Fine, Bryan. Here’s some bones to gnaw on. On page 82, Maoz wrote:
Israel’s policy had an important impact on the process that led to the Six Day War.
What was that “policy”? Border disputes with Syria over water projects (which were already stopped by spring 1966), Al Fatah raids (which were already on a big decline and small in scale) and other Israeli provocations (which were big, escalating and ongoing, and which led to Egypt’s involvement).
Good grief. You can’t even provide the context from one single sentence. In context, it reads “This explanation suggests that Israel’s policy had an important impact on the process that led to the Six Day War.” And the former part of the paragraph states that none of the parties (including Israel) were looking for war. So in a section talking about the faults of all the actors, you pick out the faults of one. If you read the book as you say then you’d be aware that Syria was permitting the PLO to stage incursions into Israel from its territory. The sentence following the one you quoted includes this: “Syria was to a large extent responsible for the process of escalation that evolved into the May-June 1967 crisis.”
On page 84 Maoz writes:
By the fall of 1966 and the spring of 1967, things seemed to be getting out of hand. Israeli-initiated encroachments into the demilitarized zones (DMZs) along the Syrian border became more frequent and intense… At this point Egypt entered into the picture… When the Israeli-Syrian clashes became increasingly intense, Syria asked for Egypt’s assistance (pg.85)… [T]he events of spring 1967 suggested to Nasser that Syrian concerns were not far fetched. On April 7, the IAF shot down six Syrian-Mig-21 jets, two of them over Damascus. Second, Israel intended to hold its nineteenth independence day parade in Jerusalem, in an apparent show of strength, across the street from Jordan. Third, a number of interviews by Israeli leaders contained explicit threats directed at the Syrian regime. Finally, the Soviets provided Egypt with intelligence suggesting large Israeli troop concentrations in the north (pg. 86).
The preceding paragraph emphasized again Syria’s role in provoking Israel. It is laughable that you accuse me of cherry-picking.
And though the book doesn’t quote the Egyptian order to UNEF on requesting their withdrawal it can be easily found online:
To your information, I gave my instructions to all U.A.R. armed forces to be ready for action against Israel, the moment it might carry out any aggressive action against any Arab country [sounds like aggressive intent to me, not!]. Due to these instructions our troops are already concentrated in Sinai on our eastern border. For the sake of complete security of all U.N. troops which install OPs along our borders, I request that you issue your orders to withdraw all these troops immediately.
You don’t think that Nasser’s statement indicates that he might take, for example, an Israeli attack on PLO guerillas in Syria as a pretext for military attack on Israel? The clear implication of the statement is that Nasser thought it likely that Egyptian troops would have to move through the UN positions in order to get at Israel, not that UN troops were at risk if Israel attacked Egypt.
You can find other information available on Israeli provocations against Syria like what was referenced above. For example, Moshe Dayan wrote in the mid-late 1970s:
We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized 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’s how it was…
Didn’t the Israelis know that tractors are considered military vehicles?
Here’s a NYT article that helps place Dayan’s comments in context:
Also, as noted by Finklestein in a previous topic I created:
Ordinary Israelis no doubt felt threatened in June 1967, but—as Morris surely knows—the Israeli leadership experienced no such trepidation. After Israel threatened and laid plans to attack Syria, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared the Straits of Tiran closed to Israeli shipping, but Israel made almost no use of the Straits (apart from the passage of oil, of which Israel then had ample stocks) and, anyhow, Nasser did not in practice enforce the blockade, vessels passing freely through the Straits within days of his announcement. In addition, multiple U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that the Egyptians did not intend to attack Israel and that, in the improbable case that they did, alone or in concert with other Arab countries, Israel would—in President Lyndon Johnson’s words—“whip the hell out of them.” The head of the Mossad told senior American officials on 1 June 1967 that “there were no differences between the U.S. and the Israelis on the military intelligence picture or its interpretation.”
So here is the requested answer to your question which you were too lazy to find out by doing some brief reading of a book you had already found online.
The statement you provided from Nasser contradicts Finkelstein’s account. So what we get from a rounded account is that Nasser was rattling his saber with little intention on following through. But your version mutes the rattle of the saber. How long are “ample stocks” supposed to last? Is closing the strait actually a friendly act in some sort of disguise? By now you will have stated that you acknowledge Nasser’s provocations. I’ll acknowledge that I have no doubt that Israel could have provoked Syria with tractors. And if you can come up with something more dramatic than that I’ll acknowledge that as well if it bears up under examination.
So, either you read this and chose to ignore it or you cherry picked what complimented your predisposition
I was dealing with the example of Nasser, which you had failed to acknowledge. So, yes I focused on that. It doesn’t mean that I ignored the rest.
You have certainly avoided answering the issue of Nasser as I presented it in the OP:
The history of the 1967 war has bearing on the current situation. Hopefully this thread can produce an informative discussion of that history. Israel has been portrayed by some as a consistent aggressor, but the facts of the 1967 war are difficult to reconcile with that view despite the fact that Israel conducted a preemptive attack as the fighting was initiated. Egypt’s Nasser, for example, had a UN force in Sinai creating a buffer between Israel and Egypt. Nasser called for the withdrawal of those forces. Does that move make sense if Nasser is expecting Israel to attack?
and disregarded the rest:
The countries were already at odds with one another, but Israeli provocations against Syria carried a “major portion of the blame” (pg 110) in escalating that conflict.
Yes, and in the following paragraph he acknowledges that Israel’s purpose may have been aimed at stopping a pair of Syrian provocations. I cherry picked that one because that cherry was still on the tree after you were done picking.
Keep in mind that Syria and Egypt signed a defense pact to aid each other in case Israel attacked one of them. So, as Maoz wrote on page 90, “The Egyptian troop movement into the Sinai was an act of deterrence. Nasser wanted to send the Israelis a simple message: back off Syria.”
I agree with that. But if you read the book then you’d be aware that Maoz went on to write that the decisions Egypt made after the initial decision to move troops into the Sinai don’t square well with that intent (“What it does not explain is the set of Egyptian decisions during the crisis itself that caused the crisis to escalate,” page 91).
In the “conclusion” on page 110 I repeatedly asked you to read and which you refrained from acknowledging,
I think that’s an unfair characterization.
you could/should have learned:
The Six Day War was an inadvertent war. Everybody could have done much to prevent it; instead, almost every action by each of the parties accomplished just the opposite – making the war inevitable. Yet, the “everybody was guilty” notion serves only to minimize the role of Israeli policies and practices [which you, Bryan, have been extremely guilty of. Worse, you have ignored Israel’s role and distorted Egypt’s] in the process leading up to the crisis and the management of the crisis itself. My argument focuses on several points.
1. Israel carries a major portion of the blame for the deterioration and escalation of Israeli-Syrian relations…
2. These actions may have designed to compel Syria to stop the diversion project and the Al Fatah raids into Israel…
3. Israeli adventurism was affected by three principle factors [i.e. loosened political control over the military, internal political competition allowed the IDF to act freely, and “overzealous use of power”]…
4. A key conclusion of this analysis is that Israeli military adventurism vis-à-vis Syria fed into, and interacted with, the domestic weakness of the Syrian regime and the inter-Arab political competition that drove Nasser into escalation…
5. The reduced political control over the military backfired during the crisis and in the conduct of the war…
And this doesn’t even get into the “implications” of the war, of which Maoz wrote that later chapters will get into.
It doesn’t really excuse Nasser, either, speaking of a failure to acknowledge an issue (one that’s been left hanging by you since the OP) ...
Here is what you kept doing. You kept self-servingly using the removal of UNEF as the beginning point. Not only did you ignore what and how Nasser ordered the removal, but other details in the book and that were not mentioned in this post, all of which is damaging to your argument, showed Nasser’s actions were deterrence, not aggression, but you also ignored that Israel was carrying out severe provocations against Syria that initiated Egyptian involvement to defend an ally they had a defense pact with. And you claimed that I worked “so hard to minimize Nasser’s foolhardy provocations and ultimately fail to even acknowledge them even after his own source did so.”
Your ridiculous interpretation of Nasser’s request for the removal of the UNEF serves as a flamboyant illustration of my point. Maoz wrote that Nasser’s behavior wrt the UNEF was reckless and provocative (”... for each step (Nasser) climbed up, the more difficult it became for him to descend without being humiliated domestically and in the Arab world” p 87, expanded at 91, 92).
First, this is a weak straw man argument since I never said or asserted any such thing. You asked a question and I referenced a book because I didn’t want to go into all the details necessary to address this question.
Here’s the question again, for those who no longer remember:
Egypt’s Nasser, for example, had a UN force in Sinai creating a buffer between Israel and Egypt. Nasser called for the withdrawal of those forces. Does that move make sense if Nasser is expecting Israel to attack?
TA’s apparently thinks that Nasser’s statement to the UN did not serve as a provocation. We have yet to see Maoz concur.