In Part 1, I shared the primary precursors to the Six Day War.
- President Nasser of Egypt blocked the port of Eilat and nationalized the Suez Canal, something if Israel tolerated would cripple her economy.
- Nassar also kicked out the UN Peacekeeping force in the Sinai desert that was serving as a buffer between Israel and Egypt.
- And finally, Nassar and Nur al-Din al Atasi, Syria’s president were both publicly threatening Israel’s annihilation.
Al Atasi’s successor, Hafez al Assad (father of current Syrian President Bashar al Assad) already wielded great power in Syria as its defense minister. He joined the others in calling for the destruction of the Jewish State.
Israel had been putting up with this kind of belligerent rhetoric for years. In 1965 Nassar declared,
“Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.”
And if there were any doubts the Arabs wanted war, PLO leader Ahmed Shukairy made their intentions quite clear:
“This is a fight for the homeland. It is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of Palestine will have to leave. We will facilitate their departure to their former homes. Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive….We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors – if there are any – the boats are ready to deport them.”
His bold prediction was made on June 1, just a few days before the war began. On that same day Germany sent 20,000 gas masks to Israel for fear of biological weapons. The next day Britain began a blood drive for the Jewish state. It was becoming clear—Israel might never see her 20th birthday!
The Arab world was drunk with the idea of Jewish blood spilling. They would get their revenge for 1948, when Israel became a nation on what they consider holy Muslim land.
The Arab Muslim street was shrieking bloodcurdling threats of mass extermination for all Israelis, young and old, and the Arab leaders were falling over themselves to see who could utter the most hideous promise of massacre and slaughter. (Victor Sharpe, The Six Day War: Israel’s Miraculous Victory)
From May 15th Egypt had begun to mass its troops in the Sinai Desert near the Israeli border. Syria, from May 18th, started filling the Golan Heights, overlooking Israel’s cities and towns, with its troops.
On May 30th, with Arab troops surrounding Israel, Israel’s port of Eilat blocked and dealing with daily challenges from the leaders of the Arab nation, Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt. Nasser celebrated.
The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon were poised on the borders of Israel…to face the challenge, while standing behind us were the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act would astound the world. Today they would know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour had arrived. We had reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.
There was no doubt—the Arab’s wanted WAR. Israel was being goaded into a fight to the death; at least her death. She would either defeat several Arab nations or be destroyed.
Coming… The Western nations Respond and Israel prepares for a Fight to the Death.