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1967 War

Molly has copied onto her blog an account of the 1967 War in the form of "frequently asked questions". Historical events can be represented with the exclusion or misrepresentation of facts to present the event in a way more favorable to a particular cause. So in the interest of accuracy:
Frequently Asked Questions about the 1967 War

1. How did the 1967 war begin?

The Six-Day War began after a series of complex and disputed events between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Israel had been at war previously with Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, and Iraq in 1948-9, and in 1956 Israel went to war with Egypt in the Sinai.

Border incidents:
Attacks from Palestinian guerrilla groups (fedayeen) supported by Syria, Egypt, and Jordan increased during the early 1960s.

Israel retaliated against attacks by going into Arab territory. One such reprisal was the incident at Samu on November 13, 1966.

Syria regularly shelled Israeli farms from its Golan Heights region. Israel aerially attacked Syrian emplacements on the Golan Heights. In April 1967 Israel shot down six of Syria’s MiG fighter planes.

Israel's National Water Carrier:
The Arabs started work on the Headwater Diversion project in 1965. Israel declared that it would regard such diversion as an infringement of its sovereign rights. According to estimates, completion of the project would have deprived Israel of 35% of its contemplated withdrawal from the upper Jordan, constituting one-ninth of Israel's annual water budget.
In a series of military strikes, Israel hit the diversion works. The attacks culminated in April 1967 in air strikes deep inside Syria. The increase in water-related Arab-Israeli hostility was a major factor leading to the June 1967 war.
more here

May 17 - President Nasser asks the UN to remove the UNEF from the Egyptian-Israeli frontier in Sinai.

May 18 - UN withdraws peace forces from Sinai, at President Nasser's request.

May 22 - President Nasser closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.

May 29 - President Nasser declares "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."

May 30 - Egypt and Jordan unite against Israel.

May 31 - Jordan moves tanks towards Israel.

June 5 - Israel launches attack on Egypt, destroying nearly 400 Egypt-based military aircraft. Israeli planes attack airfields in Jordan, Egypt and Syria, nearly destroying the Arab air forces.

2. Which countries were involved in the fighting?

Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. They were aided by Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Algeria.

3. What was the outcome?

Israel captured the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.

Israel defeated the Arab states.

4. How did Israel justify its attack?

The post on Molly's blog states that "Israeli UN envoy Abba Eban initially claimed to the United Nations Security Council that Egyptian troops had attacked first and that Israel's air strikes were retaliatory." This does not appear to be true:

Statement by Foreign Minister Eban to the Security Council on the Six Day War, 6 June 1967

5. Is Israel's version of the facts universally accepted?

Israel's version of facts is not universally accepted, especially in the Arab world where propaganda and falsehoods are common.

On the day of the war, false information from Egypt denied Egyptian losses and claimed a massive and successful Egyptian attack against Israel - an illusion the Egyptian public believed for several days.

6. If Israel's claimed reasons for the attack were false, what were its true objectives?

This questions opens up conjecture into all kinds of conspiracy.

Israel entered the West Bank when Jordan, on the first day of Israel’s war with Egypt, began intensive bombardment of Israeli civilian locations.

7. What was the chain of events leading up to the war?

See question #1.

The post on Molly's blog suggests that the cause of the war was the Samu Incident.

TIME magazine Friday, Nov. 25, 1966
Incident at Samu

From BBC: The path for war was cleared on 16 May when President Nasser ordered the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Forces from the Egyptian-Israeli border.

8. Why was the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) only on the Egyptian side of the border and not on the Israeli side as well?

UNEF I (November 1956 - June 1967)

First the Suez Canal sector and the Sinai peninsula. Later along the Armistice Demarcation Line in the Gaza area and the international frontier in the Sinai peninsula (on the Egyptian side)

Its main functions were to supervise the withdrawal of the three occupying forces and, after the withdrawal was completed, to act as a buffer between the Egyptian and Israeli forces and to provide impartial supervision of the ceasefire. In the event, UNEF, stationed entirely on Egyptian territory with the consent of the Government, patrolled the Egypt-Israel armistice demarcation line and the international frontier to the south of the Gaza Strip and brought relative quiet to a long-troubled area. The Canal, blocked as a result of the conflict, was cleared by the United Nations. UNEF I was withdrawn in May-June 1967 at the request of the Egyptian Government, which informed the Secretary-General that it would no longer consent to the stationing of the Force on Egyptian territory and in Gaza.

The UNEF mission was to enter Egyptian territory with the consent of the Egyptian Government, in order to help maintain quiet during and after the withdrawal of non-Egyptian forces and to secure compliance with the other terms established in the resolution ... to cover an area extending roughly from the Suez Canal to the Armistice Demarcation Lines established in the Armistice Agreement between Egypt and Israel.

The deployment of a military force had to be approved by Egypt. The UN secretary general sought to station UNEF forces on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice lines, but this was rejected by Israel.

9. Where were Egypt's troops on the day preceding the war?

In the Sinai and along the Suez Canal. The post on Molly's blog claims that these were in "defensive posture." But the fact is that Arab troops had massed on Israel's borders.

Historical review of the political riparian issues in the development of the Jordan River and basin management

MSN Encarta: Six-Day War

1967 Middle East War

The Columbia Encyclopedia: Arab-Israeli Wars

BBC: On This Day, June 5 1967


Wikipedia: Six-Day War

United Nations: The Question of Palestine

United Nations: Palestinian Rights

UN Resolution 242


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