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 Over 55 years ago, Israel captured Palestinian territories, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in a six-day war called the 1967 War or June War. This event, known as the "Naksa," resulted in a setback for the neighboring Arab countries and the Palestinians who lost their homeland. The 1967 War was preceded by the violent establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, which involved ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Causes of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War

Zionist forces expelled 750,000 Palestinians and destroyed their villages to establish a "Jewish state." After Israel declared statehood, neighboring Arab armies fought for Palestine. In 1948, Israel controlled 78% of historical Palestine, while Jordan and Egypt administered the remaining 22%. In 1967, Israel took over all of Palestine and additional land from Egypt and Syria, displacing 300,000 Palestinians, including those displaced in 1948, and expanding its territory by 3.5 times.

Israeli actions during the 1967 War

The outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war was caused by several events, including frequent clashes on Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines, the rise of Palestinian armed resistance groups, and tensions between Syria and Israel over the use of the Jordan River water. In addition, the Soviet Union falsely warned Egypt that Israel was assembling troops to invade Syria, leading to Egypt's order to evacuate 

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UN troops and station its own troops in Sinai. Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt's airbases, destroying its air force and sparking the war. The motives behind the war are disputed among historians and analysts, with some believing that Israel sought to fulfill its territorial ambitions.

Impacts of the 1967 War on the Region

In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt’s airbases, disabled much of their air force, and invaded the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. Israel also attacked Syrian airfields and fought with Jordan for control of East Jerusalem. After taking control of Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli forces demolished the entire Moroccan Quarter and ethnically cleansed and destroyed several Palestinian villages. Israel also systematically destroyed Palestinian homes in the West Bank cities of Qalqilya and Tulkarem. 

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The war ended with UN-brokered truces between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and Syria. Many displaced Palestinians sought refuge in Jordan.

Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories

The 1967 war was a turning point for the region. Israel gained control over more than one million Palestinians and became the country with the largest Palestinian population. The loss and defeat for the Palestinians led to the emergence of armed resistance movements, while for the Israelis, their government's seizure of territory led to a sense of euphoria and the belief that the outcome was a miracle from God. The war also opened up the question of the Zionist movement's colonial nature, as Israel began building illegal settlements in the occupied territories in direct contravention of international law.

Human rights violations and the apartheid reality in the occupied territories

The Palestinians have been the most affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict, with the Israeli military occupation of their territories being the longest in modern history. The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and various parts of the West Bank in 1967 was never recognized by the international community. 

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The Israeli military controls the rest of the Palestinian territories, imposing restrictions on Palestinian movement, building illegal settlements, and implementing discriminatory policies. Human Rights Watch has identified several violations of international law and humanitarian law characterizing the occupation, including unlawful killings, abusive detention, and development of settlements. 

Israel has created an apartheid reality by establishing two separate systems for Israelis and Palestinians, which violates international law. Israel's prolonged occupation creates unbearable living conditions for Palestinians, with few seeing any option but to relocate. The likelihood of Israel ending its occupation is low as long as it is not held accountable for its violation of international law and the cost of occupation remains lower than the price of ending it.