Monday, June 7, 2021

PCG's Six Day Tunnel Vision

PCG's other website focused on presenting their teachings in a manner catered for a Jewish audience, Watch Jerusalem, has highlighted an article of theirs describing the Six Day War of 1967. Let's see what they have to say this time. (Christopher Eames, Miracles in Six Days, June 1, 2019.)

The little nation of Israel, having only been formally reestablished in its biblical homeland in 1948, was, by 1967, facing destruction by four major Arab nations and many other supporting belligerents. The combined might of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan was about to bear down on the little nation of less than 2.5 million Jews. Israel had half as many soldiers, less than half the tanks, and only a quarter of the aircraft. Yet against the greatest of odds, a truly miraculous victory was won by Israel in what is today known as the Six-Day War.

The fact that State of Israel happens to be geographically small is largely irrelevant because it happens to have a military force better than the surrounding Arab nations as was seen in the 1947-9 war. The State of Israel has been militarily better than the surrounding Arab nations ever since.

Also in 1967 the Arab nations had on paper a common command structure with a Egyptian military officer in charge of everything. In practice there was much confusion between the different Arab nations. Unlike Israel they did not have a clear command structure uniting their efforts.

The State of Israel's military was indeed outnumbered but that would not matter once the Israeli Air Force destroyed Egypt's air force. With that decisive move the State of Israel had control of the air so there was little the Arab nations could do to stop them. 

The Arab nations surrounding Israel had never accepted the official 1948 international reinstatement of the land as a Jewish state. They fought bitterly in the 1948 Arab War to try to destroy the fledgling Jewish nation but were defeated. In 1967, they planned to try again, combining forces once more to defeat Israel in what should have been a quick and decisive victory. Yet within six days, Israel had defeated the Arab armies, tripled the area of land under Israeli control, and fully reclaimed Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

The author insists that the Arab nations were on the verge of "a quick and decisive victory" and suddenly they lost so much territory. The fact that Israel had such a decisive victory suggests they were in never in that much military danger in 1967.

But was President Nasser trying to attack? Could he do so? According to President Lyndon Johnson it was the assessment of US intelligence that President Nasser was not trying to attack Israel and furthermore the State of Israel was not in real danger of military defeat.

On the evening of May 26 [1967] I [President Johnson] met with Israel's Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who had just flown to Washington. Our conversation was direct and frank. Eban said according to Israeli intelligence, the United Arab Republic (UAR) was preparing an all-out attack. I asked Secretary McNarama, who was present, to give Mr. Eban a summary of our findings. Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter, McNarama said, and it was our best judgment that a UAR attack was not imminent. "All of our intelligence people are unanimous," I added, "that if the UAR attacks, you will whip the hell out of them." (Lyndon Johnson, The Vantage Point, 1971, p. 293.)

And the Americans were right. The Egyptians were routed by the Israeli military. How can this be a miracle as Armstrongites say when people US intelligence, President Johnson and Secretary McNarama were able to accurately anticipate a decisive victory for the State of Israel?

However this information was not widely known among the public within either the United States or the State of Israel. The people of the State of Israel were genuinely afraid of total defeat even though those in power, as is seen above, knew better. The State of Israel was never in any real danger of a total defeat in 1967.

We now return to PCG's article.

Early in the morning on June 5, 1967, nearly 200 Israeli airplanes took to the sky, making their way toward Egypt. Jordan, picking up the Israeli air force movements by radar, forwarded a coded warning to Egypt. In a miraculous stroke, however, the Egyptians had changed their message-coding equipment without notifying the Jordanians. As such, the Israeli planes were able to knock out more than 300 Egyptian planes—more than half the Egyptian air force—in only three hours! Strangely, no order was given for the Egyptian anti-aircraft missile batteries to retaliate. By the end of that initial day, two-thirds of the Syrian Air Force had also been destroyed, along with most of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

These are not signs of a miracle, as Armstrongites claim. These are the results of an unclear, badly integrated command structure on the Arab side. The Egyptians changing encryption method without telling the Jordanians is a result of unclear communications. The Israelis were fighting by themselves so they had a clear command structure. This is an organized nation fighting disorganized nations. Being outnumbered does not matter when you are more organized compared with the other side.

Also those planes the Israelis had were bought from France. Many of the State of Israel's tanks were purchased from Britain. Both the British and French governments disapproved of this war but they armed Israel until the moment the Israeli government chose to attack. The military genius of Britain and France gave the State of Israel the arms to win.

For the Arab alliance, things got worse. Rank ineptitude and disorder reigned. 

To defeat an inept and disorderly enemy is not a miracle. It is the inevitable result of better planning and discipline.

Israeli desert troops made their way into the Sinai Peninsula, readying an attack on the well-armed Kusseima military outpost. Massive explosions were heard within the base, and by the time the Israelis arrived, they found the Egyptians had already destroyed their own equipment and fled. Egypt had abandoned other military bases as well.

The Egyptians had lost their air force so it made sense for them to flee to safety instead of leaving themselves vulnerable to attack from the air. After the Six Day War the Egyptians regrouped and proceeded to wage a guerrilla war against the State of Israel to regain control of the Sinai Peninsula until the death of President Nasser in 1970. When Sadat become President he prioritized negotiations (aside from the 1973 Yom Kippur War) and in 1979 made a treaty which among other things allowed Egypt to regain the Sinai Peninsula. The restoration of Egyptian rule over the Sinai was completed in 1982. If the 1967 war was a miracle, as Armstrongites claim, why did the God of Armstrongism cause the State of Israel to return the Sinai Peninsula just fifteen years later?

Surely such military successes were too much for just the little nation of Israel to accomplish. 

Balderdash. The State of Israel was better organized and disciplined compared with the Arab alliance. They had French planes and British tanks. So of course they won. 

The Israelis had been expecting a fierce and bloody land battle on the well-fortified Golan Heights, as the Arab bunkers were impervious to conventional airstrikes. However, by June 10, before many of the enemy positions had even been set upon by the Israelis, the Syrians had left their weapons and fled their positions in a state of panic!

Why would the Syrians flee? Look at what the author said four paragraphs earlier:

By the end of that initial day [June 5, 1967], two-thirds of the Syrian Air Force had also been destroyed, along with most of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

The Syrian soldiers were left exposed to air attacks so they fled to safety. From their perspective it was rational to preserve their military force from possible air attack. That's not a miracle.

The statistics from the war are amazing. For every Israeli who perished in the conflict, 25 of the enemy died. For every Israeli prisoner of war, there were over 394 Arab POWs. For every Israeli plane that was downed, more than 11 Arab planes were lost.

It is worth noting that those unfortunate Israeli soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice or were captured or shot down while in a plane are never mentioned or discussed in this article. For those soldiers and their families and friends there was no miracle. Their pain and suffering is ignored and minimized to make the supposed miracle sound good to Armstrongites.

There are many more miracles that happened during the Six-Day War that you can read about. They certainly cannot be regarded as blind luck. 

It was not blind luck at all. The State of Israel had a better military force, a clear command structure instead of an unwieldly amalgam of different military forces, and air superiority after destroying the air forces of the Arab nations. So of course the State of Israel won. The Arab nations did not stand a chance.

After the war, on Shavuot (Pentecost), hundreds of thousands of Jews arrived in the recently recaptured city of Jerusalem, offering up prayers of thanks to God for His miraculous delivery from the jaws of the Arab armies.

After seizing East Jerusalem from the Jordanians the State of Israel quickly demolished the Moroccan neighborhood in order to have a wide open square in front of the Wailing Wall. The demolition was done so quickly that one unfortunate woman was killed in the demolition.

Also during the Six Day War an American navel ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, was attacked by Israeli forces. Thirty-five Americans were killed in the attack. The Israeli government said it was a mistake. The question needs to be asked of the Armstrongites: Was that part of the miracle? If not, why not? Questions such as these are carefully ignored in this article.

Also the Six Day War led to the rise of Fatah within the Palestine Liberation Organization. After the 1947-9 war the Palestinians, about 750,000 of whom had been expelled from their homes by the newly formed State of Israel, were in no position to fight the State of Israel to go home so they placed their hope in the Arab nations hoping that they would gather up their forces and fight. Many placed their hopes on President Nasser. The PLO was originally founded in 1964 to keep the Palestinians aligned with the Arab governments. After 1967 it was clear that the Arab nations could not defeat the State of Israel in a military conflict. Consequently the Palestinians began to organize themselves under the aegis of Fatah and tried to wage an armed insurgency against the State of Israel to go home. Fatah quickly became the dominant faction of the PLO. Fatah's armed insurgency against the State of Israel escalated. The Israeli government chose not to negotiate with the PLO until 1991. Was the rise of Fatah in response to the Israeli victory in 1967 part of the miracle that these Armstrongites claim occurred?

The war lasted six days only if one chooses to view it that way. If one views it as part of a long term conflict between the State of Israel and the Arab nations then the Six Day War becomes merely a dramatic moment in a decades long struggle.

So we see the Six Day War was not as miraculous a triumph as the PCG leadership would have their followers believe.

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