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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 Israels
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.
Its also true that much of Egypts 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.
Its likely that he was as surprised as anyone when the UN quickly
agreed to remove its troops from the Sinai. While the Israeli public
didnt know this, the upper echelons of the Israeli political and
military leadership did. However, they saw in Nassers 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 Im sure he is aware, its 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