The 50th Anniversary of the Six-Day War: Implications for Peace

This June will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Six Days War, which was fought between Arab forces comprised of Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian militaries and the State of Israel. This war has left an enduring legacy in the modern Middle East, providing for more questions than answers. While Israel was able to defeat the belligerent forces aligned against them and obtained buffer zones in the Golan, Sinai and West Bank against future aggression, the question of how to properly administer these lands has created a division between Palestinians and Israelis that seems to grow deeper as the years pass. It also created the need for a Two State Solution. The last PCUSA General Assembly strongly affirmed Israel's right to exist as a sovereign nation and the homeland of the Jewish people, as well as the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and sovereignty.

Many of us are very concerned about the situation in Israel/Palestine at the present. We long for Two States in which Israelis and Palestinians can pursue their respective national aspirations. We also know that in attempting to help forge a future of peace and hope, it is important to understand how we got to this point.

Since we live in a time in which history and facts have become distorted by politicians, some individuals using social media and ideologues on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict, it is important to study this history ourselves, to inform ourselves and better understand how we come to be in the situation we are in as it relates to Israel and Palestine. We seek not to judge nor blame but just be aware of factual historic realities.

Towards the goal of offering a better understanding of the Six Day War, we want to provide interested PCUSA members with resources for study and reflection on this war that helped to shape the current Israel-Palestine stalemate. What follows below are articles and videos that can help us all better understand the Six Days War and its causes. They also can help us put the legacies of this war in a better context to understand the present political conflict and possibilities for peace in the region.

Two excellent videos:

PBS has provided Six Days in June: Israel and the Arabs which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXHJSxVLTtE

In a joint project of the Jewish Federations of North America, Jerusalem U, Jerusalem Post and the Jewish National Fund, a series of short videos can be found at: http://sixdaywarproject.org/

Additional insightful articles:

Michael Walzer, one of the pre-eminent political philosophers of our time, who has taught at Harvard and Princeton Universities, authors this article that provides the context for the war: http://fathomjournal.org/1967-remembering-the-six-day-war/

The Economist looks at the legacy of the Six War and reflects on the need of a Palestinian State for Israel’s future: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21722162-more-ever-land-peace-also-means-land-democracy-why-israel-needs-palestinian-state

Birhan Wazier, a journalist based in Doha, Qatar writes a review on The Six Day War by Guy Laron in which he offers his own observations on the legacy of the war:  https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/twt/fifty-years-six-day-war

On the 40th Anniversary of the Six Day War, NPR offered a special series on the war and its repercussions: http://www.npr.org/series/10738897/the-six-day-war-40-years-on