The drift to war

In his speech to Arab trade unionists on May 26, Nasser announced: "If Israel embarks on an aggression against Syria or Egypt, the battle against Israel will be a general one and not confined to one spot on the Syrian or Egyptian borders. The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel."

Speaking to the UN General Assembly in September 1960, Nasser had stated that "The only solution to Palestine is that matters should return to the condition prevailing before the error was committed - i.e., the annulment of Israel's existence." In 1964 he said, "We swear to God that we shall not rest until we restore the Arab nation to Palestine and Palestine to the Arab nation. There is no room for imperialism and there is no room for Britain in our country, just as there is no room for Israel within the Arab nation." In 1965 he asserted, "We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood."

Nasser publicly denied that Egypt would strike first and spoke of a negotiated peace if the Palestinians were allowed to return to their homeland and of a possible compromise over the Strait of Tiran.

Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in his autobiography that he found "Nasser's assurance that he did not plan an armed attack" convincing, adding that "Nasser did not want war; he wanted victory without war".[102][103] Writing from Egypt on June 4, 1967, New York Times journalist James Reston observed: "Cairo does not want war and it is certainly not ready for war. But it has already accepted the possibility, even the likelihood, of war, as if it had lost control of the situation."

Writing in 2002, American National Public Radio journalist Mike Shuster expressed a view that was prevalent in Israel before the war that the country "was surrounded by Arab states dedicated to its eradication. Egypt was ruled by Gamal Abdel Nasser, a firebrand nationalist whose army was the strongest in the Arab Middle East. Syria was governed by the radical Baathist Party, constantly issuing threats to push Israel into the sea." With what Israel saw as provocative acts by Nasser, including the blockade of the Straits and the mobilization of forces in the Sinai, creating military and economic pressure, and the United States temporizing because of its entanglement in the Vietnam War, Israel's political and military elite came to feel that preemption was not merely militarily preferable, but transformative.

Six Day War Causes

Suez Crisis aftermath

The Suez Crisis of 1956 represented a military defeat but a political victory for Egypt, and set the stage leading to the Six-Day War. In a speech delivered to the Knesset, David Ben-Gurion said that the 1949 armistice agreement with Egypt was dead and buried, and that the armistice lines were no longer valid and could not be restored. Under no circumstances would Israel agree to the stationing of UN forces on its territory or in any area it occupied.Heavy diplomatic pressure from both the United States and the Soviet Union forced Israel into a conditional withdrawal of its military from the Sinai Peninsula,[24] only after satisfactory arrangements had been made with the international force that was about to enter the canal zone.

Egypt also agreed to reopen the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, whose closure had been a significant catalyst in precipitating the Suez Crisis.

After the 1956 war, the region returned to an uneasy balance without the resolution of any of the underlying issues. At the time, no Arab state had recognized Israel. Syria, aligned with the Soviet bloc, began sponsoring guerrilla raids on Israel in the early 1960s as part of its "people's war of liberation", designed to deflect domestic opposition to the Ba'ath Party.

Water dispute

In 1964, Israel began drawing water from the Jordan River for its National Water Carrier, reducing the flow that reached Hashemite territory. The following year, the Arab states began construction of the Headwater Diversion Plan, which, once completed, would divert the waters of the Banias Stream before the water entered Israel and the Sea of Galilee, to flow instead into a dam at Mukhaiba for use by Jordan and Syria, and divert the waters of the Hasbani into the Litani River, in Lebanon. The diversion works would have reduced the installed capacity of Israel's carrier by about 35%, and Israel's overall water supply by about 11%.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked the diversion works in Syria in March, May, and August 1965, perpetuating a prolonged chain of border violence that linked directly to the events leading to war.

Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank Palestinians

The long border between Jordan and Israel was tense since the beginning of Fatah's guerrilla operations in January 1965. While Syria was the main supporter of such operations, Israel viewed the state from which the raids were perpetrated as responsible.

On the morning of November 13, the Israel Defense Force mobilized, crossed the border into the West Bank and attacked Es Samu. The attacking force consisted of 3,000-4,000 soldiers backed by tanks and aircraft. They were divided into a reserve force, which remained on the Israeli side of the border, and two raiding parties, which crossed into the West Bank.

The 48th Infantry Battalion of the Jordanian Army ran into the Israeli forces northwest of Samu; and two companies approaching from the northeast were intercepted by the Israelis, while a platoon of Jordanians armed with two 106 mm recoilless guns entered Samu. The Jordanian Air Force intervened as well and a Jordanian Hunter fighter was shot down in the action. In the ensuing battles, three Jordanian civilians and 15 soldiers were killed; 54 other soldiers and 96 civilians were wounded. The commander of the Israeli paratroop battalion, Colonel Yoav Shaham, was killed and 10 other Israeli soldiers were wounded.

Israel and Syria

In addition to sponsoring attacks against Israel, Syria repeatedly shelled Israeli civilian communities in northeastern Galilee from positions on the Golan Heights, as part of the dispute over control of the Demilitarized Zones (DMZs), small parcels of land claimed by both Israel and Syria.

Israel was accused of harassing Arab farmers in the Demilitarized Zone and opening fire on Syrian military positions, while Israeli armored tractors were cultivating Arab land in the Demilitarized Zone, backed by Israel armed forces illegally placed there.

In 1966, Egypt and Syria signed a defense pact whereby each country would support the other if it were attacked.

During a visit to London in February 1967, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban briefed journalists on Israel's "hopes and anxieties" explaining to those present that, although the governments of Lebanon, Jordan and the United Arab Republic (Egypt's official name until 1971) seemed to have decided against active confrontation with Israel, it remained to be seen whether Syria could maintain a minimal level of restraint at which hostility was confined to rhetoric.

On April 7, 1967, a minor border incident escalated into a full-scale aerial battle over the Golan Heights, resulting in the loss of six Syrian MiG-21s to Israeli Air Force (IAF) Dassault Mirage IIIs, and the latter's flight over Damascus. Tanks, heavy mortars, and artillery were used in various sections along the 47 mile (76 km) border in what was described as "a dispute over cultivation rights in the demilitarized zone south-east of Lake Tiberias." Earlier in the week, Syria had twice attacked an Israeli tractor working in the area and when it returned on the morning of April 7 the Syrians opened fire again. The Israelis responded by sending in armor-plated tractors to continue ploughing, resulting in further exchanges of fire. Israeli aircraft dive-bombed Syrian positions with 250 and 500 kg bombs. The Syrians responded by shelling Israeli border settlements heavily, and Israeli jets retaliated by bombing the village of Sqoufiye, destroying around 40 houses in the process. At 15:19 Syrian shells started falling on Kibbutz Gadot; over 300 landed within the kibbutz compound in 40 minutes. The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) attempted to arrange a ceasefire, but Syria declined to co-operate unless Israeli agricultural work was halted.

Border incidents multiplied and numerous Arab leaders, both political and military, called for an end to Israeli reprisals. Egypt, then already trying to seize a central position in the Arab world under Nasser, accompanied these declarations with plans to re-militarize the Sinai. Syria shared these views, although it didn't prepare for an immediate invasion. The Soviet Union actively backed the military needs of the Arab states.

Removal of U.N. peacekeepers from Egypt

At 10:00 p.m. on May 16, the commander of United Nations Emergency Force, General Indar Jit Rikhye, was handed a letter from General Mohammed Fawzy, Chief of Staff of the United Arab Republic, reading: "To your information, I gave my instructions to all U.A.R. armed forces to be ready for action against Israel, the moment it might carry out any aggressive action against any Arab country. Due to these instructions our troops are already concentrated in Sinai on our eastern border. For the sake of complete security of all U.N. troops which install OPs along our borders, I request that you issue your orders to withdraw all these troops immediately." Rikhye said he would report to the Secretary-General for instructions.

The Governments of India and Yugoslavia decided to withdraw their troops from UNEF, regardless of the decision of U Thant. While this was taking place, U Thant suggested that UNEF be redeployed to the Israeli side of the border, but Israel refused, arguing that UNEF contingents from countries hostile to Israel would be more likely to impede an Israeli response to Egyptian aggression than to stop that aggression in the first place. The Permanent Representative of Egypt then informed U Thant that the Egyptian government had decided to terminate UNEF's presence in the Sinai and the Gaza Strip, and requested steps that would withdraw the force as soon as possible. The UNEF commander was given the order to begin withdrawal on May 19. Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser then began the re-militarization of the Sinai, and concentrated tanks and troops there.

The withdrawal of UNEF was to be spaced over a period of some weeks. The troops were to be withdrawn by air and by sea from Port Said. The withdrawal plan envisaged that the last personnel of UNEF would leave the area on June 30, 1967. On the morning of May 27, Egypt demanded that the Canadian contingent be evacuated within 48 hours "on grounds of the attitude adopted by the Government of Canada in connection with UNEF and the United Arab Republic Government's request for its withdrawal, and "to prevent any probable reaction from the people of the United Arab Republic against the Canadian Forces in UNEF."" The withdrawal of the Canadian contingent was accelerated and completed on May 31, with the effect that UNEF was left without its logistics and air support components. In the war itself 15 members of the remaining force were killed and the rest evacuated through Israel.

The Straits of Tiran

In 1967, Israeli leaders repeatedly threatened to invade Syria and overthrow the Syrian government if Palestinian guerrilla actions across the border did not cease. On May 13, the Soviets informed Egypt officially that Israel was massing troops and was planning on invading Syria. On May 22, Egypt responded by announcing, in addition to the UN withdrawal, that the Straits of Tiran would be closed to "all ships flying Israeli flags or carrying strategic materials", with effect from May 23.

The rights of Egypt regarding the Straits of Tiran had been debated at the General Assembly pursuant to Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai following the Suez Crisis. A number of states, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States argued that the Straits were international waters, and, as such, all vessels had the right of "free and unhampered passage" through them. India, however, argued that Egypt was entitled to require foreign ships to obtain its consent before seeking access to the gulf because its territorial sea covered the Strait of Tiran. Citing international law, Israel considered the closure of the straits to be illegal, and it had stated it would consider such a blockade a casus belli in 1957 when it withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza. Egypt stated that the Gulf of Aqaba had always been a national inland waterway subject to the sovereignty of the only three legitimate littoral States — Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt — who had the right to bar enemy vessels. The representative of the United Arab Republic further stated that "Israel's claim to have a port on the Gulf was considered invalid, as Israel was alleged to have occupied several miles of coastline on the Gulfline, including Umm Rashrash, in violation of Security Council resolutions of 1948 and the Egyptian-Israel General Armistice Agreement."

Egypt and Jordan

On May 30, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. The move surprised both Egyptians and foreign observers, because President Nasser had generally been at odds with Hussein, calling him an "imperialist lackey" just days earlier.

At the end of May 1967, Jordanian forces were given to the command of an Egyptian general, Abdul Munim Riad. On the same day, Nasser proclaimed: "The armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria are poised on the borders of Israel to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation.

On June 3, days before the war, Egypt flew to Amman two battalions of commandos tasked with infiltrating Israel's borders and engaging in attacks and bombings so as to draw IDF into a Jordanian front and ease the pressure on the Egyptians. Soviet-made artillery and Egyptian military supplies and crews were also flown to Jordan.

Watch Six (6) Day War Videos and Footage

Watch Six (6) Day War Videos and Footage.

Six (6) Day War Videos and Footage Part 1, Operation Moked was launched at 7:45 am Israeli time (8:45 Egyptian time). Nearly all of Israel's 196 combat aircraft (mostly French/Dassault) were committed to the airstrike, with only twelve being held back to patrol Israeli airspace.

Six (6) Day War Videos and Footage Part 2

Six (6) Day War Videos and Footage Part 3

Six (6) Day War Videos and Footage Part 4

Six (6) Day War 1967

The Six (6) Day War 1967 or June War (Milhemet Sheshet Ha Yamim), also known as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War or the Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and June 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, known then as the United Arab Republic (UAR), Jordan, and Syria. At the war's end, Israel had seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. The status of the Israeli-occupied territories and the concurrent refugee problem, are central concerns in the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, raising issues in international law, and having far-reaching consequences in global affairs.

After the 1956 Suez Crisis, Egypt agreed to the stationing of a United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Sinai to ensure all parties would comply with the 1949 Armistice Agreements. In the following years there were numerous minor border clashes between Israel and its Arab neighbors, particularly Syria. In early November, 1966, Syria signed a mutual defense agreement with Egypt. After several attacks on Israel that killed and injured dozens of people, reportedly by the Palestinian fedayeen group Fatah, three Israeli paratroopers were killed when they ran over a mine. In response Israel attacked the city of as-Samu in the Jordanian-occupied West Bank. Jordanian units sent to engage the Israelis were quickly beaten back. King Hussein of Jordan criticized Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser for failing to come to Jordan's aid, and "hiding behind UNEF skirts". In May of 1967, Nasser received false reports from the Soviet Union that Israel was massing on the Syrian border. In response Nasser began massing his troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel's border (May 16), expelled the UNEF force from Gaza and Sinai (May 19) and took up UNEF positions at Sharm el-Sheikh, overlooking the Straits of Tiran. Israel reiterated declarations made in 1957 that any closure of the Straits would be considered an act of war, or justification for war. Nasser declared the Straits closed to Israeli shipping on May 22–23. On June 1, Israel formed a National Unity Government by widening its cabinet, and on June 4 the decision was made to go to war. The next morning, Israel launched Operation Focus, a large-scale surprise air strike that was the opening of the Six (6) Day War 1967.

Israel completed a decisive air offensive in the first two days, then carried out three successful land campaigns. The air campaign caught Egyptian aircraft still on the ground. It crippled the Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi air forces, destroyed Jordan's Air Force, and rapidly established complete air supremacy, which accelerated subsequent victories on land. The Sinai ground campaign from June 5–8 broke through Egyptian defenses, blocked their escape, and imposed disastrous losses, leading to Egypt's unconditional acceptance of a cease-fire on June 9. From June 5–7, Israel seized Jerusalem, Hebron, and the entire West Bank from Jordan. The battle with Syria for the heavily fortified Golan Heights lasted from June 9 to June 10.

The Six (6) Day War 1967 has been characterized as a preemptive war, an "inadvertent war", and an action designed to preserve the credibility of Israel's deterrence strategy, among other things. Israel and Egypt have both been described as either the victim or the aggressor. The war established Israel as the premier military power in the region and left it in control of more defensible boundaries and in a position to threaten Damascus, Cairo, and Amman. The nature and outcome of the war caused a significant realignment in the competition for power between the Arab states, brought secular nationalism into widespread disfavor among Arabs, and led to a concurrent rise in the growth and influence of Islamism in the Arab world.

Six-Day War
Part of the Arab–Israeli conflict
Six Day War Terrritories.png
Israel's territories before and after the Six Day War. The Straits of Tiran are circled, between the Gulf of Aqaba to the north and the Red Sea to the south.
Date June 5, 1967 (1967-06-05) – June 10, 1967
Location Middle East
Result Decisive Israeli victory
Israel captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
Israel Egypt
Flag of Iraq (1963-1991).svg Syria
Arab Expeditionary Forces:
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
Morocco Morocco
Algeria Algeria
Libya Libya
Tunisia Tunisia
Flag of Sudan (1956-1970).svg Sudan
Plo emblem.png PLO
Commanders and leaders
Israel Yitzhak Rabin,
Israel Moshe Dayan,
Israel Uzi Narkiss,
Israel Israel Tal,
Israel Mordechai Hod,
Israel Yeshayahu Gavish,
Israel Ariel Sharon,
Israel Ezer Weizman
Egypt Abdel Hakim Amer,
Egypt Abdul Munim Riad,
Jordan Zaid ibn Shaker,
Jordan Asad Ghanma,
Iraq Hafez al-Assad,
Iraq Abdul Rahman Arif
50,000 troops
214,000 reserves
300 combat aircraft
800 tanks

Total troops: 264,000
100,000 deployed

Egypt: 240,000
Syria, Jordan, and Iraq: 307,000
957 combat aircraft
2,504 tanks

Total troops: 547,000
240,000 deployed

Casualties and losses
776–983 killed:
4,517 wounded
15 captured,
46 aircraft destroyed
Egypt – 10,000–15,000 killed, wounded & missing. 4,338 captured
Jordan – 700–6,000 killed or missing. 533 captured.
Syria – 2,500 killed, 591 captured.
Iraq – 10 killed, 30 wounded
Total – between 11,700 and 23,500 killed 5,500+ captured, hundreds of tanks destroyed and 452+ aircraft destroyed.