On June 5th, 1967, Israel launched an attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan, decimating their armies and air defences in a few hours. At the end of the so-called Six Day War, Israel had succeeded in capturing even more Arab land- the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, along with the Sinai and the Golan Heights- and had basically doubled the amount of territory it controlled. Sold initially by its officials, Western backers and media as a pre-emptive strike against an increasingly threatening Egypt and Arab world, later pronouncements and admissions by Israeli government officials along with declassified documents and information have discredited this claim and revealed that the attack was an aggressive move aimed at gaining territory.
The War led to the displacement of 400 000 Palestinians, about half of whom were already refugees from the 1948 creation of the Zionist state. These people and their descendants, numbering in the millions continue to live as refugees in various parts of the Arab world today. Forty years later, the people who remained in the West Bank and Gaza continue to live under a brutal and oppressive military occupation (and the settlement regime that accompanies it); an occupation which endures contrary to international law and despite various Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions.
The Six Day War is often viewed as a watershed in the history of the region, but in reality, the real watershed occurred in1948 when the right to self-determination was denied to one people, the indigenous Palestinians, and their land was taken to create a state for another group.