Tom Segev

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A Syrian tank from the Six-Day War in the Golan Heights, February 2019. Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

To Israelis, October 7, 2023, is the worst day in their country’s 75-year history. Never before have so many of them been massacred and taken hostage on a single day. Thousands of heavily armed Hamas fighters managed to break through the Gaza Strip’s fortified border and into Israel, rampaging unimpeded for hours, destroying several villages, and committing gruesome acts of brutality before Israeli forces could regain control. Israelis have compared the attack to the Holocaust; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described Hamas as “the new Nazis”. In response, the Israel Defense Forces have pursued an open-ended military campaign in Gaza driven by rage and the desire for revenge.…  Seguir leyendo »

Shimon Peres 1998. Micheline Pelletier/Sygma, via Getty Images

Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday at 93, was laid to rest as an Israeli prince of peace. Leaders from around the world came to Jerusalem to pay their respects to Israel’s eldest statesman, a defense minister, prime minister, president and more, who ended his long life as a symbol of his country’s quest for reconciliation with the Palestinians.

Mr. Peres certainly would have liked to enter history as a peacemaker, but that’s not how he should be remembered: Indeed, his greatest contributions were to Israel’s military might and victories. Despite his involvement in the Oslo peace process, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was never his primary work.…  Seguir leyendo »

Forty years ago today, on the morning of June 5, 1967, Jordan launched an artillery attack on the Israeli part of Jerusalem. In reaction Israel conquered the Arab sections of the city as well as the West Bank.

History is full of “what ifs,” and responsible historians should not indulge in such speculation. But journalists may. What if Israel hadn’t taken East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the Six-Day War? Would the Palestinian situation have found some solution and Israel be living at least in relative peace with its neighbors? Would Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism have been avoided?

Perhaps. But the alternate history is not as outrageous or inconceivable as one might think.…  Seguir leyendo »