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As an example of ongoing tensions in the Middle East, the Six Day War is a study in how to start an armed conflict, as well as how to end one quickly. Here is some information about events that led to the Six Day War, and how this 1967 Arab-Israeli War still has repercussions today for all parties concerned.
While political and religious tensions have long been a hallmark of the relations between Arabs and Israelis, many feel that the factors that led to the open conflict of the Six Days War have their roots in events that occurred in the year 1965. Beginning early in that year and continuing on right up to the declaration of the June War in 1967, Palestinian attacks on the borders of Israel created heightened tensions that were already brewing from previous conflicts.
Based in Syria, these border attacks were understood to be conducted under the auspices of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and impacted not only Israel but also Jordan and Lebanon. Syria, fearing retaliation and invasion from Israel, appealed for support from Egypt. Egypt then moved troops from the Sinai Peninsula and relocated them along the Syrian borders. Along the same time, Egypt also signed a mutual defense agreement with Jordan, ensuring mutual support in the event of an attack by Israel. The agreements between the three Arab nations set the stage for the Six Day War to emerge.
Surrounded by those that were viewed as enemies in league against Israel, the decision was made to strike and to strike hard. On 5 Jun 1967, the Third Arab-Israeli War commenced. In short order, Israel had captured the Sinai Peninsula, the old city of Jerusalem, the West Bank of the Jordan River, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip. The early success of Israel during the Six Days’ War is sometimes remembered as An Naksah, or "The Setback," in Palestinian history. With a combination of strategy and highly competent armies and air power, Israel set out to make what was to be known as the Six Day War a short affair.
Sustaining major damage before it could ever get into the air, the Egyptian air force was crippled early on. In like manner, the Syrian and Jordanian air forces sustained heavy damage. Israel’s preemptive strike had been effective, and the Six Day War came to an end on 10 June 1967.
Unfortunately, the conflict between the Arab nations and Israel continued, partly over the occupied territories that Israel claimed from the war. The intervention of the United Nations did little to ease the issues, as French and English versions of the UN effort to come to an amicable solution did not read exactly the same. The end result was Israel claiming compliance with the English version of Resolution 242 and seeing no further need to discuss the matter. As late as 1982, the issue of the resolution remained a problem.
Indeed, relations between Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Israel are still strained today, with no real resolution in sight. While the Six Day War acted as a means of Israel demonstrating their competence in battle and strategy, as well as allowing for a unified Jerusalem for the first time in more than 1800 years, little else was accomplished. Still, the Six Day War did tip the balance of power in the Middle East somewhat, and led to recognition by the United States that Israel could be a very valuable ally.
A good resume of events although it omits two key facts:
1. Egypt's general Nasser requested the UN buffer force leave the border between Egypt/Israel, which it did with alacrity, leaving the way clear for Egypt to mobilize its troops into Sinai desert.
2. Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, removing Israel's supply route for oil. This was the casus belli.
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