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The Six-Day War and the Shaping of the Middle East

The Six-Day War broke out in June 1967, after a period of rising tension between Israel and the neighbouring Arab countries Syria and Egypt. Israel believed that the Arab countries were planning an attack and decided to act first. On 5 June 1967, Israel launched its surprise attack on Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The strike was highly successful and on the first day of the war Israel destroyed most of Egypt’s air force while its aircraft were still on the ground.

Israel continued to make significant advances until 10 June 1967, when a ceasefire came into effect. By that time, Israeli troops had moved beyond their own borders and into the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. The Israeli forces also occupied East Jerusalem. The result was a stunning victory for Israel that permanently changed the complexion of the Middle East. Israeli forces remained in the areas that they had gained, and in time Jewish civilians also began to establish settlements in them.

The Six-Day War demoralized the Arab countries. In the meantime, Israel gained more confidence and became less flexible in its dealings with the Arab countries and the Palestinian Arab population. Following cessation of the Six-Day War, tension remained high between Egypt and Israel, who engaged in continued border skirmishes.

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