What was the course of the Six Day War?
Since the invasion of Israel in the Arab world in 1948, the two nations have been continually in the state of war. The first two wars between Israel and the Arab countries ended in a cease-fire, not having found any peaceful solution, so another war was feared by many. And so it did happen in 1967 in the form of the Six-Day War, which is also known as the Third Arab-Israeli War. The war which lasted for 5 days, from June 5-June 10, resulted from the high tensions between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries including Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The Six-Day War was followed by the war of Attrition which lasted from 1968 to 1970.
The war initiated with Israel making a surprise air attack on the Arab forces and catching them off-guard, received swift victory and succeeded in capturing Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, Golan Heights from Syria; and East Jerusalem and West Bank from Jordan. While Israel claims it as a preemptive attack, Arabs consider it unjustified on the basis that they were unprepared. Prior to June 5, there were tensions between Israel and the neighboring Syria and Egypt, clashes which were provoked by both sides equally. The war was initiated on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister, General Moshe Dayan and on the belief that the three Arab countries of Syria, Egypt and Jordan will coordinate for a massive attack on Israel. Rather than to take the issue calmly, Israel attacked the Arab forces and destroyed the air forces of these three Arab countries. By June 7, Israeli forces had reached till Suez Canal captured West Bank the same day. The war turned out to be a disaster to the Arab nation as a whole and Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt in particular, who was the leader of these Arab nations and an active participant of the Arab-Israel conflict. There were allegations of U.S and UK supporting Israel in the war despite an embargo, supply of weapons and involvement in the conflict through the forces. Where this war is regarded as the most dramatic one among all the Arab-Israeli wars, it resulted in a depression which lasted for many years in the Arab world and also increased tensions between the Arab countries and the Western world. One aspect of the war being dramatic is also the fact that Arabs were far weaker as compared to the Israeli efficiency. The apparent victory of Israel was not long lasting as the tensions between the two nations and occupation remained and Israel did not reap as much good as it had expected. As a historian rightly pointed out that Israel’s victory was a “cursed blessing”. The war witnessed some 300,000 Arabs displaced from their homeland of West Bank and Gaza, of which most of them settled in Jordan. Some factors were held responsible for the defeat of Egypt like lack of weapons as good as Israel, lack or organization and inability of the Egyptian army to tell Nasser the truth. The Six-Day war also had its impact on the international society who witnessed the closure of the Suez Canal for a period of eight years and freight prices increasing drastically.