Q&A with Michael Oren
Readers mailed in their questions to the Israeli historian at the J-Post. The best of the bunch: Daniel Teeboom, Amsterdam: I read that you discovered Jordanian plans about what to do with the vanquished Jews of Israel, had the Arabs … Read More
Readers mailed in their questions to the Israeli historian at the J-Post. The best of the bunch:
Daniel Teeboom, Amsterdam: I read that you discovered Jordanian plans about what to do with the vanquished Jews of Israel, had the Arabs won. These stories have been rumors for many years, will the documents be made available online? They can be used for all kinds of pro-Israeli activities and would be worth their weight in gold.
Michael Oren: I was indeed able to acquire Jordanian diplomatic and military documents from 1967. Among these were the plans for Operation Tariq, the planned Jordanian attack against West (Jewish) Jerusalem and the Latrun Quarter. These plans provided for the execution of the civilian populations of several Jewish communities, such as Moza, which lies just west of Jerusalem. Some of these documents fell into Israeli hands during the war and were later presented to King Hussein in the secret meetings he held with Israeli representatives in London. The King denied having any knowledge of Tariq.
It is important to demonstrate that not only the Jordanians but also the Egyptians and the Syrians had planned the conquest of Israel and the expulsion or murder of much of it Jewish inhabitants in 1967. Many of the so-called "revisionist historians" today are claiming that the Arabs never had aggressive intentions toward the Jewish state and that Israel precipitated the Six-Day War in order to expand territorially. The documentary evidence refutes this claim unequivocally.
Andrew White, London: Tom Segev's new book on the Six Day War received a gushing review in this week's Economist (26 May 2007). Is this the beginning of Six Day War revisionist history?
Michael Oren: Alas, it's not the beginning. Segev's primary thesis, namely, that the Six-Day War was the product of irrational Israeli fears and war-mongering, has been around for many years. It is implicit in Jimmy Carter's recent book, which describes Israel-quite wrongly-as having attacked Jordan and Syria pre-emptively in 1967. It is crucial to note, however, that neither Segev nor Carter employ even one Arabic source. In essence, the Arabs simply do not exist for them. The end result is not only an injustice to Israel but moreover gross discrimination toward the Arabs, who are treated as two-dimensional figures, incapable of independent decision-making and political dynamics.