The six day war of 1967

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The six day war of 1967




The paper attempts to examine the events that unfolded during the Six Day War that occurred in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Jerusalem against Israel. The paper also attempts to examine the involvement of United States in helping Israel against its enemies. Israel launched successful attacks on Egypt, which were well organized. Despite there were more casualties on the side of the enemies, Israeli also suffered many casualties and destroyed weapons. America’s involvement was accredited by the present of US aircraft planes. However, there emerged controversies about its involvement, an issue that remains as a conspiracy theory in the Arab’s world.

The six day war

The Six-Day War, also called the June War, or the Arab-Israel War, occurred from June 5 to 10, in 1967. The war involved the Israel and the Egypt which at the time was the United Arab Republic. In addition, the war transcended the boundaries of Syria and Jordan[1] Following the mobilization of the Egyptian forces on the borders Israel; they in turn began surprise attacks on the Egyptian air-fields. Before the war started, there was a lot of tension among the Israel, Syria, the United Arab Republic and Jordan. In retaliation to the Palestinian Liberation Organization Sabotage (PLO) act against the attacks by the Israel, the Israel made a raid to the West Bank controlled by the Jordan. Israel also commenced attacks on Syria by using aerial crashes over the territory of Syria.  The war continued with a series on unfolding events whereby Syria made artillery attacks the Civilians of Israel who were settling close to the borders. In response, Israel opposed against Syria’s positioning in the Golan Heights as well as the increasing frequency and intensity of the encroachments into demilitarized zones that were located along the Syrian border. Israel also terminated the Egypt obstructing the Straits of Tiran, sending troops near its border and ordering the UN buffer force in Peninsula to evacuate. In the duration of six days, Israel forces had seized the Peninsula and Gaza Strip from the Egyptians, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, as well as Golan Heights from Syria [2]

Military operations

Before the war started, the ground crews and the Israeli pilots had an extensive training in rapid refitting aircraft coming back from the sorties. In one day, a single aircraft was able to sortie up four times compared to Arab air forces which could only sortie one or two times in a day. As a result, the Israel Air Forces had an advantage of sending many attack waves on the air fields of the Egyptians during the first day of the war, defeating the Egypt air force as well as knocking out the Arabs air forces on the same day. The move by the Israeli was the most critical in the eve of the Six Day War[3]

Preamble air attacks

On 5th, June 1967 and at 7:45 Israeli time, the IAF decided to launch the Operation Focus after civil defense sirens echoed all over Israel. The 200 operational jets began attacks in mass destruction on the Egypt’s air-fields[4] The Egyptians had an extremely poor defensive infrastructure such as the air-fields lacked hardened aircraft shelters that could protect the Egyptian war-planes from attacks. The Israeli war-planes approached Egypt through the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Meanwhile, the Egyptians effectively shut down the entire air defense system in fear with fear that the rebel Egyptian forces would shoot down the plane that was carrying Lt-Gen. Sidqi Mahmoud and Abdel Hakim Amer, who were Field Marshals heading to Bir Tamada in Sinai where the commanders of troops were waiting for them[5] Despite the Jordanian powerful radar detected Israeli war plane approaching Egypt and sent a warning, the poor communication lines could not send a signal to the targeted sites. The Israel then launched attacks on planes parked on the ground using strafing gun and tarmac-shredding penetration bombs that made sure destroyed war-planes could no longer take-off after the damage. Although the Israel lost a few war-planes, it had gained air superiority over the Egyptian even in the rest of the war. However, Israeli lost 19 war planes, including Israel Hawk Missiles’ plane shot down after straying over the Negev Nuclear Research Center. Hostilities erupted in the front and Arabs began their attacks on the Israeli. In retaliation, the counter attacked and made sure there was no practical appearance of both the Arabs and Egypt’s war-planes and ensured their air-fields never returned to usability[6]

Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula

The Israeli plan was to make a surprise attack on the Egyptian forces by timing it to coincide exactly with the IAF strikes on the air-fields of Egypt. The Egyptian forces comprised four armories, seven divisions, two infantries, about 900 tanks and 10,000 troops at Sinai. The Israeli massed on the border of Egypt armed with six armored brigades, three paratrooper brigades and around 700 tanks and 70,000 men. They camouflaged themselves at the border and observed the radio silence on the night before the war, waiting to receive an order to advance[7]

Northern Israeli division

With Major General Israel Tal in command, the Israeli moved swiftly and did not engage the fire so that they could lengthen the element of surprise. Tal’s forces commenced to assault the Rafah Gap, which was a stretch of seven miles connecting to Sinai towards Suez Canal and Qantara. Shmuel Gonen in command of 7th Armored Brigade backed up Tal’s forces and advanced a battalion attack against the Egyptian light resistance, they navigated through the dunes until they reached Khan Yunis railway junction in four hours. Eventual Israeli overpowered the tank-led assaults, and by nightfall, Gone reported that they suffered significant losses including 2000 casualties and 40 lost tanks[8]

Advance on Arish

The Israeli forces continued to move towards Arish since the road was open and by afternoon, the 79th Armored Battalion charged through Giradi defile, a seven miles stretch emplaced with Egyptian troopers. There were heavy casualties and tank losses on Egyptian troopers, while Israeli losses were 28 damaged tankers, 66 dead and 98 soldiers wounded[9]

The next fighting days

Following the seizure of Suez Canal, the second force move to the south to capture Bir Lahfan and Jabal Libni, led by Gonen. Meanwhile, Major-General Ariel Sharon of 38th Armored Division charged through Um-Katel, an Egyptian area heavily fortified by the 2nd Infantry Division under the command of Major-General Sa’adi Nagib[10]The Israeli neutralized the artillery and the wing of paratroopers, and captured Um-Katel, stalled with craters and mines.  From the south, Colonel Albert Mandler led the 8th Armored Brigade of the Israeli into the Gaza city, although they were fought back in the city itself. Apart from the 70 Israel soldiers killed, there were twelve UNEF members also killed. On the second day, Israeli took Gaza City together with the entire Strip, but the Israeli casualties were nearly half in the southern part of the city. The Egyptian army made several successful attacks on the Israeli ground forces, but the Israeli air forces neutralized the remnants of the Egyptian Air Force. The remaining Egyptian forces guarded the Suez Canal, but on hearing the fall of Abu-Ageila, Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer panicked and decided together with Egyptian President Nasser to pull out the troops from Sinai, marking the defeat of the Egyptians[11]