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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 524

Michael Oren begins his study of the 1967 Six-Day War with background on the prior state of Israeli relations with its neighbors, beginning with its 1948 establishment as a sovereign state. He begins his analysis in the early twentieth century as Jewish settlement increased in the Middle East. He covers the diplomatic and military aspects of the creation of Israel, including the 1948 war, which included Israel gaining more territory than stipulated in the original United Nations agreement, and subsequent armistice. One development he emphasizes in the 1960s is the efforts at unity among Arab leaders, which had only limited success because of changing allegiances and priorities of different countries. The United Arab Command, formed in part to defend a project for diverting the River Jordan, was placed under Egyptian authority; Gamal Abdel Nasser was Egypt’s president. Syria, however, was more inclined than Egypt toward united Arab military conflict.

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In his search for Arab unity and deferral of any conflict with Israel, Nasser had unwittingly created a framework for dissent and accelerated the momentum toward war.

The author points out that six days totals only 132 hours, during which a tragically large number of lives were lost. Tremendous expenditures in military materiel were also recorded, including guns, tanks, other vehicles, and airplanes. Oren offers the figure that the Israeli Air Force “destroyed 469 enemy planes,” while Israel lost 36—but that constituted 20 percent of its air force. One of the most startling outcomes, however, was the vast expansion of Israel’s territory. The increased size also expanded the distance between its cities and the borders of the opposing nations, thus offering additional security.

Israel had conquered 42,000 square miles and was now three and a half times its original size. Exceedingly vulnerable before the war, its major cities all within range of Arab guns, the Jewish state now threatened Damascus, Cairo, and Amman.

The immediate aftermath of this territorial expansion included discussions about Israel and Palestinian settlements in those areas. Oren notes that even within Israel, there was great division...

(The entire section contains 524 words.)

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