The Six-Day War

The Six-Day War is a war between Israel and the Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, which were helped by Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Algeria. The war took place in June 1967.

Background

The war began because of the general struggle between Israel and the Arabs which had been going on since Independence. After Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1957, the U.N. put soldiers there to try and keep the peace. But, before the 1967 war, Egyptian president Nasser expelled the U.N. peacekeepers. In May of 1967, all the countries were mobilizing their forces to get ready for war. Then Egypt blockaded the Gulf of Aquaba which was a vital transportation route for Israeli shipping. Israel thought that this was an act of agression and attacked.

Battles on three fronts

Israel had to fight the war on three sides. To the north-east, Syria, to the east, Jordan, and to the south-west, Egypt..

On June 5th, Israel launched planes to attack the Egyptian fighter aircraft on their airstrips. Israel destroyed 300 egyptian planes. Once the Egyptian airforce had been decimated, the Israelis began a land attack. Israel also used the air force to attack Egyptian convoys. One famous attack was that of the Mitla Pass, in which Israel set fire to hundreds of jeep, tank and transports. Israeli soldiers occupied the Gaza strip and pushed into the Sinai.

On June 7th, the Israelis captured Sharm el Sheikh. The next day, all of the Sinai peninsula was under Israeli control; later that evening fighting ceased and Egypt surrendered.

Israel attacks Jordan on June 5th as well. They also attacked the Jordanian air force, and destroyed 35 Jordanian planes. Land forces fought Jordanian soldiers in Old Jerusalem and on the West Bank of the Jordan river. On June 7th, Jordan surrendered to Israel.

The attacks on Syria also began on June 5th. The Israeli air force attacked the Syrian air force with the same tactics as they used in Egypt and destroyed 60 Syrian planes. Then Israeli soldiers attacked the Golan heights. On June 10th, the Syrian government surrendered after Israel had conquered the Golan Heights.

The situation at the end of the conflict

The war left Israel with the greatest territorial gains of any war it had fought. The Sinai peninsula and Gaza strip were captured from Egypt; East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. The new territory was four times larger than the area within its 1949 armistice frontiers. There was an arab population of 1.5 million people in the occupied territories.

Conclusion

The Six-Day War was one of the most important wars for Israel. It included the reunification of Jerusalem, which made it possible for Israelis to visit the Kotel. Israel also captured the Golan Heights, which prevents Syria from easily attacking their settlements.

However, it has also caused lots of disputes over the occupied terriotories, especially over the West Bank.