Six Days of War, 35 years without peace
In 1967 the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq were at war with Israel; the outcome of this struggle would come to shape the conflict in Palestine. Following the war Israel occupied the Golan Heights, Gaza strip, the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula. With the exception of the Sinai these areas are still under Israeli control and have come to be known collectively as the occupied territories. Israel's unprecedented success against the Arab armies, far from bringing peace and increased security, has resulted in nearly continuous unrest and conflict among the Palestinians; the Israelis continued reliance on force to deal with the Arabs. In the words of one Israeli soldier:
"The root of all this confusion lies in the glory of war, accompanied by the indisputable fact that war can't be a good thing and that nothing can be achieved by it. No one comes out of a war unscarred. I find it very difficult to accept the idea that it was through the war that we achieved great and wonderful things, things that no one had dreamt of before.
Can you educate in the light of war? Can you establish and build and develop a set of concepts, values and ideas in the light of a war, or in the shadow of a potential war? You can't build yourself on war. Whenever you here the same theme, whenever you see the things that characterize every great war, you're faced by a contradiction that's very difficult to resolve." (Re'uven: Israeli paratrooper reflecting on the Six Days War)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the origins and impacts of the 1967 Six Day War; and argue that the outcome of this conflict is a direct cause of the domestic problems Israel currently faces. Initially, the origins of the conflict will be looked at. First, the Israeli perspective; Second, The Arab perspective. Next the war itself will be dealt with. Lastly the impacts of the war will be discussed. First, Arab humiliation; Second, the Palestinian plight. Finally the recent strife between the Palestinians and the Israelis will be looked at, along with the latest peace proposals.
The Israeli Perspective:
The Six Day War broke out on June 5, 1967, following three weeks of tension that began on May 15, 1967 when it became known that Egypt had concentrated large-scale forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt's force buildup in the Sinai was accompanied by other serious steps: the United Nations Emergency Force was evacuated on May 19 upon the demands of the Egyptian president Nasser; the Egyptian navy blocked the Straits of Tiran, located at the end of the Gulf of Aqaba, on the night of May 22, 1967, preventing the passage of any Israeli vessels; and on May 30, 1967, Jordan joined the Egyptian-Syrian military alliance of 1966 and placed its army on both sides of the Jordan river under Egyptian command. Iraq followed suit. An Arab force of some 465,000 troops, over 2,880 tanks and 810 aircraft, now confronted Israel.
In this way, a direct threat...