The West should reflect on its part in prolonging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Westerners who rail against Israel for the failure to end the conflict are being too easy on their own governments

Fifty years ago this Monday, on the first day of the Six Day War, Shlomo Gazit, head of the Israeli military intelligence’s assessment department, visited air force command to hear the stunning reports of the destruction that morning of almost the entire Egyptian air force by Israeli jets. As he would explain to me decades later, however, he would spend much of the subsequent week in a kind of “trance” because he also learned that day that his 23-year-old nephew was among the few missing Israeli pilots.

He still managed that week to produce a clear sighted blueprint for the future of the territories Israel had occupied after wresting them from the Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian forces which had been ranged against it.

Gazit argued that “Israel should not humiliate its defeated enemies and their leaders.” He proposed an independent – albeit non-militarised – Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the Old City of Jerusalem, which was now in Israeli hands after being under Jordanian control since 1949, would become an “open city … with an international status resembling that of the Vatican”.


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