In 1967 Israel attacked Egypt, Jordan and Syria, seizing the Sinai from Egypt (which Israel subsequently returned under US pressure), the Golan Heights from Syria (from which Israel gets about a third of its water), and Jordan from which it retrieved Judea and Samaria (now known as the West Bank) that it had ceded to Jordan in 1948 in exchange for Jordan's non-intervention.
1967 may have been chosen as an opportune occasion since the US was distracted by the Tet offensive in Viet Nam.
Israel justified these invasions, which were illegal under the United Nations and Nuremberg charters that prohibit aggressive war, as pre-emptively defensive, claiming that Arab troops had massed on their borders for imminent invasion. Menachim Begin and Israeli generals subsequently admitted that this was entirely false, that they intended to attack and manufactured a pretext.
During this war Israeli aircraft attacked an American intelligence vessel, the USS Liberty, killing 34 sailors and wounding 171, probably fearing that the Liberty had detected Israeli war crimes in the Sinai. Israel falsely claimed that the attack was accidental due to misidentification, an assertion flatly contradicted by a mountain of eyewitness testimony and other evidence summarized by James Bamford in his book, Body of Secrets. The Liberty crew members were enjoined by the US government from telling the truth, and the formal investigation findings were whitewashed. This is the only occasion in US history where an American naval vessel was attacked without retaliation.
The Palestinian land seized by Israel has remained under a brutal occupation ever since in defiance of international law and UN Resolution 242 that demanded that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders.
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