Israel Record

Arab-Israeli Conflicts

Before the Creation of the State of Israel
The War of Independence

The 1956 Sinai Campaign
The 1967 War
After the 1967 War
The 1973 Yom Kippur War
The Israeli-Egyptian Peace
The Lebanon War
The West Bank and Gaza

Israel Record Contents

Seal of State of Israel


Following the war, Israel reunified the city of Jerusalem which had been divided since 1948. The government signaled to the Arab world its readiness to discuss the future of the rest of the areas it acquired during the war. Israel pressed for direct, face-to-face negotiations while the Arabs sought negotiations through third-party intermediaries. Secondly, the Arabs demanded that Israel immediately withdraw unilaterally from all the territories it gained before beginning any type of negotiations. Israel indicated a willingness to withdraw from some land but only in exchange for full peace treaties with the Arab states. A few months later, meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, in September 1967, the Arab states declared that their formal position was "no peace, no recognition and no negotiation" with Israel.

On November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 as a framework for Arab-Israeli negotiations. The drafters of the resolution envisioned direct Arab-Israeli negotiations leading toward Arab-Israeli peace based on the principle that Israel would withdraw from areas acquired during the war.

The resolution called for the . . .Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; Termination of all claims of states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

Arab-Israeli differences continued to prove insurmountable. The Arab states insisted that Resolution 242 called for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all the areas captured in 1967. The United States and Israel disagreed, stating that the resolution called for withdrawal from territories but did not define the scope of the withdrawal.

In the wake of this deadlock, Israel found itself with a million Palestinian Arabs under its control and began administering the territories in what has become known as the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel hoped that its authority over the Palestinians in these areas would be short-lived. Since Israel did not annex or incorporate the West Bank and Gaza into Israel proper, it could not apply the civil, democratic laws that govern Israeli civilian life to the residents of the territories.

In the years following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the Arab states and Israel continued to disagree about how to begin peace negotiations. The Arabs insisted that Israel first withdraw from all the territory it had captured during the 1967 war as a precondition for discussions leading to peace. The Israelis argued that since their security had been threatened by Arab aggression, they would not withdraw from any territory except in return for full peace agreements negotiated directly with the Arab states.

In order to weaken Israel militarily into accepting Arab terms, from 1969-1970, Egypt launched a war of attrition along the Egyptian-Israeli border aimed at slowly eroding Israeli strength through repeated artillery barrages. Israel retaliated with raids into Egyptian territory. A cease-fire was reached in August 1970.

Meanwhile, in 1969, Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestinian terrorist group Fatah, was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an umbrella for a broad array of Palestinian commando groups. Factions of the PLO initiated airline hijackings and other sensational acts of violence around the world. In September 1972, for example, Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics Games. Both Jordan and Lebanon allowed PLO groups to use their territory as a springboard for guerrilla attacks against Israeli civilians within both Israel and the 1967 territories. Israel retaliated against both countries for attacks launched from Jordanian and Lebanese territory. Subsequently, Jordanian-Palestinian tensions escalated and fighting erupted leading to the deaths of many Palestinians at the hands of Jordanian troops.

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