The Acts of the Democracies




War Between Israel, Syria and Egypt (The 6 Day War)

After a build up of tension in the region, Israel attacks its Arab neighbours. It occupies the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Israel between 1948 and 1967
Israel (in yellow) between 1948 and 1967. Gaza is under Egyptian control while the West Bank is under Jordanian control.

More Palestinians become refugees, some for the second time in less than 20 years. The Sinai is eventually returned to Egypt but the other regions remain under Israeli occupation. 2,000,000 Palestinians live under occupation with no voting rights while another 2,000,000 are refugees in neighbouring countries.

In East Jeruselem, dozens of Palestinian houses are demolished in front of the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple creating an open space. More than 5,500 Arab inhabitance are forced out of the city. Little or no compensation is paid.

Several West Bank villages are destroyed by the military and their populations expelled. These include Imwas, Yalu, Bayt Nuba, Bayt Marsam, Bayt Awa, Habla, al-Burj, Jiftlik. Over 430,000 Palestinians are forced to leave their homes. Any that attempt to return are shot, regardless of age or gender.

In the Golan Heights, the Israelis destroy 244 villages out of 249 and expel 147,000 people.

According to figures published by the United Nations, between 1967 and the end of 1969, over 7,500 Palestinian homes would be destroyed by Israeli forces. By 1971 this figure would rise to more than 16,000.

The occupied territories are put under Israeli military administration. This includes restrictions on movement and rights of residence, arrest without trial, torture, collective punishments, discrimination, theft of natural resources, house demolitions and destruction of agricultural plants (like olive or citrus trees), deportations and curfews. Israel has cited security needs for these measures. The USA writer, Noam Chomsky, suggest a more sinister motive, quoting official Israeli government records. In these, the Israeli Defence Minister, Moyshe Dayan, instructs his ministers to inform residents of the occupied territories "we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, whoever wants to can leave". He concludes that "In five years we may have 200,000 less people - and that is a matter of enormous importance".

Within a month of the war, the Israelis begin building settlements (colonies) on the occupied land in violation of the Geneva Convention and several United Nations resolutions, which have consistently declared the settlements illegal. Any resistance is crushed ruthlessly and labelled as terrorism. In the Golan Heights alone, 42 Jewish settlements are built housing 18,000 Israelis. In the West Bank, the settlements break up Arab communities as agricultural land is stolen for their construction.

During the war, the USS Liberty, an unarmed USA spy ship is attacked by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats off the coast of Egypt. 34 USA sailors are killed. Other USA naval ships based in the Mediteranean assume that Egypt was the attacker and send out nuclear capable warplanes to attack Cairo. These are called back by the USA leadership at the last moment. The story is then buried - for example it appears on page 29 of the USA newspaper, the New York Times. The Israelis apologise, saying the attack was an accident.

The surviving crew members are told not to discuss the incident on pain of court-martial. Their medals are awarded without publicity; the citations failing to mention Israel. The crew are separated by being given different postings.

30 years later, a USA-Israeli plot is exposed. The idea was to attack a USA ship, blame the Egyptians and use the incident as an excuse to invade Egypt and depose the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat. The plan, Operation Cyanide, had been discussed two months before the war by a secret organisation called the 303 Committee.

Israel since 1967
In 1967 Israel occupies Gaza (from Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan) and the Golan Heights (from Syria). The Golan was never part of the original United Nations Partition Plan.

Israel has since maintained that the country went to war because of the threat of an imminent attack from Egypt after Egyptian president Abdul Nasser moved troops into the Sinai Peninsula. Yitzak Rabin (a later Prime Minister of Israel) is quoted in the French newspaper, La Monde (29 February 1968): "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions that he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it." In 1982, Menachem Begin (another prime Minister of Israel) made a speech in which he stated that "The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."

Israel has also maintained that the war was necessary because the combined power of the Arab states was a threat to Israel's existence. A month before the war, the USA CIA produced a report that supported a conclusion reached by the UK MI6: Israel would win a war with one or all of the Arab states, whoever attacked first, within a week. In 1972, General Mattityahu Peled (a military planner for the 1967 war) wrote in the Israeli newspaper, Ma'ariv that: "There is no reason to hide the fact that since 1949 no one dared, or more precisely, no one was able to threaten the existence of Israel". He concluded "To claim that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel's existence not only insults the intelligence of anyone capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is an insult to [the Israeli army]."

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