Why and with what results did the Arabs and Israelis fight the wars of 1967 and 1973?

There was no treaty signed after the 1948-49 war and they also refused to officially recognize Israel. Two more attempts were made by Arabs to destroy Israel and free Palestine; first in 1967 (Six Day war) and later in 1973 (Yom Kippur war).
Six-day war (1967)
Factors leading to war:

  • New government came to power in Iraq in 1963. It was influenced by the Ba’ath party (Syria) which believed in Arab independence.
  • Ba’ath party itself came to power in Syria in 1966. It supported the Palestinian Liberation Movement.
  • Colonel Nasser of Egypt seeing all well in Egypt joined hands with other Arab powers to destroy Israel and free Palestine.
  • Russian encourage Egypt and Syria to keep up the anti-Israel propaganda as Israel was a US ally and this was a cold war period. Russia also wanted to increase her influence in the middle east.

Results of war:

  • Seeing all this Israel decided that best policy in this situation is to strike first. They moved with incredible speed and captured West Bank, Gaza Strip, Saini, Golan Heights and rest of Jerusalem.
  • Israel ignored the UN order to return captured territory. They wanted to keep it as a buffer zone.

Yom Kippur war (1973)   
Factors leading to war:

  • Arab states were under pressure from the Palestine Liberation Organisations (PLO) under its leader Arafat for further action.
  • Anwar Sadat was more convinced for some settlement with He was worried that the violent actions of PLO were causing more harm to the cause of Palestine. He was willing to approach both the USA and the USSR. But the USA refused to interfere.
  • Sadat along with Syria attacked Israel hoping that it will force the USA to mediate. Egypt this time was also more confident of victory as they were freshly supplied with modern weapons by Russia.

Results of war:

  • The joint forces of Egypt and Syria attacked on the Jewish religious festival, Yom Kippur. After initial failure, Israeli forces were able to turn the table. Israel was able to hang on all the previously captured territory and also this time crossed Suez Canal.
  • This war provided some hope for the permanent solution as this time Egyptian and Israeli leader came together in Geneva. Also, both the USA and the USSR decided to intervene.
  • Israel accepted to move their troops back from the Suez Canal. Suez Canal was opened in 1975 which was closed since 1967 war.
Question for UPSC Mains:
Why and with what results did the Arabs and Israelis fight the wars of 1967 and 1973?

Published: March 19, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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