The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.
CICERO, Pro Publio Sestio
History is philosophy teaching by examples.
THUCYDIDES, The History of the Peloponnesian War
This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s The Anniversary Of A Miracle – Israel’s Victory In The Six Day War, is my attempt to combat a certain strain of revisionism quite popular nowadays in some circles and write about a time not so long ago when a free people fought alone, outnumbered and without allies against tyranny and won an amazing victory. Here’s a slice:
Today is the anniversary of a modern miracle, the Israeli victory of the Six Day War, מלחמת ששת הימים, or Milhemet Sheshet Ha Yamim in Hebrew. It saw an outnumbered Israel beat back an attempt at destruction and genocide, reunite Jerusalem, and bring the strategic Golan and the historic Jewish homelands of Judea and Samaria back under Israeli sovereignty. It’s worth recounting 46 years later, when Israel’s mortal enemies once again gather to attempt to destroy her.
Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser had formed a military alliance with Syria, the United Arab Republic (UAR) and with the aid of the Soviet Union, both countries had built up a substantial military force, vastly outnumbering Israel in tanks, planes and manpower.
After the 1956 war,the Israelis had agreed to withdraw from Sinai based on President Eisenhower’s guarantees that provided for a UN peacekeeping force to be stationed there to prevent feydayeen terrorist raids on Israel, the main cause (at least from the Israeli standpoint) of the ’56 war.
Another part of the ceasefire agreement that ended the 1956 war concerned the Straits of Tiran, a waterway connecting the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea and Israel’s sole Red Sea outlet for the port of Eilat.
According to the ceasefire ratified by the UN, the Straits of Tiran were to be considered an international waterway with full access to Israeli shipping.
On May 17th, 1967, after a huge amount of rhetoric about annihilating every Jew in Israel, Nasser demanded an immediate withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping troops from the Sinai. Secretary General U Thant immediately complied in less than 24 hours without informing the Israelis until Egyptian forces had already reentered the Sinai.
Nasser subsequently deployed a huge force of troops,tanks and artillery in the Sinai. The Egyptians massed over 100,000 troops in the Sinai, including all of its seven divisions (four infantry, two armored and one mechanized), four independent infantry brigades and four independent armored brigades. At least one third of them were veterans of Egypt’s intervention into the Yemen Civil War, and the Egyptian forces included 950 tanks, 1,100 APCs and more than 1,000 artillery pieces, many of them of the latest Soviet models.
On May 23rd, Nasser announced a blockade of the Straights of Tiran, saying in a speech to his troops in Sinai:
… Yesterday the armed forces [of Egypt] occupied Sharm el-Sheikh. What does this mean? It is an affirmation of our rights, of our sovereignty over the Gulf of Aqaba, which constitutes Egyptian territorial waters. Under no circumstances can we permit the Israeli flag to pass through the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jews threaten war. We say that they are welcome to war, we are ready for war, our armed forces, our people, all of us are ready for war, but under no circumstances shall we abandon our rights. These are our waters …
At the same time, the Syrians began massing 75,000 troops, artillery and armor on the Golan Height to the north of Israel, where they held the high ground and were dug in.
Jordan, to Israel’s east signed a mutual defense pact with the UAR on May 30th and moved 55,000 troops and 300 tanks to the border.
Documents captured by the Israelis from the Jordanians show that contrary to popular belief, the Jordanians always intended to go to war against Israel – it was by no means a last minute decision. The Arab Legion’s Hashemite Brigade had orders to capture the Israeli town of Ramot Burj Bir Mai’in in a night raid, codenamed “Operation Khaled”. This was to be the base of operations for the capture of Lod and Ramle. The “go” codeword to be was “Sa’ek” and end was “Nasser”. The Jordanians also planned for the capture of Motza and Sha’alvim in the strategic Jerusalem Corridor. Motza was the target of Infantry Brigade 27 camped near Ma’ale Adummim: “The reserve brigade will commence a nighttime infiltration onto Motza, will destroy it to the foundation, and won’t leave a remnant or refugee from among its 800 residents.”
Along with these forces, at Jordan’s invitation the Iraqi army sent 100 tanks and an infantry division to join in the fighting along with two squadrons of fighter aircraft.
The Israeli troops even with their available reserves were out numbered by more than two to one, and in tanks and combat aircraft by more than three to one.
Efforts to try and resolve the crisis in the UN came to absolutely nothing as the Soviets and the European nations who found Arab oil far more valuable than Jewish blood combined to torpedo any meaningful settlement as Israel’s economy began to falter and the Arabs continued to mass troops and equipment for an obvious coming attack meant to wipe out every Jew in Israel, a goal the Arabs made no secret of.
The final push towards war came when Israel chief arms supplier, President DeGaulle of France abruptly informed the Israelis on June 1st that he would no longer sell them arms or spare parts for French-made equipment like Israel’s Dassault Mirage and Super Mystère jets or even fill existing orders.
Surrounded and outnumbered, the Israelis now also had to contend with the problem of resupply in a combat situation. They literally had no choice but to throw the dice and gamble on a quick and decisive victory before their equipment broke down for lack of spare parts and components.
So the decision was made to launch Operation Focus ( in Hebrew, Moked), a massive attack on the Egyptian Air Force.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn with The All Seeing State submitted by Joshuapundit. It’s Steyn at his best as he examines the effect of a permanent, rooted in place bureaucracy on a free society and its institutions. Do read it.
Okay, here are this week’s full results. The Razor, due to a storm and the resulting loss of power, was only able to vote for Council Selections, having been unable to read this week’s non-Council selections. Send some thoughts, prayers and good energy his way.
- *First place with 4 2/3 votes! – Joshuapundit – The Anniversary Of A Miracle – Israel’s Victory In The Six Day War
- Second place with 2 votes – The Right Planet – What Are Some Good ‘Liberal’ Books?
- Second place *t* with 2 votes – Bookworm Room – Game of Thrones and how the things that we watch reveal something about who we are and what we’ve become
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 vote – VA Right! – NSA Leaker Snowden: Hero or Traitor?
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 vote – The Noisy Room – Samantha Power: The Hand That Rocks A Nation
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – TheRazor – The Power of Islamic Propaganda
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Liberty’s Spirit – Autism-Meme as Political Insult
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Mellow Jihadi – My First Fist-Fight in the Navy
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Colossus of Rhodey – Poll Shows Support for Affirmative Action Dwindling
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Nice Deb – National Organization for Marriage’s John Eastman RIPS Democrats At IRS Hearing + Proof IRS Leaked Confidential Donor List to Political Rival
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Simply Jews – More fun and games with Alice Walker
- *First place with 2 1/3 votes! – Mark Steyn – The All Seeing State submitted by Joshuapundit
- Second place with 2 votes – Sultan Knish – We’ll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here submitted by The Noisy Room
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Victor Davis Hanson – Obama is Just Obama submitted by The Razor
- Third place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Doug Ross@Journal – The Complete IRS Scandal Timeline in Spreadsheet Format [Updated] submitted by Nice Deb
- Fourth place with 1 1/3 votes – Alexis Simendinger/RealClearPolitics – Privacy, Security and Obama’s Uphill Quest for Trust submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Fifth place *t* with 1 vote The Texas Scribbler – Our Creepy President submitted by Simply Jews
- Fifth place *t* with 1 vote – This Ongoing War – Will Appeasing Hezbollah Work Better Now Than it Did With Nazi Germany? submitted by Liberty’s Spirit
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Michelle Malkin – Assimilation, Not Amnesty submitted by VA Right!
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The National Journal – NSA Spying Scandal: 2006 or 2013? submitted by The Right Planet
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Long War Journal – Iran’s Latin American Terror Network submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – Israel Thrives – The Nakba Stratagem submitted by Bookworm Room
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – Reason.Com – Obama’’s Last Gasp at a Legacy submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Chicago Boyz – Peggy Noonan is figuring it out … submitted by The Mellow Jihadi
See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter…’ cause we’re cool like that!