Litany of Israelis bear testament to land grab
Friday, September 14, 2012
Nurit Tinari-Modai of the Israeli embassy (Letters Sep 8) takes your correspondent Dan Buckley to task for suggesting that Israel’s 1967 attack on its Arab neighbours was a bid to grab land and resources.
Her suggestion, that "the war was forced on Israel", flies in face of the facts.
That the Arabs had no intention of attacking Israel, and that the Zionist state was not in danger, is borne out by the statements of Israel’s leaders: In 1968, Chief of Staff Yitsak Rabin said he did not believe Egypt wanted war and that Egyptian troops in Sinai "...would not have been enough to unleash an offensive againstIsrael. [Nasser] knew it and we knew it."
Mordecai Bentov, a member of Israel’s war-time cabinet, said: "The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory." In 1972, Gen Haim Bar-Lev said Israel was "...not threatened with genocide..." before the war, and that "... we had never thought of such a possibility".
Other generals, such as Ezer Weizmann, Matetiyahu Peled, and Chaim Herzog, voiced similar views on the war.
In 1982, prime minister Menachem Begin said of Egypt’s Nasser: "We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."