Six Day War, U.S. support of Israel, & the empty promise of "land for peace"
The 120 mile long Suez Canal, connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, was built by the French, 1859-1869.
Britain gained control of the Canal in 1882, and defended it during the First and Second World Wars.
On July 26, 1956, after making overtures to the Soviet Union, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser seized control of the Suez Canal, and closed traffic to all Israeli ships.
With the backing of France and England, Israeli forces invaded and retook the Suez Canal on October 29, 1956, as well as all of the Sinai Peninsula.
In an attempt to keep Egypt from gravitating toward Russia, U.S. President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles pressured Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to withdraw Israeli troops from the Sinai on March 16, 1957.
To bring "peace" to the Middle East, Canada proposed the U.N.'s first "peacekeeping" mission, where a U.N. military force be sent to insure the Suez Canal remain navigable.
Israel's experience of giving up land in exchange for a promise of peace was short-lived.
Instead of peace, on JUNE 5, 1967, Egypt sent 80,000 troops and 900 tanks to attack the Israel.
It was the beginning of the Six Day War.
Jordan and Syria used Soviet-made weapons to violently shell Jerusalem and Israeli villages.
Cairo radio announced:
"The hour has come in which we shall destroy Israel."
The hot line between Washington and Moscow was used for the first time.
In a surprise move, Israeli Air Force flew under the radar and destroyed 400 Egyptian planes while they were still on the ground, a key move in the victory.
Sara Yoheved Rigler wrote in the article "Hidden Miracles" (Aish HaTorah, Aish.com, February 2, 2003), that on the morning of June 5, Egyptian intelligence did send a warning of Israel's attack to Egypt's command bunker at Cairo, with an aide-de-camp even signing the receipt of it, but the Commander could not be found.
The previous night, he and his top officers were at the air base in the north delta area of Egypt, attending a party where a famous belly dancer performed, and very early the next morning, were at a meeting in the Sinai with a high-ranking delegation from Iraq.
As a result, not one senior Egyptian officer was at his post when the Israeli air strike occurred.
Israel courageously retook the Sinai Peninsula, drove Syria from the Golan Heights, and captured all of Jerusalem, including the West Bank, the Old City, and the Temple Mount.
Israel's Foreign Minister Abba Eban addressed the U.N. Security Council, June 6, 1967:
"An army, greater than any force ever assembled in history in Sinai, had massed against Israel's southern frontier.
Egypt had dismissed the United Nations forces which symbolized the international interest in the maintenance of peace in our region.
Nasser had provocatively brought five infantry divisions and two armored divisions up to our very gates; 80,000 men and 900 tanks were poised to move."
In a CBS-TV interview, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion stated:
"In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles."
Israeli Commander Motta Gur told his brigade upon their recapture of Jerusalem’s Old City:
“For some two thousand years the Temple Mount was forbidden to the Jews. Until you came — you, the paratroopers — and returned it to the bosom of the nation. The Western Wall, for which every heart beats, is ours once again.
Many Jews have taken their lives into their hands throughout our long history, in order to reach Jerusalem and live here.
Endless words of longing have expressed the deep yearning for Jerusalem that beats within the Jewish heart ...
You have been given the great privilege of completing the circle, of returning to the nation its capital and its holy center ... Jerusalem is yours forever.”
General Shlomo Goren, Chaplain of the Israeli Defense Forces, spoke at the Western Wall:
"This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes:
The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces.
By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory.
In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day.
This year in Jerusalem – rebuilt! “
For the first time in nearly 2,000, Israel possessed the Temple Mount.
In what could be considered an act of "land-for-peace," Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan quickly ordered the Israeli flag which soldiers had raised over the Temple Mount to be removed, leaving Muslims to in control of the Holy Site.
Seven months after the Six Day War, on Jan. 7, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson toasted Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, saying:
"Welcome to our family table ...
All Americans - and all Israelis - know ... that none ... can ever live by bread alone ...
One of your ancestors said it for all men almost 2,000 years ago ... for peace it is written, 'pursue it.'
That is our intention in the Middle East ... To pursue peace ..."
"... If we are wise, if we are fortunate, if we work together -- perhaps our Nation and all nations may know the joys of that promise God once made about the children of Israel:
'I will make a covenant of peace with them ... it shall be an everlasting covenant.'"
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched attacks on Israel in what became the Yom Kippur War.
The United States and the Soviet Union were resupplying their respective allies, almost erupting into a direct confrontation between the two nuclear powers.
A ceasefire was negotiated on October 25, 1973, which set up the resulting decades of a "peace process."
President Jimmy Carter brokered the 1978 Camp David Accords, in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai in another naive promise of land-for-peace.
On February 5, 1996, Margaret Thatcher stated:
"We have to remember that the Jewish people never, ever lost their faith in the face of all the persecution and as a result have come to have their own promised land and to have Jerusalem as a capital city again."
In April 3, 2002, while serving as House Majority Whip, Tom DeLay stated in a speech at Westminster College, titled "The Bonds of Freedom":
"The State of Israel has fought five major wars to defend its right to exist since 1948 ...
Israel and America are kindred nations. The founders of both countries were profoundly influenced by faith.
Both countries drafted governments that practice religious tolerance.
Both countries are filled with immigrants summoned by dreams ...
Freedom is alive in Israel today.
We can't allow the lone light of democracy to be extinguished by a wave of hatred."
For more on Israel, read below:
Many U.S. Presidents expressed support of Israel, even as far back as John Adams, who wrote to Thomas Jefferson:
"I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation."
"I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation for, as I believe, the most enlightened men of it have participated in the amelioration of the philosophy of the age."
President John Quincy Adams wrote to Major Mordecai Manuel Noah that he believed in:
"... rebuilding of Judea as an independent nation."
President Abraham Lincoln met a Canadian Christian Zionist, Henry Wentworth Monk, who expressed hope that Jews who were suffering oppression in Russia and Turkey be emancipated "by restoring them to their national home in Palestine."
Lincoln said this was "a noble dream and one shared by many Americans."
In 1891, pogroms incited by Czar Alexander III provoked an outcry by many prominent Americans, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Speaker of the House.
Rev. William E. Blackstone and Cardinal Gibbons presented a petition signed by those who were concerned about the fate of the Jews in Russia to President Benjamin Harrison and Secretary of State James Blaine.
They called for the first international conference "to consider the Israelite claim to Palestine as their ancient home, and to promote in any other just and proper way the alleviation of their suffering condition."
In 1917, Lord Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild, president of the British Zionist Federation, stating that the British Government would facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
President Woodrow Wilson stated March 3, 1919:
"The allied nations with the fullest concurrence of our government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth."
"Recalling the previous experiences of the colonists in applying the Mosaic Code to the order of their internal life, it is not to be wondered at that the various passages in the Bible that serve to undermine royal authority, stripping the Crown of its cloak of divinity, and held up before the pioneer Americans the Hebrew Commonwealth as a model government.
In the spirit and essence of our Constitution, the influence of the Hebrew Commonwealth was paramount in that it was not only the highest authority for the principle, 'that rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,' but also because it was in itself a divine precedent for a pure democracy, as distinguished from monarchy, aristocracy or any other form of government."
President Warren G. Harding stated:
"It is impossible for one who has studied at all the services of the Hebrew people to avoid the faith that they will one day be restored to their historic national home and there enter on a new and yet greater phase of their contribution to the advance of humanity."
President Calvin Coolidge stated:
"The Jews themselves, of whom a considerable number were already scattered throughout the colonies, were true to the teachings of their prophets. The Jewish faith is predominantly the faith of liberty "
"Sympathy with the deep and intense longing which finds such fine expression in the Jewish National Homeland in Palestine."
President Herbert Hoover stated:
"Palestine which, desolate for centuries, is now renewing its youth and vitality through enthusiasm, hard work, and self-sacrifice of the Jewish pioneers who toil there in a spirit of peace and social justice."
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee stated in 1922:
"The Jews of America are profoundly interested in establishing a National Home in the ancient land for their race.
Indeed, this is the ideal of the Jewish people, everywhere, for, despite their dispersion, Palestine has been the object of their veneration since they were expelled by the Romans.
For generations they have prayed for the return to Zion. During the past century this prayer has assumed practical form."
President Harry S Truman stated May 26, 1952:
"I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now ... I believe it has a glorious future before it - not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization."
President John F. Kennedy stated:
"This nation, from the time of President Woodrow Wilson, has established and continued a tradition of friendship with Israel because we are committed to all free societies that seek a path to peace and honor individual right.
In the prophetic spirit of Zionism all free men today look to a better world and in the experience of Zionism we know that it takes courage and perseverance and dedication to achieve it."
President Lyndon B. Johnson stated:
"The United States and Israel share many common objectives ... chief of which is the building of a better world in which every nation can develop its resources and develop them in freedom and peace."
Johnson stated before the B'nai B'rith organization:
"Most if not all of you have very deep ties with the land and with the people of Israel, as I do, for my Christian faith sprang from yours ...
The Bible stories are woven into my childhood memories as the gallant struggle of modern Jews to be free of persecution is also woven into our souls."
President Richard M. Nixon spoke of America, stating:
"Israel is one of its friends."
President Gerald Ford reaffirmed America's:
"Commitment to the security and future of Israel is based upon basic morality as well as enlightened self-interest. Our role in supporting Israel honors our own heritage."
President Jimmy Carter stated:
"The United States has a warm and a unique relationship of friendship with Israel that is morally right. It is compatible with our deepest religious convictions, and it is right in terms of America's own strategic interests.
We are committed to Israel's security, prosperity, and future as a land that has so much to offer the world."
President Ronald Reagan stated:
"Only by full appreciation of the critical role the State of Israel plays in our strategic calculus can we build the foundation for thwarting Moscow's designs on territories and resources vital to our security and our national well-being."
"Since the rebirth of the State of Israel, there has been an ironclad bond between that democracy and this one."
President George H.W. Bush stated:
"The friendship, the alliance between the United States and Israel is strong and solid, built upon a foundation of shared democratic values, of shared history and heritage, that sustains the life of our two countries.
The emotional bond of our people transcends politics. Our strategic cooperation-and I renew today our determination that that go forward - is a source of mutual security. And the United States' commitment to the security of Israel remains unshakeable.
We may differ over some policies from time to time, individual policies, but never over the principle."
President Bill Clinton stated:
"Our relationship would never vary from its allegiance to the shared values, the shared religious heritage, the shared democratic politics which have made the relationship between the United States and Israel a special-even on occasion a wonderful-relationship."
President George W. Bush stated:
"We will speak up for our principles and we will stand up for our friends in the world ... And one of our most important friends in the world is the State of Israel."
On May 14, 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, President Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, stating:
"The United States under President Harry Truman became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel. Today, we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations. It's been a long time coming.
Almost immediately after declaring statehood in 1948, Israel designated the city of Jerusalem as its capital. The capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. So important.
Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government ... Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.
Yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious: the plain reality that Israel's capital is Jerusalem ..."
"On Dec. 6, 2017, at my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel.
Today, we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem ...
This city and its entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.
The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace."