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Six-Day War ends


The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a swift and decisive victory in the brief war, rolling over the Arab coalition that threatened the Jewish state and more than doubling the amount of territory under Israel’s control. The greatest fruit of victory lay in seizing the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan; thousands of Jews wept while bent in prayer at the Second Temple’s Western Wall.

Increased tensions and skirmishes along Israel’s northern border with Syria were the immediate cause of the third Arab-Israeli war. In 1967, Syria intensified its bombardment of Israeli settlements across the border, and Israel struck back by shooting down six Syrian MiG fighters. After Syria alleged in May 1967 that Israel was massing troops along the border, Egypt mobilized its forces and demanded the withdrawal of the U.N. Emergency Force from the Israel-Egypt cease-fire lines of the 1956 conflict. The U.N. peacekeepers left on May 19, and three days later Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. On May 30, Jordan signed a mutual-defense treaty with Egypt and Syria, and other Arab states, including Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria, sent troop contingents to join the Arab coalition against Israel.

With every sign of a pan-Arab attack in the works, Israel’s government on June 4 authorized its armed forces to launch a surprise preemptive strike. On June 5, the Six-Day War began with an Israeli assault against Arab air power. In a brilliant attack, the Israeli air force caught the formidable Egyptian air force on the ground and largely destroyed the Arabs’ most powerful weapon. The Israeli air force then turned against the lesser air forces of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, and by the end of the day had decisively won air superiority.

Beginning on June 5, Israel focused the main effort of its ground forces against Egypt’s Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. In a lightning attack, the Israelis burst through the Egyptian lines and across the Sinai. The Egyptians fought resolutely but were outflanked by the Israelis and decimated in lethal air attacks. By June 8, the Egyptian forces were defeated, and Israel held the Gaza Strip and the Sinai to the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, to the east of Israel, Jordan began shelling its Jewish neighbor on June 5, provoking a rapid and overwhelming response from Israeli forces. Israel overran the West Bank and on June 7 captured the Old City of East Jerusalem. The chief chaplain of the Israel Defense Forces blew a ram’s horn at the Western Wall to announce the reunification of East Jerusalem with the Israeli-administered western sector.

To the north, Israel bombarded Syria’s fortified Golan Heights for two days before launching a tank and infantry assault on June 9. After a day of fierce fighting, the Syrians began a retreat from the Golan Heights on June 10. On June 11, a U.N.-brokered cease-fire took effect throughout the three combat zones, and the Six-Day War was at an end. Israel had more than doubled its size in the six days of fighting.

The U.N. Security Council called for a withdrawal from all the occupied regions, but Israel declined, permanently annexing East Jerusalem and setting up military administrations in the occupied territories. Israel let it be known that Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai would be returned in exchange for Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist and guarantees against future attack. Arab leaders, stinging from their defeat, met in August to discuss the future of the Middle East. They decided upon a policy of no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel, and made plans to zealously defend the rights of Palestinian Arabs in the occupied territories.

Egypt, however, would eventually negotiate and make peace with Israel, and in 1982 the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in exchange for full diplomatic recognition of Israel. Egypt and Jordan later gave up their respective claims to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the Palestinians, who beginning in the 1990s opened “land for peace” talks with Israel. The East Bank territory has since been returned to Jordan. In 2005, Israel left the Gaza Strip. Still, a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement remains elusive.


Six-Day War

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Six-Day War, also called June War or Third Arab-Israeli War or Naksah, brief war that took place June 5–10, 1967, and was the third of the Arab-Israeli wars. Israel’s decisive victory included the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and Golan Heights the status of these territories subsequently became a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

What was the Six-Day War about?

The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbours was not about one particular concern or dispute. The war occurred, rather, after a series of events escalated tensions. After a number of smaller military strikes between the countries, Soviet intelligence reports heightened tensions by claiming that Israel was planning a military campaign against Syria. As Egypt began to ready itself for war, Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt and Syria, marking the beginning of the Six-Day War between Israel and an Egypt-Syria-Jordan alliance.

Where was the Six-Day War fought?

The Six-Day War began with a preemptive Israeli air assault in Egypt and Syria. An Israeli ground offensive was also launched in the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. These territories were all captured by Israel, though the Sinai Peninsula was later returned to Egypt.

What was the significance of the Six-Day War?

At a time when Arab forces posed a significant threat to Israel’s security, Israel’s preemption in the Six-Day War dealt a decisive blow to their ability to carry out threats, especially by incapacitating Egypt’s air force. Israel also captured territory held by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, none of which was recaptured by military means. Calls by the United Nations (see United Nations Resolution 242) to return these territories in exchange for lasting peace laid the foundation for the “land for peace” formula underlying the Camp David Accords peace treaty between Israel and Egypt as well as the proposed two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

How did the Six-Day War start?

The Six-Day War occurred at a time of heightened tension between Israel and its neighbouring Arab countries. After a series of back-and-forth military strikes, it was spurred on further by Soviet intelligence reports that indicated Israel was planning a military campaign against Syria. Egyptian Pres. Gamal Abdel Nasser ramped up rhetoric against Israel and mobilized Egyptian forces in preparation for war. The war began on June 5, 1967, when Israel launched a preemptive assault against the Egyptian and Syrian air forces.

Why was the Six-Day War a turning point?

The Six-Day War ended with Israel capturing the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Of these, only the Sinai Peninsula was returned, per the Israel-Egypt Camp David Accords peace treaty, while the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem were formally annexed by Israel. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were placed under Israeli military occupation, while the Palestinians sought to establish an independent Palestinian state in those territories, and the political status of Jerusalem remained a highly contentious issue into the 21st century.


Why History Still Matters: The 1967 Six-Day War

This piece originally appeared in The Times of Israel.

Mention history and it can trigger a roll of the eyes.

Add the Middle East to the equation and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes.

But without an understanding of what happened in the past, it’s impossible to grasp where we are today — and where we are has profound relevance for the region and the world.

On June 5, fifty-four years ago, the Six-Day War broke out.

While some wars fade into obscurity, this one remains as relevant today as in 1967. Many of its core issues remain unresolved.

Politicians, diplomats, and journalists continue to grapple with the consequences of that war, but rarely consider, or perhaps are even unaware of, context. Yet without context, some critically important things may not make sense.

First, in June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn’t exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.

Second, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem. To make matters still worse, they desecrated and destroyed many of those sites.

Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule imposed on local residents.

And the Golan Heights, which were regularly used to shell Israeli communities far below, belonged to Syria.

Third, the Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip any day of the week. They didn’t. There wasn’t even discussion about it. And Arab leaders, who today profess such attachment to eastern Jerusalem, rarely, if ever, visited. It was viewed as an Arab backwater.

Fourth, the 1967 boundary at the time of the war, so much in the news these days, was nothing more than an armistice line dating back to 1949 — familiarly known as the Green Line. That’s after five Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948 with the aim of destroying the embryonic Jewish state. They failed. Armistice lines were drawn, but they weren’t formal borders. They couldn’t be. The Arab world, even in defeat, refused to recognize Israel’s very right to exist.

Fifth, the PLO, which supported the war effort, was established in 1964, three years before the conflict erupted. That’s important because it was created with the goal of obliterating Israel. Remember that in 1964 the only “settlements” were Israel itself.

Sixth, in the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, Egyptian and Syrian leaders repeatedly declared that war was coming and their objective was to wipe Israel off the map. There was no ambiguity in their blood-curdling announcements. Twenty-two years after the Holocaust, another enemy spoke about the extermination of Jews. The record is well-documented.

The record is equally clear that Israel, in the days leading up to the war, passed word to Jordan, via the UN and United States, urging Amman to stay out of any pending conflict. Jordan’s King Hussein ignored the Israeli plea and tied his fate to Egypt and Syria. His forces were defeated by Israel, and he lost control of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. He later acknowledged that he had made a grave error in entering the war.

Seventh, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser demanded that UN peacekeeping forces in the area, in place for the previous decade to prevent conflict, be removed. Shamefully, without even the courtesy of consulting Israel, the UN complied. That left no buffer between Arab armies being mobilized and deployed, and Israeli forces in a country one-fiftieth, or two percent, the size of Egypt — and just nine miles wide at its narrowest point.

Eighth, Egypt blocked Israeli shipping lanes in the Red Sea, Israel’s only maritime access to trading routes with Asia and Africa. This step was understandably regarded as a casus belli, an act of war, by Jerusalem. The United States spoke about joining with other countries to break the blockade, but, in the end, regrettably, did not act.

Ninth, France, which had been Israel’s principal arms supplier, announced a total ban on the sale of weapons on the eve of the June war. That left Israel in potentially grave danger if a war were to drag on and require the resupply of arms. It was not until the next year that the U.S. stepped into the breach and sold vital weapons systems to Israel.

And finally, after winning the war of self-defense, Israel hoped that its newly-acquired territories, seized from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, would be the basis for a land-for-peace accord. Feelers were sent out. The formal response came on September 1, 1967, when the Arab Summit Conference famously declared in Khartoum: “No peace, no recognition, no negotiations” with Israel.

More “no’s” were to follow. Underscoring the point, in 2003, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. was quoted in The New Yorker as saying: “It broke my heart that [PLO Chair] Arafat did not take the offer (of a two-state deal presented by Israel, with American support, in 2001). Since 1948, every time we’ve had something on the table, we say no. Then we say yes. When we say yes, it’s not on the table anymore. Then we have to deal with something less. Isn’t it about time to say yes?”

Today, there are those who wish to rewrite history.

They want the world to believe there was once a Palestinian state. There was not.

They want the world to believe there were fixed borders between that state and Israel. There was only an armistice line between Israel and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

They want the world to believe the 1967 war was a bellicose act by Israel. No, it was an act of self-defense in the face of genocidal threats to vanquish the Jewish state, not to mention the maritime blockade of the Straits of Tiran, the abrupt withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces, and the redeployment of Egyptian and Syrian troops. All wars have consequences. This one was no exception. But the aggressors have failed to take responsibility for the actions they instigated.

They want the world to believe post-1967 Israeli settlement-building is the key obstacle to peacemaking. The Six-Day War is proof positive that the core issue is, and always has been, whether the Palestinians accept the Jewish people’s right to a state of their own. If so, the other contentious issues, however difficult, have possible solutions. But, alas, if not, all bets are off.

And they want the world to believe the Arab nations had nothing against Jews per se, only Israel, yet trampled with abandon on sites of sacred meaning to the Jewish people.

In other words, when it comes to this conflict, dismissing the past as if it were a minor irritant at best, irrelevant at worst, won’t work.

Can history move forward? Absolutely. Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 powerfully prove the point, as well as the four normalization deals signed with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and United Arab Emirates just last year.

At the same time, though, the lessons of the Six-Day War illustrate just how tough and tortuous the path can be—and serve as sobering reminders that, yes, history does matter.


"The Charbor Chronicles"

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Jun 11, 1967: Six-Day War ends

The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a swift and decisive victory in the brief war, rolling over the Arab coalition that threatened the Jewish state and more than doubling the amount of territory under Israel's control. The greatest fruit of victory lay in seizing the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan thousands of Jews wept while bent in prayer at the Second Temple's Western Wall.

Increased tensions and skirmishes along Israel's northern border with Syria were the immediate cause of the third Arab-Israeli war. In 1967, Syria intensified its bombardment of Israeli settlements across the border, and Israel struck back by shooting down six Syrian MiG fighters. After Syria alleged in May 1967 that Israel was massing troops along the border, Egypt mobilized its forces and demanded the withdrawal of the U.N. Emergency Force from the Israel-Egypt cease-fire lines of the 1956 conflict. The U.N. peacekeepers left on May 19, and three days later Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping. On May 30, Jordan signed a mutual-defense treaty with Egypt and Syria, and other Arab states, including Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria, sent troop contingents to join the Arab coalition against Israel.

With every sign of a pan-Arab attack in the works, Israel's government on June 4 authorized its armed forces to launch a surprise preemptive strike. On June 5, the Six-Day War began with an Israeli assault against Arab air power. In a brilliant attack, the Israeli air force caught the formidable Egyptian air force on the ground and largely destroyed the Arabs' most powerful weapon. The Israeli air force then turned against the lesser air forces of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, and by the end of the day had decisively won air superiority.

Beginning on June 5, Israel focused the main effort of its ground forces against Egypt's Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. In a lightning attack, the Israelis burst through the Egyptian lines and across the Sinai. The Egyptians fought resolutely but were outflanked by the Israelis and decimated in lethal air attacks. By June 8, the Egyptian forces were defeated, and Israel held the Gaza Strip and the Sinai to the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, to the east of Israel, Jordan began shelling its Jewish neighbor on June 5, provoking a rapid and overwhelming response from Israeli forces. Israel overran the West Bank and on June 7 captured the Old City of East Jerusalem. The chief chaplain of the Israel Defense Forces blew a ram's horn at the Western Wall to announce the reunification of East Jerusalem with the Israeli-administered western sector.

To the north, Israel bombarded Syria's fortified Golan Heights for two days before launching a tank and infantry assault on June 9. After a day of fierce fighting, the Syrians began a retreat from the Golan Heights on June 10. On June 11, a U.N.-brokered cease-fire took effect throughout the three combat zones, and the Six-Day War was at an end. Israel had more than doubled its size in the six days of fighting.

The U.N. Security Council called for a withdrawal from all the occupied regions, but Israel declined, permanently annexing East Jerusalem and setting up military administrations in the occupied territories. Israel let it be known that Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai would be returned in exchange for Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist and guarantees against future attack. Arab leaders, stinging from their defeat, met in August to discuss the future of the Middle East. They decided upon a policy of no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel, and made plans to zealously defend the rights of Palestinian Arabs in the occupied territories.

Egypt, however, would eventually negotiate and make peace with Israel, and in 1982 the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in exchange for full diplomatic recognition of Israel. Egypt and Jordan later gave up their respective claims to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the Palestinians, who beginning in the 1990s opened "land for peace" talks with Israel. The East Bank territory has since been returned to Jordan. In 2005, Israel left the Gaza Strip. Still, a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement remains elusive, as does an agreement with Syria to return the Golan Heights.





















Jun 11, 1989: China issues warrant for Tiananmen dissident

In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, China issues a warrant for a leading Chinese dissident who had taken refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The diplomatic standoff lasted for a year, and the refusal of the United States to hand the dissident over to Chinese officials was further evidence of American disapproval of China's crackdown on political protesters.

In April and May 1989, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Beijing to call for greater political democracy in communist China. On June 4, Chinese soldiers and police swarmed into the center of protest activity, Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands. The Chinese government used this brutal crackdown as a pretext for issuing an arrest warrant for Fang Lizhi, an internationally respected astrophysicist and leading Chinese dissident. Although Fang had not participated in the Tiananmen Square protests, he had been a consistent advocate of greater political democracy and a persistent critic of government policies. In February 1989, more than one hundred Chinese security personnel forcibly prevented Fang from meeting with visiting President George Bush.

In the June arrest warrant, Fang and his wife, Li Shuxian, were charged with "committing crimes of counter-revolutionary propaganda and instigation." Fang and Li immediately took refuge in the U.S. embassy. Chinese officials demanded that the American government hand over the pair, but the U.S. refused. Almost exactly one year later, Fang and Li were given free passage out of the country and they left the U.S. embassy for the first time since June 1989. The action was part of a wider effort by the Chinese government to repair some of the international damage done to its reputation in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident. In addition to Fang and Li, hundreds of other political prisoners were also released. Fang and Li traveled to the United States and took up residence. Fang continued his dissident activities against the Chinese government and taught in both America and Great Britain.

The incident indicated that feelings about what had occurred in Tiananmen Square ran high, both in the United States and China. For America, the brutal attack on the protesters repulsed most people and led Congress to pass economic sanctions against the Chinese government. In China, the refusal to hand over Fang and the U.S. criticisms of what the Chinese government considered to be a purely internal matter generated a tremendous amount of resentment. The issue of human rights in China continued to be a major issue in relations between the U.S. and China throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century.

















Jun 11, 1970: Battle for control of Kompong Speu in Cambodia

A force of 4,000 South Vietnamese and 2,000 Cambodian soldiers battle 1,400 communist troops for control of the provincial capital of Kompong Speu, 30 miles southwest of Phnom Penh. At 50 miles inside the border, it was the deepest penetration that South Vietnamese forces had made into Cambodia since the incursion began on April 29. The town was captured by the communists on June 13, but retaken by Allied forces on June 16. South Vietnamese officials reported that 183 enemy soldiers were killed, while 4 of their own died and 22 were wounded during the fighting. Civilian casualties in Kompong Speu were estimated at 40 to 50 killed.












Jun 11, 1963: JFK faces down defiant governor

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy issues presidential proclamation 3542, forcing Alabama Governor George Wallace to comply with federal court orders allowing two African-American students to register for the summer session at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The proclamation ordered Wallace and all persons acting in concert with him to cease and desist from obstructing justice.

The battle between Kennedy and Wallace brought to a head the long, post-Civil War struggle between the federal government and recalcitrant southern states over the enforcement of federal desegregation laws. Kennedy, a Catholic, considered racial segregation morally wrong. As of 1963, Alabama was the only state that had not integrated its education system. From the time of his gubernatorial campaign in 1962 until this day in 1963, Wallace had boldly proclaimed that he would personally stand in front of the door of any Alabama schoolhouse that was ordered by the federal courts to admit black students. In response to Wallace's rhetoric, Kennedy sent his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, on April 25 to negotiate with Wallace the talks failed. The Kennedy brothers, having decided that they were dealing with a raving maniac, looked for an indirect solution. JFK appealed to Alabama business leaders and influential politicians to talk sense into Wallace. On May 21 and again on June 5, the U.S. district court ordered Wallace to allow the students to register on June 11. Wallace dug in and refused, hoping to force JFK to call up the National Guard, an act Wallace was sure would infuriate staunch states' rights supporters and paint JFK as a tyrant. Robert Kennedy wanted his brother to go ahead and federalize the Alabama National Guard and arrest Wallace, but the president feared that such an action would play into Wallace's hands. So, the president waited for Wallace to make the first move.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone. When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111. That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency. Three days later, a third black student registered at the University of Alabama campus in Huntsville without interference.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:


Why history still matters: The 1967 Six-Day War

Mention history and it can trigger a roll of the eyes.

Add the Middle East to the equation and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes.

But without an understanding of what happened in the past, it’s impossible to grasp where we are today — and where we are has profound relevance for the region and the world.

On June 5, fifty-four years ago, the Six-Day War broke out.

While some wars fade into obscurity, this one remains as relevant today as in 1967. Many of its core issues remain unresolved.

Politicians, diplomats, and journalists continue to grapple with the consequences of that war, but rarely consider, or perhaps are even unaware of, context. Yet without context, some critically important things may not make sense.

First, in June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn’t exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.

Second, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem. To make matters still worse, they desecrated and destroyed many of those sites.

Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule imposed on local residents.

And the Golan Heights, which were regularly used to shell Israeli communities far below, belonged to Syria.

Third, the Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip any day of the week. They didn’t. There wasn’t even discussion about it. And Arab leaders, who today profess such attachment to eastern Jerusalem, rarely, if ever, visited. It was viewed as an Arab backwater.

Fourth, the 1967 boundary at the time of the war, so much in the news these days, was nothing more than an armistice line dating back to 1949 — familiarly known as the Green Line. That’s after five Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948 with the aim of destroying the embryonic Jewish state. They failed. Armistice lines were drawn, but they weren’t formal borders. They couldn’t be. The Arab world, even in defeat, refused to recognize Israel’s very right to exist.

Fifth, the PLO, which supported the war effort, was established in 1964, three years before the conflict erupted. That’s important because it was created with the goal of obliterating Israel. Remember that in 1964 the only “settlements” were Israel itself.

Sixth, in the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, Egyptian and Syrian leaders repeatedly declared that war was coming and their objective was to wipe Israel off the map. There was no ambiguity in their blood-curdling announcements. Twenty-two years after the Holocaust, another enemy spoke about the extermination of Jews. The record is well-documented.

The record is equally clear that Israel, in the days leading up to the war, passed word to Jordan, via the UN and United States, urging Amman to stay out of any pending conflict. Jordan’s King Hussein ignored the Israeli plea and tied his fate to Egypt and Syria. His forces were defeated by Israel, and he lost control of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. He later acknowledged that he had made a grave error in entering the war.

Seventh, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser demanded that UN peacekeeping forces in the area, in place for the previous decade to prevent conflict, be removed. Shamefully, without even the courtesy of consulting Israel, the UN complied. That left no buffer between Arab armies being mobilized and deployed, and Israeli forces in a country one-fiftieth, or two percent, the size of Egypt — and just nine miles wide at its narrowest point.

Eighth, Egypt blocked Israeli shipping lanes in the Red Sea, Israel’s only maritime access to trading routes with Asia and Africa. This step was understandably regarded as a casus belli, an act of war, by Jerusalem. The United States spoke about joining with other countries to break the blockade, but, in the end, regrettably, did not act.

Ninth, France, which had been Israel’s principal arms supplier, announced a total ban on the sale of weapons on the eve of the June war. That left Israel in potentially grave danger if a war were to drag on and require the resupply of arms. It was not until the next year that the U.S. stepped into the breach and sold vital weapons systems to Israel.

And finally, after winning the war of self-defense, Israel hoped that its newly-acquired territories, seized from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, would be the basis for a land-for-peace accord. Feelers were sent out. The formal response came on September 1, 1967, when the Arab Summit Conference famously declared in Khartoum: “No peace, no recognition, no negotiations” with Israel.

More “no’s” were to follow. Underscoring the point, in 2003, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. was quoted in The New Yorker as saying: “It broke my heart that [PLO Chair] Arafat did not take the offer (of a two-state deal presented by Israel, with American support, in 2001). Since 1948, every time we’ve had something on the table, we say no. Then we say yes. When we say yes, it’s not on the table anymore. Then we have to deal with something less. Isn’t it about time to say yes?”

Today, there are those who wish to rewrite history.

They want the world to believe there was once a Palestinian state. There was not.

They want the world to believe there were fixed borders between that state and Israel. There was only an armistice line between Israel and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

They want the world to believe the 1967 war was a bellicose act by Israel. No, it was an act of self-defense in the face of genocidal threats to vanquish the Jewish state, not to mention the maritime blockade of the Straits of Tiran, the abrupt withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces, and the redeployment of Egyptian and Syrian troops. All wars have consequences. This one was no exception. But the aggressors have failed to take responsibility for the actions they instigated.

They want the world to believe post-1967 Israeli settlement-building is the key obstacle to peacemaking. The Six-Day War is proof positive that the core issue is, and always has been, whether the Palestinians accept the Jewish people’s right to a state of their own. If so, the other contentious issues, however difficult, have possible solutions. But, alas, if not, all bets are off.

And they want the world to believe the Arab nations had nothing against Jews per se, only Israel, yet trampled with abandon on sites of sacred meaning to the Jewish people.

In other words, when it comes to this conflict, dismissing the past as if it were a minor irritant at best, irrelevant at worst, won’t work.

Can history move forward? Absolutely. Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 powerfully prove the point, as well as the four normalization deals signed with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and United Arab Emirates just last year.

At the same time, though, the lessons of the Six-Day War illustrate just how tough and tortuous the path can be—and serve as sobering reminders that, yes, history does matter.


Khamenei Loyalist: ‘Our situation has changed’

Ahead of elections held in May, Iran’s politicians are contending with one another over what their position should be regarding the highly criticized nuclear deal forged with the US in 2015.

After receiving billions of dollars from the United States pursuant to Obama’s nuclear deal, Iran’s leaders argue that the United States has not kept their end of the bargain with regard to ending sanctions.

Ali Khamenei loyalist and former Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Rezaie said,

“Without a doubt, our situation has changed in comparison to the former US administration,” reported thediplomat.com.

Do you suppose?

No, our current president isn’t a terrorist-hugging traitor! President Donald Trump is serving the real God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and he loves America!

Screen shot: YouTube.com

Can anyone make a terrorist nation happy? No!

Negotiating with terrorists is akin to trying to hold a reasonable conversation with a serial killer on the run to find more victims only an insane person would try!…Barack Hussein Obama, John Kerry, Hillary…the Democratic nut jobs!

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini said in 1980:

“We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah, for patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.”

In other words, Iran is willing to sacrifice their entire nation, and everyone in it, to subordinate all other peoples throughout the world to the Islamic head-chopping, wife-beating, amputating (for civil offenses), little girl-mutilating, adulterer-stoning satanic religion!

Do we get it?

They have vowed, to the DEATH , to force everyone to bow down to their antichrist god (Allah says, “God has no son” )!

Their rhetoric hasn’t changed since the Iranian hostage crisis, which lasted from 1979 through 1981.

While Barack Obama should have been looking out for the interests and safety of the American people and our great friend and ally, Israel, he insisted on forging a nuclear deal with the likes of these terrorists, allowing them to build their nuclear power, whose religious ideology includes conquering the rest of the world! Even while John Kerry was “negotiating” the deal (rather giving Iran everything they wanted), Iranians were burning the American and Israeli flags in the streets shouting, “death to Israel – death to America!”

How retarded and insane is that? Obama, Kerry and Hillary should all be arrested for treason – for many reasons!

Iranian leaders openly declare they will “wipe Israel off the face of the earth,” for no reason whatsoever, except that Israel is not a Muslim nation.

What sentiments do you suppose they hold for America, which they consider to be “Big Satan,” if they want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, which they only consider to be “Little Satan?”

Israel has the only peaceful Democracy in the Middle East and Israel is America’s strongest ally. In light of Iran’s terrorist activities in the past, and their continuing threats against not only Israel, but also America, even while the nuclear talks were taking place, the only reasonable and responsible thing to do is blow Iran’s nuclear power to smithereens, off the face of the earth, FOR THE SAKE OF ALL HUMANITY unless there are those longing to be subordinates, surrendering themselves, their children and future generations, to the feet of Muslim terrorists.

We could speculate about the possibilities of this tragedy until the cows come home, but it is senseless, because the conclusion to the entire matter of Iran (Persia) and their inclination toward terrorism, is all summed up in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39. The next war (Gog Magog) waged against Israel is imminent, according to the prophetic calendar.

We are in a prophetic Jubilee year (5777 on the Jewish calendar). In the event you are not aware of what that is, I will provide a brief summary:

God largely keeps prophetic time according to Shemitah and Jubilee cycles. Many historical and modern day prophecies have been fulfilled based on these time patterns. A prophetic “week” is seven years, also referred to as Shemitah in Hebrew. The conclusion of seven Shemitahs (seven years multiplied by seven = 49 years) starts a Jubilee year, which arrives every 50 years.

You might remember that very peculiar signs occurred in heaven in 2014-15, which included four “blood moons” (lunar eclipses), which fell exactly on Israel’s Feast Days (a definite prophetic sign), with a solar eclipse in the middle of the four blood moons.

The Word of God refers to a solar eclipse as the “sun turning into darkness” and a lunar eclipse as the “moon turning into blood” (blood moons):

“The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and notable Day of the Lord come” Acts 2:20. *The Prophet Joel foretold the same thing (Joel 2:31).

These phenomenal events have only occurred on three prior occasions throughout our known history, the fourth being the 2014-15 blood moon tetrad. Each time this has happened (which is mathematically beyond any possibility of being a natural occurrence), something prophetic happens to Israel, as outlined below:

1493-94 tetrad: The Jews were expelled from Spain just prior to the tetrad in 1492, a prophetic event (Deuteronomy 30:1-4).

1949-50 tetrad: Israel became a nation again on May 14, 1948, a prophetic event foretold before Israel was scattered in 70 AD (Jeremiah 30:3).

1967-68 tetrad: The Six Day war broke out against Israel, during which time Israel regained control of Jerusalem for the first time since 70 AD, a prophetic event that had to happen before the Lord’s return (Zechariah 14).

2014-15 tetrad: According to Bible prophecy, the Ezekiel 38 war and the “catching up” of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) are imminent and chronologically following that war, the Temple is built and the “Prince” of Israel, Jesus Christ, returns (with the saints – Jude 1:14) and rules in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 38-48).

These lunar tetrads are prophetic and all of their occurrences falling exactly on Israel’s Feast Days each time is totally improbable mathematically, without the miraculous hand of God Almighty.

When Israel won the Six Day War in 1967 and their War of Independence in 1948, they were outnumbered as much as 50 to 1, but they still won against many of the surrounding Muslim nations.

One would think that Muslims might get a clue by now as to who God really is…

There is profound proof in the world today, and throughout history, that God is real and He is all powerful – and that proof is ISRAEL!

Only satanically-driven warmongers, atheists and those who are spiritually asleep, have no eyes to see these facts, or that something very big is about to happen during this Jubilee year, 2017 (5777), the same year Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel prophesied would be the beginning of Messianic end time the same year God gave me revelations concerning (in 2010) the same year following the recent blood moon tetrad the same year that the Bible code reveals “Messiah is coming.”

The next thing on the prophetic clock is the Ezekiel 38 war, the northern prince (Russia) and Iran (ancient Persia), allied with Libya and Ethiopia, coming against Israel (Ezekiel 38-39). Iran has never had an alliance with Russia throughout history but guess what? THEY DO NOW!

Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled and those remaining shall surely come to pass. Are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of the life you have lived on this earth? If not, salvation is only a prayer away. Please visit the How Can I Be Saved page – your eternal destiny depends on it. God bless you.


The Six-Day War: Background & Overview

Israel consistently expressed a desire to negotiate with its neighbors. In an address to the UN General Assembly on October 10, 1960, Foreign Minister Golda Meir challenged Arab leaders to meet with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to negotiate a peace settlement. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser answered on October 15, saying that Israel was trying to deceive world opinion, and reiterating that his country would never recognize the Jewish State. (1)

The Arabs were equally adamant in their refusal to negotiate a separate settlement for the refugees. As Nasser told the United Arab Republic National Assembly March 26, 1964:

The Palestinian Liberation Organization

In 1963, the Arab League decided to introduce a new weapon in its war against Israel &mdash the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO formally came into being during a 1964 meeting of the first Palestinian Congress. Shortly thereafter, the group began to splinter into various factions. Ultimately, the largest faction, Fatah, would come to dominate the organization, and its leader, Yasser Arafat, would become the PLO chairman and most visible symbol. All the groups adhered to a set of principles laid out in the Palestine National Charter, which called for Israel's destruction.

The PLO&rsquos belligerent rhetoric was matched by deeds. Terrorist attacks by the group grew more frequent. In 1965, 35 raids were conducted against Israel. In 1966, the number increased to 41. In just the first four months of 1967, 37 attacks were launched. The targets were always civilians. (3)

Most of the attacks involved Palestinian guerillas infiltrating Israel from Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and Lebanon. The orders and logistical support for the attacks were coming, however, from Cairo and Damascus. Egyptian President Nasser&rsquos main objective was to harass the Israelis, but a secondary one was to undermine King Hussein&rsquos regime in Jordan.

King Hussein viewed the PLO as both a direct and indirect threat to his power. Hussein feared that the PLO might try to depose him with Nasser&rsquos help or that the PLO&rsquos attacks on Israel would provoke retaliatory strikes by Israeli forces that could weaken his authority. By the beginning of 1967, Hussein had closed the PLO&rsquos offices in Jerusalem, arrested many of the group&rsquos members, and withdrew recognition of the organization. Nasser and his friends in the region unleashed a torrent of criticism on Hussein for betraying the Arab cause. Hussein would soon have the chance to redeem himself.

Arab War Plans Revealed

In September 1965, Arab leaders and their military and intelligence chiefs met secretly at the Casablanca Hotel in Morocco to discuss whether they were ready to go to war against Israel and, if so, whether they should create a joint Arab command. The host of the meeting, King Hassan II, did not trust his Arab League guests and, initially, planned to allow a joint Shin Bet-Mossad unit known as &ldquoThe Birds&rdquo to spy on the conference. A day before the conference was scheduled to begin, however, the king told them to leave out of fear they would be noticed by the Arab guests. Hassan secretly recorded the meeting and gave it to the Israelis, who learned the Arabs were gearing up for war, but were divided and unprepared.

&ldquoThese recordings, which were truly an extraordinary intelligence achievement, further showed us that, on the one hand, the Arab states were heading toward a conflict that we must prepare for. On the other hand, their rambling about Arab unity and having a united front against Israel didn&rsquot reflect real unanimity among them,&rdquo said Major General Shlomo Gazit, who headed the Research Department of Israel&rsquos Military Intelligence Directorate. (3a)

Terror from the Heights

The breakup of the U.A.R. and the resulting political instability only made Syria more hostile toward Israel. Another major cause of conflict was Syria&rsquos resistance to Israel&rsquos creation of a National Water Carrier to take water from the Jordan River to supply the country. The Syrian army used the Golan Heights, which tower 3,000 feet above the Galilee, to shell Israeli farms and villages. Syria&rsquos attacks grew more frequent in 1965 and 1966, forcing children living on kibbutzim in the Huleh Valley to sleep in bomb shelters. Israel repeatedly protested the Syrian bombardments to the UN Mixed Armistice Commission, which was charged with policing the cease-fire, but the UN did nothing to stop Syria&rsquos aggression &mdash even a mild Security Council resolution expressing &ldquoregret&rdquo for such incidents was vetoed by the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Israel was condemned by the United Nations when it retaliated.

While the Syrian military bombardment and terrorist attacks intensified, Nasser&rsquos rhetoric became increasingly bellicose. In 1965, he announced, &ldquoWe shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.&rdquo (4)

Again, a few months later, Nasser expressed the Arabs&rsquo aspiration: &ldquo[el] the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the state of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.&rdquo (5)

Syria&rsquos attacks on Israeli kibbutzim from the Golan Heights finally provoked a retaliatory strike on April 7, 1967. During the attack, Israeli planes shot down six Syrian fighter planes &mdash MiGs supplied by the Soviet Union. Shortly thereafter, the Soviets &mdash who had been providing military and economic assistance to both Syria and Egypt &mdash gave Damascus false information alleging a massive Israeli military buildup in preparation for an attack. Despite Israeli denials, Syria decided to invoke its defense treaty with Egypt and asked Nasser to come to its aid.

Countdown to War

In early May, the Soviet Union gave Egypt false information that Israel had massed troops along the northern border in preparation for an attack on Syria. In response, Egyptian troops began moving into the Sinai and massing near the Israeli border on May 15, Israel's Independence Day. By May 18, Syrian troops were prepared for battle along the Golan Heights.

Nasser ordered the UN Emergency Force (UNEF), stationed in the Sinai since 1956 as a buffer between Israeli and Egyptian forces after Israel&rsquos withdrawal following the Sinai Campaign, to withdraw on May 16. Without bringing the matter to the attention of the General Assembly (as his predecessor had promised), Secretary-General U Thant complied with the demand. After the withdrawal of the UNEF, the Voice of the Arabs radio station proclaimed on May 18, 1967:

An enthusiastic echo was heard May 20 from Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad:

The Blockade

On May 22, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli shipping and all ships bound for Eilat. This blockade cut off Israel's only supply route with Asia and stopped the flow of oil from its main supplier, Iran.

In 1956, the United States gave Israel assurances that it recognized the Jewish State's right of access to the Straits of Tiran. In 1957, at the UN, 17 maritime powers declared that Israel had a right to transit the Strait. Moreover, the blockade violated the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone, which was adopted by the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea on April 27, 1958. (8)

President Johnson expressed the belief that the blockade was illegal and unsuccessfully tried to organize an international flotilla to test it. At the same time, he advised the Israelis not to take any military action. After the war, he acknowledged the closure of the Strait of Tiran was the casus belli (June 19, 1967):

Escalation

Nasser was aware of the pressure he was exerting to force Israel&rsquos hand, and challenged Israel to fight almost daily. The day after the blockade was set up, he said defiantly: "The Jews threaten to make war. I reply: Welcome! We are ready for war." (10)

Nasser challenged Israel to fight almost daily. "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight," he said on May 27. (11) The following day, he added: We will not accept any. coexistence with Israel. Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel. The war with Israel is in effect since 1948. ( 12)

King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt on May 30. Nasser then announced:

President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq joined in the war of words: "The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear -- to wipe Israel off the map." (14) On June 4, Iraq joined the military alliance with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

The Arab rhetoric was matched by the mobilization of Arab forces. Approximately 465,000 troops, more than 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft ringed Israel. (15)

By this time, Israeli forces had been on alert for three weeks. The country could not remain fully mobilized indefinitely, nor could it allow its sea lane through the Gulf of Aqaba to be interdicted. Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol had transferred all defense and military decisions to IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, who warned, &ldquoI believe we could find ourselves in a situation in which the existence of Israel is at great risk.&rdquo On June 2, 1967, Rabin told the Ministerial Committee for Defense, &ldquoThis forum and myself &ndash and I&rsquom sure this applies to the majority of the army&rsquos officers &ndash don&rsquot want war for its own sake. I think we may find ourselves in a military situation in which we have lost many of our advantages, reaching a position, which I don&rsquot want to express too harshly, in which our existence is in serious danger. The war will be difficult and involve many casualties.&rdquo Rabin warned that Israel could not afford to wait to act. &ldquoI feel very strongly that the diplomatic-military choke hold around our neck is tightening, and I don&rsquot see anyone else breaking it,&rdquo Rabin stated. &ldquoTime is not on our side. And in a week or two, or in three or four weeks, the situation will be worse.&rdquo (15a)

One man who opposed going to war was David Ben-Gurion. After the bitter experience of the Suez War, when he ordered the attack on Egypt without the support of the United States, and President Eisenhower subsequently forced Israel to withdraw from the territory it won in the war, Ben-Gurion believed Israel needed the support of a Western power. He also feared Israel weapons supplies would be jeopardized and Israeli casualties would be enormous. Some Israelis were calling for Ben-Gurion to replace Eshkol, but his anti-war views caused him to lose political support. Instead, pro-war factions of the government who thought Eshkol was too weak to lead the country successfully pressured him to appoint Moshe Dayan as defense minister.

Israel decided to preempt the expected Arab attack. To do this successfully, Israel needed the element of surprise. Had it waited for an Arab invasion, Israel would have been at a potentially catastrophic disadvantage. On June 5, Prime Minister Eshkol gave the order to attack Egypt.

The U.S. Position

The United States tried to prevent the war through negotiations, but it was not able to persuade Nasser or the other Arab states to cease their belligerent statements and actions. Eshkol sent the head of the Mossad, Meir Amit, to Washington to gauge the sentiment for war. Amit learned the flotilla idea had failed and that the United States would not object to an Israeli offensive. (15b) Still, right before the war, Johnson warned: Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone. (16) Then, when the war began, the State Department announced: Our position is neutral in thought, word and deed. (17)

Moreover, while the Arabs were falsely accusing the United States of airlifting supplies to Israel, Johnson imposed an arms embargo on the region (France, Israel's other main arms supplier, also embargoed arms after Israel ignored De Gaulle&rsquos plea not go to war).

By contrast, the Soviets were supplying massive amounts of arms to the Arabs. Simultaneously, the armies of Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were contributing troops and arms to the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian fronts. (18)

Israel Launches Preemptive Strike

During the last Israel Defense Forces General Staff meeting before the war, on May 19, 1967, the head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Yariv, said the Egyptians had radically changed their conduct in the preceding days. &ldquoTheir moves show a willingness to move towards or even instigate a confrontation with us,&rdquo he said. Yariv suggested the Egyptians were afraid Israel was close to building a nuclear weapon. He also said the Soviets may have convinced them of &ldquoa wider conspiracy to harm Egypt.&rdquo Rabin also addressed the question of Western assistance to respond to the Arab threats. &ldquoIt&rsquos time we stop deluding ourselves that someone will come to our aid,&rdquo said Rabin. &ldquoThis is the most grave situation since the War of Independence,&rdquo he said and told his staff they &ldquoshould prepare for war.&rdquo (18.1)

Thanks to the recordings made by King Hassan II in 1965, along with other sources, &ldquowe knew just how unprepared they were for war,&rdquo Gazit recalled. &ldquoWe reached the conclusion that the Egyptian Armored Corps was in pitiful shape and not prepared for battle.&rdquo The information in those recordings gave the Israeli army&rsquos leaders confidence &ldquowe were going to win a war against Egypt. Prophecies of doom and the feeling of imminent defeat were prevalent among the majority in Israel and the officials outside the defense establishment, but we were confident in our strength.&rdquo (18a)

Egyptian planes destroyed in the 1967 war

Despite this confidence among military leaders, the government made preparations for mass temporary graves for tens of thousands of victims in Tel Aviv parks, a fact journalists were prevented from publishing by the military censor. (18b)

On June 4, 1967, the Israeli cabinet met and voted unanimously to give the defense ministry approval to decide when and how to respond to Egypt&rsquos aggression. Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in his memoir:

Once we voted, we knew that we had expressed our people&rsquos will, for amid the alarms and fears of mid-May, our nation gave birth to new impulses within itself. All the conditions which divide us from each other and give our society a deceptive air of fragmentation, all the deeply rooted Jewish recalcitrance toward authority now seemed to have been transmuted into a new metal which few of us had felt before. There had, of course, been some fear, as was natural for a people which had endured unendurable things. Many in the world were afraid that a great massacre was sweeping down upon us. And in many places in Israel there was talk of Auschwitz and Maidenek. The anxiety expressed by friends outside told us that our apprehension was not vain. Yet, as the last days of May were passing into the haze of memory, the people were gripped by a spirit of union and resolve. Men of military age silently laid down their work in factory, office and farm, took up their files of reservist papers and disappeared toward the south. (18c)

Eban also noted that thousands of you men were crowding the offices of Israeli consulates and Jewish Agency institutions throughout the world, asking to be sent to Israel for immediate service. (18d)

On June 5, 1967, Israel was isolated, but its military commanders had conceived a brilliant war strategy. The entire Israeli Air Force, with the exception of just 12 fighters assigned to defend Israeli air space, took off at 7:14 a.m. in Operation Moked (aka Operation Focus) with the intent of bombing Egyptian airfields while the Egyptian pilots were eating breakfast. The day before the attack, Rabin visited several air bases and told the pilots:

Remember: your mission is one of life or death. If you succeed &ndash we win the war if you fail &ndash God help us. (18e)

By 11:05 a.m., 180 Egyptian fighter planes were destroyed. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan was not planning to attack Syria until the Syrians attacked Tiberias and Megiddo. Israeli fighters subsequently attacked the Syrian and Jordanian air forces, as well as one airfield in Iraq. By the end of the first day, most of the Egyptian and half the Syrian air forces had been destroyed on the ground. Altogether Israel claimed to have destroyed 302 Egyptian, 20 Jordanian, and 52 Syrian aircraft. (18f)

Despite the success of the opening salvo, Dayan did not want to contradict reports emanating from Cairo, Damascus and Amman that Arab planes had bombed Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem and caused massive casualties because he wanted the world to continue to view Israel as the victim for as long as possible. (18g)

The battle then moved to the ground, and some of history&rsquos greatest tank battles were fought between Egyptian and Israeli armor in the blast-furnace conditions of the Sinai desert. On June 9, at 5:45 a.m., the head of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yeshayahu Gavish, informed the chief of staff: &ldquoIDF forces are on the banks of the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The Sinai Peninsula is in our hands. Congratulations to you and the IDF.&rdquo

Meanwhile, the Arab oil-producing countries meeting in Bagdad unanimously decided to stop the flow of oil to any country taking part in an attack on any Arab States.

Click on maps to enlarge

The Unity Government

To demonstrate the national consensus behind the decision to go to war, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol decided on the night the war began to invite opposition leader Menachem Begin to join the government. In the context of Israeli politics, this was an extraordinary move because Begin was not only the opposition leader but someone long seen as dangerous by his rivals. Labor Party leader David Ben-Gurion, just 19 years earlier, had been so afraid of the possibility that Begin&rsquos Irgun was a threat to the newly established state of Israel that he ordered his forces to shell the Altalena arms ship.

Jerusalem Is Attacked

Initially, Israel did not plan to capture the West Bank. &ldquoThe conquest of the West Bank was made conditional on the situation in the south,&rdquo Dayan said the evening of June 5. &ldquoIn any case, the possibility of capturing the West Bank is considered preferable to breaking a corridor through to Mount Scopus.&rdquo

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol sent a message to King Hussein on June 5 saying Israel would not attack Jordan unless he initiated hostilities. When Jordanian radar picked up a cluster of planes flying from Egypt to Israel, and the Egyptians convinced Hussein the planes were theirs, he ordered the takeover of the UN headquarters located near Talpiot and the shelling of West Jerusalem. Snipers were shooting at the King David Hotel and Jordanian mortars had hit the Knesset. It turned out that the planes were Israel&rsquos and were returning from destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground.

Paratrooper Brigade 55, commanded by Colonel Motta Gur, was sent to Jerusalem and given the impossible task of preparing an assault on the city in just 12 hours. Jordan had two battalions of experienced, well-trained fighters assaulting the city. The initial mission was to stop Jordanian shelling of Jewish neighborhoods and rescue a besieged Israeli unit stationed on Mount Scopus, the sole Israeli enclave in East Jerusalem. The soldiers were ordered to stay away from the Old City and its sacred sites.

When the paratroopers arrived, fires were raging and the streets were full of glass. They could smell exploding shells. When they got off their bus, people suddenly began to appear from all directions carrying food. People came from all over, Avital Geva recalled in the documentary In Our Hands. They didn&rsquot care about the bombings. Women brought food, sweets, coffee, everything. You cannot describe it. It was spontaneous love.

At 2 a.m. on June 6, one of Brigade 55&rsquos three battalions attacked the Jordanian position known as Ammunition Hill, and fought one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The paratroopers blasted their way through the mine fields and cut through layers of razor wire fences, but the price was high. In just the initial thrust, seven soldiers were killed and more than a dozen injured. The Israelis had not trained for trench warfare and had to improvise. Two soldiers jumped on tanks and ordered them up the hill firing at every Jordanian soldier they spotted. Years later, a Jordanian soldier admitted the tanks had convinced them the battle was lost and they retreated from the hill. It had taken three hours to capture the Jordanian command bunker. Of the 260 soldiers who fought at Ammunition Hill, only eleven emerged without being wounded or killed &mdash 36 died. The Jordanians lost 71 men. After the battle, the Israelis buried 17 Jordanian soldiers in a mass grave with the English epitaph, Here lay 17 brave Jordanian soldiers, IDF, 1967.

A second battalion, the 66th, was assigned to take up a position at the Rockefeller Museum opposite the Arab quarter of the Old City to prepare to enter through the city if given the order. The soliders were unfamiliar with the city, however, and took a wrong turn that led down a narrow alley where they faced withering fire from the Jordanian forces. The Israelis made their way through to the museum, but only 30 paratroopers, half their original force emerged unharmed from what they later called the Alley of Death.

Meanwhile, a third group of paratroopers from the 71st battalion succeeded in achieving its objective of securing a position on Mount Scopus.

Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin and Uzi Narkiss Entering the Old City

While forbidding the army from entering the Old City, Eshkol said, &ldquoif the connection to Mount Scopus is completed this morning, the West Bank should be conquered up to the peak mountain ridges, while enabling escape routes for civilians.&rdquo Palestinians took advantage of those routes to flee eastward.

The night after the battle on Ammunition Hill, Dayan and Uzi Narkiss, the commander responsible for combating the Jordanian offensive, met on Mount Scopus and discussed how they might take the Old City. Narkiss explained where his troops were deployed and the various gates through which they could enter the city. Dayan asked, Why don't you go through the Lion&rsquos Gate? Narkiss had not considered this option and said to Dayan, You know what Moshe, since the time of King David, Jerusalem has never been conquered from the east. Dayan replied, Then this will be the second and last time. (18h)

Nasser and Hussein still hoped to save face and their remaining troops. During a phone conversation they decided to tell the world they were losing because the British and Americans were helping the Israelis. The Israelis had recorded the call, however, and shared it with the world, which confirmed the denials of Western officials. President Johnson referred to the episode as The Big Lie.

The Israelis offererd Hussein a way out of the dilemma. Eshkol said Israeli troops were perpared to take the Old City but would not do it if the king agreed to an immediate unconditional ceasefire, expelled the Egyptians generals from Jordan and began a peace process with Israel. Hussein&rsquos response was to send troops back to Jerusalem in hopes of holding as much territory as possible before a ceasefire was declared.

Dayan realized he had to make a decision. At 6:15 a.m. on June 7, Dayan ordered the encirclement of the Old City and instructed the army to enter with the warning not to damage any of the holy places. Fortunately, the night before most of the Jordanian troops had retreated so when the paratroopers stormed the gate onto the Via Dolorosa, they met no resistance. Gur led the charge up to the Temple Mount and radioed headquarters at 10:08 a.m., &ldquoThe Temple Mount is in our hands and our forces are by the [Western] Wall.&rdquo The brigade&rsquos chief communications officer, Ezra Orni, hung an Israeli flag over the Dome of the Rock. Dayan was observing from Mount Scopus and angrily radioed Gur, Do you want to set the Middle East on fire? The flag was removed. Shortly afterward, Dayan arrived with Rabin to formally mark the Jews&rsquo return to their historic capital and their holiest site. At the Western Wall, the IDF&rsquos chaplain, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, blew a shofar to celebrate the event, which was broadcast live on Voice of Israel Radio.

The joy of reuniting Jerusalem was tempered by the loss of so many soldiers. A total of 430 paratroopers were wounded and 97 were killed.

Hussein's decision changed the course of the war and history. Following the shelling of Jerusalem, Israel counterattacked and took over the West Bank of Jordan within 48 hours. According to Major General Rephael Vardi, the Palestinians believed the Jordanian and other Arab forces were going to quickly occupy Israel. Such was their surprise that the Israeli forces that entered Nablus were welcomed by the population with flowers and with flags because they believed that these were Iraqi forces that had come to support the Jordanians. (18i)

A Second Exodus

After Jordan launched its attack on June 5, approximately 325,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank fled to other parts of Jordan, primarily to avoid being caught in the cross-fire of a war. (19)

A Palestinian refugee who was an administrator in a UNRWA camp in Jericho said Arab politicians had spread rumors in the camp. "They said all the young people would be killed. People heard on the radio that this is not the end, only the beginning, so they think maybe it will be a long war and they want to be in Jordan." (20)

Some Palestinians who left preferred to live in an Arab state rather than under Israeli military rule. Members of various PLO factions fled to avoid capture by the Israelis. Nils-Göran Gussing, the person appointed by the UN Secretary-General to investigate the situation, found that many Arabs also feared they would no longer be able to receive money from family members working abroad. (21)

Rabin issued the following order, Prevent people from leaving for Jordan, but not by force. We&rsquore trying not to increase the population of Jerusalem. Only 200 families who were living in synagogues and desecrating them were expelled. We found them alternative housing. There are no expulsions. I don&rsquot know what the diplomatic solutions will be. That isn&rsquot the army&rsquos responsibility. (21a)

Israeli forces ordered a handful of Palestinians to move for "strategic and security reasons." In some cases, they were allowed to return in a few days, in others Israel offered to help them resettle elsewhere. (22) The net result was that a new refugee population had been created and the old refugee problem was made worse.

The Stunning Victory

While most IDF units were fighting the Egyptians and Jordanians, a small, heroic group of soldiers were left to defend the northern border against the Syrians. It was not until the Jordanians and Egyptians were subdued that reinforcements could be sent to the Golan Heights, where Syrian gunners commanding the strategic high ground made it exceedingly difficult and costly for Israeli forces to penetrate. Finally, on June 9, after two days of heavy air bombardment, Israeli forces succeeded in breaking through the Syrian lines.

After just six days of fighting, Israeli forces were in a position to march on Cairo, Damascus, and Amman. By this time, the principal objectives of capturing the Sinai and the Golan Heights had been accomplished, and Israeli political leaders had no desire to fight in the Arab capitals. Furthermore, the Soviet Union had become increasingly alarmed by the Israeli advances and was threatening to intervene. At this point, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk advised the Israelis &ldquoin the strongest possible terms&rdquo to accept a cease-fire. On June 10, Israel did just that.

The victory came at a very high cost. In storming the Golan Heights, Israel suffered 115 dead-roughly the number of Americans killed during Operation Desert Storm. Altogether, Israel lost twice as many men &mdash 777 dead and 2,586 wounded-in proportion to her total population as the U.S. lost in eight years of fighting in Vietnam. (23) Also, despite the incredible success of the air campaign, the Israeli Air Force lost 46 of its 200 fighters. (24) The death toll on the Arab side was 15,000 Egyptians, 2,500 Syrians, and 800 Jordanians.

By the end of the war, Israel had conquered enough territory to more than triple the size of the area it controlled, from 8,000 to 26,000 square miles. The victory enabled Israel to unify Jerusalem. Israeli forces had also captured the Sinai, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Nuclear Option

A previously little known story was publicized just before the 50th anniversary of the war disclosing that Israel had considered using a nuclear weapon to scare the Egyptians. According to retired brigadier general Itzhak Yaakov , Israel had a contingency plan code-named Shimshon, or Samson . [Israel's use of nuclear weapons as a last resort if it faced annhilation is sometimes referred to as the Samson Option.] Yaakov said Israel rushed to assemble an atom bomb with the intention of detonating it on a mountaintop in the Sinai desert about 12 miles from an Egyptian military complex at Abu Ageila as a warning to Egypt and the other Arab states if Israel feared it would lose the war.

During a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on May 26, 1967, Eshkol reported: &ldquoToday four [Egyptian] airplanes flew over Israel. We immediately telegrammed Abba Eban about it. The purpose of a certain weapon can be crucial in this matter, and I don&rsquot mean something which is out of this world. It&rsquos a weapon that exists in [other countries] in the hundreds and thousands.&rdquo

As the New York Times reported, The plan, if activated by order of the prime minister and military chief of staff, was to send a small paratrooper force to divert the Egyptian Army in the desert area so that a team could lay preparations for the atomic blast. Two large helicopters were to land, deliver the nuclear device and then create a command post in a mountain creek or canyon. If the order came to detonate, the blinding flash and mushroom cloud would have been seen throughout the Sinai and Negev Deserts, and perhaps as far away as Cairo.

&ldquoLook, it was so natural,&rdquo said Mr. Yaakov, according to a transcription of a taped interview. &ldquoYou&rsquove got an enemy, and he says he&rsquos going to throw you to the sea. You believe him.&rdquo

&ldquoHow can you stop him?&rdquo he asked. &ldquoYou scare him. If you&rsquove got something you can scare him with, you scare him.&rdquo (24a)

The West Bank and Gaza

Israel now ruled more than three-quarters of a million Palestinians &mdash most of whom were hostile to the government. Nevertheless, Israel allowed many of the refugees who fled the fighting to return, reuniting more than 9,000 Palestinian families in 1967. Ultimately, more than 60,000 Palestinians were allowed to return. (25)

In November 1967, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242, which established a formula for Arab-Israeli peace whereby Israel would withdraw from territories occupied in the war in exchange for peace with its neighbors. This resolution has served as the basis for peace negotiations from that time on.

Israel's leaders fully expected to negotiate a peace agreement with their neighbors that would involve some territorial compromise. According to Medzini, On June 19, the government adopted a secret resolution instructing Eban to tell the Americans that Israel was prepared to withdraw from the Golan and Sinai for full peace with Syria and Egypt and a willingness to create special arrangements with Jordan. (26)

Consequently, instead of annexing the West Bank, a military administration was created. According to Major General Vardi, Israel did not expect to be saddled with responsibility for the captured territories:

We did not believe that the Israeli rule of the territories would last more than a few months following our experience after the Sinai Campaign in 1956 in which by March 1957 we were compelled to withdraw from the whole of Sinai. Some preparations for a military government in the West Bank, in case of war, had been made, but these were minimal because the possibility that the Big Powers would allow the occupation of the West Bank seemed unreal. Therefore we had to start organizing the military government virtually from scratch in order to establish the rule of the IDF, assume the functions of a civil government, maintain law and order, organize and provide public services, look after all the other necessities of the population, restore life to normal, and especially to reconstruct the economy. (27)

No occupation is pleasant for the inhabitants, but the Israeli authorities did try to minimize the impact on the population. Don Peretz, a frequent writer on the situation of Arabs in Israel and a sharp critic of the Israeli government, visited the West Bank shortly after the Israeli troops had taken over. He found they were trying to restore normal life and prevent any incidents that might encourage the Arabs to leave their homes. (28)

Except for the requirement that school texts in the territories be purged of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic language, the authorities tried not to interfere with the inhabitants. They did provide economic assistance for example, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were moved from camps to new homes. This stimulated protests from Egypt, which had done nothing for the refugees when it controlled the area.

Arabs were given freedom of movement. They were allowed to travel to and from Jordan. In 1972, elections were held in the West Bank. Women and non-landowners, unable to participate under Jordanian rule, were now permitted to vote.

East Jerusalem Arabs were given the option of retaining Jordanian citizenship or acquiring Israeli citizenship. They were recognized as residents of united Jerusalem and given the right to vote and run for the city council. Also, Islamic holy places were put in the care of a Muslim Council. Despite the Temple Mount's significance in Jewish history, Jews were barred from conducting prayers there.

Why Didn&rsquot the War Lead to Peace?

Israelis thought that routing the Arab armies would convince their leaders they had no hope of destroying Israel and would agree to a peace agreement. On June 19, 1967, the Israeli Cabinet secretly decided to exchange Sinai and the Golan for peace agreements with Egypt and Syria but no consensus was reached on the West Bank, though the Cabinet agreed to incorporate Gaza into Israel and to resettle refugees elsewhere in the region. (29)

The Arabs, however, had been humiliated and would have to regain their honor before contemplating any accommodation with Israel. Instead of peace, the Arab League Summit in Khartoum in August 1967 declared the Arab position toward Israel would be no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition.

On November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242, calling on Israel to withdraw from territory &ndash not all the territories &ndash captured in the war in exchange for &ldquosecure and recognized boundaries&rdquo with the aim of achieving a &ldquopeaceful and accepted settlement.&rdquo This resolution became the basis for future peace talks.

Almost immediately after the end of the war, any hope for peace was shattered when Egypt began shelling Israeli positions near the Suez Canal. Nasser believed Israel could not withstand a lengthy war of attrition. Before a cease-fire was declared three years later, 1,424 Israeli soldiers and more than one hundred civilians were killed Egypt suffered approximately five thousand dead.

Sources: Mitchell G. Bard, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict. 4th Edition. NY: Alpha Books, 2008
Content supplied by CBN ©2016 The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

(1) Encyclopedia Americana Annual 1961, (NY: Americana Corporation, 1961), p. 387.
(2) Yehoshafat Harkabi, Arab Attitudes To Israel, (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1972), p. 27.
(3) Howard Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), p. 616.
(3a) Sue Surkes, &ldquoMorocco tipped off Israeli intelligence, &lsquohelped Israel win Six Day War,&rsquo&rdquo Times of Israel , (October 16, 2016).
(4) Samuel Katz, Battleground-Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, (NY: Bantam Books, 1985), pp. 10-11, 185.
(5) Netanel Lorch, One Long War, (Jerusalem: Keter, 1976), p. 110.
(6) Isi Leibler, The Case For Israel, (Australia: The Globe Press, 1972), p. 60.
(7) Ibid.
(8) United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, (Geneva: UN Publications 1958), pp. 132-134.
(9) Yehuda Lukacs, Documents on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 1967-1983, (NY: Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 17-18 Abba Eban, Abba Eban, (NY: Random House, 1977), p. 358
(10) Eban, p. 330.
(11) Leibler, p. 60.
(12) Leibler, p. 18.
(13) Leibler, p. 60.
(14) Leibler, p. 18.
(15) Chaim Herzog, The Arab-Israeli Wars, (NY: Random House, 1982), p. 149.
(15a) Gili Cohen, Six-Day War documents show Dayan proposed Arab rule in parts of West Bank, Haaretz,(June 4, 2015).
(15b) Michael Bar-Zohar, The War Nobody Wanted, inFocus, (Spring 2017), p. 12.
(16) Lyndon B. Johnson, The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency 1963-1969, (NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971), p. 293.
(17) AP, (June 5, 1967).
(18) Sachar, p. 629.
(18.1) Gili Cohen, &ldquoMinutes of Last General Staff Meeting Before 1967 War: &lsquoEgypt Worried Israel Close to Nuclear Bomb,&rsquo&rdquo Haaretz, (June 24, 2017).
(18a) Sue Surkes, &ldquoMorocco tipped off Israeli intelligence, &lsquohelped Israel win Six Day War,&rsquo&rdquo Times of Israel, (October 16, 2016).
(18b) Meron Medzini, 1967 | The international media and the Six-Day War, Fathom, (2017).
(18c) Abba Eban, An Autobiography, (NY: Random House, 1977), pp. 400-401.
(18d) Eban, p. 401.
(18e) Michael Bar-Zohar, The War Nobody Wanted, inFocus, (Spring 2017), p. 12.
(18f) The six-day war: Israel claims land and air successes as Britain and US declare neutrality, The Guardian, (June 6, 1947).
(18g) Meron Medzini, 1967 | The international media and the Six-Day War, Fathom, (2017).
(18h) Jerusalem Report, (June 12, 2017).
(18i) Major General Rephael Vardi, The Beginning of Israeli Rule in Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, (April 16, 1989).
(19) Encyclopedia American Annual 1968, p. 366.
(20) George Gruen, "The Refugees of Arab-Israeli Conflict," (NY: American Jewish Committee, March 1969), p. 5.
(21) Gruen, p. 5.
(21a) Gili Cohen, &ldquoMinutes of Last General Staff Meeting Before 1967 War: &lsquoEgypt Worried Israel Close to Nuclear Bomb,&rsquo&rdquo Haaretz, (June 24, 2017).
(22) Gruen, p. 4.
(23) Katz, p. 3.
(24) Jerusalem Post, (4/23/99).
(24a) William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, &ldquo&lsquoLast Secret&rsquo of 1967 War: Israel&rsquos Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display,&rdquo New York Times, (June 3, 2017).
(25) Encyclopedia American Annual 1968, p. 366.
(26) Meron Medzini, 1967 | The international media and the Six-Day War, Fathom, (2017).
(27) Major General Rephael Vardi, The Beginning of Israeli Rule in Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, (April 16, 1989).
(28) Don Peretz, "Israel's New Dilemma," Middle East Journal, (Winter 1968), pp. 45-46.
(29) Aaron David Miller, &ldquoThe Myths About 1967 That Just Won't Die,&rdquo The Atlantic, (June 2, 2017).

Photo of Dayan, Rabin and Narkiss, Ilan Bruner, Israeli Government National Photo Collection

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Aftermath

The political importance of the 1967 War was immense Israel demonstrated that it was able and willing to initiate strategic strikes that could change the regional balance. Egypt and Syria learned tactical lessons and would launch an attack in 1973 in an attempt to reclaim their lost territory.

Following the war, Israel experienced a wave of national euphoria, and the press praised the military’s performance for weeks afterward. New “victory coins” were minted to celebrate. In addition, the world’s interest in Israel grew, and the country’s economy, which had been in crisis before the war, flourished due to an influx of tourists and donations, as well as the extraction of oil from the Sinai’s wells.

In the Arab nations, populations of minority Jews faced persecution and expulsion following the Israeli victory. According to historian and ambassador Michael B. Oren:

Following the war, Israel made an offer for peace that included the return of most of the recently captured territories. According to Chaim Herzog:

In September, 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 to one focusing on territories and boundaries.


Causes of the Six Day War

The causes of the six day war (also called the 1967 war) between Israel and its Arab neighbors are important to understanding Arab-Israeli relations today.

When Israeli nationalists declared the state of Israel in former British Palestine in 1948, surrounding nations argued that it was established illegally. They refused to acknowledge it. This state of tension resulted in open conflict in 1967.

Background to the Six Day War

When Jewish leaders created Israel in 1948, it bordered four Arab nations: Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Israel’s creation outraged Arab citizens, who sympathized with the hundreds of thousands of Arab Christians and Muslims who lost their homes, livelihoods and hopes for political self-determination. They regarded Israel as a European colonial power.

Meanwhile, Israeli citizens felt betrayed by the European colonial powers, who had failed to prevent the Holocaust. Israelis feared that the Jewish people would not survive without the military strength to defend themselves. The new nation had a strong military to defend itself against its Arab neighbors.

In 1956, this distrust broke out in the Suez Crisis, which ended with a stalemate between Egypt and Israel. The United Nations sent a peace-keeping force at the request of Egypt’s President Nasser, to protect the Sinai from another Israeli invasion. Egypt reserved the right to ask this United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to leave the Sinai at any time.

The Samu Incident

Arab-Israeli tension was rising in the years just prior to 1967. In 1964 and 1965, Arab presidents and kings met in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss possible military action against Israel. In 1966, a military government came to power in Syria, Israel’s neighbor to the northeast. President Nasser of Egypt, on Israel’s southern border, signed a treaty with Syria agreeing to send military aid if Israel attacked. Israeli leaders regarded these events with suspicion and began preparations for possible war.

In 1965, a group of Palestinian Arabs formed the guerilla military group Fatah, to challenge Israeli control of Palestine. Fatah’s clandestine attacks on Israel led to a serious crisis called the Samu incident.

The Samu incident began on Nov. 11, 1966, when an Israeli patrol close to the Jordanian border encountered a Fatah-planted landmine that killed three soldiers. Israeli leadership responded to the Fatah attack with a rapid, small-scale military incursion into Jordan’s West Bank on Nov. 13. Approximately 600 IDF troops and a dozen tanks crossed the border to the town of Samu, where they dynamited a few dozen houses and public buildings (estimates of the damage vary widely).

Israeli leadership’s rationale for the attack was that Samu’s villagers would demand that Jordan’s King Hussein take action against Fatah to protect Palestinian civilians from further Israeli retaliation. Angry Palestinian citizens of Jordan did criticize King Hussein heavily for failing to protect them. However, their anger led them to support Fatah’s attacks rather than oppose them.

The Samu incident caused great anti-Israeli anger in the Arab media. It also stalled the secret normalization negotiations taking place between Jordan and Israel. It is thus one of the key incidents leading toward the six day war.

Immediate Triggers for the Six Day War

In April 1967, Palestinian guerillas based in Syria launched several rocket attacks on northern Israeli outposts. In addition, a dispute over farming rights along the Syrian border resulted in a number of Israeli-Syrian skirmishes on land and in the air. In April, Israel mobilized 70,000 reserve troops, suggesting it anticipated war. In fact, Israel’s opposition party was pushing Israeli leadership to take action against Syria.

In May 1967, Nasser of Egypt took three significant actions that would lead Israel to make a “preemptive strike.” First, he requested that the UNEF withdraw from the Sinai. The UN complied, as they had no right to remain on Egyptian soil without Egyptian permission.

Nasser then stationed Egyptian troops in the Sinai and blockaded the Straits of Tiran, which gave Israel access to Red Sea shipping lanes. Lastly, on May 30, Nasser signed a military agreement with Jordan. Jordan’s unofficial détente with Israel was over.

Within Israel, public opinion feared the nation was in danger of Arab conquest. However, historical documents show that Israel’s government, led by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and Defense Minister General Moshe Dayan, thought in terms of Israel’s long-term foreign policy as they debated their next move.

On June 5, Israel launched an assault on Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

Debates about the Causes of the Six Day War

Some historians argue that the Arab military alliances of 1967 made it imperative for Israel to take pre-emptive military action. They posit that the blockade of the Straits of Tiran was a belligerent act requiring a belligerent response.

Other historians disagree. They argue that Egypt, Syria and Jordan mobilized their armed forces in response to Israeli mobilization and that they did not intend to provoke a war for which they were poorly prepared.

What is undeniable is that both sides wanted to make a show of strength. Their maneuvering resulted in a war with long-term consequences for everyone involved.


Fifty years on, Six Day War paratrooper on the iconic photo that ‘eternalised history’

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

It’s the iconic photo taken in the immediate aftermath of brutal fighting in Jerusalem at the end of the Six-Day War in 1967: three Israeli soldiers first looking upon the Western Wall.

For Izack Ifat, the 24-year old paratrooper in the middle, it was a moment he may never have had, having only an hour earlier survived a bayonet charge from a Jordanian adversary in the battle of Ammunition Hill in East Jerusalem.

Now a retired gynaecologist living in Rishon Lezion, Dr Ifat has ever since answered questions about that photo, and his troop’s fight for the city almost 50 years ago, having become instantly famous as the centre of a trio snapped by photographer David Rubinger.

The photo itself was never really valued by Rubinger, who died earlier this year. At the time he thought little of it and gave it to the Israeli Government’s press office, whose officers disseminated it far and wide. The rest, as they say, is history.

In March, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said the photo “eternalised history as it will be forever etched in our memories,” and for Ifat, in London this month, those memories are still crystal clear.

“We were planning an operation in Egypt, but as we were about to go in, we were told that the Jordanians had launched an attack on Jerusalem, so we had to get in the bus and go, to everyone’s disappointment,” he recalled this month.

“We arrived with no plan. We were welcomed by women offering coffee, then Jordanian bombing. We approached the west-side of Ammunition Hill under heavy fire, then face-to-face fighting with Jordanian soldiers. It was like hell. I had many friends killed.”

“One guy in front of me was hit in the buttocks, he was going to be shot again but I shot the Jordanian soldier first before he could do so. Then all the bullets of my rifle were finished. I wanted to refill it but a Jordanian soldier came at me with a bayonet. Somehow I grabbed it, kicked him between the legs, overcame him and shot him.”

More than 100 soldiers from both sides were killed during the battle, but the Israeli paratroopers who survived continued on through Lion’s Gate, into the Old Town, said Ifat, not knowing where they were going.

“We were in narrow lanes, with Arab house, we didn’t know where, and suddenly we came through a small iron gate and saw it – the Kotel. It wasn’t open as it is now, it was surrounded by houses on all sides.”

The moment was “very exciting, very emotional,” he said, recalling events. “We didn’t realise we were going that way. My friends had tears in their eyes when they realised what was happening, that we came to the place we’ve been waiting for for 2,000 years.”

An hour later, photographer David Rubinger arrived and took a photo of three soldiers, Ifat and his two fellow paratroopers – Yemen-born Chaim Oshri and Zion Karasenti. Ifat, helmet removed, looks deep in thought. What was he thinking of?

“I was thinking of my grandfather, of Jewish history, of all the stories I was told, all this history was coming to my head. Then I thought of my friends who had just died, including my best friend, Yair Goldberg. We were all so close, like a big family.

“We made a small monument of stones to those who died, then we crossed over to the other side and built another for the Jordanians, because they fought bravely. People forget we did that, because it was taken down, I don’t know by who, but we did. It was important. But it was important also that Jerusalem was now in Jewish hands. For me, it must always be.”

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