The Six Day War 1967

(Arab-Israeli War 1967)

[ 1967 ]

*****

The decade after the 1956 War was the most tranquil period in the nation's history. The Egyptian armistice line remained quiet, and there were few incidents along the Jordanian line until 1965, when Egyptian-sponsored guerrilla raids by Al Fatah first occurred. Beginning in 1960, there were repeated guerrilla activities and shellings of Israeli settlements from the Golan Heights of Syria, but these incidents remained localized until 1964.

Underlying tensions, however, did not abate. By the early 1960s, both sides considered a third round of war inevitable. An ominous arms race developed. Egypt and Syria were supplied with Soviet aid and military hardware, and Israel suddenly found European powers--the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), Britain, and especially France--to be willing suppliers of modern armaments. Jordan continued to receive arms from Britain and the United States.

Tensions mounted in 1964, when, after Israel had nearly completed a massive irrigation project that involved diverting water from the Jordan River into the Negev Desert, Syria began a similar project near the river's headwaters that would have virtually dried the river bed at the Israeli location. Israel launched air and artillery attacks at the Syrian site, and Syria abandoned the project. Guerrilla incursions from Syria and Jordan steadily mounted, as did the intensity of Israeli reprisal raids.

In April 1967, increased Syrian aircraft-shelling of Israeli border villages encountered an Israeli fighter attack during which six Syrian MiGs were shot down. Syria feared that an all-out attack from Israel was imminent, and Egypt, with whom Syria had recently signed a mutual defense treaty, began an extensive military buildup in early May. On May 18, Egypt's president, Gamal Abdul Nasser, demanded the withdrawal of UN forces from Gaza and Sinai; Secretary General U Thant promptly acceded and removed the UNEF. Four days later, Nasser announced a blockade of Israeli shipping at the Strait of Tiran, an action that Israel since the 1956 War had stressed would be tantamount to a declaration of war. Jordan and Iraq rapidly joined Syria in its military alliance with Egypt.

On May 30, mounting public opinion led to the appointment of Dayan as minister of defense. Levi Eshkol, who had been both prime minister and minister of defense since Ben-Gurion's resignation in 1963, retained the prime minister's position. Dayan immediately made a series of public declarations that war could be avoided, while secretly planning a massive preemptive strike against the Arab enemy. On the morning of June 5, Israel launched a devastating attack on Arab air power, destroying about 300 Egyptian, 50 Syrian, and 20 Jordanian aircraft, mostly on the ground. This action, which virtually eliminated the Arab air forces, was immediately followed by ground invasions into Sinai and the Gaza Strip, Jordan, and finally Syria. Arab ground forces, lacking air support, were routed on all three fronts; by the time the UN-imposed cease-fire took effect in the evening of June 11, the IDF had seized the entire Sinai Peninsula to the east bank of the Suez Canal; the West Bank of Jordan, including East Jerusalem; and the Golan Heights of Syria. Unlike the aftermath of the 1956 War, however, the IDF did not withdraw from the areas it occupied in 1967.

Israel was ecstatic about its swift and stunning victory, which had been achieved at the relatively low cost of about 700 lives. The IDF had proven itself superior to the far larger forces of the combined Arab armies. More important, it now occupied the territory that had harbored immediate security threats to Israel since 1948. For the first time since independence, the Israeli heartland along the Mediterranean Sea was out of enemy artillery range. The exploits of what was known in Israel as the Six-Day War soon became legend, and the commanders who led it became national heros.

Although control of the occupied territories greatly improved Israel's security from a geographical standpoint, it also created new problems. The roughly 1 million Arabs within the territories provided potential cover and support for infiltration and sabotage by Arab guerrillas. From shortly after the June 1967 War until 1970, a steady stream of men and weapons were sent into the West Bank by a number of guerrilla groups, in particular Al Fatah (see Palestinian Terrorist Groups , this ch.). Incidents of sabotage and clashes with Israeli security forces were commonplace.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Egypt</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">400000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">40000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Iraq</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">250000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">2000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Israel</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">200000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">3800000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">2000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Jordan</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">60000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1500000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">5000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Syria</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1967</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">300000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">8000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 20000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Israel and Egypt 1967 / 6 / 5 1967 / 6 / 10 View
Israel and Iraq 1967 / 6 / 5 1967 / 6 / 10 View
Israel and Jordan 1967 / 6 / 5 1967 / 6 / 10 View
Israel and Syria 1967 / 6 / 5 1967 / 6 / 10 View
Israel and Lebanon 1967 / 6 / 5 1967 / 6 / 10 View
Weapon Name Weapon Class Weapon Class Type
BTR-60 Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M4 Sherman Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M47 Patton Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M48 Patton Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M9 Half-track Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Type 60 122 mm Field Gun Vehicle Towed Artillery
152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) Vehicle Towed Artillery
Dassault Mirage III Aircraft Fighter
Uzi submachine gun Manportable Machine Guns
FN MAG Manportable Machine Guns
Mauser Karabiner 98k Manportable Rifles

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts