Friday, June 8, 2007

Israeli Historian Tom Segev, Palestinian Physician Mona El-Farra and U.S. Scholar Norman Finkelstein on 6-Day War and Its 40-Year Legacy

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

".....AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the Six Day War of 1967, we are joined by three guests. Tom Segev is an Israeli historian and columnist for the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. He is the author of the new book 1967: Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East. The Palestinian doctor and human rights activist Mona El-Farra also joins us here in New York, director of the Gaza Projects for Middle East Children's Alliance, writes the blog From Gaza with Love. She's just begun her first US speaking tour. And,Norman Finkelstein joins us in Chicago, where he’s Professor of Political Science at DePaul University. His latest book is Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. We welcome you all to "Democracy Now!"......

MONA EL-FARRA: Yes, I was born in [inaudible], in the south of the Gaza Strip. During the war I was only 13 years old, and it was sort of a shock for me. We stayed in the basement for about five or six days. And after that, after the war ended and I realized that the Israeli – and now I am face to face with the Israeli army, with the Israeli people – I did not see any Israeli before, so it was sort of shock for me. And, all my life has changed because of the occupation. As a teenager, I was in demonstrations protesting against the occupation, so I am surprised about what Tom just have said. The resistance to occupation started in the first few months of the occupation. For me, I experienced it as a teenager in the school, school student, actually......

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, there are two aspects to the Israel-Palestine/Israel-Arab conflict. There's the relationship to the Arab world in general and there’s a relationship to the Palestinians. June 1967 was not really about the Palestinians; it was about Israel's relationship to the Arab world generally. The main purpose of the June ‘67 war, and Tom Segev is quite clear about in his book, was depending on who you quote, to crush Nasser, to deal a knock-out blow to Nasser, and to defeat Nasser. The Israelis, in particular, David Ben-Guri, the first prime minister, feared from early on that an equivalent to Ataturk in Turkey would emerge in the Arab world, namely a secular nationalist leader who would modernize the Arab world. And so from early on the Israelis were dead-set on defeating Nasser and dealing a blow to him. Already by 1954, the Israelis were trying desperately to provoke a war with Nasser. Unfortunately for the Israelis Nasser didn't take the bait and in 1956 they launched an invasion with the British and the French. Now come 1967, through a concatenation of events, a new opportunity arose to knock out Nasser, and that was the chief aim in ‘67. A ancillary aim was to conquer various parts of various areas bordering Israel, mainly the West Bank, the Sinai, and the Golan, but that wasn’t the primary goal. The primary goal was to deal a deathblow to Arab nationalism, to Pan-Arabism......."

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