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May 1967, tensions reached the highest levels due to massive concentrations of Israeli troops at the Syrian border, concentrations caused by rumors of an Egyptian-Jordanian-Syrian military agreement with Iraq and an imminent Arab attack. Tensions were amplified by the permanent interference of the Soviets, who wanted to open a new conflict that would delay the one in Vietnam.

All of these factors led to President Nasser’s decision to block the navigation of Israeli vessels through the Tiran Straits and access to the Akaba Gulf, which meant quasi-definitive isolation and a harsh attack on the State of Israel. On May 20, 1967, Nasser called on UN Secretary-General Thant to withdraw UN troops from the Sinai Line, where they had secured peace since 1957, blocking the withdrawal of Sharm el-Sheik, a strategic locality in Israel’s maritime ties. The Soviets pursued the opening of a new Vietnamese-like front and the Arab world association, which had been waiting for revenge since the 1956 conflict, and whose separation was an asset for Soviet penetration.

Gamal Abdel Nasser (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

But on June 5, 1967, the surprise attack of the Israeli army took place, which struck the strategic points of Egypt and Syria, destroying Soviet armament from their endowment. The attack amplified its effect also because the Arabs were unprepared, relying too heavily on Soviet pressures on Jews and on an exclusively political solution to the navigation crisis, which would benefit them. Egypt was deceived by the security of the “total” support of its great Soviet ally and by the security with which the Soviets indicated that in the event of a conflict, a rapid intervention of the UN troops would occur.

The June 5th offensive shocked by efficiency, putting the great powers in front of the accomplished fact. The drastic defeat of the Arab states brought to Israel a powerful moral asset. Israeli aviation destroyed most of the Egyptian aviation on the ground, like anti-aircraft artillery. It occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula in three days. From the Jordanian territory, the Gaza Strip, and the Syrian territory, the Golan Heights, destroying the three armies: Egyptian, Syrian and Jordan, without them having time to realize the amount of the disaster.

The Soviet Union, which had incited Egypt to pressure, was determined to use the Security Council to claim that Israel is the aggressor. On June 7, 1967, an emergency meeting of the Security Council took place, in which the Soviets demanded “immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of aggressor troops”, a project not accepted by the United States.

Israeli Soldiers preparing to attack Syria (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Nor did the third major Arab-Israeli conflict lead to any partial resolution of the conflict. On the contrary, from this moment, a new problem arose that of the occupied territories or the disputed territories. Israel extended its administration to the territories: East Jerusalem, To the Golan Heights, in the Sinai Peninsula, which will gradually, over several years, returned to Egypt.

At the end of the 6-day war, Romanian diplomacy made one of the first autonomous foreign policy decisions — refusing unilateral blaming of Israel as an aggressor, as the USSR and all other member states of the Warsaw Treaty did, by signing the Declaration of Moscow (June 9, 1967) and the break of diplomatic relations with Israel, an important step in the attempts to autonomy the Romanian diplomacy.

The 6-day war was a pretext expected by the Romanians to pave the way for the gradual reopening of the West. This would follow up quite a fruitful partnership with Romania in the 1970s. Some historians acknowledge this war as another antagonizing try for the US and USSR to fight their own conflicts with other nations and provoke a big media boom to allow for more political conflicts in the near future.

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