MIDDLE EAST

Six Day War

Six Day War

Egyptian Maneuvers in May 1967

Six Day War In May 1967, Egypt’s President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, made UN troops leave the Sinai region, which had been providing a buffer zone between Egypt and Israel. Syria stepped up its artillery bombardments of Israel (there had been artillery attacks against Israel on and off since 1956).

Then in May 1967 Egypt blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, which is a strategically important shipping route for Egypt. Arab troops also began to amass along Israel’s borders.

Israel’s Response

Six Day War Israel responded to all this by attacking the surrounding Arab states on 3rd June, believing it would be better for it to strike first. Israel’s attacks were tremendously effective, with its forces taking out the majority of the Arab states’ air power within 24 hours. Israel followed this up through having its ground forces push out from Israel, inflicting heavy defeats on the Arab states, including Egypt. The UN demanded a ceasefire on 10th June, and all sides agreed to it. Israel gained territory from the war, in the form of Gaza, Sinai and the West Bank.

Once again Israel’s military superiority had allowed it to humiliate enemies who had been calling incessantly for Israel’s destruction in the preceding years. By contrast, the Arab states, in spite of their rhetoric, were actually fairly unprepared for the war. Another consequence of the war was that, due to Israel’s territorial gains, there were now over one million Palestinian Arabs living inside its territory.

After this third defeat, some Arab states decided to take a less hostile stance towards Israel.