The June 1967 War After 1949, although there was an armistice between Israel and the Arab states, the conflict continued and the region remained imperiled by the prospect of another war. The sense of crisis was fueled by a spiraling arms race as countries built up their military caches and prepared their forces (and their populations) for a future showdown. In 1956, Israel joined with Britain and France to attack Egypt, ostensibly to reverse the Egyptian government’s nationalization of the Suez Canal (then under French and British control) and to neutralize Palestinian commando attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces captured Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, but were forced to retreat to the armistice lines as a result of international pressure led by the US and the Soviet Union (in an uncharacteristic show of cooperation to avert further conflict in the Middle East). By the early 1960s, however, the region was becoming a hot spot of Cold War rivalry as the US and the Soviet Union were competing with one another for global power and influence. In the spring of 1967, the Soviet Union misinformed the Syrian government that Israeli forces were massing in northern Israel to attack Syria. There was no such Israeli mobilization. But clashes between Israel and Syria had been escalating for about a year, and Israeli leaders had publicly declared that it might be necessary to bring down the Syrian regime if it failed to end Palestinian guerrilla attacks from Syrian territory. Responding to a Syrian request for assistance, in May 1967 Egyptian troops entered the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel. A few days later, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser asked the UN observer forces stationed between Israel and Egypt to redeploy from their positions. The Egyptians then occupied Sharm al-Sheikh at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula and proclaimed a blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat on the Gulf of ‘Aqaba, arguing that access to Eilat passed through Egyptian territorial waters. These measures shocked and frightened the Israeli public, which believed it was in danger of annihilation..........
Posted on: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:56:38 +0000
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