The Six-Day War and its impact on the Middle East

Middle East USA World

JERUSALEM: The Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, or Six-Day War, radically changed the map of the Middle East, opening the way to occupation and settlement of Palestinian territories by Israel.
Between June 5 and 10, Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria. It occupied Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights.
Although Israel has since withdrawn from Sinai and the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem have been annexed and the West Bank remains occupied by the Jewish state.
The lightning conflict was preceded by months of mounting tensions, with incidents flaring up in Israel and along ceasefire lines with Syria and Jordan.
Israel threatens to take action against Syria if raids continued by Palestinian group Fatah, which launched its first military operation in December 1964.
On April 7, 1967, six Syrian Mig planes are shot down during combat with Israeli planes, according to the Jewish state.
On May 16, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser demands that UN peacekeepers in the Sinai withdraw from Israel’s border.
He then blocks the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, cutting off the Israeli port of Eilat.
On May 30, King Hussein of Jordan signs a mutual defence pact in Cairo with Nasser.
At dawn on Monday, June 5, Israel stages an air assault that destroys more than 90 percent of Egypt’s air force on the tarmac.
Its armoured vehicles head for Egypt.
Arab countries declare war with Israel and Jerusalem comes under mortar fire.
On Tuesday, June 6, the Israeli army seizes Gaza, which at the time is under Egyptian administration, pushing forward into the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli troops enter Jerusalem’s Arab zone.
On Wednesday, June 7, armoured vehicles clash in the heart of the Sinai, as the Israeli army occupies the east bank of the Suez Canal. Its navy seizes Sharm el-Sheikh and clears the Gulf of Aqaba for Israeli ships.
Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem are bombarded.
Israeli forces enter Jerusalem’s Old City and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol visits the Western Wall.
Israeli forces take most of the West Bank of the Jordan River, including the towns of Bethlehem and Jericho.
Jordan accepts a ceasefire proposed by the UN.
On Thursday, June 8, the Israelis reach the Suez Canal, signalling the end of the battle for Sinai.
Overnight, Egyptian radio says Cairo is accepting a ceasefire demanded by the UN Security Council.
On Friday, June 9, Israel launches an assault on the fortified Golan Heights, capturing it from Syrian forces after a day of heavy fighting.
Towards 6:00 pm, Nasser announces on television that he is stepping down as Egypt’s president, causing consternation in the Arab world.
He performs a temporary U-turn three hours later when citizens go into the streets and ask him to stay.
Israel accepts the ceasefire.
On Saturday, June 10, fighting rages on the Syrian-Israeli front. Israel brings its whole military arsenal into play to wipe out Syria’s fortified positions.
Syria, which had already accepted the ceasefire, ceases fighting.
The war is at an end and the Arab world is in a state of shock.
In six days, Israel has broken the pan-Arab myth of Nasser, destroyed three Arab armies that threatened its existence and occupied territories stretching from the Golan Heights, to the Suez Canal and the River Jordan.
For the Palestinians, the “Naksa” — the crushing Arab defeat at the hands of Israel — was their second historic catastrophe, after the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with the creation of Israel in 1948.
During its swift 1967 campaign, Israel occupies 70,000 square kilometres of Arab territory.
Around 350,000 Palestinians were displaced, according to the UN.
In September, Israel authorises the construction of Kfar Etzion, the site of a kibbutz razed in 1948 to the south of Jerusalem. It becomes the first West Bank Jewish settlement after the 1967 war.
Although illegal under international law, settlement building has continued since.

Please follow and like us: