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Israeli forces advancing in the Sinai desert during the Six-Day War, June 1967. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Six-Day War of 1967

Assumed to have been precipitated by the Levant (Egypt, Jordan and Syria) state that made moves against Israel, the Six-Day War was fought based on miscalculated information and the influence of distanced power propaganda, allegedly.

Significant Arab states like Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and others also contributed troops and arms. Nasser was more woke to the Arab-Israeli crisis and was more ready to remind the Israelis that they were invaders. As he put it that the battle was to “force the enemy to awake from his dreams and meet Arab reality face to face.”

Six-Day War: Background

Based on the information gotten from the Soviet Military Intelligence, Syria had hinted Egypt to be conscious of Israel’s amassment of troops along the Syrian border and the imminent attacks from them.

The major foreign policy of Israel also seemed to dance to the tune of the information; it announced that the overthrow of the Syrian Baath Party was its major foreign policy objective.

This awoke Egypt’s consciousness and was ready to repel Israeli attacks so as not to repeat the Israeli bombardment of Egyptian movie houses that precipitated the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956.

Because of the Syria/Egypt alliance, Abdel Nasser made attempt to support Syria by providing troops to repel Israeli attacks. Moreover, Egypt also sought the removal of the UN troops that have been stationed in the Sinai and Gaza strip (which are Egyptian territories) since the Suez Canal crisis.

On May 21, 1967, Egyptian troops successfully replaced the UN troops and Egypt also truncated the 1956 truce of the Suez crisis by closing the Straight of Tiran to Israeli ships.

Israel thus mounted attacks on the Arabs, especially as the Palestine Liberation Organisation PLO threatened to destroy Israel. The Six-Day War, therefore, began as Jordan, Egypt and Israel were readily mobilizing troops. “On June 5, 1967, the Israel Defense Forces initiated Operation Focus, a coordinated aerial attack on Egypt.”

Six-Day War: Causes

The Soviet misinformation was just a cause of the war. The war was not monocausal; there were a series of contentious issues between the Arabs (Syria, specifically) and Israel that culminated in the immediate cause of the war.

  • Israel complained of terrorist attacks from the PLO in 1965. It claimed that there were several border attacks against Israel along the Jordanian and Lebanese borders.
  • Israel also attacked Syria from the borders after the completion and activation of the National Carrier from the Sea of Galilee to the Negev in 1964. Therefore, Syria opposed the project and attempted to destroy it.
  • Syria rejected Israeli attempts to use the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for agriculture. This zone was demilitarized as one of the terms of the Israeli-Syria armistice of 1949.
  • The Soviets informed the Arabs of the secret mobilisation of troops by Israel. This was later claimed to be disinformation, but the readiness of the Israeli troops as of then also seemed to be the very truth.

The major cause of the cause could be seen to be the incessant border disputes between Syria and Israel. Syria did not want further attacks from its border as Israel continued to mount attacks, and also Syria disputed the idea of using the DMZ for agriculture by Israel. Syria allegedly bombed Israeli farmers in the DMZ after a prolonged dispute.

Six-Day War: Consequences

After the defeat of the Arab states that fought Israel, it occupied several territories including Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan River (East Jerusalem combined) as well as the Golden Heights.

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13th June 1967: Egyptian prisoners of war holding
their hands aloft after being rounded up by Israeli forces
in the Sinai desert following the Six-Day War (5-10th June).
(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

In the newly conquered territories, over a million Arabs were under Israel’s control. However, the war laid the basis for future clashes in the region as Israel occupied the Arab territories.

No less than 800 Israelis were killed 4, 517 were wounded while 15 soldiers were captured. On the side of the Arabs, between 9, 800 and 15, 000 soldiers were killed and several thousand soldiers were captured. Jordan and Syria also lost thousands of soldiers to the battle, greater than the Israeli casualties.

Because the United States apparently provided ammunitions with other kinds of support for Israel to fight the Arab neighbours, the war was more of an Arab-American war. There was high anti-American radicalization in the Middle East and many Arab countries broke ties with the United States.

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A burnt-out Egyptian aircraft at El Auth airport, Sinai,
during the Six-Day War.
(Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

The emergence of the state of Israel as a new regional power changed the balance of power and reduced Arab nationalism in the region. Seventeen of Egypt’s military airfields were destroyed by Israeli forces and had occupied the Old City of Jerusalem.

Moreover, after the war, there was a high increase in tourism and slight immigration. Majorly the Jewish pilgrims started to arrive in Jerusalem to visit the Wailing Wall.  The domestic market of Israel was expanded due to the availability of the conquered places and a high increase in Jewish immigration.

The war was also a viable proof of recognised existence for the PLO. Its political and military influence began to be felt in the years after and was gradually becoming more recognised as the representatives of the Palestinian people, with Yassir Arafat as its leader, as a state.

However, the war did not end there. The Arabs resisted and dejected the invasion of the Israelis on their land and refused to recognise the state of Israel. Roughly, the map of Israel began to fuse itself in Palestine as a state in the world, therefore chopping the Palestinian territory often and often. Six years after the 1967 Six-Day war, the ground would be ready for another round (Yom Kippur War of 1973 ).


Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.