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Arab-Israeli Wars

Arab-Israeli Wars, several conflicts between Israel and the Arabs. In 1948, when Israel was established as an independent state on what the Arabs regarded as Arab land, Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (Jordan), Lebanon, and Syria attacked, but within a month Israel had occupied the greater part of Palestine. By July 1949, separate ceasefires were concluded with the Arab states.

On Oct. 29, 1956, with the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba closed to its ships, Israel invaded Egypt, which had nationalized the canal in July. British and French supporting troops occupied the canal banks but were replaced by a UN force after international furor. By Mar. 1957 all Israeli forces had left Egypt in exchange for access to the Gulf of Aqaba. In 1967 Egypt again closed the gulf to Israel, and on June 5, at the start of the Six-Day War, Israeli air strikes destroyed the Arab air forces on the ground. Israel won the West Bank of the Jordan River, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Old City of Jerusalem. A ceasefire was accepted by June 10. On Oct. 6, 1973, Yom Kippur, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel to regain the lost territories. A ceasefire was signed on Nov. 11, 1973. Although Israeli troops penetrated deep into Syria and crossed onto the west bank of the Suez Canal, initial Arab success restored Arab confidence. Talks between Egypt and Israel led to a peace treaty in 1979. But tension ran high elsewhere, especially in Lebanon, which was used as a guerrilla base by the Palestinians and became a target for Israeli attacks. In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon to destroy strongholds of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) guerrillas. Subsequently, under a U.S.-sponsored plan, the guerrillas left Beirut for other countries willing to accept them, and a multinational peacekeeping force, including U.S. marines, landed in Lebanon.

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