the eyes of consistent international law? No.

    Your answer is ambiguous in some ways, Don. However,

    Israel launched what nearly everyone at the time accepted as a pre-emptive strike, but Israel did fire the first shots.

    you wouldn’t have said that unless you believed that it mattered to you in someway that Israel fired the first shots. Yet this conflicts with your views on international law. Because if you use the purely pragmatic and military method of first strikes and what not, you are in essence throwing away international law for military operations do not recognize peace treaties and what not after the hostilities have begun. So it doesn’t matter to them who struck first or not given that the war is on and the objective is to destroy and defeat the enemy, not argue about who struck whom first.

    There are two standards by which to judge first shots. Your international law, Don. Or military expediency. Which one do you follow, Don?

  14. I stand corrected. I need to think about the vibe though. There is something almost sympathetic to the Arab point of view that I need to sort out.

    Actually in ’67 “technically” Israel did NOT start the war. Although their initial strike is commonly referred to as “pre-emptive,” there is sufficient cause for considering it “reactive.” As Richard said, a blockade is considered by most an act of war. Thus Egypt’s closing the Straits and Blockadnig Aqaba was the opening “shot.” Yes, I realize that blockades may also be considered “an act short of war,” but as a former Naval Officer, I would say that any time the US considers a blockade we expect it to be considered and act of war. It is most certainly a belligerent act.

    I’m really just nit-picking your statement. As a practical matter, Israel may have initiated hostilities… there was no room for denial of their belligerency… but “technically” it was in response to acts of war by Egypt. With no judge nor jury to decide, we’ll just have to make do with the “legal” ambiguities. But if, as a practical matter, Israel began the war, then also as a practical matter it was a defensive war, for whatever that is worth.

  15. Egypt began the war and mobilized to strike. Israel stole a march on the Egyptians and struck first. In six days, the Arabs started thinking things over.

  16. Y-man — I agree generally with your first two sentences (in post 15) and disagree with the third. The Arabs have never thought things over. I got lost in the details of your previous post, but I think your first two sentences in #15 capture my view of the matter well enough to serve as an answer to it. “Egypt began the war” is more a value judgment than anything, but they certainly mobilized to strike and Israel certainly stole a march and struck first. Fair enough.

    Oceanguy — I don’t think there is anything sympathetic to the Arab point of view in acknowledging that Israel fired the first shots in 1967 (or that the Arabs did in 1973 or whatever). At the time, pretty much the entire western world agreed that Israel was fully justified in doing so.

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