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October 24, 2002 Letters


We welcome your letters, opinions and comments at BC-121/1463 Bishop St., by fax (514-848-2814), or e-mail (barblak@alcor.concordia.ca) by 9 a.m. on the Friday prior to publication.

Six-Day War: More facts

In his letter (“More on Six-Day War,” CTR Letters, March 13), Ron Stern accuses me of being inaccurate and claims that I suggested Israel provoked the Six-Day War.

First of all, I never suggested that Israel “provoked” the Six-Day War. I merely pointed out, in response to a letter that repeatedly claimed otherwise, that Israel fired the first shot in 1967, not Egypt or Jordan.

Ironically, Mr. Stern admits as much when he refers to “Israel’s pre-emptive strike.” Mr. Stern is entirely right when he says that Egyptian President Nasser had UN troops removed from the Sinai Peninsula and closed the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping.

It’s also true that much of Egypt’s army was bogged down in Yemen, and that at the same time that Nasser was making threats in public, he was signaling through American and UN diplomatic channels that he actually wanted to negotiate with Israel. Most historians and scholars now agree that Nasser was almost certainly bluffing.

It’s likely that he was as surprised as anyone when the UN quickly agreed to remove its troops from the Sinai. While the Israeli public didn’t know this, the upper echelons of the Israeli political and military leadership did. However, they saw in Nasser’s bluff the perfect opportunity to destroy much of the military hardware that had been supplied to Egypt by the Soviets.

While it may or may not be true that Jordan joined the war based on misleading information provided by Nasser, the fact remains that they only did so after Israel attacked Egypt. It is correct, as Mr. Stern stated, that I was selective in the details I described.

As I’m sure he is aware, it’s impossible to write a comprehensive history of the events leading up to the Six-Day War in a letter to the editor. I was responding, as best I could in a limited amount of space, to specific, erroneous claims made by a reader. Mr. Stern may not like the facts that I have presented, but they are hardly “inaccurate.”

Christopher Hazou, Journalism