Six Day War Essay

2509 words - 11 pages

December 10, 2007

On June 5, 1967 Israel launched a preemptive strike against its enemies, initiating what became known as the Six-Day War. The years leading up to war were marked by tensions that arose within Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. These tensions underlay the causes of war can be demarcated through a careful analysis of Waltz’s three images: individual, state, and international actors. Each image played a significant role in the instigation of the Six Day War. Waltz’s thirds image motivated Israel to got to war. However it was the first two images, leadership and domestic issues that laid the material groundwork for a war, and precipitated the war among the Arab ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore the Gaza strip, which was annexed by Egypt after 1948, was largely ignored by Egypt during its period of economic growth. The Gaza Strip was allowed to remain in poverty, its inhabitants eking out a living on citrus groves and fishing. In 1966 Gaza’s GNP per capita was eighty dollars, which made it one of the most impoverished communities in the world .

Jordan also faced devastating economic problems as a result of its large population of Palestinian refugees. In aftermath of the War of Independence, Jordan annexed the West Bank adding on a huge tract of territory to greater Jordan and increasing its population by 700,000 individuals. The vast numbers of these Palestinians were homeless and placed a tremendous burden on Jordan’s economy. In the wake of the Six Day War, the West Bank economic development slowed down considerably. In 1967, the West Banks GDP dropped to two-thirds of the East Bank. Additionally the East Bank industrial sector was triple the size of the West Banks partially due to the cheap influx of laborers coming out of the West Bank . The economic distress and political strength of the Palestinians in the West bank put pressure on Jordan to join the conflict.

In Syria steps towards economic improvement were curtailed due to the burden of supporting the one hundred thousand Palestinian refugees that now made Syria their home. In 1961 the Syrian government launched a five-year plan concentrated on developing the nation's infrastructure and increasing agricultural and industrial production. Syria only came up with 60% of the investment needed to finance the plan. Syria’s failure to come up with the necessary funds was in part due to the amount of funds needed to support Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian population was unwelcome by Syrian citizens as well as the government, but there was little that could be done to get rid of them.

The domestic strife of the impoverished refugees found its way into politics and they became a force with which to contend. The sheer magnitude in numbers of the Palestinian refugees gave them immense political strength. The refugees were an economic drain on their respective Arab nations and the creation of a Palestinian state was seen as a means of solving this problem. A Palestinian state would free the Arab governments from any obligations they had to provide for the refugees thereby controlling a destabilizing political element and hopefully carving off or eliminating Israeli land in the process. Theoretically, the establishment of a Palestinian state would mean the renewal of the lives the Palestinians had lost in 1948. The war effort gained tremendous support from both the government and the people as it was seen as a gateway to ending poverty and domestic strife. As a result, steps were deliberately taken in effort to provoke war.

Waltz’s First image played an increasingly important role as domestic tensions increased. Arab leaders used the...

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