SIX DAY WAR
Mention history and it can trigger a roll of the eyes. Add the Middle East to the equation and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes. But without an understanding of what happened in the past, it's impossible to grasp where we are today.
This week marks the 48th anniversary of the Six-Day War in Israel. It is the anniversary of the state of euphoria which existed in Israel after the defeat of so many of its neighbors. After all, some months before June, 1967, people were not sure if the State would survive and in fact mass graves were prepared, just in case.
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The public discussion about the causes of violent extremism has focused mainly on the socioeconomic and political conditions that exist in Arab countries. But we must also carefully consider how the events in the wake of World Wars I and II have impacted the psychological disposition of the Arab population throughout the Middle East.
One of the brightest, loudest, flashing neon-style sign that humanity can indeed get along is the upcoming Middle East Now festival in Florence, Italy. Yes, Florence, where that original coming out of the Middle Ages happened hundreds of years ago, is the city I believe could also be at the epicenter of a new cross-cultural Renaissance.
Declassified high-level documents from Britain, France, Russia and the United States reveal that Egypt, Syria, and Jordan were not going to attack Israel and Israel knew it. In fact, they did not attack Israel. Instead, Israel mounted the first attack in order to decimate the Egyptian army and take the West Bank.
Has a once venerated idealistic enterprise itself become the victim of extremism? Are Israel's enemies using it as a pawn in yet another messianic struggle that goes far beyond the questions of a two state solution or whether the country's borders should be returned to where they were before the Six Day War?