Israel 50 Years Ago Today Part 11 & 12

Israel 50 Years Ago Today Part 11 & 12


The Day After the War


1/12 | After six days of fighting, Israel had won! But even victory was complicated. In the 11th video of our 12-part mini-series, learn how Israel attempted to achieve peace with its neighbours, and the shocking reply the defeated nations sent back.

Israel had succeeded in pushing back the Arab states that had threatened to destroy it and was now in control of lands it had not dreamed of possessing.

But in addition to land, Israel now controlled hundreds of thousands of Arabs in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Temple Mount.

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The war was over. A battle for survival had ended with an overwhelming Israeli victory. In just six days, Israel pushed back the Arab armies that threatened its existence, and achieved defensible borders.

In the war, Israel captured Eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, also known by the Biblical names Judea and Samaria, which held deep religious meaning. The West Bank was the birthplace of the Jewish people and had maintained a continuous Jewish presence for 3,000 years, until 1948.

This was significant. In 1948, Jordan captured these lands and expelled all Jews from Eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City of Jerusalem, and the West Bank. For 19 years, Jews were not allowed to access the Western Wall or other Jewish holy sites. Israel’s victory meant a reunited Jerusalem and free access to holy sites for all religions.

Along with land, Israel found itself in control of a population it had no intention of governing before the war. Hundreds of thousands of Arab residents were now under Israeli jurisdiction in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel also controlled the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, but also the site of a sacred Muslim mosque and shrine.

To show its commitment to coexistence, and in an attempt to avoid future violence, Israel made an unprecedented and controversial move: it gave control of the Temple Mount to the Jordanians, just 10 days after the war’s end.

Additionally, after the war, Israel sent an offer to the Arab countries: territory in exchange for peace. But there was no answer – one of many unreciprocated peace overtures made by Israel.

Three months later, Arab leaders met in Sudan, crafting a resolution known as “the 3 Nos of Khartoum”: “No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiations with Israel.” Israel’s Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, later stated: “This is the first war in history which has ended with the victors suing for peace and the vanquished calling for unconditional surrender.”

Israelis were dismayed. They hoped that their victory would lead to negotiations in which captured land would be returned in exchange for genuine peace with their neighbors, but they were met with a flat refusal to negotiate.

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This video was produced by Jerusalem U in partnership with The Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Action Network, the European Jewish Congress and the Center for Israel Education. For more on the dramatic events and impact of the Six Day War, visit

Thumbnail Photo Credit: GPO Israel/David Rubinger


Navigating the Road to Peace



12/12 | In the final 12th video of our mini-series, explore how the results of the Six Day War played out over the last fifty years and how that war still affects the peace process and the lives of Israelis and Palestinians today.

See all the videos as they are released:

On the eve of the Six Day War in June 1967, Arab states massed troops and tanks, and threatened to destroy Israel. Yet Israel pushed them back, capturing territory that gave it defensible borders. Israel then signaled that it would give back most of that land for peace, but the Arab world rejected Israel’s offers.

On November 22nd, five months after the Six Day War, the United Nations passed Resolution 242, calling on Israel to withdraw from captured land – without specifying how much – while also calling on its Arab neighbors to end acts of aggression against Israel and recognize its boundaries. This came to be known as the “land for peace” formula. Israel would cede some of its newly captured territory, in return for acceptance as a sovereign state in the Middle East. But the Arab countries refused to recognize or negotiate with Israel.

Twelve years later, however, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a treaty with Israel assuring peace and cooperation in exchange for the return of the Sinai Peninsula – which made up nearly 90% of the land Israel captured in the Six Day War. Fifteen years after that, in 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan.

For the Arabs who live in the West Bank and Gaza, the last 50 years have been difficult. Although there has never been an actual Palestinian state, Palestinian nationalism and identity had solidified since 1967, along with a desire for a state of their own. To that end, an elected Palestinian Authority government was created, which to this day, governs daily life for most Palestinians.

For decades, however, Palestinian leaders rejected living alongside Israel, believing that all of the land of Israel belonged to them.

In the 1990’s, the Oslo Peace Process seemed to offer a negotiated path to a Palestinian state and peace with Israel. At the Camp David Summit in 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians a two-state solution. Had the Palestinians accepted this proposal, a Palestinian state would have been created in the West Bank and Gaza, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital. But hopes were dashed in the early 2000’s when Palestinian suicide bombers and terrorists attacked Israelis in restaurants and buses, killing more than 700 Israeli civilians.

In another attempt to offer land for peace, Israel withdrew its forces from the Gaza strip and uprooted 8,000 Jews from their homes in 2005. Two years later, this vacated land was taken over in a military coup by the Hamas terrorist organization, which has since fired more than 12,000 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli communities.

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