The Atlantic

The Myths About 1967 That Just Won't Die

Fifty years after the Arab-Israeli war, popular assumptions about its impact are begging to be reexamined.
Source: Nir Elias / Reuters

The Arab-Israeli war that took place in June of 1967 was undeniably a major watershed in modern Middle Eastern history and a fundamental inflection point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In conquering the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan, and east Jerusalem, Israel created new and enduring realities that would frame the pursuit of peace and the waging of wars for the next half century. For Palestinians, the experience would be particularly bitter.

At the same time, the notion that the proverbial six days of war created a figurative Seventh Day—a kind of dark shadow under which the Arab-Israeli conflict has played out, inexorably and depressingly, these many years—is too simplistic a read.

The war created its fair share of crises, to be sure. But it also generated opportunities and a new, more pragmatic dynamic among the Arab states and Palestinians, which at

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