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tv   AIPAC Policy Conference 1967 Six- Day War Panel  CSPAN  March 30, 2017 5:59pm-6:18pm EDT

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the plant removes salt impurities from the pacific ocean and does so faster than other desalination processes. the end result 54 million gallons of fresh water now travel to san diego through a ten-mile pipeline every single day. the passage of the recent water legislation will enable the creation of more plants like this one, a more secure california for california, for our entire country. ladies and gentlemen, this is novation. this is cooperation, and this is israel in my state. thank you very much. ♪ ♪
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please wcome founding editor of "the times of israel," david horowitz. >> good evening again, everybody. 50 years ago, israel fought a war for its survival. by the summer of 1967, 250,000 arab troops amassed on israel's borders. forced to protect its people, israel mounted a strike. the six-day war redefined israel and american jury's relationship with the young jewish state, so tonight we come together to
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discuss the war and its impact. this is "six days in june." ♪ ♪ >> with this us this evening to talk about the "6-day war" and
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its impacts are three incredible guests. we have the former israeli ambassador to the united states, as some of you may know, and now is the deputy minister for diplomacy in the prime minister's office. he's also the author of "6 days of war", one of the most highly regarded books on the 6-day war. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome once again ambassador michael oren. nir barka trt not only a native the city of jerusalem, but he is currently serving his second term as its mor. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome nir barkat. and he is one of israel's leading authors and thinkers. his book "like dreamers" chronicles the story of the
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israeli paratroopers that reunified jerusalem. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome yossi klein halevi. you were the only e of the fo of us actually living in jerusalem during the war. what do you remember of the days leading up to and during the war? >> well, i was 7 years old, and i remember pre-war helping the soldiers dig trenches and fill sandbags right around my home. we were a few hundred yards from the demilitarized zone separating between jordan and israel, and we were shelled and bombed. i remember our parents put my brother and i underneath the beds, and when i think about it today, the risk we were at, it's hard to believe. we were shelled and bombed. some of our neighbors were wounded. i remember going out after the war to see the wrecks around our home. and then i saw the adults cry, and i couldn't understand why the adults were crying when we
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won the war. the excitement then from the eyes of a 7-year-old, it took me years to understand the huge opportunity that we have by reuniting the city of jerusalem. and until today, i pinch myself every morning when i go to work on the huge opportunity and honor we have to live in our era to live in a united city of j r jerusalem. [ applause ] >> michael, you literally wrote the book on the six-day war. many people in this room i'm sure know the basics of what happened, but you're an expert, so what do you know about the war that you wish other people knew? >> okay. thank you, david. shalom, aipac, first of all. the book that i wrote was full of revelations for me. i grew up not in jerusalem, but in the united states. i remember my parents sitting in front of a television set during those three horrible weeks of waiting before the war broke out
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and tearing their hair out. i remember this, thinking that we would witness another holocaust within a single generation and the world would do aolutely nothing. israel, a country which had indefensible borders eight miles wide, jerusalem divided, surrounded by arab armies on all sides that swore to drive us into the sea. we had a friendship with the united states, but not a strategic alliance with the united states. israel fought with french bullets, and the french on the evening of the war switched sides. fighting against a soviet block of countes, against china, even a hostile india. it's hard to imagine today israel completely alone in the world and six days later everything changed. a great revelation for me was encountering the almost
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incalcble depth of fear by israeli leaders. these people were facing what they believe was an existence shl threat, and you really encountered it reading the documents, but there was one moment when researching the book where literally my jaw fell open. it w a document written on june 7th, t 9:1967 a in the morning. at that moment the israeli paratroopers had completed the encirclement of the city of jerusalem. they're on the mount of olives awaiting the order to go and reach the cotel. at that moment, prime minister of israel wrote a letter to king hussein of jordan. he said, your majesty -- you could do this back then. you could send a letter. your mesty, if you agree to a cease-fire, if you agree to enr to peace talks with the state of israel, the paratroopers will not enter the old city. here is the leader of the first
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jewish state in 2,000 years who is prepared and poised to reunite the jewish people with their holiest sites is willing give up that histical opportunity to make peace with one arab country. imagine the depth of our commitment to peace. that was extraordinary for me, david. >> that is extraordinary, and i'm sure not widely known. let's pick up on that. yossi, what most people don't realize is that israel's plans during the war never included jerusalem. israel made every effort to keep jordan out of the war. but they were pulled in by the egyptians and the syrians. your book "like dreamers" tracks the lives of the israeli paratroopers who reunified the city. what did you learn? >> well, the question that has long preoccupied me about israeli siety is how do we manage to hold together despite the tremendous internal strains that could tear another society apart, especially the left-right
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debate over the future of samarria, the territories? because each camp sees the vision of the other as an existential threat to itself. and as i was researching the story of brigade 55, which liberated the wall, i realized that some of the leaders of both the future settlement movement and the future peace movement were sharing the same metaphorical tent, the same army tent, and in some cases literally the same tent. so the extraordinary inner story of israel is how we managed to pull together. we do reserve duty every year. and then in the intervals between reserve duty we argue with each other about the consequences of the victories that we bring together. >> this was left and right fought together, liberated jerusalem. and you think that most basic of connection prevails still? it still holds together?
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>> absolutely. >> let me ask you again. michael, i'll start with you. the lasting impact of the war on israel in your opinion. the lasting impact of the war. >> the lasting impact was to change the middle east irrevocably and to create among other things the u.s.-israel strategic alliance. people fort we fought this war without that alliance. it was only on the seventh day of the war as it were that american policymakers woke up and said, whoa, there's this super power in the middle east that just defeated all these soviet-backed armies. maybe we should have an alliance with that country. what you see happening here is a direct product of the six-day war. the six-day war was what gave us peace with egypt. it's what gave us peace with jordan. it's what gave us the reunification not only of jerusalem, but the state of israel with the land of israel and was a tremendous infusion of
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jewish identity both in israel and in the united states, indeed throughout the jewish world. and the six-day war gave us security. it gave us secure borders. we didn't have secure borders before that. the state of israel, the middle east, in many ways the world would look completely different today without these six short transformative days in june 1967. >> nir barkat. nir? >> i would add to that it created internally within israelis the understanding that we have to win all wars. we have to excel. we have to outsmart an enemy. the whole high-tech sector and the whole bravery of israeli soldiers comes from the six-day, seven war. because if we beat all the arab armies tn, it creates a very, very powerful strong belief in ourselves. and i think that since then
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something good has happened to the pele of -- the israelis. very willing to be aggressive, seeking peace, seeking peace, but we know how to fight. and that created some very internal powers. i myself remember the 67 war when i saw the soldiers, the paratroope paratroopers, liberate jerusalem. that's when i decided to be a paratrooper. then a company commander in e paratroopers later when i was a young adult. so for me, it was a milestone in israeli history. [ applause ] >> a moment that cemented a sort of national self-confidence. yossi? >> well, i study the psyche of israel, the soul of israel, so my answer will be a little more abstract. 1967 bequeathed us a permanent
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sense of the possibility of vulnerability, the fear of being alone again in the international community, and the sense that the threat of genocide was not exhausted by the holocaust, which i think was an enormous shock to the jewish psyche. it bequeathed us this sense of power not in vulnerability, but certainly the sense we can protect ourselves quite adequately, and also it conveyed to us the sense of the responsibility of power and the complexity of the consequences of power. and so i feel that the people of israel are constantly weighing in some sense the lessons of may 67 and the lessons of june 67 and how do we apply those lessons to the various challenges that we face. >> nir, that prompts a question to you really about jerusalem.
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people are hearing the stories of a jerusalem divided from before the six-day war, the separation. and now a separation of east and west. what are the stories that aren't getting told and how are you continuing to work most specifically to unify the residents of the city? >> seven days ago, monday morning i took seven ambassadors that abstained in the last terrible vote. they wanted to see me in the office. i took them to the city of david to see where jesus blessed the blind. we walk on the stones, and i said to them this is where kings and prophets walked. then we went up the paved road that is now uncovered in the city of david and went to a balcony. and i showed them the city, the churches, the mosques, the synagogues that in one square kilometer we have more holy sites than anywhere else in the world. and they were stunned to see not just our past, but how jerusalem
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is open, how many people live and breathe in the city, how it works in an amazing way. then we shared with them what's happening in our high-tech, the fact that jerusalem just entered the 25 largest cities in high-tech in the world in 2016 and how our high-tech sector is working. [ applause ] >> i would like the world to see what those ambassadors saw, what a lot of people in this crowd saw. our roots and our history and our holy sites on one side, and the connectivity to the future and making a better world for the benefit of all people from all over the world. this is something we'd like to showcase and share jerusalem with the world. [ applause ] >> that brings me really to the last question i have to ask you fairly briefly. the traditional gift for a 50th anniversary is gold. of course, jerusalem is known as jerusalem of gold.
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on the golden anniversary of the city's reunification, michael let's start with you, what wish do you have for the city's future? >> i think jerusalem should be viewed by the people of the middle east and not only by the people of the middle east as an example of what can be done, not what can't be done. whether i'm conducting diplomacy in the prime minister's office or representing a party, i'm always reminded of the fact that i'm basically a two-hour drive from isis. i'm a four or five-hour drive from the civil war in iraq, three-hour drive from the civil war in sinai. an hour and a half drive from hamas in gaza. here we are in this capital of israel. jews of various stripes and observances and political outlooks, christians, muslims debating, debating the hardest issues.
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we debate them loudly, and we decide democratically without anybody raising a fist, much less firing a gun. jerusalem is an example to the middle east and the world of what can be, what the middle east can be. jerusalem, my wish, should be recognized not just by the united states, but by all of humanity as a light unto nations. >> beautiful. nir, very, very briefly, your hope for the city's future. >> jerusalem has a role in the world. it's an inclusive role. it's enabling all people from all tribes, mind y jerusalem was never divided into tribes, jews and non-jews alike to come and enjoy the holy citof the jerusalem, connect our city to the future and the past, and excel. it can be done. it is being done. >> beautiful.
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and yossi, very briefly and finally. >> my prayer for jerusalem, my city, our city, is that the international community will recognize the jewish people as the legitimate custodian of jerusalem and that we will see ourselves as the custodians of jerusalem for humanity. [ cheering and applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, what a wonderful, energizing, invigorating 50th anniversary conversation. thank you very much. thank you, everybody. thank you. ♪

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