Qaddafi Castigates Arabs for Failure to Take Initiative in 1967 Confrontation with Israel

Col. Muammar Qaddafi of Libya warned fellow Arabs today that hesitation at the crucial moment in the struggle with Israel would invite another defeat. The Libyan leader gave his warning in an article published in the Beirut newspaper Al Anwar which coincided with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s one-day visit to Libya. The article indirectly criticized the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt for falling to send his forces into Israel on the eve of hostilities in June 1967. He claimed that the Arabs’ hesitation lost the initiative and the result was “fatal and shameful.”

Col. Qaddafi has been the most outspoken advocate of an all-out war with Israel. In today’s article he blamed Arab hesitation on “lack of seriousness” on the part of Arab leaders and “conflicting views and collective leadership at the crucial moment.” He wrote: “Hesitancy at the crucial moment is fatal to a nation or to the individual. Unfortunately the lessons learned from it have been ignored and the price to be paid for this is heavy indeed.” He said that in 1967 “Forces were mobilized, Israeli navigation was blocked (in the Straits of Tiran), Arab air forces moved to forward positions and the broadcasts in Hebrew started. The Arabs stopped at the front lines to reorganize and to respond to appeals for restraint. At the time, minutes were more valuable than hours. But the Arabs hesitated just the same and let the enemy take the initiative.”

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