Nidal Foqaha is Director-General of the Palestinian Peace Coalition-Geneva Initiative in Ramallah. He served as an advisor at the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Secretariat General, and contributed to the establishment of several civil society organizations and initiatives, including the Freedom Forum Palestine, an organisation that promotes civil liberties in Palestine. In this interview with BICOM Research and Communications Intern Jack May, first published in Fathom, Foqaha discusses the legacies of the Six-Day War at 50.
Jack May: What are the legacies of the 1967 war for Palestinians today?
Nidal Foqaha: 1967 was a turning point in the history of the Palestinians and the whole Middle East in general. During the era when Palestine was under the British mandate, Palestine witnessed a significant socio-political movement, which unfortunately did not have the opportunity to turn into a Palestinian political entity due to the establishment of Israel. Yet, the 1967 war made such dream event far more, leaving more than 400,000 refugees, who mainly left to Jordan. This meant hundreds of Palestinian villages and small communities were evacuated, then destroyed. The 1967 war created a conflict which is still with us today, event after 50 years.
The June 1967 war is strongly connected to the 1948 war. After 1948 Israel definitely wanted to control the remaining territories of Palestine – the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – which they managed to do in 1967. Between the year 1948 and the 1967 war, Israel was a strong and well established state, while the Palestinians were divided into two political systems – the West Bank and East Jerusalem under Jordan, and the Gaza Strip under Egyptian rule. The 1967 war affected negatively the social fabric of the Palestinian society by dividing it again; the East Jerusalemites under Israeli sovereignty, those in the occupied West Bank, and the millions living as refugees in the surrounding Arab countries.
1967’s significant stems from the fact that it left the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the Israeli occupation, the issue which deprived the Palestinians the dream to have an independent state of their own. Even more, the 1967 war paved the way for further wars and acts of hostility between Israel and neighbouring Arab countries as well as the Palestinians. Further, it contributed to prolonging conflict to last until today, and for thousands of Israeli and Palestinian to pay a heavy price of their lives, and the lives of their beloved ones.
Read the full interview in Fathom.