Nasser the Cause of the Six Day War

Topics: Israel, Jordan, Arab League Pages: 13 (4197 words) Published: October 4, 2012
IB Extended Essay

Elliott McDermott


To what extent was Nasser the cause of the Six Day War?

Word Count:



Israel's role in causing the Six Day War3

The role of water in causing the Six Day War6

Nasser and Egypt's role in causing the Six Day War8

France and Britain's role in causing the Six Day War11

USA's role in causing the Six Day War13

The PLO, Fatah and Arab states' role in causing the Six Day War15

The Soviet Union's role in causing the Six Day War17



To what extent was Nasser the cause of the Six Day War?


Israel’s role in causing the Six Day War

As with every aspect of history, historiographies have definitely changed over the years where Israel is blamed for the outbreak of the Six Day War. The orthodox view is that Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on its surround countries, however, since then this view has changed. There is one belief shared throughout the majority of historians which is that “today’s war is not a new war, but part of the old war” (speech by King Hussein in 1967).


Figure 1: A cartoon by Zapiro in the Mail and Guardian, a South African newspaper, June 2007.

As we can see from Figure 1 above, the cartoon is portraying the different historiographies that there have been in the 40 years from 1967 to 2007. The top cartoon (the orthodox view) is showing the ‘heroic Israel’ acting as a David-like figure defeating the Goliath that was the ‘Arab aggression’. However, the revisionist view shows it being the other way round with the Israelis using a boulder rather than the catapult and stones to destroy the Arabs. Other notes are that the revisionist view now argues that the US had a large role to play in it with their funding of the Israeli attacks.

During the years 1948-56, Israel was finding itself becoming increasingly involved in border conflicts, as they could not negotiate any peace agreements. One of the major long-term causes of the Six Day War can be seen when Israel became allied with Britain and France and decided to go to war with Egypt, which became known as the Suez Crisis. In this conflict, Nasser and his Egyptian army destroyed and humiliated the Israelis and their allies. This became a major cause because they wanted revenge and they also wanted to regain the land that they had lost in 1956. Therefore, was not the war only inevitable if this was the mind-set of the Israelis? There were many reasons why the Israelis wanted, more importantly needed, the landed back. They were going through a phase or rapid increase in population and they needed the land to allow of immigration. However, with an increase in population there is a higher demand for agriculture, therefore the economy also needed to grow. With this being the case, it can be seen that Israel was a main cause and can be seen as an aggressor in the outbreak of the Six Day War.

One of Israel’s most aggressive acts was the attack on the village of Samu in Jordan on 13th November 1966. Perhaps the PLO group Fatah can be blamed for this event due to their involvement in the planting of the mine on the border of Israel that killed three people on the 11th. King Hussein received reports that Israel had no intention of fighting in retaliation to this, however on the morning of the 13th, 600 troops were sent across the Jordanian border (Bowen, 2003). It is seen that Israel’s goal was to “demolish houses in Palestinian villages… as a show of force to pre-empt future Palestinian violence” (Segev, 2007). They believed that by doing this, they could make King Hussein stop the actions of the Fatah group and also to show to other states that they should not go to war against them. The Arab League Report (Arab League Report, 1966) in theory stated that the Israel’s actions were a test for Egypt and Syria and to see whether they would come to the aid of...
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