Adam LeBor

1967 & All That

Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 367pp £25 order from our bookshop

Few victories have been as fast, or as cursed, as Israel’s triumph in the Six Day War. At 7.45am on 5 June 1967, Israeli fighter pilots attacked the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces. By the end of the morning the planes were blackened wrecks. Over four hundred enemy aircraft were destroyed, many while still on the ground. The land battles would continue for another five days, but in essence, the war was won that morning. It was a bitter and humiliating blow, and one that still reverberates through the Arab world. The Israeli victory was summed up in a sour joke. Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet leader, telephones Egypt’s President Nasser after the war is over and says, ‘We have your next batch of fighter planes here. Shall we bother delivering them to you, or just blow them up ourselves on the ground?’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,