- On June 4, 1967, a half-million Arab soldiers and more than 5,000 tanks converged on Israel from every direction, including the West Bank, then part of Jordan. Their plans called for obliterating Israel’s army, conquering the country, and killing large numbers of civilians. Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Arif said the Arab goal was to wipe Israel off the map. Many Israelis feverishly dug trenches and filled sandbags, while others secretly dug 10,000 graves for the presumed victims.
- Israel’s borders at the time were demarcated by the armistice lines established at the end of Israel’s war of independence 18 years earlier. These lines left Israel a mere 9 miles wide at its most populous area. Enemy planes struck Israeli cities, including Hadera, Netanya, Kfar Saba, and the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv; and thousands of artillery shells fired from the West Bank pummeled greater Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem.
- In six days, Israel repelled the incursions by Arab forces and established secure boundaries. Most significantly, Israel replaced the indefensible armistice lines by reuniting Jerusalem and capturing the West Bank from Jordan.
- Israel remains committed to the vision of two states living side by side in peace. But peace is predicated on security and on our ability to defend ourselves if the peace breaks down. We need defensible borders to ensure that Israel will never again pose an attractive target for attack.
(Michael Oren – Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S.- Foreign Policy)