THE 1967 WAR
The preparations for territorial expansion, that Israeli leaders had been promising their people, were finally complete. The pretexts for invasion had to be created.
On 7th April 1967 an armoured Israeli tractor, backed by regular Israeli forces started cultivating Arab land in the Syrian-Israeli Demilitarised Zone. Syrian small-arm fire, from the Golan Heights, was immediately answered by a massive Israeli military action using artillery, tanks and aircraft. Several Syrian villages were bombed. It is relevant to note here, that repeated Israeli encroachments on the Syrian-Israeli Demilitarised Zone had been taking place in violation of the Armistice Agreement of 1949 and in defiance of the orders of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organisation and the Security Council. Israeli propaganda had skilfully manipulated world public opinion creating the story of unprovoked Syrian gun attacks against Israeli farmers cultivating 'their' land and used it as a causus belli. The land is not theirs and they had evicted the rightful owners and cultivated the land in violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreement. General Von Horn, Chief of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organisation, commented on this: "It was unlikely that the Syrian guns, located on the plateau overlooking the Demilitarised Zone would ever have come into action had it not been for Israeli provocations."
Palestine calling the fighters Mujahideen
On 10th May 1967, General Rabin the Israeli Chief of Staff said that Israeli forces might "attack Damascus and change its Government." Israel's Prime Minister made similar threats in their Parliament. These threats were followed by Israeli troop movements. Syria called for aid from Egypt with whom she had a mutual defence pact treaty. Egypt, in an attempt to dissuade the Israelis from attacking Syria, moved its troops into Sinai and requested the withdrawal of the U.N. Emergency Force from the border, as she was entitled to do; Israel had refused in 1956 to allow the U.N. troops to be on its side of the frontier. Egypt, on 22nd May 1967, closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli Shipping and to strategic war materials. President Nasser of Egypt repeatedly declared that Egypt would not attack, though it would resist aggression against her or any Arab country. This closure was unhappily the pretext Israel wanted to attack Egypt, while persuading much of the misinformed Western public opinion that this interference with the freedom of navigation to her port of Eilat was an act of war. No one in the West seemed to remember that Egypt was exercising her right of sovereignty over her territorial waters and was willing to accept the decision of the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, on this issue. They remembered even less that the very port of Eilat, for which freedom of navigation is demanded as of right, was in itself illegally occupied by Israel, in violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
While efforts were being actively made by the Security Council and the Great Powers to solve the dispute by peaceful means, as required by the U.N. Charter, Israel was alarmed that the pretext it so carefully prepared was slipping slowly away from her hands. A day after firm assurances, by U.S.A. and USSR to Egypt that Israel in turn will not attack, Israel on 5th June 1967 struck massively in a surprise attack destroying Egyptian and Syrian air forces on the ground. This lightning attack was followed by occupation of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of Jordan and the Syrian Golan Heights.
Last updated 1 January 2000 Written and
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