Bible Israel

The Six Day War of 1967 Israel and Egypt

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The Six Day War of 1967

Conflict Background and Overview

One of the most definitive Israeli victories among the battles of the Arab-Israeli conflict was the Six Day War of 1967. It is yet another example in which an Israeli victory granted her more territory than before the start of the conflict. Fought between June 5th and 10th, 1967, this multi-fronted series of battles took place between Israel and her neighbors on all three sides: Jordan, Syrian, and Egypt.

Following the Suez Crisis of 1956, terrorist activity began to escalate on Israel's borders, along with an escalation in military movements, especially on the border with Syria who was widely believed to be a chief sponsor of said terrorist activity by allowing "Palestinian" guerillas to infiltrate into Israel. The demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel became extremely volatile as a result, which resulted in numerous skirmishes in the region.

The Egyptian Front

On the Egyptian front to the South, it was the Soviet Union who once again played the role as "instigator" in the Middle East conflict. Acting on Soviet reports of an alleged and imminent, yet false Israeli invasion into Syria, Egyptian President ordered a buildup of Egyptian forces and unleashed them into the Sinai. On May 22, 1967, in a move that was deemed "an act of war" by the Israeli government, Nasser ordered the Straits of Tiran closed to all Israeli naval vessels. Five days later, Nasser openly made a statement that would become the banner under which the Arabs have marched into their conflict with Israel: "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."

The Jordanians, already with a large presence in the "West Bank" region and in East Jerusalem, brought themselves into the fray by signing a defense agreement with Egypt and inviting Iraqi troops to deploy across Jordanian borders. On June 4, 1967, the Israeli government approved the decision to go to war. Israeli intelligence reports, deemed among the most superior in the world, were quite familiar with Egyptian movements, particularly that of the Egyptian air force. Quiet specifically, they knew down to the minute when Egyptian pilots were sitting down for breakfast, with their planes on the ground. On the morning of June 5th, 1967, Israeli forces launched Operation Focus -- a victorious and massive, surprise attack that destroyed the majority of the Egyptian air force before their planes could get off the ground. In total, over 450 Egyptian aircraft were destroyed, leaving Israel with complete control of the skies over the Sinai, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights by the end of the first day of the Six Day War. Egyptian forces caught retreating back towards Egypt over the Sinai were also destroyed by Israeli forces during the conflict. By the end of the Six Day War, over 600 combat Arab aircraft on all three fronts were annihilated by a fleet of only 190 Israel combat aircraft. On June 7, 1967, the Israeli government announced that the Straits of Tiran were once again open to safe passage for Israeli naval vessels.

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