Why the Six-Day War Still Matters

(Israel Hayom) Dore Gold - Forty-five years ago this week, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) liberated the Old City of Jerusalem and re-united Israel's capital. On the eve of the Six-Day War, most of the brigades of the Jordanian Army were deployed right next to the Green Line and encircled Jerusalem on three sides. Moreover, an Iraqi expeditionary force was poised to join them across the Jordan River. When Jordanian artillery opened fire, nearly 6,000 artillery shells fell on Jewish neighborhoods in the western side of Jerusalem, leaving 1,000 Israelis wounded. When the rights of the parties that claimed Jerusalem arose after the Six-Day War, it became necessary to look into the circumstances of how each came to possess the city. Jordan's capture of Jerusalem in 1948, which resulted from what had been described at the time by the UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, as the first case of "armed aggression" since the Second World War, stood in contrast to how Israel entered the eastern portions Jerusalem in 1967, in what was plainly a war of self-defense. The great American legal scholar, Stephen Schwebel (who would become the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague), basing himself on the events of the Six-Day War, concluded that Israel's claim to "the whole of Jerusalem" was stronger than that of Jordan. His analysis was echoed at the time by contemporaries like the British expert on international law, Elihu Lauterpacht, and the Australian, Julius Stone. Given the total failure of the UN in 1948 to dispatch forces to protect Jerusalem, the internationalization clauses in the Partition Plan were no longer viable either. In 1994, during the Clinton administration, U.S. ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright explained an American veto in the Security Council by saying, "We are today voting against a resolution precisely because it implies that Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory."

2012-06-08 00:00:00

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