Manual The Six Day War 1967: Jordan and Syria (Campaign, Volume 216)

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Table of contents

Israel called upon Jordan numerous times to refrain from hostilities. Israel's own sense of concern regarding Jordan's future role stemmed from the Jordanian control of the West Bank. This put Arab forces just 17 kilometers from Israel's coast, a jump-off point from which a well-coordinated tank assault would likely cut Israel in two within half an hour. However, Jordan's King Hussein got caught up in the wave of pan-Arab nationalism preceding the war; [g]. According to Mutawi, Hussein was caught on the horns of a galling dilemma: allow Jordan to be dragged into war and face the brunt of the Israeli response, or remain neutral and risk full-scale insurrection among his own people.

An extremely important change took place on May 30, when Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. The Arab people want to fight. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived.

Azure no. 14, Winter 5763 / 2003

We have reached the stage of serious action and not of more declarations. The U. S president envoy reported from Cairo on 30 May that Nasser "cannot and will not retreat" and "he would probably welcome, but not seek, military showdown with Israel". On June 3, days before the war, Egypt flew to Amman two battalions of commandos tasked with infiltrating Israel's borders and engaging in attacks and bombings so as to draw IDF into a Jordanian front and ease the pressure on the Egyptians.

Soviet-made artillery and Egyptian military supplies and crews were also flown to Jordan. At the same time several other Arab states not bordering Israel, including Iraq, Sudan, Kuwait and Algeria, began mobilizing their armed forces. But it has already accepted the possibility, even the likelihood, of war, as if it had lost control of the situation.

President Abdul Rahman Arif of Iraq said that "the existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is an opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since ". In May , Hafez al-Assad , then Syria's Defense Minister declared: "Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian Army , with its finger on the trigger, is united I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.

Spurred by the virulent Arab rhetoric, mounting concern and pressure from the media, public bellicose statements by their military, the unexpected major battle over Syria in April, the consequences thereof for the Egyptian-Syrian defense agreement, the expulsion of UNEF, and the mobilization of Egyptian troops into Sinai, the Israeli public sense was of heightened fear and of an approaching holocaust. Yitzhak Rabin reported that the cabinet was deadlocked over the issue of the blockade. Nonetheless, on May 22 General Rabin reported to Israel's cabinet that the Egyptian forces were in a defensive posture, that they were not being deployed to attack.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XVII, Eastern Europe

On 23 May, Rabin realized that by blocking the Tiran straits, Nasser probably understood that he was going to war. The Israeli cabinet met on May 23 and decided to launch an attack if the Straits of Tiran were not re-opened by May Following an approach from United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Eugene Rostow to allow time for the negotiation of a nonviolent solution, Israel agreed to a delay of ten days to two weeks.

On May 24 Prime Minister Eshkol told his generals: "Nobody ever said we were an army for preventive war I do not accept the mere fact that the Egyptian army is deployed in Sinai makes war inevitable.

Six Day War of 1967, History of Israel's victory against Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan #UPSC #IAS

You did not receive all these weapons in order for you to say that now we are ready and well-equipped to destroy the Egyptian army, so we must do it". On May 26 the United States communicated that assessment to Israel. On 30 May Jordan joined Egypt and Israel felt threatened also by the opening of Jordan to Iraqi and other Arab troops and an Israeli preemptive attack became more likely. While the generals were more troubled by the tanks and fighter airplanes that Nasser kept pouring into Sinai, the Israeli government were preoccupied with the Tiran Straits closure.

The CIA assessed that Israel could "defend successfully against simultaneous Arab attacks on all fronts Days before the war, the C. A assessed that Israel failed to take the instant military counteraction to Nasser's steps which might have been most effective. An attack would still be able to drive the Egyptians away from the entrance to the Strait of Tiran, but it would certainly cost Israel heavy losses of men and materiel, and doubted if Israel had sufficient war supply for a few weeks war.

The Soviet leadership considered the armed forces of Egypt, Syria, Algeria and Iraq as superior to the IDF in number of troops, tanks, planes, ships and amount of armaments. They had been equipped with the most modern weapons, and had received high-level training from the Soviets.

WikiZero - Golan Heights

They estimated mistakenly, that Israel was militarily weak, and operated under the illusion that Arab armies could easily repel any Israeli attack and defeat the IDF on the battlefield. Israel viewed the Straits of Tiran as a vital interest, through which Israel received vital imports, mainly oil from Iran, and a blockade threatened Israel's ability to develop the Negev.

Former Chief of Staff of the armed forces, Haim Bar-Lev a deputy chief during the war stated: "the entrance of the Egyptians into Sinai was not a casus belli ," but argued instead that the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran ultimately caused the war.

Eban said, "From May the 24th onward, the question who started the war or who fired the first shot became momentously irrelevant. There is no difference in civil law between murdering a man by slow strangulation or killing him by a shot in the head From the moment at which the blockade was posed, active hostilities had commenced, and Israel owed Egypt nothing of her Charter rights. While not viewed by the Israeli military as an imminent threat, the presence of a long-term direct and 'immediate' threat on the border would require the IDF to mobilize its reserves and stand ready, thus severely disrupting normal life in Israel at intolerable economic cost.

Writing in , American National Public Radio journalist Mike Shuster expressed a view that was prevalent in Israel before the war that the country "was surrounded by Arab states dedicated to its eradication. Syria was governed by the radical Baathist Party , constantly issuing threats to push Israel into the sea. Major General Mattityahu Peled , the Chief of Logistics for the Armed Forces during the war, said the survival argument was "a bluff which was born and developed only after the war When we spoke of the war in the General Staff, we talked of the political ramifications if we didn't go to war — what would happen to Israel in the next 25 years.

Never of survival today. It was, of course, possible to avoid the war if the Straits [of Tiran] had stayed closed to Israeli shipping. Menachem Begin also stated that "The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him. Anyone who will look for it in the military literature of the time will do so in vain.

Instead, Israel's commanders based their thought on the war and, especially, their triumph over the Egyptians in which, from then Chief of Staff Dayan down, they had gained their spurs. When the crisis broke they felt certain of their ability to win a 'decisive, quick and elegant' victory, as one of their number, General Haim Bar Lev , put it, and pressed the government to start the war as soon as possible". That the announcement of the blockade of the Strait of Tiran paved the way for war is disputed by Major General Indar Jit Rikhye , military adviser to the United Nations Secretary General , who called the accusation of a blockade "questionable," pointing out that an Israeli-flagged ship had not passed through the straits in two years, and that "The U.

According to the U. The USSR had come to similar conclusions: " Some of Israel's political leaders, however, hoped for a diplomatic solution. President at the time, Lyndon Johnson , said that action by Egypt was the leading cause of the war: []. If a single act of folly was more responsible for this explosion than any other, it was the arbitrary and dangerous announced decision that the Straits of Tiran would be closed.


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The right of innocent, maritime passage must be preserved for all nations. According to Szabo, many commentators consider the war as the classic case of anticipatory attack in self-defense. It also means that we ready to enter a general war with Israel. It was not a separate operation ".

Origins of the Six-Day War

General Abdal Muhsin Murtaji, the commander of the Sinai front in , wrote that the failed union with Syria and the debacle in Yemen forced Nasser to find an outlet for his failures, which he found through the war. Yitzhak Rabin , who served as the Chief of the General Staff for Israel during the war stated: "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel.

He knew it and we knew it. Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in his autobiography that he found "Nasser's assurance that he did not plan an armed attack" convincing, adding that "Nasser did not want war; he wanted victory without war". Some analysts suggest that Nasser took actions aimed at reaping political gains, which he knew carried a high risk of precipitating military hostilities.

On this view, Nasser's willingness to take such risks was based on his fundamental underestimation of Israel's capacity for independent and effective military action.


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The next morning, Israel launched Operation Focus , a large-scale surprise air strike that was the opening of the Six-Day War. Controversy remains as to whether Israel's attack was a preemptive strike or an unjustified attack. Many commentators consider the war as the classic case of anticipatory attack in self-defense. Historian Michael Oren writes that Rusk was "mad as hell" and that Johnson later wrote "I have never concealed my regret that Israel decided to move when it did".

Works (342)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. January Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: War over Water. Main article: Rotem Crisis. Main article: Samu Incident. Further information: Waiting period Six-Day War. Main article: Six-Day War. See also: Controversies relating to the Six-Day War. Accessed July 17, Israel and the Quest for Permanence , McFarland, , p.

He told UN peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula to leave. He then sent scores of tanks and hundreds of troops into the Sinai closer to Israel. Accessed December 28, Retrieved 2 March Bickerton 15 September Reaktion Books.