SixDay War

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The Six-Day War (Hebrew: מלחמת ששת הימים transliteration: Milhemet Sheshet Hayamim), also known as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Six Days' War, or June War, was fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. It began when Israel launched what it considered a pre-emptive attack against Egypt, following the latter's closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and the deployment of troops in the Sinai near the Israeli border, and after months of increasingly tense border incidents and diplomatic crises. By its end Israel controlled the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.



The 1956 Suez War was a military defeat, but a political victory, for Egypt. Heavy diplomatic pressure from both the United States and the Soviet Union forced Israel to withdraw its military from the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. After the 1956 war Egypt agreed to the stationing of a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, U.N.E.F. (United Nations Emergency Force), to keep that border region demilitarized, and prevent guerrillas from crossing the border into Israel. As a result the border between Egypt and Israel quieted for a while.

The aftermath of the 1956 war saw the region return to an uneasy balance without any real resolution of the region's difficulties. At the time no Arab state had recognized Israel. Syria, aligned with the Soviet bloc, began sponsoring guerilla raids on Israel in the early 60's as part of its "people's war of liberation" designed to deflect domestic opposition to the Ba'ath Party. [1]

Israel's National Water Carrier

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Left to right, Israeli generals Uzi Narkiss, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin entering Jerusalem in June 1967

In 1964, Israel began withdrawing water from the Jordan river for its National Water Carrier. The following year the Arab states began construction of the Headwater Diversion Plan, which, once completed, would divert the waters of the Dan/Baniyas so that the water would not enter Israel and the Sea of Galilee, but rather flow into a dam at Mukhaiba for Jordan and Syria and divert the waters of the Hasbani into the Litani in Lebanon. The diversion works would have reduced the installed capacity of Israel's carrier by about 35 per cent. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) attacked the diversion works in Syria in March, May, and August of 1965 perpetuating a prolonged chain of border violence that linked directly to the events leading to war. [2]

Israel and Jordan: The Samu Incident

On 12 November an Israeli border patrol hit a mine, killing three soldiers and injuring six others. The Israelis believed the mine had been planted by terrorists from Es Samu on the West Bank. Early on the morning 13 November, 1966 King Hussein, who had been having secret meetings with Abba Eban and Golda Meir for three years concerning peace and secure borders, received an unsolicited message from his Israeli contacts stating that Israel had no intention of attacking Jordan. [3] However, at 5:30 am in what Hussein described as an action carried out "under the pretext of 'reprisals against the terrorist activities of the P.L.O.' Israeli forces attacked Es Samu, a Jordanian village of 4,000 inhabitants, all of them Palestinian refugees whom the Israelis accused of harboring terrorists from Syria". [4]

In "Operation Shredder", Israel's largest military operation since 1956, a force of around 3,000-4,000 soldiers backed by tanks and aircraft 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 larger force of 8 Centurion tanks followed by 400 paratroopers mounted in 40 open-topped half-tracks and 60 engineers in 10 more half-tracks headed for Samu, while a smaller force of 3 tanks and 100 paratroppers and engineers in 10 half-tracks headed towards two smaller villages, Kirbet El-Markas and Kirbet Jimba, on a mission to blow up houses. In Samu, Israeli soldiers destroyed the village's only clinic, a girls' school, the post office, a coffee shop and around 140 houses. The 48th Infantry Battalion of the Jordanian army, commanded by Major Asad Ghanma, ran into the Israeli forces north-west of Samu and two companies approaching from the north-east were intercepted by the Israelis, while a platoon of Jordanians armed with two 106 mm recoilless guns entered Samu. In the ensuing battles three Jordanian civilians and fifteen soldiers were killed; fifty-four other soldiers and ninety-six civilians were wounded. The commander of the Israeli paratroop battalion, Colonel Yoav Shaham, was killed and ten other Israeli soldiers were wounded. [5] [6]

Two days later in a memo to President Johnson his Special Assistant Walt Rostow wrote "retaliation is not the point in this case. This 3000-man raid with tanks and planes was out of all proportion to the provocation and was aimed at the wrong target" and went on to describe the damage done to U.S. and Israeli interests: "They've wrecked a good system of tacit cooperation between Hussein and the Israelis... They've undercut Hussein. We've spent $500 million to shore him up as a stabilizing factor on Israel's longest border and vis-a-vis Syria and Iraq. Israel's attack increases the pressure on him to counter attack not only from the more radical Arab governments and from the Palestinians in Jordan but also from the Army, which is his main source of support and may now press for a chance to recoup its Sunday losses... They've set back progress toward a long term accommodation with the Arabs... They may have persuaded the Syrians, who are the main troublemakers, that Israel didn't dare attack Soviet-protected Syria but could attack US-backed Jordan with impunity." [7]

Facing a storm of criticism from Jordanians, Palestinians and his Arab neighbours for failing to protect Samu, Hussein ordered a nation-wide mobilization on 20 November. [8]

On 25 November the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 228 unanimously deploring "the loss of life and heavy damage to property resulting from the action of the Government of Israel on 13 November 1966", censuring "Israel for this large-scale military action in violation of the United Nations Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan" and emphasising "to Israel that actions of military reprisal cannot be tolerated and that, if they are repeated, the Security Council will have to consider further and more effective steps as envisaged in the Charter to ensure against the repetition of such acts." [9]

In a telegram to the State Department on 18 May, 1967 the U.S. ambassador in Amman, Findley Burns, reported that Hussein had expressed the opinion in a conversation the day before that "Jordan is just as likely a target in the short run and, in his opinion, an inevitable one in the long run... Israel has certain long range military and economic requirements and certain traditional religious and historic aspirations which in his opinion they have not yet satisfied or realized. The only way in which these goals can be achieved, he said, is by an alteration of the status of the West Bank of Jordan. Thus in the King's view it is quite natural for the Israelis to take advantage of any opportunity and force any situation which would move them closer to this goal. His concern is that current area conditions provide them with just such opportunities-terrorism, infiltration and disunity among the Arabs being the most obvious," and recalling the Samu incident "Hussein said that if Israel launched another Samu-scale attack against Jordan he would have no alternative but to retaliate or face an internal revolt. If Jordan retaliates, asked Hussein, would not this give Israel a pretext to occupy and hold Jordanian territory? Or, said Hussein, Israel might instead of a hit-and-run type attack simply occupy and hold territory in the first instance. He said he could not exclude these possibilities from his calculations and urged us not to do so even if we felt them considerably less than likely." [10]

Israel and Syria

In addition to sponsoring attacks against Israel (often through Jordanian territory, much to King Hussein's chagrin), Syria also began shelling Israeli civilian communities in north-eastern Galilee, from positions on the Golan Heights, as part of the dispute over control of the Demilitarized Zones (DZs), small parcels of land claimed by both Israel and Syria. [11]

In 1966, Egypt and Syria signed a military alliance, initiated for both sides if either were to go to war. According to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad, Egypt had been persuaded to enter into the mutual defence pact by the Soviet Union. From the Soviet perspective the pact had two objectives: (1) to reduce the chances of a punitive attack on Syria by Israel and (2) to bring the Syrians under what they considered to be Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s moderate influence. [12]

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Report to the Foreign Office from the British Embassy in Damascus on the clash between Israel and Syria on 7 April, 1967 over cultivation of disputed land

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 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. [13]

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 III, and the latter's flight over Damascus. [14] 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 7 April the Syrians opened fire again. The Israelis responded by sending in armour-plated tractors to continue ploughing, resulting in further exchanges of fire. Israeli aircraft dive-bombed Syrian positions with 250 and 500kg bombs. The Syrians responded by shelling Israeli border settlements heavily and Israeli jets retaliated by bombing the vilage of Sqoufiye destroying around 40 houses. At 1519 Syrian shells started falling on Kibbutz Gadot; over 300 landed within the kibbutz compound in 40 minutes. [15] UNTSO attempted to arrange a ceasefire, but Syria declined to co-operate unless Israeli agricultural work was halted. [16]

Speaking to a Mapai party meeting in Jerusalem on 11 May premier Eshkol warned that Israel would not hesitate to use air power on the scale of 7 April in response to continued border terrorism and on the same day Israeli envoy Gideon Rafael presented a letter to the president of the Security Council warning that Israel would "act in self-defense as circumstances warrant". [17] Writing from Tel Aviv on 12 May, James Feron reported that some Israeli leaders had decided to use force against Syria "of considerable strength but of short duration and limited in area" and quoted "one qualified observer" who "said it was highly unlikely that the United Arab Republic, Syria's closest ally in the Arab world, would enter the hostilities unless the Israeli attack were extensive". [18] In early May the Israeli cabinet authorized a limited strike against Syria, but Rabin's renewed demand for a large-scale strike to discredit or topple the Ba'ath regime was opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. [19] 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 did not prepare for an immediate invasion. The Soviet Union actively backed the military needs of the Arab states. It was later revealed that on 13 May a Soviet intelligence report given by Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny to Egyptian Vice President Anwar Sadat claimed falsely that Israeli troops were massing along the Syrian border. [20] [21]

Withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force

At 10:00 pm on 16 May, the commander of U.N.E.F., 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 intructions 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. [22]

On 18 May, Egypt formally requested the withdrawal of U.N.E.F. and UN Secretary-General U Thant complied, thus removing the international buffer which had existed along the Egyptian-Israeli border since 1957. [23] The UN asked to move its force to Israel, but Israel refused to allow UN peacekeepers to deploy on its territory. Nasser then began the re-militarization of the Sinai, and concentrated tanks and troops on the border with Israel.

The Straits of Tiran

On 23 May, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to all shipments bound for Israel, thus blockading the Israeli port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba. Also, Nasser stated, "Under no circumstances can we permit the Israeli flag to pass through the Gulf of Aqaba." While most of Israel's commerce used Mediterranean ports, and, according to John Quigley, no Israeli-flag vessel had used the port of Eilat for the two years preceding June 1967, oil carried on non-Israeli flag vessels to Eilat was a very significant import.[24] [25] There were ambiguities, however, about how rigorous the blockade would be, particularly whether it would apply to non-Israeli flag vessels. Citing international law [26] 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. [27] The Arab states disputed Israel's right of passage through the Straits, noting that they had not signed the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone specifically because of article 16(4) which provided Israel with that right. [28] In the UN General Assembly debates immediately after the war, many nations argued that even if international law gave Israel the right of passage, Israel was not entitled to attack Egypt to assert it because the closure was not an "armed attack" as defined by article 51 of the UN Charter. Similarly, international law professor John Quigley argues that under the doctrine of proportionality, Israel would only be entitled to use such force as would be necessary to secure its right of passage. [29]

Israel viewed the closure of the straits with some alarm and the U.S. and U.K. were asked to open the Straits of Tiran, as they guaranteed they would in 1957. Harold Wilson's proposal of an international maritime force to quell the crisis was adopted by President Johnson, but received little support, with only Britain and the Netherlands offering to contribute ships.

Egypt and Jordan

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1964 Jordanian postal stamp marking the first Arab Summit Conference, 13 January 1964 at which leaders resolved to work "to organize the Palestinian people and to enable them to take their role in the liberation of their homeland and self-determination"

Nasser's pan-Arabism had numerous supporters in Jordan (in spite of Hussein, who felt it threatened his authority); and so, on May 30, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. President Nasser, who had called King Hussein an "imperialist lackey" just days earlier, declared: "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight." [30]

At the end of May 1967, Jordanian forces were given to the command of an Egyptian General Abdul Munim Riad. [31] Israel called upon Jordan numerous times to refrain from hostilities. Hussein, however, was caught on the horns of a galling dilemma: allow Jordan to be dragged into war and face the brunt of the Israeli response, or remain neutral and risk full-scale insurrection among his own people. Army Commander-in-Chief General Sharif Zaid Ben Shaker warned in a press conference that "If Jordan does not join the war a civil war will erupt in Jordan". [32]

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Nasser, backed by Arab states, kicks Israel into the Gulf of Aqaba. Pre-1967 War cartoon. Al-Jarida newspaper, Lebanon.

Israel's own sense of concern regarding Jordan's future role originated in Jordanian control of the West Bank. This put Arab forces just 17 kilometers from Israel's coast, a jump-off point from which a well co-ordinated tank assault could cut Israel in two within half an hour. Although the size of Jordan's army meant that Jordan was probably incapable of executing such a maneuver, the country was perceived as having a history of being used by other Arab states as staging grounds for operations against Israel; thus, attack from the West Bank was always viewed by the Israeli leadership as a threat to Israel's existence. At the same time several other Arab states not bordering Israel, including Iraq, Sudan, Kuwait and Algeria, began mobilising their armed forces.

The drift to war

Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in his autobiography that when he was told by U Thant of Nasser's promise not to attack Israel he found this reassurance convincing as "...Nasser did not want war; he wanted victory without war". [33] [34] Writing from Egypt on 4 June 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." [35]

In a speech before Israeli National Defense College, Menachem Begin stated that Israel was the one who made the decision to attack: "The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him." However, he reminded his audience of the wars where Arabs were the ones who made the final decision to attack. Each of them took a terrible toll in human lives in Israel, up to 1% of the total population in the War of Independence. In this instance, he felt pre-emption was justified, and therefore quickly added: "This was a war of self-defense in the noblest sense of the term." [36] 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." [37] With what Israel saw as provocative acts by Nasser, including the blockade of the Straits and the mobilisation of forces in the Sinai, creating military and economic pressure, and the United States temporizing because of its entanglement in Vietnam War, Israel's political and military elite came to feel that preemption was not merely militarily preferable, but transformative.

The condition of Egypt's forces

Some of Nasser's commanders believed that Egypt was in no position to fight. A third of its troops were bogged down in a civil war in Yemen, while Egyptian military communication and supply lines were in bad shape. Nasser's ambivalence about his goals and objectives was reflected in his orders to the military. The general staff changed the operational plan four times in May 1967, with each change requiring the redeployment of troops to a new location, with the inevitable toll on both men and vehicles. Towards the end of May Nasser finally forbade the general staff from proceeding with the Qahir ("Victory") plan, which called for a light infantry screen in the forward fortifications with the bulk of the forces held back to conduct a massive counterattack against the main Israeli advance when identified, and ordered a forward defense of the Sinai. [38] In the mean time, he continued to take actions intended to increase the level of mobilisation of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, in order to bring unbearable pressure on Israel.

Diplomacy and intelligence assessments

The Israeli cabinet met on 23 May and decided to launch a pre-emptive strike if the Straits of Tiran were not re-opened by 25 May. Following an approach from US Undersecretary of State Eugene Rostow to allow time for the negotiation of a nonviolent solution Israel agreed to a delay of ten days to two weeks. [39]

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Freshly informed by CIA assessments contradicting a supposed pessimistic Israeli estimate of Arab military capabilities, Johnson, in the presence of Secretary McNamara and other senior officials, hears out Abba Eban on 26 May 1967

On 26 May 1967, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban landed in Washington with the goal of ascertaining from the American administration its position in the event of the outbreak of war. As soon as Eban arrived, he was handed a cable from the Israeli government, and in it the false information that Israel had learned of an Egyptian and Syrian plan to launch a war of annihilation against Israel within the next 48 hours. Eban met with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and finally with President Johnson. The Americans said their intelligence sources could not corroborate the claim; the Egyptian positions in the Sinai remained defensive. Eban left the White House distraught. Historian Michael Oren explains his reaction: "Eban was livid. Unconvinced that Nasser was either determined or even able to attack, he now saw Israelis inflating the Egyptian threat - and flaunting their weakness - in order to extract a pledge that the President, Congress-bound, could never make. 'An act of momentous irresponsibility... eccentric...' were his words for the cable, which, he wrote, 'lacked wisdom, veracity and tactical understanding. Nothing was right about it'." [40] In a lecture given in 2002, Oren said, "Johnson sat around with his advisors and said, ‘What if their intelligence sources are better than ours?’ Johnson decided to fire off a Hotline message to his counterpart in the Kremlin, Alexey Kosygin, in which he said, ‘We've heard from the Israelis, but we can't corroborate it, that your proxies in the Middle East, the Egyptians, plan to launch an attack against Israel in the next 48 hours. If you don't want to start a global crisis, prevent them from doing that.’ At 2:30 am on 27 May, Soviet Ambassador to Egypt Dimitri Pojidaev knocked on Nasser's door and read him a personal letter from Kosygin in which he said, ‘We don't want Egypt to be blamed for starting a war in the Middle East. If you launch that attack, we cannot support you.’ `Amer consulted his sources in the Kremlin, and they corroborated the substance of Kosygin's message. Despondent, Amer told the commander of Egypt's air force, Major General Mahmud Sidqi, that the operation was cancelled." [41] According to then Egyptian Vice-President Hussein al Shafei as soon as Nasser knew what Amer planned he cancelled the operation. [42]

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CIA Analysis of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The first page of the draft of the "special estimate" that predicted the outcome of the war

On 30 May Nasser responded to Johnson's request of eleven days earlier and agreed to send his Vice President, Zakkariya Muhieddin, to Washington on 7 June to explore a diplomatic settlement in "precisely the opening the White House had sought". [43] US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was bitterly disappointed by Israel's pre-emptive strike on 5 June as he had been certain he would have been able to find a diplomatic solution if the meeting had gone ahead. [44] Historian Michael Oren writes that Rusk was "mad as hell" and that Johnson later wrote "I have never concealed my regret that Israel decided to move when it did". [45]

Within Israel's political leadership, it was decided that if the US would not act, and if the UN could not act, then Israel would have to act. On 1 June, Moshe Dayan was made Israeli Defense Minister, and on 3 June the Johnson administration gave an ambiguous statement; Israel continued to prepare for war. Israel's attack against Egypt on June 5 began what would later be dubbed the Six-Day War. Martin van Creveld explains the impetus to war: "...the concept of 'defensible borders' was not even part part of the IDFs own vocabulary. Anyone who will look for it in the military literature of the time will do so in vain. Instead, Israel's commanders based their thought on the 1948 war and, especially, their 1956 triumph over the Egyptians in which, from then chief of staff Dayan down, they had gained their spurs. When the 1967 crisis broke they felt certain of their ability to win a 'decisive, quick and elegant' victory, as one of their number, General Haim Bar Lev, put it, and pressed the government to start the war as soon as possible". [46]

The confidence of Israel's leaders was well founded. In May 1967 the Egyptian army had a nominal strength of around 150,000, but 50,000-70,000 troops, including the elite units, were fighting in the civil war in Yemen. [47] Jordan's army had a total strength of 55,000, [48] but it too was embroiled in the fighting in Yemen. Syria's army had 75,000 troops. [49] The IDF had a total strength, including reservists, of 264,000. [50] James Reston, writing in the New York Times on 23 May 1967 noted, "In discipline, training, morale, equipment and general competence his [Nasser's] army and the other Arab forces, without the direct assistance of the Soviet Union, are no match for the Israelis... Even with 50,000 troops and the best of his generals and air force in Yemen, he has not been able to work his way in that small and primitive country, and even his effort to help the Congo rebels was a flop." [51]


Operation Focus

Israel's first and most important move was a pre-emptive attack on the Egyptian Air Force. It was by far the largest and the most modern of all the Arab air forces, sporting about 450 combat aircraft, all of them Soviet-built and relatively new.

Tu-16 of the Egyptian Air Force

Of particular concern to the Israelis were the 30 TU-16 Badger medium bombers, capable of inflicting heavy damage to Israeli military and civilian centers. [52] On 5 June at 7:45 Israeli time, as air alarms sounded all over Israel, the Israeli Air Force left the skies of Israel, sending all but four of its 197 operational jets in a mass attack against Egypt's airfields. [53] Egyptian defensive infrastructure was extremely poor, and no airfields were yet equipped with armored bunkers capable of protecting Egypt's warplanes in the event of an attack. The Israeli warplanes headed out over the Mediterranean before turning towards Egypt. Meanwhile, the Egyptians didn't help themselves by effectively shutting down their entire air defence system: they were worried that rebel Egyptian forces would shoot down the plane carrying Field Marshal Amer and Lieutenant-General Sidqi Mahmoud, who were en route from al Maza to Bir Tamada in the Sinai to meet the commanders of the troops stationed there. In the event this did not make a great deal of difference as the Israeli pilots came in below Egyptian radar cover and well below the lowest point at which its batteries of SAM-2 surface-to-air missiles could bring down an aircraft. [54] The Israelis employed a mixed attack strategy; bombing and strafing runs against the planes themselves, and tarmac-shredding penetration bombs dropped on the runways that rendered them unusable, leaving any undamaged planes unable to take off, helpless targets for the next wave. The attack was successful beyond the wildest dreams of its planners, destroying virtually all of the Egyptian Air Force on the ground with few Israeli casualties. Over 300 aircraft and 100 combat pilots were lost. [55] The Israelis lost 19 of their planes mostly to operational losses. This attack guaranteed Israeli air superiority during the rest of the war.

Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula

Israeli forces concentrated on the border with Egypt included 6 armored brigades, one infantry brigade, one mechanized infantry brigade, 3 paratroop brigades and 700 tanks giving a total of around 70,000 men. The Egyptian forces consisted of 7 divisions, four armoured, two infantry, and one mechanized infantry. Overall, Egypt had around 100,000 troops and 900-950 tanks in the Sinai, backed by 1,100 APCs and 1000 artillery pieces. [56] This arrangement was based on the Soviet doctrine, where mobile armor units at strategic depth provide a dynamic defense while infantry units engage in defensive battles.

The northernmost Israeli division, consisting of three brigades and commanded by Israel Tal, one of Israel's most prominent armor commanders advanced slowly through the Gaza Strip and El-Arish, which were not heavily protected. The central division (Avraham Yoffe) and the southern division (Ariel Sharon), however, entered the heavily defended Abu-Ageila-Kusseima region. Egyptian forces there included one infantry division (the 2nd), a battalion of tank destroyers and a tank regiment.

At that moment, Sharon initiated an attack, precisely planned and carried out. He sent out two of his brigades to the north of Um-Katef, the first one ordered to break through the defenses at Abu-Ageila to the south, and the second to block the road to El-Arish and to encircle Abu-Ageila from the east. At the same time, a paratrooper force was landed there and destroyed the artillery, preventing it from engaging Israeli armor. Combined forces of armor, paratroopers, infantry, artillery and combat engineers attacked the Egyptian disposition from the front flanks and rear, cutting the enemy off. The breakthrough battles which were in sandy areas and minefields, continued for 3 and-a-half days until Abu-Ageila fell.

Many of the Egyptian units remained intact and could be scrambled to prevent Israeli units from reaching the Suez Canal or engage in heavy combat in the attempt to reach the canal. However, when the Egyptian Minister of Defense, Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer heard about the fall of Abu-Ageila, he panicked and ordered all units in the Sinai to retreat. This order effectively meant the defeat of Egypt.

Due to the Egyptians' retreat, the Israeli Command decided not to pursue the Egyptian units but rather to bypass the Egyptian units and destroy them in the mountainous passes of West Sinai. Therefore, in the following two days (June 6 and 7) all three Israeli divisions (Sharon and Tal were joined by an armored brigade each) rushed westwards and reached the passes. Sharon's division first went southward then westward to Mitla Pass. It was joined there by parts of Yoffe's division, while its other units blocked the Gidi Pass. Tal's units stopped at various points to the length of the Suez Canal.

Israel's blocking action was only partially successful. Only the Gidi pass was captured before the Egyptians approached it, but at other places Egyptian units did manage to pass through and cross the Canal to safety. Nevertheless the Israeli victories were impressive. In four days of operations, Israel defeated the largest and most heavily equipped Arab army, leaving numerous points in the Sinai filled with hundreds of burning or abandoned Egyptian vehicles.

On 8 June, Israel had captured the Sinai by sending infantry units to Ras-Sudar on the western coast of the peninsula. Sharm El-Sheikh, at its southern tip, had already been captured a day earlier by units of the Israeli Navy.

Several tactical elements made the swift Israeli advance possible: first, the complete air superiority the IAF had achieved over its Egyptian counterpart; second, the determined implementation of an innovative battle plan; and third, the lack of coordination among Egyptian troops. These would prove to be decisive elements on Israel's other fronts as well.

West Bank

Jordan was reluctant to enter the war. Some claim that Nasser used the obscurity of the first hours of the conflict to convince Hussein that he was victorious; he claimed as evidence a radar sighting of a squadron of Israeli aircraft returning from bombing raids in Egypt which he claimed to be Egyptian aircraft en route to attacking Israel. One of the Jordanian brigades stationed in the West Bank was sent to the Hebron area in order to link with the Egyptians. Hussein decided to attack.

Prior to the war, Jordanian forces included 11 brigades (total of around 55,000 troops), equipped by some 300 modern Western tanks. Of them, 9 brigades were deployed in the West Bank and 2 in the Jordan valley. The Jordanian ground army was relatively well-equipped and well-trained. Furthermore, Israeli post-war briefings claimed that the Jordanian staff acted professionally as well, but was always left "half a turn" behind by the Israeli moves. The Royal Jordanian Air Force, however, consisted of only about 20 Hawker Hunter fighters, obsolete by all standards.

Israeli Central Command forces consisted of five brigades. The first two were permanently stationed near Jerusalem and were called the "Jerusalem" brigade and the mechanized "Harel" brigade. A paratrooper brigade was summoned from the Sinai front, Mordechai Gur's 35th. An armored brigade was allocated from the General Staff reserve and brought to the Latrun area. The 10th armored brigade was stationed north of Samaria. The Northern Command provided a division (3 brigades) which was stationed to the north of Samaria and led by Elad Peled.

On the morning of 5 June, Jordanian forces made thrusts in the area of Jerusalem, occupying Government House used as the headquarters for the UN observers and shelled the city. Units in Qalqiliya fired in the direction of Tel-Aviv. The Royal Jordanian Air Force attacked Israeli airfields. Both air and artillery attacks caused little damage. Israeli units were scrambled to attack Jordanian forces in the West Bank. In the afternoon of that same day, Israeli Air Force (IAF) strikes destroyed the Royal Jordanian Air Force. By the evening of 5 June, the infantry Jerusalem brigade moved south of Jerusalem, while the mechanized Harel encircled it from the north.

On June 6, the Israeli units attacked: The reserve paratroop brigade completed the Jerusalem encirclement in the area called "The Ammunition Hill" (which was the site of a bloody battle). The infantry brigade attacked the fortress at Latrun capturing it at daybreak, and advanced through Beit Horon towards Ramallah. The Harel brigade continued its push to the mountainous area of north-west Jerusalem, linking the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University with the city of Jerusalem. By the evening, the brigade arrived in Ramallah.

The Jordanian forces in Samaria amounted to 4 divisions, one of them being the elite armored 40th. The IAF caught the 60th Jordanian Brigade on the road from Jericho to reinforce Jerusalem and destroyed it. One battalion from Peled's division was sent to check Jordanian defenses in the Jordan Valley. A brigade belonging to Peled's division captured Western Samaria, another captured Jenin and the third (equipped with light French AMX-13s) engaged Jordanian Pattons main battle tanks to the east.

On 7 June heavy fighting ensued. Gur's paratroopers entered the Old City of Jerusalem via the Lion's Gate, and captured the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. The Jerusalem brigade then reinforced them, and continued to the south, capturing Judea, Gush Etzion and Hebron. The Harel brigade proceeded eastward, descending to the Jordan river. In Samaria, one of Peled's brigades seized Nablus; then it joined one of Central Command's armored brigades to fight the Jordanian forces which held the advantage of superior equipment and were equal in numbers to the Israelis.

Again, the air superiority of the IAF proved paramount as it immobilized the enemy, leading to its defeat. One of Peled's brigades joined with its Central Command counterparts coming from Ramallah, and the remaining two blocked the Jordan river together with the Central Command's 10th (the latter crossed the Jordan river into the East Bank to provide cover for Israeli combat engineers while they blew the bridges, but was quickly pulled back because of American pressure).

Golan Heights

File:1967 Six Day War - Battle of Golan Heights.jpg
The Battle of Golan Heights, June 9-10

During the evening of 5 June, Israeli air strikes destroyed two thirds of the Syrian Air Force, and forced the remaining third to retreat to distant bases, without playing any further role in the ensuing warfare. A minor Syrian force tried to capture the water plant at Tel Dan (the subject of a fierce escalation two years earlier). Several Syrian tanks are reported to have sunk in the Jordan river. In any case, the Syrian command abandoned hopes of a ground attack, and began a massive shelling of Israeli towns in the Hula Valley instead.

7 June and 8th passed in this way. At that time, a debate had been going on in the Israeli leadership whether the Golan Heights should be assailed as well. Military advice was that the attack would be extremely costly, as it would be an uphill battle against a strongly fortified enemy. The western side of the Golan Heights consists of a rock escarpment that rises 500 metres (1700 ft) from the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River to a more gently sloping plateau. Moshe Dayan believed such an operation would yield losses of 30,000, and opposed it bitterly. Levi Eshkol, on the other hand, was more open to the possibility of an operation in the Golan Heights, as was the head of the Northern Command, David Elazar, whose unbridled enthusiasm for and confidence in the operation may have eroded Dayan's reluctance. Eventually, as the situation on the Southern and Central fronts cleared up, Moshe Dayan became more enthusiastic about the idea, and he authorized the operation.

The Syrian army consisted of about 75,000 men grouped in 9 brigades, supported by an adequate amount of artillery and armor. Israeli forces used in combat consisted of two brigades (one armored led by Albert Mandler and the Golani Brigade) in the northern part of the front, and another two (infantry and one of Peled's brigades summoned from Jenin) in the center. The Golan Heights' unique terrain (mountainous slopes crossed by parallel streams every several kilometres running east to west), and the general lack of roads in the area channeled both forces along east-west axes of movement and restricting the ability of units to support those on either flank. Thus the Syrians could move north-south on the plateau itself, and the Israelis could move north-south at the base of the Golan escarpment. An advantage Israel possessed was the excellent intelligence collected by Mossad operative Eli Cohen (who was captured and executed in Syria in 1965) regarding the Syrian battle positions.

The IAF, which had been attacking Syrian artillery for four days prior to the attack, was ordered to attack Syrian positions with all its force. While the well-protected artillery was mostly undamaged, the ground forces staying on the Golan plateau (6 of the 9 brigades) became unable to organize a defense. By the evening of 9 June, the four Israeli brigades had broken through to the plateau, where they could be reinforced and replaced.

On the next day, June 10, the central and northern groups joined in a pincer movement on the plateau, but that fell mainly on empty territory as the Syrian forces fled. Several units joined by Elad Peled climbed to the Golan from the south, only to find the positions mostly empty as well. During the day, the Israeli units stopped after obtaining maneuver room between their positions and a line of volcanic hills to the west. To the east the ground terrain is an open gently sloping plain. This position later became the cease-fire line known as the "Purple Line".

War in the air and at sea

During the Six-Day War, the IAF demonstrated the crucial importance of air superiority during the course of a modern conflict. It was able to thwart and harass the Arab forces and to grant itself air superiority over all fronts; it then complemented the strategic effect of their initial strike by carrying out tactical support operations. Of particular interest was the destruction of the Jordanian 60th armored brigade near Jericho and the attack on the Iraqi armored brigade which was sent to attack Israel through Jordan.

In contrast, the Arab air forces never managed to mount an effective attack: Attacks of Jordanian fighters and Egyptian TU-16 bombers into the Israeli rear during the first two days of the war were not successful and led to the destruction of the aircraft (Egyptian bombers were shot down while Jordan's fighters were destroyed during the attack on the airfield).

War at sea was also extremely limited. Movements of both Israeli and Egyptian vessels are known to have been used to intimidate the other side, but neither side has ever engaged the other at sea. The only moves that yielded any result were the unleashing of 6 Israeli frogmen in Alexandria harbor (they were captured, having sunk a minesweeper), and the Israeli light boat crews capturing the abandoned Sharm El-Sheikh.

On June 6 the second day of the war, King Hussein and Nasser declared that American and British aircraft took part in the Israeli attacks. This announcement was intercepted by the Israelis and turned into a media frenzy. This became known as "The Big Lie" in American and British circles (see 'Claims of U.S. and British combat' support below).

Two days later, on June 8 the USS Liberty, an American electronic intelligence vessel sailing 13 miles (21 km) off al-Arish, was attacked by Israeli air and sea forces, nearly sinking the ship and causing heavy casualties. Israel claimed the attack was a case of mistaken identity, but whether or not this is true is still heavily debated to this day (see USS Liberty incident).

Conclusion of conflict and post-war situation

By June 10, Israel had completed its final offensive in the Golan Heights and a ceasefire was signed the following day. Israel had seized the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan River (including East Jerusalem), and the Golan Heights. Overall, Israel's territory grew by a factor of 3, including about one million Arabs placed under Israel's direct control in the newly captured territories. Israel's strategic depth grew to at least 300 kilometers in the south, 60 kilometers in the east and 20 kilometers of extremely rugged terrain in the north, a security asset that would prove useful in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War six years later.

The political importance of the 1967 War was immense; Israel demonstrated that it was not only able, but also willing to initiate strategic strikes that could change the regional balance. Egypt and Syria learned tactical lessons, but perhaps not the strategic ones, and would launch an attack in 1973 in an attempt to reclaim their lost territory.

According to Chaim Herzog,

On June 19, 1967, the National Unity Government [of Israel] voted unanimously to return the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in return for a peace agreements. The Golans would have to be demilitarized and special arrangement would be negotiated for the Straits of Tiran. The government also resolved to open negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan regarding the Eastern border. [57]

The Israeli decision was to be conveyed to the Arab nations by the United States. The US was informed of the decision, but not that it was to transmit it. There is no evidence of receipt from Egypt or Syria, who thus apparently never received the offer. [58]

Later, the Khartoum Arab Summit resolved that there would be "no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel." However, as Avraham Sela notes, the Khartoum conference effectively marked a shift in the perception of the conflict by the Arab states away from one centered on the question of Israel's legitimacy toward one focussing on territories and boundaries and this was underpinned on 22 November when Egypt and Jordan accepted Resolution 242. [59]

The June 19 cabinet decision did not include the Gaza Strip, and left open the possibility of Israel permanently acquiring parts of the West Bank. On June 25-27, Israel incorporated East Jerusalem together with areas of the West Bank to the north and south into Jerusalem's new municipal boundaries.

Yet another aspect of the war touches on the population of the captured territories: of about one million Palestinians in the West Bank, 300,000 (according to the US State Department) fled to Jordan, where they contributed to the growing unrest. The other 600,000 [60] remained. In the Golan Heights, an estimated 80,000 Syrians fled. [61] Only the inhabitants of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights were allowed to receive Israeli citizenship, as Israel annexed these territories in the early 1980s. See also Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both Jordan and Egypt eventually withdrew their claims to West Bank and Gaza (the Sinai was returned on the basis of Camp David Accords of 1978 and the question of the Golan Heights is still being negotiated with Syria). After Israeli conquest of these newly acquired 'territories' a large settlement effort was launched to secure Israel's permanent foothold. There are now hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in these territories.

The casualties of the war, far from Israel's anticipated heavy estimates, were quite low, with 338 soldiers lost on the Egyptian front; 300 on the Jordanian front and 141 on the Syrian front. Egypt lost 80% of its military equipment, 10,000 soldiers and 1,500 officers killed; 5,000 soldiers and 500 officers captured [62] and 20,000 wounded. [63] Jordan suffered 6,000-7,000 killed and probably around 12,000 to 20,000 wounded. [64] Syria lost 2,500 dead and 5,000 wounded, half the tanks and almost all the artillery positioned in the Golan Heights were destroyed. [65] The official count of Iraqi casualties was 10 killed and about thirty wounded. [66]

The 1967 War also laid the foundation for future discord in the region - as on 22 November 1967, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242, the "land for peace" formula, which called for Israeli withdrawal "from territories occupied" in 1967 in return for "the termination of all claims or states of belligerency."

The framers of Resolution 242 recognized that some territorial adjustments were likely and deliberately did not include words all or the in the English language version of the text when referring to "territories occupied" during the war, although it is present in other, notably French, Spanish and Russian versions. It recognized the right of "every state in the area" - thus Israel in particular - "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in 1982, after the Camp David Accords.

Accusations and controversial claims

The dramatic events of the Six Day War have given rise to a number of accusations of atrocities and controversial claims and theories.

IDF killings of Egyptian prisoners of war

June 7, 1967: Israeli soldier guards Egyptian POW's at El Arish (Shabtai Tal)

In a 16 August, 1995 interview for Israel Radio Aryeh Yitzhaki of Bar Ilan University, who had worked previously in the IDF history department, accused a reconnaissance unit, known as Shaked (Almond), of which then housing minister in the Labour government Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had been acting commander, of killing hundreds of Egyptians who had abandoned their weapons and fled into the desert during the 1967 war. Yitzhaki claimed that after the war, he conducted a study proving that in six or seven separate incidents, approximately 1,000 unarmed Egyptian prisoners of war were killed by IDF units. He told Israel Radio that he "submitted the study to then chief of general staff Yitzhak Rabin, but he, as well as the upper echelons of the army, knew and swept it under the rug." It emerged subsequently that Yitzhaki was a member of Rafael Eitan's Tsomet Party. Meir Pa'il, who had employed him as an assistant during research in the IDF archive, speculated that Yitzhaki was seeking to divert public attention away from revelations by retired general Arye Biro concerning his and Eitan’s involvement in the killing of 49 PoWs in the 1956 war. [67] [68] Yitzhaki said "It annoys me that everyone is making an issue about that one case, when everyone knows there were so many events like it". [69] The allegations received widespread attention in Israel and throughout the world and later resurfaced in a book called Body of Secrets (pp. 201-202) by James Bamford. [70] [71]

Although Yitzkhaki’s claim that up to 1,000 prisoners had been killed was not substantiated, in the ensuing national debate in Israel more soldiers came forward to say that they had witnessed the execution of unarmed prisoners and a long-suppressed public reckoning began. Gabby Bron, a journalist on the tabloid, Yedioth Ahronoth, said he had witnessed the execution of five Egyptian prisoners. [72] Michael Bar-Zohar confessed that he had personally witnessed the murder of three Egyptian POWs by a cook [73] and Meir Pa'il said that he knew of many instances in which soldiers had killed PoWs or Arab civilians. [74] In the Associated Press article in which Yitzhaki’s claims spread around the world [75] it was noted that "Rabin, who was chief of staff when some of the 1967 killings allegedly were committed, walked away today when a reporter shouted a related question. His office later issued a statement denouncing the killings and calling them isolated incidents". However, leading Israeli military historian Uri Milstein was reported in the same article as saying that there were many incidents in the 1967 war in which Egyptian soldiers were killed by Israeli troops after they had raised their hands in surrender. "It was not an official policy, but there was an atmosphere that it was okay to do it," Milstein said. "Some commanders decided to do it; others refused. But everyone knew about it." [76]

According to a New York Times report of 21 September, 1995 the Egyptian government announced that it had discovered two shallow mass graves in the Sinai at El Arish containing the remains of 30-60 Egyptian prisoners shot by Israeli soldiers during the 1967 war. Israel responded by sending Elli Dayan a Deputy Foreign Minister, to Egypt discuss the matter. During his visit Dayan offered compensation to the families of victims, but explained that Israel was unable to pursue those responsible owing to its 20-year statute of limitations. The Israeli Ambassador to Cairo, David Sultan, asked to be relieved of his post after the Egyptian daily Al Shaab said he was personally responsible for the killing of 100 Egyptian prisoners, although both the Israeli Embassy and Foreign Ministry denied the charge and said that it was not even clear that Sultan had served in the military. [77]

Declassified IDF documents show that on 11 June, 1967 the operations branch of the general staff felt it necessary to issue new orders concerning the treatment of prisoners. The order read: "Since existing orders are contradictory, here are binding instructions. a) Soldiers and civilians who give themselves up are not to be hurt in any way. b) Soldiers and civilians who carry a weapon and do not surrender will be killed... Soldiers who are caught disobeying this order by killing prisoners will be punished severely. Make sure this order is brought to the attention of all IDF soldiers". [78]

According to Israeli sources 4338 Egyptian soldiers were taken captive by IDF. 11 Israeli soldiers were taken captive by Egyptian forces. PoW exchanges were completed on 23 January, 1968. [79]

Although there is no longer any dispute over the fact that prisoners were executed by IDF soldiers in 1956 and 1967 the archival documents that would allow the scale of the killings to be assessed more accurately have not been released.

U.S. and British combat support

Some Arabs believe the US and Britain provided more support for the Israelis than the American and British governments admit. Claims of American and British combat support for Israel began on the second day of the war. Radio Cairo and the government newspaper Al-Ahram made a number of claims, among them: that US and British carrier-based aircraft flew sorties against the Egyptians; that US aircraft based in Libya attacked Egypt; that US spy satellites provided imagery to Israel. Both Syria and Jordan broadcast similar reports on Radio Damascus and Radio Amman. Michael Oren believes that the purpose of these claims was to secure Soviet support. If this were true, it would in many ways mirror claims Israel made during this time in attempts to get US support. In reaction to these claims, Arab oil-producing countries announced either an oil embargo on the United States and Britain or suspended oil exports altogether. [80]

One thing that contributed to this belief, other than general US support for Israel, was US intelligence-gathering during this period. Although this intelligence gathering was not disputed, the question arose as to whether the intelligence was handed over to the Israelis, perhaps to help them coordinate attacks. The US government denies doing this.

High school and lower grade textbooks in Egypt claim that American and British troops fought on behalf of Israel during the Six-Day War. The following example comes from ‘Abdallah Ahmad Hamid al-Qusi, Al-Wisam fi at-Ta'rikh (Cairo: Al-Mu'asasa al-‘Arabiya al-Haditha, 1999), p. 284.

The United States' role: Israel was not (fighting) on its own in the (1967) war. Hundreds of volunteers, pilots, and military officers with American scientific spying equipment of the most advanced type photographed the Egyptian posts for it (Israel), jammed the Egyptian defense equipment, and transmitted to it the orders of the Egyptian command.

On 9 June 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser stated in his resignation speech (his resignation was not accepted):

What is now established is that American and British aircraft carriers were off the shores of the enemy helping his war effort. Also, British aircraft raided, in broad daylight, positions of the Syrian and Egyptian fronts, in addition to operations by a number of American aircraft reconnoitering some of our positions … Indeed, it can be said without exaggeration that the enemy was operating with an air force three times stronger than his normal force.

After the war ended, the Egyptian government and its newspapers continued to make claims of collusion between Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. These included a series of weekly articles in Al-Ahram, simultaneously broadcast on Radio Cairo by Muhammad Heikal. Heikal attempted to uncover the "secrets" of the war. He presented a blend of facts, documents, and interpretations. Heikal's conclusion was clear-cut: there was a secret U.S.-Israeli collusion against Syria and Egypt.

Both London and Washington issued strenuous denials of these claims.

Her Majesty's Government are shocked by reports emanating from the Middle East … that planes from a British aircraft carrier have been involved in the fighting. This is a malicious fabrication. There is not a grain of truth in it. It is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to avoid taking sides in this conflict and to do everything they can to bring about a cease-fire as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, these claims, that the Arabs were fighting the Americans and British rather than Israel alone, took hold in the Arab world. As reported by the British Representative in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a country at odds with Egypt as a result of the Yemen war:

President Abdel Nasser's allegation … is firmly believed by almost the whole Arab population here who listen to the radio or read the press … Our broadcast denials are little heard and just not believed. The denials we have issued to the broadcasting service and press have not been published. Even highly educated persons basically friendly to us seem convinced that the allegations are true. Senior foreign ministry officials who received my formal written and oral denials profess to believe them but nevertheless appear skeptical. I consider that this allegation has seriously damaged our reputation in the Arab world more than anything else and has caused a wave of suspicion or feeling against us which will persist in some underlying form for the foreseeable future … Further denials or attempts at local publicity by us will not dispel this belief and may now only exacerbate local feeling since the Arabs are understandably sensitive to their defeat with a sense of humiliation and resent self-justification by us who in their eyes helped their enemy to bring this about.

A British guidance telegram to Middle East posts concluded: "The Arabs' reluctance to disbelieve all versions of the Big Lie springs in part from a need to believe that the Israelis could not have defeated them so thoroughly without outside assistance."

U.S. and British non-combat support

In a 1993 interview for the Johnson Presidential Library oral history archives U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara revealed that a Carrier battle group, the U.S. 6th Fleet, already on a training exercise near Gibraltar was re-positioned towards the eastern Mediterranean to defend Israel. The administration "thought the situation was so tense in Israel that perhaps the Syrians, fearing Israel would attack them, or the Russians supporting the Syrians might wish to redress the balance of power and might attack Israel". The Soviets learned of this deployment, which they regarded as offensive in nature, and in a hotline message from Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin threatened the United States with war. [81]

In a 1983 interview with the Boston Globe McNamara claimed that "We damn near had war." He said Kosygin was angry that "we had turned around a carrier in the Mediterranean." McNamara did not explain how the crisis was resolved. [82]

In his book Six Days veteran BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen claims that on 4 June, 1967 the Israeli ship Miryam left Felixstowe with cases of machine guns, 105 mm tank shells, and armored vehicles in "the latest of many consignments of arms that had been sent secretly to Israel from British and American reserves since the crisis started" and that "Israeli transport planes had been running a 'shuttle service' in and out of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire". Bowen claims that Harold Wilson had written to Eshkol saying that he was glad to help as long as the utmost secrecy was maintained. [83] [84]

Soviet instigation

There are theories that the entire 1967 War was a botched attempt by the Soviet Union to create tensions between West Germany and Arab countries by highlighting West Germany's support for Israel.

In her September 2003 article in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, Isabella Ginor detailed Soviet GRU documents proposing such a plan and further detailing faulty intelligence fed to Egypt claiming troop buildups near the Golan Heights in Syria. [85]

See also

People involved in the war


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  2. ^  Koboril and Glantz, 1998, pp. 129-130.
  3. ^  Bowen, 2003, p. 26 (citing Amman Cables 1456, 1457, 11 December 1966, National Security Files (Country File: Middle East), LBJ Library (Austin, Texas), Box 146).
  4. ^  Hussein, 1969, p. 25.
  5. ^  Bowen, 2003, pp. 23-30.
  6. ^  Oren, 2002, pp. 33-36.
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  15. ^  Bowen, 2003, pp. 30-31 citing PRO/FCO 17/474: Report of ground/air action on Israeli/Syrian border on 7 April, 1967, from Defence and Military Attaché's office, Tel Aviv, 11 April 1967; also PRO/FCO 17/473: Syria/Israel, account of incident from Eastern Department; attack on Sqoufiye reported by UNTSO PRO/FCO 17/473, 10 April 1967.
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  57. ^  Chaim Herzog Heroes of Israel p.253.
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  • Rezun, Miron (1990). Iran and Afghanistan. In A. Kapur (Ed.). Diplomatic Ideas and Practices of Asian States (pp. 9-25). Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9004092897
  • Rikhye, Indar Jit (1980). The Sinai Blunder. London: Routledge. ISBN 0714631361
  • Rubenberg, Cheryl A. (1989). Israel and the American National Interest. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252060741
  • Sela, Avraham (1997). The Decline of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Middle East Politics and the Quest for Regional Order. SUNY Press. ISBN 0791435377
  • Shlaim, Avi (2001). The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393321126.
  • Stone, David (2004). Wars of the Cold War. Brassey's. ISBN 1857533429
  • van Creveld, Martin (2004). Defending Israel: A Controversial Plan Toward Peace. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0312328664

External links

Template:Wars of Israel

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