Political Institutions and the 1967 War

A lot of politics both regionally and international were taking place behind the scenes and out in the open, which led to the war of 1967.  Primarily, the Israeli government considered itself surrounded by hostile forces, and was bound and determined to defend itself against any perceived threats to her sovereignty and her independence.[1]  Backing Israel and competing in global cold-war politics was the United States, seeking to give Israel weapons and military defenses to help arm her against the surrounding threats and antagonistic political climate.[2]  The USSR, conversely, supported key Arab states, namely Egypt, providing defensive weapons systems in preparation for an armed conflict that would escalate into a potential global war.[3]

Undermining all efforts for a possible peace agreement, the political and ideological organization Al-Fatah and their military arm Al-Asifa were actively trying to spark the war that almost everybody else was trying to avoid.[4]  Their incursions into Israeli held territory under their mission of liberating Palestine and returning it to the Palestinian Arabs and creating a secular democratic state was backed by Syria.[5]  Al-Fatah aimed primarily to inflict terror on the Israeli populace and its government, deliberately targeting civilians and aiming in the open to draw the region into armed conflict.[6]  All of these key players factored in to the outbreak of violence in 1967.  Israel was determined to defend herself against any potential threats, and wanted to desperately assert her military superiority over her Arab neighbors, seeking above anything else to prove that she was capable of defending herself and should be acknowledged as an independent nation that had the right to exist.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Al-Fatah and the PLO wanted to reclaim their homeland from Israel, who they viewed as colonial occupiers.  Their primary goal was to free Palestine from Zionist radicalism and return to the land that they considered home.  Backing Israel in her determination was the United States.  Backing the Arab nations like Egypt, the USSR was providing weapons and support, bringing cold war politics to the conflict in the Middle East.  It was a hotbed of violent potential that sparked into the six day war of 1967, which humiliated Egypt, left more Palestinian Arabs homeless and removed from their homes and towns and left Israel with more land than they had when the dust settled from the war in 1948.

[1] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 9th Edition, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), 273.

[2] Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 276.

[3] Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 277.

[4] Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 278.

[5] Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 278.

[6] Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 279.

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