The image of Israel being “under siege” was one few now recognised, the Six Day War conference was told.
Prof David Newman, formerly of Ben-Gurion University, said 70 percent of Israelis alive today were not alive in 1967, when Israel dramatically won the brief conflict.
Newman said many Israelis today did not know the image of a “besieged Israel”, an idea still mistakenly pushed by many Israelis and supporters of the country.
“We do ourselves an injustice when we show ourselves in this way,” he said. “We are a strong state militarily. We need to think differently about where we are.”
Israel should now think “outside the territorial box” because of settlement expansion in recent years, because “settlements have made it almost impossible to draw borders”.
On the implications for a two-state solution, Newman said “we’ve missed the opportunity”, adding that solutions such as power-sharing “that don’t require clean lines” should now be explored.
On the political legacy of the military rout of Syria, Egypt and Jordan in the summer of 1967, he said Israel had “gone from a one-party state to a one-party state”, in that previously it was dominated by left-wing parties, and ever since had been dominated by those of the right.
Dr Sara Hirschhorn, a lecturer in Israel studies at Oxford University, said the settler movement also stemmed from the war, but had undergone “vast changes” since.
In the “euphoric aftermath” of the war, Israel won an “accidental empire,” but events on the ground moved quickly thereafter, with rapid settlement expansion for economic reasons, in contrast to its ideological beginnings.