Last updated on: 5/14/2008 11:25:00 AM PST

What Was the Arab World's Reaction to the 1967 "Six Day" War?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Michael B. Oren, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, in his 2003 book Six Days of War, wrote:

"No sooner had the shooting stopped than the Arab world embarked on what one Middle East historian called 'an audit during a moment of great stress and clarity,' examining how 'a small state had displayed their historical inadequacy, had seized massive chunks of land, and had devastated the armies whose weapons and machismo had been displayed with great pride for the last decade or so.' Intellectuals would evince intense disillusionment with Arab nationalism -- as a mass movement, it would never revive -- and stress the need for modernization and democracy. Others would advocate an even more militant radicalism on the Vietnamese or Cuban model, or a return to the rigorous fundamentals of Islam. Painful examinations would be made of Arab society, its inherent propensities and weaknesses, and of the Arab personality and psyche.

Arab politicians, on the other hand, persisted in avoiding any responsibility for the defeat, much less engage in introspection. Nasser continued to blame the insubordinate Egyptian officers and the Anglo-American cabal for Egypt's defeat in what he curiously called 'Bunche's war.' King Hussein waxed fatalistic, telling his people that 'I seem to belong to a family which...must suffer and make sacrifices for its country without end... If you were not rewarded with glory it was not because you lacked courage, but because it is Allah's will.'"

2003 - Michael B. Oren, PhD 

Baruch Kimmerling, PhD, Professor of Sociology at Hebrew University, and Joel S. Migdal, PhD, Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington, in their 2003 book titled The Palestinian People, wrote:

"The 1967 war recast relations among the Arabs as no other event would until Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Pan-Arabism, which had electrified the Arab world from North Africa to the Fertile Crescent, slowly gave way to state relations reminiscent of those in other regions, based on standard diplomacy and international negotiation. Nasser's calls for unity, directed to the peoples of neighboring Arab counties above their ruler's heads, were replaced by conciliatory steps among kings and presidents."

2003 - Joel S. Migdal, PhD 
Baruch Kimmerling, PhD 

Edward Said, PhD, the late Columbia University Professor, in his 1994 book The Politics of Dispossession, wrote:

"In a matter of six days, everything that Abdel Nasser and his followers had created came apart. To be an Arab meant a sense of defeat, profound shock, and bewildering uncertainty."

1994 - Edward Said, PhD 

The 1988 Country Studies/Area Handbook on Israel, published by the United States Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, contained the following:

"The Arab states rejected outright any negotiations with the Jewish state. At Khartoum, Sudan, in the summer of 1967, the Arab states unanimously adopted their famous 'three nos': no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiation with Israel concerning any Palestinian territory. The stridency of the Khartoum resolution, however, masked important changes that the June 1967 War caused in inter-Arab politics. At Khartoum, Nasser pledged to stop destabilizing the region and launching acerbic propaganda attacks against the Persian Gulf monarchies in exchange for badly needed economic assistance. This meant that Egypt, along with the other Arab states, would focus on consolidating power at home and on pressing economic problems rather than on revolutionary unity schemes. After 1967 Arab regimes increasingly viewed Israel and the Palestinian problem not as the key to revolutionary change of the Arab state system, but in terms of how they affected domestic political stability. The Palestinians, who since the late 1940s had looked to the Arab countries to defeat Israel and regain their homeland, were radicalized by the 1967 defeat. The PLO -- an umbrella organization of Palestinian resistance groups led by Yasir Arafat's Al Fatah -- moved to the forefront of Arab resistance against Israel. Recruits and money poured in, and throughout 1968 Palestinian guerrillas launched a number of border raids on Israel that added to the organization's popularity. The fedayeen (Arab guerrillas) attacks brought large-scale Israeli retaliation, which the Arab states were not capable of counteracting. The tension between Arab states' interests and the more revolutionary aspirations of the Palestinian resistance foreshadowed a major inter-Arab political conflict."

1988 - Country Studies / Area Handbooks Program