Fifty years since the Six Day Arab-Israeli War of 1967

At this time of year, my professional commitments are light, so I sign up for a number of short courses at the City Lit further education college in central London. My first such course of this summer was delivered by Dr Noman Hanif – UK born of parents from Kashmir – and it was titled “The impact of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war on contemporary politics”.

In fact, we discussed the war very little and contemporary politics hardly at all because Dr Hanif became stuck in trying to explain the historical background to the conflict. We actually started with a reference to the expulsion of the Jews by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 135 and, by the time we reached 1967, we were two and a half hours into a three hour course.

Our lecturer posed the question: what is this war about? His answer was “The attempt to secularise a religiously rooted conflict”. In fact, he spent so much time arguing that essentially this is not a dispute capable of territorial solution and emphasising the fundamental religious position of Jews and Arabs respectively that, at the very end of the course, I asked: “Are you arguing that the Arab-Israeli problem is fundamentally insoluble?” He answered: “Yes”.

If you want a short background to the Arab-Israeli conflict, you can read my book review here.

If you want to know specifically about the Six Day War of 1967, the BBC has a useful account here.

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