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Today in History, June 11th

Today in History, June 11th

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  • AmyW AmyW's Avatar 06-12-06 | 08:33 AM
    June 11, 1967[/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"]The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United
    Nations-brokered cease-fire. The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a
    swift and decisive victory in the brief war, rolling over the Arab coalition
    that threatened the Jewish state and more than doubling the amount of territory
    under Israel's control. The greatest fruit of victory lay in seizing the Old
    City of Jerusalem from Jordan; thousands of Jews wept while bent in prayer at
    the Second Temple's Western Wall.Increased tensions and skirmishes along
    Israel's northern border with Syria were the immediate cause of the third
    Arab-Israeli war. In 1967, Syria intensified its bombardment of Israeli
    settlements across the border, and Israel struck back by shooting down six
    Syrian MiG fighters. After Syria alleged in May 1967 that Israel was massing
    troops along the border, Egypt mobilized its forces and demanded the withdrawal
    of the U.N. Emergency Force from the Israel-Egypt cease-fire lines of the 1956
    conflict. The U.N. peacekeepers left on May 19, and three days later Egypt
    closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping. On May 30, Jordan signed a
    mutual-defense treaty with Egypt and Syria, and other Arab states, including
    Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria, sent troop contingents to join the Arab coalition
    against Israel.With every sign of a pan-Arab attack in the works, Israel's
    government on June 4 authorized its armed forces to launch a surprise preemptive
    strike. On June 5, the Six-Day War began with an Israeli assault against Arab
    air power. In a brilliant attack, the Israeli air force caught the formidable
    Egyptian air force on the ground and largely destroyed the Arabs' most powerful
    weapon. The Israeli air force then turned against the lesser air forces of
    Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, and by the end of the day had decisively won air
    superiority.Beginning on June 5, Israel focused the main effort of its ground
    forces against Egypt's Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. In a lightning
    attack, the Israelis burst through the Egyptian lines and across the Sinai. The
    Egyptians fought resolutely but were outflanked by the Israelis and decimated in
    lethal air attacks. By June 8, the Egyptian forces were defeated, and Israel
    held the Gaza Strip and the Sinai to the Suez Canal. Meanwhile, to the east of
    Israel, Jordan began shelling its Jewish neighbor on June 5, provoking a rapid
    and overwhelming response from Israeli forces. Israel overran the West Bank and
    on June 7 captured the Old City of East Jerusalem. The chief chaplain of the
    Israel Defense Forces blew a ram's horn at the Western Wall to announce the
    reunification of East Jerusalem with the Israeli-administered western sector.To
    the north, Israel bombarded Syria's fortified Golan Heights for two days before
    launching a tank and infantry assault on June 9. After a day of fierce fighting,
    the Syrians began a retreat from the Golan Heights on June 10. On June 11, a
    U.N.-brokered cease-fire took effect throughout the three combat zones, and the
    Six-Day War was at an end. Israel had more than doubled its size in the six days
    of fighting.The U.N. Security Council called for a withdrawal from all the
    occupied regions, but Israel declined, permanently annexing East Jerusalem and
    setting up military administrations in the occupied territories. Israel let it
    be known that Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai would be
    returned in exchange for Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist and
    guarantees against future attack. Arab leaders, stinging from their defeat, met
    in August to discuss the future of the Middle East. They decided upon a policy
    of no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel, and made plans to
    zealously defend the rights of Palestinian Arabs in the occupied
    territories.Egypt, however, would eventually negotiate and make peace with
    Israel, and in 1982 the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in exchange for
    full diplomatic recognition of Israel. Egypt and Jordan later gave up their
    respective claims to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the Palestinians, who
    beginning in the 1990s opened "land for peace" talks with Israel. The East Bank
    territory has since been returned to Jordan. In 2005, Israel left the Gaza
    Strip. Still,a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement remains elusive, as
    does an agreement with Syria to return the Golan Heights.

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