By Sherri Muzher
Regardless of which side one supports in the Arab-Israel conflict, the 41 years since the Six Day War has been a disastrous period of time that has gone well beyond a chalk mark in the win/loss column.
Of course, there’s still a propaganda war over it, although there is no reason for disagreement. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told Israel’s Yediot Ahranot in a 1976 interview that the idea that Syria was a threat to Israel was ridiculous.
"I know how at least 80 percent of all the incidents with Syria started," Dayan said. "We were sending a tractor to the demilitarized zone and we knew that the Syrians will shoot. If they did not shoot, we would instruct the tractor to go deeper, till the Syrians finally got upset and start shooting. Then we employed artillery, and later also the air-force. … I did that … and Yitzhak Rabin did that, when he was there (as commander of the Northern front, in the early 1960s)."
Narrative aside, Israel’s "victory" was wasted. The peace has been elusive, and the land grabs have brought no security.
And as for those who claim that if the Palestinians and other Arab brethren would only stop the violence, there’d be peace: For 27 of the past 41 years, there were no violent uprisings, so why didn’t the Israelis leave?
Israel is similar to an abusive husband who knows that hitting his wife is wrong but blames the wife for making him do it. "If only she would do what she’s told," the abusive husband would say.
Indeed, if only Palestinians did what they’re told, Israel wouldn’t deprive them of their basic liberties.
We are told by many of our politicians that Israel shares our American values, but would we ever put up with the deprivation of liberties that millions of Palestinians have had to?
Reading just a few headline in the past week, you get a taste of what the Occupied Palestinians are dealing with: Israeli settlers and army started to expand illegal settlement on Bil’in land (IMEMC); ICRC urges Israel to allow jail visits by Gaza families (AFP); Israel arrested more than 2,700 Palestinians in 2008, report says (Maan); MK Eldad: Anyone ceding Israeli territory should be sentenced to death (Haaretz).
That the world’s media, including Israel’s, reports a different reality on the ground in the Middle East speaks volumes about our media’s acquiescence in revising history to suit special interests – and that is sad.
There are those who also declare that we must not talk to certain players in the Middle East. Interesting that Israel is having talks with Syria. Israel has also negotiated with Hizballah for captured soldiers. See a pattern here? Israel works for its national interests, yet the Bush Administration refuses to talk to the new players in the Middle East even though it’s in our best interests. As I watch the presidential candidates outdo each other for the single issue pro-Israeli voters, I wonder if any of them has ever bothered to pick up an Israeli paper during their elections — they don’t care about what’s good for American interests or electing a leader that supports peace and regional stability.
Israel Firsters will insist that the commonality is the “war on terror.” They conveniently leave out that Jewish terror groups introduced terrorism to the Middle East during Israel’s creation by conducting massacres and blowing up hotels, such as the King David Hotel. Look it up. The mastermind of this lethal attack was Menachem Begin, later elected Prime Minister of Israel, and yes, Britain continued its relationship with post-1948 Israel after this election though Begin had been the Osama Bin Laden of Britain.
What’s with the Israeli glass house?
Ultimately, US politicians have some history reading to catch up on, and the first question that they must ask themselves when making foreign policy declarations: Is it good for America?
Blindly supporting Israel has reaped our nation few rewards but plenty of headaches.
In fact, it may have been just six days of war but it’s been 41 years of hell.
-Sherri Muzher is the Director of Michigan Media Watch. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.