The Arab-Israeli Six Day War

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Topics: Israel, Egypt
The Arab-Israeli Six Day War The Arab-Israeli Six Day War began on the 5th of June 1967, with Israel in the position of being surrounded by extremely hostile forces on 3 sides, outnumbered in troops and weapons, limited in resources, and a significant possibility of annihilation as a nation. Their selected defensive option was an extremely well planned and exactingly executed pre-emptive strike on the air and ground forces of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. The primary objective was to gain early air superiority, eliminate the air threat against Israeli citizens, and to provide air support to the Israeli ground forces. The accomplishment of the mission by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) was an unprecedented example of an air campaign that literally destroyed critical targets of the hostile air forces. This paper will review the prewar environment in the Middle East, describe the air campaign, and examine the selection process for the war strategy.
After the 1956 Sinai campaign, the United States and Russia developed alliances in the region. Both major powers had vested interests in expanding their influence in the area. The United States was concerned that it would lose access to the oil reserves in the region under western control, and aligned with Israel. Russia chose Egypt, feeling it was more in line with its philosophy against western democracy. (Safran, Nadav, Israel, The Embattled Ally, Cambridge MA and London England, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978, pp 359)
Gamal Abdul Nasser, the autocratic President of Egypt, had never lost his hope of someday being the saviorof the Arab world. The Arab countries defeat in 1948 remained an open disgrace that had to be avenged. The predominantly Moslem Arab states simply could not conceive of the idea that the Jews, destined to humiliation in their Koran, could actually possess a sovereign state in the midst of the so-called World of Islam. (Varner, William C., The



References: Cohn-Sherbok, Dan and Dawoud El-alami, The Palestine-Israel Conflict, Oxford England, One World Publications, 2001, pp 54 Cowley, The Companion to Military History, ---, 1996, pp 26 Olmstead, C. Elvan, PhD, Biblical History, Elgin IL, David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1978, pg 512 Kosut, Hal, Ed, Israel & the Arabs: The June 1967 War, New York, Facts on File, 1968 Safran, Nadav. “The Arab-Israeli Dispute in Perspective Current History, Vol 53, No. 316, pp. 321-330 Safran, Nadav, Israel, the Embattled Ally, Cambridge MA and London England, the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978, pp 359 Varner, William C., The Friends of Israel: Six Days in June†at http://www.foigm.org/IMG/sixdays.htm Isi Leibler, The Case For Israel, Australia: The Globe Press, 1972, pp 60 Yehuda Lukacs, Documents on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 1967-1983, NY, Cambridge University Press, 1984, pp17-18 Howard Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, NY, Alfred A Parker, Richard B., Ed, The Six-Day War: A Retrospective, Gainesville FL, University Press of Florida, 1996, pp.57-58 Gilber, Martin, Israel, a History, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1998, pp.377 Herzog, Chaim, The Arab-Israeli Wars, NY, Random House, 1982, pp149 Hammel, Eric, Six Days In June: How Israel Won the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, New York NY, Charles Scribner Sons, 1992, pp Oren, Michael B., Six Days of War, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp151 Crowl, Philip A., The Strategists Short Catechism: Six Questions Without Answers The Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History, No Howard Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, NY, Alfred A Knopf, 1979, p 629

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