The 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War is a time for both celebration and sober reflection.
There is much to be celebrated on this anniversary, including Israel’s decisive military success over the belligerent armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and the reunification of the City of Jerusalem after nineteen years of division. Finally, Israel’s victory in this war was a catalyst for the start of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and ultimately paved the path to the Israel-Egypt peace agreement.
At the same time, this anniversary is a sobering reminder of what remains unresolved. Five decades later the elusiveness of Israeli-Palestinian and full Israeli-Arab peace is a painful reality. Five decades after the Six Day War, Israel copes with different, yet ongoing security challenges, and still faces the rejection by many in the Middle East of its legitimacy.
Many of today’s most difficult challenges in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict arose as a result of these six days, including Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and the uncertain status of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These issues remain unresolved and carry continuing implications for security, Israel’s democratic nature and the hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace.