Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Brewing calamity

By Ted Lapkin - posted Friday, 28 April 2006

"The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence."

Sound familiar?

But these are not the genocidal rantings of crisis-present uttered by Iran's Jew-hater in chief, President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad.


Rather, they are the genocidal rantings of crisis-past uttered by Egyptian government radio. And precisely 39 years ago they helped to ignite a regional war that totally reshaped the political landscape of the Middle East.

The brewing calamity that is being triggered by Iran's nuclear aspirations might well turn out to be a blast from the past: both metaphorically and literally. The flow of current Middle Eastern events resembles nothing quite so much as the reign of error and miscalculation that led to the Six Day War.

Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser lit the fuse on May 16, 1967 by ordering the eviction of a UN peacekeeping force stationed along the Sinai border with Israel.

Further fuel for the fire was added by President Rahman Aref of Iraq, who declared in a radio address: "The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy that has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map."

And these bellicose words were matched by equally belligerent action. Nasser violated maritime law by threatening to sink Israeli merchant vessels sailing through international waters at the Straits of Tiran.

He signed a military alliance with Jordan and moved the bulk of Egypt's army into the vacated UN positions adjacent to the Jewish state.


But Israel was disinclined to give its Arab neighbours the leeway required to bring these threats to fruition. And on June 5, 1967, Israeli fighter pilots destroyed Nasser's air force on the ground during a pre-emptive attack against Egyptian airbases.

By the time the dust settled, Israeli troops stood on the Golan Heights, on the West Bank and along the banks of the Suez Canal.
The armies of Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq stood decisively vanquished.

A lot of water has flowed under the Jordan River's Abdullah Bridge since the Six Day War. But when it comes to existential danger, the Jewish state is no more willing to temporise now than it was then.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

First published in The Courier Mail on Monday, April 24, 2006

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

25 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Ted Lapkin is associate editor of The Review, a monthly journal of analysis and opinion put out by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, AIJAC.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Ted Lapkin

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Ted Lapkin
Article Tools
Comment 25 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy