From: Ismail Zayid
To: Halifax Herald
Cc: Beverley Dauphinee ; Laurent Le Pierres ; Bob Howse
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 10:48 AM
Subject: Belligerence, indeed.

Oct. 27, 2004
The Editor,
The Halifax Herald.
Dear Editor:
Mike Forsythe, in his letter ["Belligerent enough?" Oct. 27], makes unsubstantiated statements ascribing statements to President Nasser, of Egypt, that in June 1967 his "basic objective will be the destruction of Israel." This falsehood is clearly exposed by Israel's own leaders at the time, who stated:
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 posteriori to justify the annexation of Arab territory" [ Al Hamishmar, 14 April 1972,  and quoted in Le Monde,  3 June 1972].
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].
As to the statement that "Syria was shelling Israeli villages from the Golan", and this was the justification for invading the Golan Heights, Gnneral Moshe Dayan, Israel's Defence Minister at the time, is quoted having stated : " he regretted not having stuck to his initial opposition to storming the Golan Heights. There really was no pressing reason to do so, because many of the firefights with the Syrians were deliberately provoked by Israel, and the kibbutz residents who pressed the government to take the Golan Heights did so less for security than for the farmland.....I know how at least 80% of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80%, but let us talk about 80%. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plow some area, in the demilitarised area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that is how it was." [The New York Times, May 11, 1997.]
This tells you where the belligerence came from.
Yours sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, MD.