June 09, 2007

Amid General Amnesia

Excellent points made here. From Amid General Amnesia:

It's a curious thing: Although the map that was changed by the Six-Day War had been in existence for less than 20 years, starting with Israel's War of Independence in 1948, and more than twice as many years have gone by since then, that map of the Middle East continues to be regarded by the world as the "right" map, while the map that replaced it is considered a temporary aberration that needs to be canceled or reversed.

Similarly, the world has forgotten what the pre-1967 map was really like. Far from being demarcated by clear and accepted borders, it showed Israel separated from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon by mere armistice lines, frontiers created by the ceasefire that ended the 1948-1949 war and considered temporary by all Arab countries, not one of which recognized Israel and all of which looked forward openly to its destruction - an easily imaginable eventuality in view of the fact that these frontiers narrowed to a few miles' width along the Mediterranean coastal plain where Israel's population was most concentrated.

It is no longer remembered that immediately after the June 1967 war, Israel was ready to return nearly all of the land conquered by it in return for peace and was answered by a monolithic Arab refusal to negotiate, accompanied by a partial recommencement of hostilities by Egypt in the 1968-1970 "War of Attrition." The history of the 1967 war and what came before it has been so successfully written by the losers that the winners' account is scoffed at incredulously today even by supposedly knowledgeable people.