From: Ismail Zayid
To: Guardian Weekly
Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2002 2:34 PM
Subject: Who triggered The June 1967 war and who were the victims?

June 30,2002
 
The Editor,
The Guardian weekly
 
Dear Editor:
 
Avi shlaim, in his review, in the June 27 issue, of the book " Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the modern Middle East" , makes the claim that the war was triggered by President Nasser, and that " Israel paradoxically was both the victim and the victor." This is contrary to fact, as well stated by Israel's own leaders, at the time.
 
Yitzhak Rabin, chief of staff of the Israeli army at the time, stated :" I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it." {Le Monde, Feb.28,1968}.
 
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol stated :" The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military build up there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up, south of Israel" [ Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Oct. 18,1967].
 
Modechai Bentov, an Israeli cabinet minister at the time, stated: " All this story about the danger of extermination [of Israel in June 1967] has been a complete invention and has been blown up a poseriori to justify the annexation of Arab territory" [Le Monde, Feb 28,1967].
 
Menachem Begin, a cabinet minister in June 1967, stated, while prime minister, addressing Israel's National Defence College, on Aug.8,1982, : " In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with our selves. We decided to attack him" [The N.Y.Times, Aug.21,1982].
 
Perhaps it is time that Israel and its supporters should heed Mr. Begin's advice and practice some honesty on this score.
 
Yours Sincerely
 
 Ismail Zayid, M.D.