Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East
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After the state of Israel emerged from war in 1948, both sides knew more battles were coming. In June 1967, years of slow-burning tension exploded. In six extraordinary days, Israel destroyed the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. But far from bringing peace, as many Israelis hoped, their stunning victory turned into a curse.
From the initial battle order issued to the Israeli air force on Monday June 5, 1967 to the final ceasefire on the evening of Saturday the 10th, the Six-Day War was a riveting human drama. Building on his first-hand experience of the region after his five years as the BBC's Middle East Correspondent, as well as extensive original research, Jeremy Bowen presents a compelling new history of the conflict. Six Days recreates day by day, hour by hour, the bullying and brinckmanship that led four nations to war, interweaving testimonies of combatants from all sides in a seamless narrative.
A rigorous and original piece of modern history is as vivid as fiction, Six Days not only sheds new light on one of the key conflicts of the twentieth century, it explains much about the Middle East and the problems the region still faces today.
Clifford, a Washington lawyer who had been a presidential adviser since the 1940s, was concerned that the US was not being tough enough on Israel. It was an ‘egregious’ attack. It was, he told them, ‘inconceivable that it was an accident’. There were three strafing passes and three torpedo boats in attendance. The Israelis responsible should be punished. In the sheaf of handwritten notes torn from a legal pad that records the meeting, ‘President subscribed 100%’ is noted in the margin. Ambassador
and Benny Morris, Israel’s Secret Wars (London: Warner Books, 1992) Brecher, Michael, Decisions in Israel’s Foreign Policy (Oxford: OUP, 1974) Bregman, Ahron, A History of Israel (London: Palgrave, 2002) —— and Jihan el-Tahri, The Fifty Years War (London: Penguin/BBC Books, 1998) Bondy, Ruth, Ohad Zmora and Raphael Bashan (eds), Mission Survival (New York: Sabra Books, 1968) Brown, Arie, Moshe Dayan and the Six-Day War (Tel Aviv: Yediot Aharonot, 1997 [Hebrew]) Bull, Odd, War and Peace in
too close to the action. An alliance with the viciously anti-Hashemite regime in Syria seemed out of the question. Jordan did not even have diplomatic relations with Damascus. The king withdrew his ambassador after a lorry filled with explosives blew up at Ramtha on the Jordanian side of the border with Syria on 21 May, killing twenty-one Jordanians. Syria accused the king’s men of planting the bomb. Hussein’s court became convinced that the radicals in Syria saw the king as the real enemy, not
Soviet ambassador to the UN, Nikolai Fedorenko, was at Glen Cove, an estate on Long Island built in the style of a Scottish castle that had been bought at a bargain price by the USSR in 1948. For a time the Soviets had boarded their entire delegation to the UN there, to save money and to make it easier for the KGB to keep an eye on them. By 1967, though, it was a retreat for top diplomats and Fedorenko was its laird. He sat with his expert on arms control, Arkady Shevchenko, discussing the Middle
official. He had asked him if the Arabs’ basic intention was to eliminate Israel. In a ‘distinctly chilly’ way, the official said it was. John Tleel, a Palestinian dentist, never liked Mondays. He had been at work at his dental surgery in the Christian quarter of the Old City since 6:30 a.m., as usual. Among the patients waiting for him was a schoolteacher, Miss Elisabeth Bawarshi, who was planning a trip to Lebanon. She needed a set of false teeth. At eleven o’clock when he had seen his other