Photo Credit:
IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin "invites" Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to the Kotel, or Western Wall, which had just been liberated by Israeli troops during the 1967 Six-Day War. history.

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

As Israel prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War next year, it might seem that the basic narrative is already well-known. As Egypt and Syria massed to launch a war to annihilate the Jewish state, Israeli forces pre-emptively struck, destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground and seizing the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip. King Hussein II’s decision to join in the war in order to perhaps have a share of the spoils led to Jordan’s defeat and ultimate expulsion from the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. Israel’s campaign was militarily bold and brilliant. It was a complete victory and reshaped the Middle East to the present day.


Now, it seems, there is more to the story. From the Times of Israel:

Israel largely has Morocco to thank for its victory over its Arab enemies in the 1967 Six Day War, according to revelations by a former Israeli military intelligence chief. In 1965, King Hassan ll passed recordings to Israel of a key meeting between Arab leaders held to discuss whether they were prepared for war against Israel. That meeting not only revealed that Arab ranks were split — heated arguments broke out, for example, between Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Jordan’s King Hussein — but that the Arab nations were ill prepared for war, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Gazit told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper over the weekend.

A few thoughts:

The revelations, if true, reinforce that the divisions within the Arab world often trump hatred of Israel. Many Arab leaders recognize that Israel is a moderating influence in the region. This makes the obsession of successive U.S. administrations that have tried to force Israel to make concessions curious.

The revelations also reinforce just how much of an ally Morocco has been over the decades. Much is known publicly about what Morocco does to counter extremism and promote peace, but that seems to be the tip of the iceberg. This makes the current White House’s repeated efforts to undercut Morocco even more scandalous.

And, last, the appearance of the story is an indication of how counter-productive ego can be. A Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated party—the Parti de la justice et du développement (PJD)—just won a plurality in Morocco’s parliamentary elections and will likely form the next government. Needless to say, the PJD is anti-Israel and dubious of the United States as well. General Gazit’s revelations will bring no benefit but may give Islamists a tool with which to try to undercut the Moroccan monarchy. Sometimes the value of having secrets remain secrets should trump the desire to tell war stories to grandchildren or eager reporters.