Sunday, June 26, 2016

PCG's Flawed History Lesson on the Six Day War

Recently PCG's Brent Nagtegaal made a broadcast of The Trumpet Hour discussing the Six Day War of 1967. (Nehemiah and the Six Day War, June 10, 2016.)

In the first half of the broadcast Nagtegaal discusses the Six Day War of 1967. He asserts that the Six Day War was a miraculous victory showing (PCG's) God's favor for the State of Israel.

Astoundingly Nagtegaal made no mention of the Suez Crisis of 1956. In just nine days the State of Israel's forces were able to seize control of the entire Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. This suggests that Egypt's armed forces were simply no match for that of the State of Israel's armed forces in 1956. It was only due to political pressure, partly due to President Eisenhower's opposition, that the State of Israel was compelled to withdraw from the Sinai in March 1957. The withdrawal was forced by political pressure, not by a military defeat. This also suggests that Egypt's armed forces were no match for the State of Israel's armed forces in 1956-7. 

At one point Nagtegaal mentions how during the Six Day War one part of the Egyptian front line fled without seeing even one Israeli soldier. That indicates that the Egyptian army was simply unable to compete against the Israeli armed forces in 1967. In other words the same result happened eleven years apart and both times Egypt's armed forces were simply no match for the armed forces of the State of Israel. What sort of miracle is this?

Furthermore in the opening moves of the war the Israeli air force bombarded the Egyptian air force in a surprise attack. This crippling of Egypt's air force made it impossible for Egypt to protect their soldiers from Israeli air bombardment. The skies belonged to the State of Israel. With the skies now hostile to Egyptian ground forces it would have made sense for the Egyptian soldiers to withdraw to prevent unnecessary loss of life for their forces.

Furthermore the pain of war is rarely dwelt on in this broadcast. Somewhere between 776 and 983 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Six Day War but the pain of their loss is rarely dwelt on. The main point of this broadcast is that all went well. But if one wishes to praise this war in such a way the pain of war is minimized and ignored. This encourages listeners to view war as an acceptable option if such praise is given and the loss of soldiers is minimized and not discussed.

But did the war really end after six days? With the Sinai Peninsula now occupied by the State of Israel the Egyptian government led by President Nasser was determined to regain control of this lost Egyptian territory. To restore Egyptian sovereign rule over the Sinai Peninsula the forces of Egypt waged a low scale war against Israeli forces on the Sinai Peninsula to regain their conquered territory. This was named the War of Attrition. The first armed action occurred on July 1, 1967, less than a month after the Six Day War. 
July 1, 1967: An Egyptian commando force from Port Fuad moves south and takes up a position at Ras el 'Ish, located 10 miles south of Port Said on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal, an area controlled by the Israelis since the ceasefire on June 9, 1967. An Israeli armored infantry company attacks the Egyptian force. The Israeli company drives off the Egyptians but loses 1 dead and 13 wounded. However, another source claims that an Israeli attack on Port Fuad was repulsed.
So less than a month after getting routed in the Six Day War Egyptian soldiers launched a raid on an Israeli held position killing an Israeli soldier. What sort of miracle victory is this?

By omitting the War of Attrition the pain and loss endured in that armed conflict is ignored. Egypt 's war to restore their sovereignty over the Sinai Peninsula raged on until a ceasefire was made on August 7, 1970 shortly before Nasser's death.

During the War of Attrition 694-1424 Israeli soldiers were killed in these battles. Egypt endured 2882-10,000 military and civilian fatalities. The Six Day War along Egyptian frontline did not really end. The conflict kept going since Egypt was determined to regain its lost territory. These events are ignored in Nagtegaal's broadcast. Listening to Nagtegaal's broadcast unless one knew better one would have no idea that any War of Attrition even occurred.

By focusing only on what happened during the Six Day War this gives a highly skewered view of the situation. It makes it seem as if going to war solves problems but dangerously ignores the negative consequences for the State of Israel of choosing to retain the Sinai Peninsula thus provoking Egypt's attempts to regain the Sinai.

After Nasser's death his successor, Sadat, proposed in 1971 making a peace treaty with the State of Israel without it being part of a comprehensive settlement which included the rest of the Arab League as had been proposed before. This was part of the Jarring mission. The State of Israel ignored this diplomatic proposal and insisted on keeping at least part of the Sinai Peninsula as part of a peace deal with Egypt. To give up Egyptian land was unacceptable to President Sadat.

He prepared for war and attacked on October 6, 1973. The Yom Kippur War began. The State of Israel was caught unawares. The Israeli government had complacently assumed the surrounding Arab nation states would not dare to fight for their own territory. After about three weeks the State of Israel regained control of the battlefield but Israel had endured up to 2800 fatalities. Egypt endured between 5-15,000 fatalities. Prime Minister Meir was forced to leave power.

Seeing that Egypt was determined to regain the lost territory of the Sinai several years the State of Israel agreed to make peace by returning all of the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt. And since then Egypt has not threatened to attack the State of Israel. It is frightening to imagine that the Yom Kippur War with its thousands of fatalities could have been avoided if the State of Israel's government had taken Sadat's 1971 proposal seriously. There was nothing inevitable about it. It could have been avoided. Those thousands of lives could have spared in decisions were made.

None of this about the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War is explained in Nagtegaal's broadcast. Instead the problems of victory are rarely discussed and Nagtegaal provides a bombastic and sanitized account of the Six Day War making it look wonderfully easy.

Nagtegaal also asserts that Israeli Jews have forgotten (PCG's?) God and for this the Great Tribulation will descend on them as well however this is presented in a rather gentle way that only those well versed in Armstrongism will really understand the full implications of such statements.

The second half of Nagtegaal's broadcast discusses Nehemiah. He talks about how there was much opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem's walls. One incident in the Book of Nehemiah is exploited to condemn the peace process. Since 1996, if not earlier, PCG's leadership has consistently condemned any attempt by the State of Israel to make peace with the Palestinians as a deadly wound which will cause the State of Israel to be plunged into catastrophe. PCG teaches that the Israeli government is fated to turn away from the United States and go to Germany to seek a peace settlement with the Palestinians but the Germans will betray the State of Israel and conquer them (and the United States and Britain) during the Great Tribulation. Peace will not occur until Christ's return therefore any attempt to make peace is strongly condemned by PCG.

More of the same from PCG. PCG's leaders insist they know what is going to happen and world events are reinterpreted to fit their views. Inconvenient information that suggests other explanations are more useful are casually ignored.

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