Six-Day War (Arab-Israeli War)

Six-Day War (Arab-Israeli War)













Six-Day War (Arab-Israeli War)

It was a relatively brief war took place between the 5th and 10th of June 1967 between Israel and a select few Arab countries. It featured the decisive victory for the Israeli’s after they captured significant territory such as the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Old holy City of Jerusalem. The identified territory was a primary issue of contention during the Israeli Arab war that merely lasted for six days. Before the start of the war, the Palestinians conducted guerilla attacks from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, which resulted in a decisive reprisal by the Israeli forces against the three countries (Laskier, & Lev, (2011).

In the year 1967, soviets indicated that the Israelis were planning an attack against Syria, which led to heightened tensions between the two states. Abdel Nasser, who was the then president of Egypt, came under sharp criticism for his failure to provide support to two Arab nations, Syria and Jordan in fighting against a common enemy, Israel (Tolan, 2006). On May 1967, he undertook decisive actions and mobilized the Egyptian military towards the Sinai and requested that the United Nations Emergency Force that had been stationed on the border with Israel to be removed. In addition, he commandeered a blockade on the Gulf of Aqaba with an aim of halting movement of supplies to Israel through the port of Elat.

In addition, in May, the Egyptian president and his Jordanian counterpart signed a mutual defense pact, which was later followed by the Israeli force. June 5th marked the start of an aggressive six-day war whereby the Israeli air force incapacitated the Egyptian and Jordanian air force while they were stationed on the ground readying for attacks. This was a significant blow to the might of the Arab forces given that they were highly vulnerable to subsequent air attacks by the Israelis. The air attacks launched by the Israelis severed the Arab forces, which were drawn from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria (Shenhav, 2006).

The preemptive attacks provided the Israelis with an ability to move its ground forces rapidly. It is estimated that Egypt lost more than 10,000 men in one of the days during the six-day war. The Egyptian soldiers hastily retreated and in process abandoned their weaponry and supplies and in the process, they were faced with starvation, thirst and fatigue given that a majority of their equipment had been destroyed by the Israeli air force.

One of the reasons of the escalating tensions that resulted in a war included Israel’s decision to divert river Jordan from its natural course towards the Negev desert. Angered by the actions of the Israelis, the Arabs also threatened to divert the flow of water into Lake Galilee. War also provided Israel with the solution of eliminating terrorist who were constantly engaging in guerilla attacks on its territory. In addition, the establishment of a state in Palestinian territory angered all or a majority of the Arab nations that neighbored the new state of Israel as established by the British colonial government (Smooha, & United States Institute of Peace, 2010).

The war was effective in providing the Israelis with security from future aggression against their Arab neighbors who had been earlier engaged in conflicts with Israel over borders and establishment of the British Palestine mandate. Furthermore, the escalation of animosities between the Arab nations and Israel has been associated with the religious differences between Jews and Arabs. The establishment of the Jewish state affirmed the animosity of the Arabs towards western powers and more so against the Jews (Meir-Glitzenstein, 2004).

The war entrenched animosity between the Jews and Arabs and is still evident to date. In addition, it also enhanced the levels of mutual respect between the Jewish state and the Arab nations after the war. They resorted to peaceful interactions and respect for the territory of one another. The Jews and Arabs were able to come to an agreement on sharing of borders and water, which is an important resource for these notions located in the desert (Shenhav, 2006).























Gilbert, M. (2010). In Ishmael’s house: A history of Jews in Muslim lands. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press.

Hochberg, G. Z. (2007). In spite of partition: Jews, Arabs, and the limits of separatist imagination. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Laskier, M. M., & Lev, Y. (2011). The divergence of Judaism and Islam: Interdependence, modernity, and political turmoil. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Levy, A. (2007). Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A shared history, fifteenth through the twentieth century. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press.

Meir-Glitzenstein, E. (2004). Zionism in an Arab country: Jews in Iraq in the 1940s. London: Routledge.

Roberts, J. (2013). Contested land, contested memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the ghosts of catastrophe. Toronto : Dundurn Press.

Safty, A. (2009). Might over right: How the Zionists took over Palestine. Reading, UK: Garnet Pub.

Shenhav, Y. A. (2006). The Arab Jews: A postcolonial reading of nationalism, religion, and ethnicity. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.

Smooha, S., & United States Institute of Peace. (2010). Arab-Jewish relations in Israel: Alienation and rapprochement. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace.

Tolan, S. (2006). The lemon tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the heart of the Middle East. New York: Bloomsbury Pub.



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