Retaliatory raids as an accelerating factor leading to the Six-Day War

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    After the close of the Suez Crisis, border incidents were limited and concentrated on the Israeli-Syrian border. These incidents had marginal impact on relationships between Israel and its neighbors. The incidents worsened after the Arab world learned that Israel had completed its National Water Carrier project. The water dispute created dynamics within the conflict that pulled the region toward the abyss. On the one hand, the number of border incidents increased; on the other hand, the Arabs - particularly the Syrians - sought to divert the headwaters of the Jordan to prevent the Israeli water project from using Jordan water to develop the country. The Israeli government, especially the heads of the military, embraced a policy of using military power - particularly airpower - to prevent diversion. At the same time it signaled that Israel would exact a heavy price from its neighbors for provocations and acts of sabotage against the State of Israel. Beginning in 1965, sabotage and terrorist operations into Israel increased after the establishment of Palestinian guerilla organizations. The summer of 1965 marked a return to the security situation that had preceded the Suez Crisis. The Israeli army returned to the policy it had abandoned nine years earlier - retaliatory raids. While the number of punitive raids was small, their scope and force were many times stronger than the raids that had preceded the Suez Crisis. Yet the reprisals did not deter the Syrians or the guerilla forces and only set in motion a vicious circle of violence where action fueled counteraction, the height of which was reached in the IDF retaliatory raid on the village of Samoa on the West Bank and the air battle of 7 April 1967 with the Syrians that signaled the approach of the June 1967 war.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)462-485
    Number of pages24
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2008


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