1967 War Anniversary: What Kind of Review is Needed?

  • 5 June 2007

Today is the 40th anniversary of what the Arab media has termed as the “June 67 setback,” when Israel launched a war against three Arab ountries—Egypt, Syria and Jordan—and was able to occupy Arab lands. Israel had annexed these territories, in addition to the Arab lands it had already occupied at the founding of its state on May 15, 1948—which is known as the “Palestinian catastrophe.”

This year, this painful reminder has received due attention from the media, maybe because it comes at a time when the Middle East is witnessing critical developments. These developments are ominous in nature and question the region’s ability in solving many of its chronic, inherited problems—especially the continuous floundering peace process that is suffering from Israel’s continuous intransigence and its refusal to agree to a just settlement based on legitimate Arab rights.

Meanwhile, the Arab League has appealed to the Arab world to observe a minute of silence today for the souls of the martyrs who fell in the “1967 June War.” It has also asked relevant Arab organizations around the world to write letters to the UN Security Council to remind it of the Arab lands that are still under Israel’s occupation, and are subject to the ever-expanding Israeli settlements, in order to show the international body that the Arab world has not forfeited its legitimate rights. In a related development, the Palestinian government also announced a series of activities that Palestinian organizations and foreign organizations supporting it would observe on the 40th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Undoubtedly, these ceremonies and activities are of great significance. Still a more meaningful and valuable commemoration would require a realistic revision of the major problems that could improve the Arab situation and rid it of its shortcomings and differences, which caused the defeat of 1967 in the first place. These weaknesses could be overcome by activating Arab cooperation in all fields and in a manner that would promote a regional coalition of Arab countries that exerts pressure in the international arena, in a world where large coalitions have become an essential feature.

The significance of this revision assumes greater importance in the wake of the escalating problems facing many Arab countries, and the multifarious threats to Arab national security. These problems and dangers are considered a strong reason for overcoming inter-Arab disputes and for creating a truly Arab coalition that could become a shield and a reference for all Arab countries.