Overall Chronology

Overall Chronology

Period
VI. The Rise Of The Palestinian Movement In The Wake Of The 1967 Arab Defeat
14 July 1966 to 6 October 1973

The international dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict was prominent during the period 1967–73. By the end of the 1967 war, Israel had defeated three Arab armies and gained control over all of historic Palestine (in addition to occupying the Syrian Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Desert), and the Arab front-line states concentrated on recovering the territories they had lost during the war. Also during this period, the Palestinians returned to active participation in the conflict: the Palestinian guerrilla organizations, with Fatah at their head, grew in membership and influence, eventually taking over the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and endowing it with a new spirit and significance.

Two years before the outbreak of war in 1967, Arab-Israeli tensions started to build up. Syria supported raids into Israeli carried out by the Palestinian group Fatah, whose guerrillas often entered Israel from Jordanian-controlled territory. Israel also launched cross-border raids against Palestinian and Arab targets. In November 1966, Israel carried out a large raid on the West Bank village of al-Samu‘ that resulted in heavy casualties. Outbreaks of violence also occurred near the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. One particularly intense Israeli-Syrian battle on 7 April 1967 involved troops, tanks, and aircraft. This was accompanied by Israeli threats against the Syrian regime, followed by false reports of an Israeli military buildup on the Syrian border that the Soviet Union passed on to the Egyptian government. Although Egypt and Syria had signed a defense pact in November 1966, the preeminent Arab leader, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, was not anxious for war (especially having already committed significant troops to the Yemeni civil war).

In a show of force aimed at Israel, Nasser ordered his army to mobilize on 15 May 1967. Events quickly began spiraling toward war despite international efforts to resolve the crisis. On 18 May, U Thant, secretary-general of the UN, complied with Nasser’s request, expressed two days earlier, for the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force that had been stationed between Egyptian and Israeli forces in Gaza and Sinai and at Sharm al-Shaykh. Egypt consequently blocked the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping on 23 May. On 25 May, Israeli mobilized its reserve forces and on 30 May, Egypt and Jordan signed a defense pact, and the latter allowed Iraqi troops to enter the country from the east.

On 5 June 1967, Israel launched a devastating surprise air attack on Egyptian airfields, destroying over 300 aircraft and effectively annihilating the Egyptian air force. After some largely ineffective air raids on Israel by Syrian and Iraqi planes, the Israeli air force struck at Jordanian and Iraqi air bases later in the day and destroyed many more aircraft. Israel ground forces invaded Gaza and Sinai and conquered them within three days. Also on 5 June, Israeli forces crossed into the West Bank, capturing East Jerusalem after fierce battles with the Jordanian army. Soon they conquered the entire West Bank. On 9 June, Israeli forces attacked Syrian positions in the Golan Heights, even though Syria had accepted a UN cease-fire. Israel’s offensive ended on 10 June, and all sides agreed to a cease-fire the day after.

The war—referred to as al-naksa (the setback) by Arabs—marked a devastating defeat for the Arab world. In addition to Egypt having lost the Sinai, the Suez Canal was rendered inoperable inasmuch as it now constituted the front lines between Egyptian and Israeli troops. Nasser accepted blame for the defeat and resigned—only to return to power following popular demonstrations. Syria lost the strategically important Golan Heights. For the Palestinians, Egyptian control over Gaza and Jordanian control over the West Bank had been replaced by an Israeli military occupation: Israel now controlled all of historic Palestine. Moreover, some 400,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from the occupied territories and crossed into Jordan.

In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces immediately destroyed 135 homes and displaced 600 Palestinians in the Maghribi Quarter next to the Western Wall to open a plaza for Jewish pilgrims. On 28 June, Israel formally annexed the city and quarters around it, thus dramatically expanding the area attached to the municipality of West Jerusalem. Israel immediately allowed Jews to build civilian settlements in the occupied territories in defiance of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. On 27 July 1967, Israeli cabinet minister Yigal Alon presented a plan, named after him, for establishing settlements and permanent Israeli control over parts of the occupied territories. By 1972, there were twenty-nine settlements in the West Bank and four in Gaza housing more than 1,200 Jewish settlers in addition to 8,600 settlers in the expanded borders of Jerusalem.

At the Arab summit meeting in Khartoum on 29 August 1967, the Arab world announced the “Three Noes”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. After months of discussions, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242, establishing the “land-for-peace” formula as the basis for Arab-Israeli peace, and appointed the Swedish diplomat Gunnar Jarring as the UN’s special envoy for peace talks. By 1970, Jarring was clearly unsuccessful in his mission. In fact, fighting between Egyptian and Israeli forces soon resumed shortly after the 1967 war. The small-scale attacks back and forth across the Suez Canal soon escalated to a war of attrition initiated by Egypt in early March 1969. By January 1970, Egyptian losses were so serious that Nasser secretly flew to the Soviet Union to request additional military aid, and Soviet and North Korean pilots were sent to fly Egyptian planes in combat with the Israeli air force. The United States sent Secretary of State William Rogers to devise a cease-fire, which was accepted by Egypt, Israel, and Jordan in July 1970. Nasser died the following month, and Egypt’s new president, Anwar al-Sadat, began thinking of ways to pull Egypt out of the conflict with Israel.

The Arab defeat in 1967, including Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, brought the Palestinian problem back into the spotlight. Palestinian guerrilla groups known as fedayeen, with Fatah at their head, vowed to continue Arab resistance to Israel. Although its plans for sparking an anti-Israeli uprising in the newly occupied West Bank failed within three months of the occupation, Fatah began launching cross-border guerrilla raids into Israeli-controlled territory. Other Palestinian guerrilla groups were soon established, notably the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in December 1967. The fortunes of the fedayeen, and Fatah in particular, skyrocketed as a result of the battle of al-Karama on 21 March 1968. A major Israeli incursion into Jordanian territory aimed to destroy a fedayeen base at al-Karama in the Jordan Valley. While they succeeded, Israeli forces suffered an unusually high number of casualties in the process due to the defense mounted by Fatah fighters and Jordanian army troops, artillery units, and tanks. Following this battle (very significant from the point of view of Palestinian struggle), volunteers flocked to join fedayeen organizations.

The PLO suffered from the negative political fall out of the defeat of the Arab regimes and was largely discredited as a creation of Egypt and the Arab League. Fatah and other fedayeen groups managed to take over the PLO at the fifth session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) in February 1969, and Fatah’s leader, Yasir Arafat, was elected chair of the PLO. The Palestinians affirmed that only armed struggle could liberate their homeland, and they regularly denounced UN Security Council Resolution 242. In August 1970, an extraordinary session of the PNC in Amman rejected Rogers Plan II that had been accepted by Egypt and Jordan the month before. The growing number of fedayeen forces in Jordan soon led to escalating the confrontation with Israel and, with PLO forces developing a state-within-a-state, tensions mounted with the Jordanian regime. After the PFLP hijacked three aircraft in early September 1970, flew them to Jordan, and held the passengers hostage, King Hussein ordered his army to drive PLO forces out of Amman. Ten days of fighting between Jordanian and Palestinian forces, known as Black September, commenced. After a truce arranged by the Arab League, PLO fighters in Amman withdrew to northern Jordan, but ultimately were expelled by the army in another round of fighting in July 1971.

To avenge the defeat, a Fatah faction calling itself Black September assassinated Jordanian prime minister Wasfi al-Tal in Cairo in November 1971. The group also kidnapped a group of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich in September 1972. A failed attempt by West German police to rescue the athletes led to a shootout, and eleven Israelis were killed in the operation. Though some raised questions as to the effectiveness of such spectacular, but potentially alienating, operations, there was no doubt that they served to impress the Palestinian problem into international public consciousness. At the end of this period (i.e. in late 1972), it is possible to say that, despite the setback of 1967 and the Israeli usurpation of all of historic Palestine, the Palestinians proved that they refused to accede quietly to this state of affairs, instead asserting themselves as an active player in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

MF

 

Selected Bibliography

Cobban, Helena. The Palestinian Liberation Organization: People, Power and Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Khalidi, Ahmad Samih. “The War of Attrition.Journal of Palestine Studies 3, no.1 (Autumn 1973): 60-87.

Louis, William Roger, and Avi Shlaim, eds. The 1967 Arab-Israeli War: Origins and Consequences. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Sayigh, Yezid. Armed Struggle and the State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press and Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2000.

Schleifer, Abdallah. “The Fall of Jerusalem.Journal of Palestine Studies 1, no.1 (Autumn 1971): 68-86.

Segev, Tom. 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007.

Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World Since 1948. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001.

Overall Chronology
E.g., 2019/09/16
E.g., 2019/09/16
Event Date Subject
Israeli Air Force Carries out a Raid in Syria in Response to Fatah Operations 14 July 1966
Draft Security Council Resolution S/7575/Rev.1 4 November 1966
Syria Signs a Mutual Defense Agreement with Egypt 4 November 1966
Israeli-Jordanian Battle at al-Samu' after a Fatah Operation 11 November 1966 - 13 November 1966
Demonstrations in Jordan 20 November 1966 - 25 November 1966
Security Council Resolution S/RES/228 25 November 1966
Israeli-Syrian Violence Escalates; Fatah's Military Operations Increase 1 January 1967 - 30 April 1967
Israeli-Syrian Aerial Battle 7 April 1967 - 21 April 1967
Reports on Israeli Plans Against Syria 12 May 1967 - 14 May 1967
Egypt Reacts to Israeli Threats Against Syria 15 May 1967 - 22 May 1967
Jordan Signs a Joint Defense Pact with Egypt 30 May 1967
Israel Prepares for War with US Consent 2 June 1967 - 4 June 1967
June War 5 June 1967 - 10 June 1967
June War, 1st Day 5 June 1967
June War, 2nd Day 6 June 1967
June War, 3rd Day 7 June 1967
June War, 4th Day 8 June 1967
June War, 5th Day 9 June 1967
June War, 6th Day 10 June 1967
Second Palestinian Exodus 10 June 1967 - 31 December 1967
Jerusalem in the Aftermath of the War 11 June 1967 - 29 June 1967
Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly 13 June 1967 - 21 July 1967
Security Council Resolution S/RES/237 14 June 1967
General Assembly Resolution 2252 (ES-V) 4 July 1967
General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254 (ES-V) 4 July 1967 - 14 July 1967
Military Order No. 58, Concerning Abandoned Property (Private Property) 23 July 1967
Formation of a Higher Islamic Council in Jerusalem  24 July 1967
Military Order No. 59, Concerning State Property 31 July 1967
Small Fraction of 1967 War Refugees to Return to the West Bank 14 August 1967 - 19 October 1967
Fatah Guerrilla Resistance in the West Bank 28 August 1967
Fourth Arab Summit Convenes in Khartoum 29 August 1967 - 1 September 1967
Security Council Resolution S/RES/242 22 November 1967
Palestinians Reorganize 11 December 1967 - 19 January 1968
Guerrilla Resistance in Gaza Strip 1968 - 1970
Israeli Military Confrontation with Jordan and Palestinian Guerrillas 14 February 1968 - 15 February 1968
Battle of al-Karama 21 March 1968
Settlement Attempt in Hebron 12 April 1968 - 16 June 1968
Yasir Arafat Assumes Prominence within Fatah 14 April 1968
Israel Land Requisition in Old City of Jerusalem 18 April 1968
Security Council Resolution S/RES/252 21 May 1968
Israeli-Jordanian Clashes 4 June 1968
27th Zionist Congress is Held in Jerusalem 9 June 1968 - 19 June 1968
4th Palestine National Council Is Held in Cairo 10 July 1968 - 17 July 1968
Civil Aviation in the Conflict 23 July 1968 - 29 August 1969
Fatah Defines its Political Objective 19 October 1968
First Issue of al-Quds, a Daily Newspaper in Occupied Jerusalem, Is Published 19 November 1968
Explosion in Mahane Yehuda in West Jerusalem 22 November 1968 - 28 November 1968
Military Order No. 291 on Land Settlement 19 December 1968
General Assembly Resolutions 2443 and 2452 (XXIII) 19 December 1968
Land Law, 5729-1969 1969
Hunger Strike of Palestinian Women in Jerusalem 26 January 1969
Fatah Reaffirms its Political Objective 28 January 1969
PDFLP Splits off from PFLP February 1969
5th Palestine National Council Is Held in Cairo 1 February 1969 - 4 February 1969
Students Demonstrate in Gaza 2 February 1969
Palestinians Are Arrested by Israeli Authorities 5 March 1969
Egypt's War of Attrition 8 March 1969 - 7 August 1970
Golda Meir Becomes Prime Minister of Israel 17 March 1969
Military Order No. 321 Concerning Land Law (Acquisition for Public Purposes) 28 March 1969
Israel Strengthens its Control over East Jerusalem 27 April 1969 - 26 June 1969
Israel Retaliates Against South Lebanon 12 May 1969 - 13 May 1969
Deportation from West Bank 9 June 1969 - 6 October 1969
Security Council Resolution S/RES/267 3 July 1969
Al-Aqsa Mosque Is Set on Fire 21 August 1969
6th Palestine National Council Is Held in Cairo 1 September 1969 - 9 September 1969
PLO-Lebanon Cairo Accord 3 November 1969
Rogers Plan 9 December 1969
General Assembly Resolution 2535 (XXIV) 10 December 1969
Military Order No. 363, Concerning the Protection of Nature Reserves 22 December 1969
Jordanian-Palestinian Clashes 11 February 1970
Israel and Refugee Camps in Gaza and West Bank 18 February 1970
Palestinian-Israeli Clashes in South Lebanon and Jordan Valley 22 May 1970 - 29 May 1970
7th Palestine National Council is Held in Cairo 30 May 1970 - 4 June 1970
Palestinian-Jordanian Clashes 6 June 1970 - 10 June 1970
Rogers Plan II 19 June 1970 - 7 August 1970
Sharon's Pacification of Gaza August 1970 - December 1971
1st Extraordinary Session of the Palestine National Council is Held in Amman 27 August 1970 - 28 August 1970
PFLP Hijack Operations 6 September 1970 - 12 September 1970
Black September in Jordan 15 September 1970 - 25 September 1970
Palestinian-Jordanian Agreement in Cairo 27 September 1970
Abdel Nasser Dies of a Sudden Heart Attack; Anwar al-Sadat Succeeds Him 28 September 1970
Jordanian Army Tightens Control 1 October 1970 - 23 July 1971
GA Resolution 2628 (XXV) 4 November 1970
General Assembly Resolution 2649 (XXV) 30 November 1970
General Assembly Resolution 2672 (XXV) 8 December 1970
President Sadat Suggests Partial Israeli Withdrawal from Suez Canal 4 February 1971
The US and Palestinian Rights 25 February 1971
8th Palestine National Council Is Held in Cairo 28 February 1971 - 5 March 1971
9th Palestine National Council is Held in Cairo 7 July 1971 - 13 July 1971
Ziyad Husseini, Commander of the Popular Liberation Forces in Gaza, Dies 21 August 1971
Israel Appoints Rashad al-Shawa as Mayor of Gaza September 1971
Jordan Complains to UN Security Council on Jerusalem 13 September 1971
Security Council Resolution S/RES/298 25 September 1971
Municipal Elections in West Bank Are Announced 26 November 1971
Wasfi al-Tal, Jordan's Prime Minister, Is Assassinated by Black September Members in Cairo 28 November 1971
General Assembly Resolution 2792 (XXVI) 6 December 1971
28th Zionist Congress Meets in Jerusalem 18 January 1972 - 28 January 1972
Israeli Military Operation in South Lebanon 25 February 1972 - 28 February 1972
Security Council Resolution S/RES/313 28 February 1972
King Hussein Proposes a "United Arab Kingdom" 15 March 1972
Municipal Elections Are Held in the West Bank 28 March 1972 - 2 May 1972
10th (Extraordinary) Palestine National Council is Held in Cairo 6 April 1972 - 12 April 1972
Black September Hijack Operation 8 May 1972
Japanese Red Army at Lod Airport 30 May 1972
Israeli Military Operation in South Lebanon 21 June 1972 - 24 June 1972
Security Council Resolution S/RES/316 26 June 1972
Assassination of Ghassan Kanafani in Beirut 8 July 1972
Attempted Assassination of Anis Sayigh in Beirut 19 July 1972
Attempted Assassination of Bassam Abu Sharif in Beirut 25 July 1972
Gaza Red Crescent Society Is Established September 1972
Black September in Munich Olympic Games 5 September 1972 - 6 September 1972
Violent Israeli Retaliation in South Lebanon 16 September 1972 - 17 September 1972
Wa'el Zuaiter Is Assassinated in Rome 16 October 1972
Black September Hijack Operation 29 October 1972 - 30 October 1972
Mahmoud al-Hamshari is Assassinated in Paris 8 December 1972 - 10 January 1973
Israeli Travel Documents for Palestinians in West Bank 10 December 1972
11th Palestine National Council Meets in Cairo 6 January 1973 - 12 January 1973
Hussein Bashir Abu al-Khayr Is Assassinated in Nicosia 24 January 1973
Libyan Civilian Aircraft Is Shot Down Over the Sinai 21 February 1973
Black September Operation in Khartoum 1 March 1973 - 4 March 1973
Muhammad al-Aswad Is Killed in Gaza 9 March 1973
Basil al-Kubeisi Assassinated in Paris 6 April 1973
Israeli Operation in Beirut Against Palestinian Leaders 10 April 1973
Lebanese-Palestinian Confrontation 2 May 1973 - 23 May 1973
Absentees' Property (Compensation) Law, 5733-1973 27 June 1973
Mohammad Boudia Assassinated in Paris 28 June 1973
Ahmed Bouchiki Assassinated in Lillehammer 21 July 1973
Palestinian National Front Is Established in the West Bank 15 August 1973
Shaykh Ahmad Yasin's Islamic Center Is Established in Gaza 7 September 1973