Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War

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"... a local expression of a wider conflict."

Professor G M Adler.

2.  U.N. inaction plays into hands of Soviets while Jordan is warned to avoid involvement 


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Notwithstanding Israeli pleas to the United Nations for two weeks prior to June 6 1967, the international body, charged with safeguarding world peace, failed to take any positive action in Israel’s defence. Neither did the maritime nations attempt to challenge the blockade in accordance with their undertakings under the “good faith” agreements. On June 6, 1967 Israel took pr-emptive military defensive action. 

In the ensuing six days, Egypt lost control of Sinai and the Gaza strip, and Syria the Golan Heights.  

As regards Jordan, Israel was certainly not interested in becoming involved in an additional front of conflict. Early in the morning of June 5, Israel Foreign Ministry official, Arthur Lourie, notified Odd Bull that it was in a state of war with Egypt and Syria and wished to avoid conflict with Jordan.  

    "Lourie…asked me [Odd Bull] to transmit a message to King Hussein expressing the hope of the Israeli Government that he would not join in the war. If he stayed out, Israel would not attack him, but if, on the other hand, he chose to come in, Israel would use against him all the means at its disposal." 

The message was quickly sent and was received by King Hussein before 10.30 that morning. Warnings were also sent to the UN Secretary General in New York in the hope that no attack would be launched  in Jerusalem - but at 11.25 a.m. the Jordanians open fire. Odd Bull and his staff tried to arrange a cease fire but to no avail. Then at 1.30 p.m. Jordanian troops entered Government House, the diplomatically sacrosanct UN compound in Jerusalem, and took control over the protests of the UN Observers present there. From that vantage point, Jordanian troops proceeded to open fire against targets in Israeli territory. Israeli troops retaliated and entered the compound at 3.52. p.m. with General Odd Bull and his staff  evacuating the building at 5 p.m. The battles in Jerusalem and in the remainder of the West Bank continued for a further 96 hours, with Jordanian forces eventually losing control and suffering defeat.   

Israel's critics maintain that the 1967 War was one of Israeli aggression rather than a war of Israeli self-defence. Yet, earlier on May 15, Israel's Independence Day, Egyptian troops had begun moving into the Sinai, massing near the Israeli border. By May 18, Syrian troops, too, were preparing for battle along the Golan Heights, 3000 feet above the Galilee, from which they had shelled Israel's farms and villages for years.  

As a consequence of the Six Day War, Israel for first time in its history found itself in control of territory, which prior to the War had been under the control of a foreign power and exercising jurisdiction over a population most of whom held Jordanian citizenship. This new situation raised a number of legal questions as to Israel’s right and responsibilities in the circumstances. 

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