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National Educational radio in cooperation with the British Broadcasting Corporation presents an analysis of the recent Middle East war by James Thompson BBC specialist in Middle Eastern affairs. In these talks Mr Thompson covers the Prairie View to the war the war itself and its aftermath. On this program Mr. Thompson discusses the problems that face the countries of the Middle East and the United Nations. Now that the war is over here now is James Thompson now the most obvious and most controversial result of the latest. And one hopes the last war between Israel and the Arabs is that Israel finished it occupying three times as much territory as she did on June the 4th. She has pushed her front is outwards at the expense of three of our four Arab neighbors Syria Jordan and the United Arab Republic. For purely practical reasons alone this seems an untenable position. Apart from anything else Israel has not the manpower necessary to occupy indefinitely areas as large and as vulnerable as the Sinai
Peninsula. The west bank of the Jordan and the mountains of Syria in the north and the situation is made even more intractable by the fact that in the Gaza Strip and on the west bank of the Jordan there are a million Arab refugees. Even allowing for the tens of thousands who have fled eastwards across the river the absorption of these refugees into an expanded state of Israel will present economic and political problems which Israel could hardly hope to tackle on her. There are now four extremely compelling practical reasons for repeated assurances by Israeli spokesmen that Israel has no territorial ambitions. It is not to say that everyone accepts these assurances that are known to be those in Israel who believe and have believed for some time that Israel's security against attack can only be guaranteed by extending from the sort of attack to which the Israelis have been constantly subjected particularly over the
last 11 years. Is the Fedayeen raid or even the desultory hit and run assault which has forced them to keep the frontier settlement permanently. And on the alert especially on the long open border with Jordan and on a much shorter but highly exposed border with Syria now that these two sources of insecurity have been overrun. The temptation to hold on to the occupied territory will be strong. Israelis will also be reluctant to hand back the Gaza Strip. The main training center for the Palestine Liberation Army without some doubt on TV that it will not be so used again. And most important of all perhaps the Israelis have taken a particularly firm stand on the Straits of Tiran. But the Israel government must realize that not even its closest friends would be able to support it if it attempted to hold on to all its games.
On the other hand the Israelis have made it clear they will not agree to the Arab demand sponsored in the United Nations by the Soviet Union for an unconditional withdrawal to their front as of June the 4th. So on the face of it is really a military victory has merely resulted in the same political deadlock which has made a peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews impossible ever since the state of Israel was established 1000 years ago. It can of course be argued that the Israelis are in a much stronger bargaining position today than they have ever been before. But the three Arab countries immediately concerned are smarting under a particularly painful defeat and are not disposed to bargain. One of the basic reasons why relations between the Arabs and Israel have to be curated rather than improved during the past 19 years is that in the minds of the Arabs Israel was created by force and only survives by force.
Israeli attack in one thousand fifty six and the recent hostilities have merely strengthened this out of conviction. On the other hand the Israelis can say with some justice that they have had precious little benefit from being recognised as a sovereign state by most members of the United Nations and accepted as a full member of that organization. This pattern of bitterness on the one side and disillusionment on the other is more pronounced today than ever and one is bound to ask oneself why the United Nations has not been able to do more than simply protect the Arab refugees against starvation and has not been able to prevent war from breaking out approximately every ten years. The answer of course is that in the final analysis the United Nations as an organization is as strong as its strongest members choose to make it throughout the whole period of the Palestine crisis when the state of Israel was coming into being and for many years thereafter
the Western powers were intent upon confining or containing Russian influence in the Middle East. But the United Nations was powerless even to attempt a solution of the Arab-Israel conflict unless the four permanent members of the Security Council were able to agree what in fact happened was that Russia and Czechoslovakia in the immediate post-war years provided Israel with the arms to establish a present state frontiers in an attempt to undermine the British position in the Middle East. Then they switched their support to Egypt and Syria in the 50s when there was an opportunity of gaining a foothold in the Arab world. The Arabs tend to forget that without military aid from Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia in 1940 eight and forty nine The state of Israel if it existed at all today would almost certainly be very much smaller. Now of course it's the British and the Americans who in the view of Israel's Arab
neighbors are defending Israel's fronted. One would have thought the British and American interests in the Arab world were sufficiently obvious to make nonsense of allegations of an Anglo American intervention against the Arabs. No western state in fact can afford to give Israel the one sided support that Russia has given to Israel's enemies. This is one of the main reasons why Israel has become reconciled to acting alone and why on June the 5th she did act alone. As far as the immediate crisis is concerned the Israeli demand for direct peace talks with individual Arab states is certain to fail. A direct confrontation across the conference table would in Arab Eyes be tantamount to recognition and no Arab state could afford even to appear to make such a radical concession. Even if she accepts negotiation through a third party Israel will still find it hard to get some
of her demands accepted as conditions of withdrawal. A particularly tough one of contention is likely to be the old city of Jerusalem to which both Jews and Arabs attach so much religious significance. But it shouldn't be impossible to reach a solution which will satisfy both sides much more difficult is the problem of the Straits of Tiran the British and American governments have made their position plain. Ever since their Gyptian blockade on Israeli shipping was imposed they believe the trips of all nations should be guaranteed free passage. But the Egyptians can hardly concede this without recognizing Israel as a nation. Inevitably or whatever aspect of the Middle East crisis one is discussing one is confronted with the basic question of recognition even with Russian cooperation it will be an immensely difficult question to solve. And the recent war hasn't made it any easier. Much will depend
on the great powers the serviette government admits that Israel has the right to exist as a sovereign state but by virtue of its unilateral support for the more militant Arab states. The Soviet government has in effect denied Israel this right. At the same time the Western government by attempting to steer a middle course have given those same Arab states the impression however unfunded it may be in fact that they are not greatly concerned about Arab rights in Palestine. A great deal must obviously depend on whether Israel can make a self acceptable to the Arabs as a sovereign state. But whether the Arab states will accept or not must depend largely on concerted action by the major powers either through or within the United Nations. You heard James Thompson BBC specialist in Middle Eastern affairs in the last of five programs analyzing the recent Middle East war in these programs
Mr. Thompson has discussed the events leading to the war. The war itself. And its aftermath. These programs were produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation and distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
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The Middle East War
Analysis, part four
Producing Organization
British Broadcasting Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the fifth part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Episode Description
This program presents the fourth part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Series Description
A series of five 10-minute analyses of the Six-Day War by British Broadcasting Corporation Middle East correspondent James Thompson.
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Media type
Producing Organization: British Broadcasting Corporation
Speaker: Thompson, James
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:09:54
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Chicago: “The Middle East War; Analysis, part four,” 1967-06-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 20, 2024,
MLA: “The Middle East War; Analysis, part four.” 1967-06-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 20, 2024. <>.
APA: The Middle East War; Analysis, part four. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from