Although Israel’s 1967 victory undeniably reshaped both it and the larger Middle East in fundamental ways, Aaron David Miller sees a tendency among Western observers to exaggerate and misconstrue the war’s effects. He identifies five such mistaken lessons: that 1967 was the most important of the Arab-Israeli wars, that there were missed opportunities for peace in its wake, that it was a catastrophe for the Palestinians, that it undermined the chances for peace, and that the time is now ripe for an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. He writes:
[T]he notion that the proverbial six days of war created a figurative Seventh Day—a kind of dark shadow under which the Arab-Israeli conflict has played out, inexorably and depressingly, these many years—is too simplistic. . . .
On June 19, 1967, the Israeli cabinet secretly decided to exchange Sinai and the Golan for peace agreements with Egypt and Syria; but no consensus was reached on the West Bank, though the cabinet agreed to incorporate Gaza into Israel and to resettle refugees elsewhere in the region. . . . Meanwhile, the Arabs, reeling from defeat, were more focused on keeping their own houses in order and maintaining some measure of unity in the wake of their latest military humiliation. Even if the Israeli offer had been concretized, it would have faced impossible odds. Egypt’s [subsequent] launching of its war of attrition and the public hardening of Arabs’ attitudes seemed to make any serious process impossible. The Arabs’ three no’s at the Khartoum summit of August 1967—no peace; no negotiation; no recognition—seemed to sum up the impasse.
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