Israel’s attack on Egypt in June ’67 was not ‘preemptive’

It is often claimed that Israel’s attack on Egypt that began the June 1967 “Six Day War” was a “preemptive” one. Implicit in that description is the notion that Israel was under imminent threat of an attack from Egypt. Yet this historical interpretation of the war is not sustained by the documentary record.

The President of Egypt, then known as the United Arab Republic (UAR), Gamal Abdel Nasser, later conveyed to U.S. President Lyndon Johnson that his troop buildup in the Sinai Peninsula prior to the war had been to defend against a feared Israeli attack.

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