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  Arab Threats Against Israel

In the weeks leading up to the Six Day War, Arab leaders repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation. Together with Egypt's ejection of United Nations forces, the closing of the Straits of Tiran, and the massing of troops on Israel's northern and southern borders, the fiery rhetoric created a state of existential fear in Israel.


"Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel." – President Nasser of Egypt, November 18, 1965 

"Brothers, it is our duty to prepare for the final battle in Palestine." – Nasser, Palestine Day, 1967 

"Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight . . . The mining of Sharm el Sheikh is a confrontation with Israel. Adopting this measure obligates us to be ready to embark on a general war with Israel." – Nasser, May 27, 1967 

"We will not accept any ... coexistence with Israel. ... Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel .... The war with Israel is in effect since 1948." – Nasser, May 28, 1967 

"The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel . . . . to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations." – Nasser, May, 30, 1967 after signing a defense pact with Jordan's King Hussein 

"We are now ready to confront Israel .... The issue now at hand is not the Gulf of Aqaba, the Straits of Tiran, or the withdrawal of UNEF, but the ... aggression which took place in Palestine ... with the collaboration of Britain and the United States." – Nasser, June 2, 1967 

"Under terms of the military agreement signed with Jordan, Jordanian artillery co-ordinated with the forces of Egypt and Syria is in a position to cut Israel in two at Kalkilya, where Israeli territory between the Jordan armistice line and the Mediterranean Sea is only twelve kilometers wide ... ." – El Akhbar newspaper, Cairo, May 31, 1967 

Cairo Radio Statements:

May 19, 1967: "This is our chance Arabs, to deal Israel a mortal blow of annihilation, to blot out its entire presence in our holy land" 

May 22, 1967: "The Arab people is firmly resolved to wipe Israel off the map" 

May 25, 1967: "The Gulf of Aqaba, by the dictum of history and the protection of our soldiers, is Arab, Arab, Arab." 

May 25, 1967: "Millions of Arabs are ... preparing to blow up all of America's interests, all of America's installations, and your entire existence, America." 

May 27, 1967: "We challenge you, Eshkol, to try all your weapons. Put them to the test; they will spell Israel's death and annihilation." 

May 30, 1967: "With the closing of the Gulf of Akaba, Israel is faced with two alternatives either of which will destroy it; it will either be strangled to death by the Arab military and economic boycott, or it will perish by the fire of the Arab forces encompassing it from the South from the North and from the East." 

May 30, 1967: "The world will know that the Arabs are girded for battle as the fateful hour approaches." 


"All of the Arab armies now surround Israel. The UAR, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, and Kuwait. ... There is no difference between one Arab people and another, no difference between one Arab army and another." – King Hussein of Jordan, after signing the pact with Egypt May 30, 1967 


"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map. We shall, God willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa." – President Abdel Rahman Aref of Iraq, May 31, 1967 


"D-Day is approaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation." – Ahmed Shukairy, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, May 27, 1967 

"This is a fight for the homeland – it is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of Palestine will have to leave. We will facilitate their departure to their former homes. Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive." – Shukairy, June 1, 1967 

"We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors – if there are any – the boats are ready to deport them." –  Shukairy, June 1, 1967, speaking at a Friday sermon in Jerusalem 


Syria's forces are "ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united.... I as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation." – Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad, May 20, 1967

"Our two brotherly countries have turned into one mobilized force. The withdrawal of the UN forces ... means 'make way, our forces are on their way to battle.'" – Foreign Minister Makhous on his return from Cairo
"The freedom of the homeland will be completed by the destruction of the Zionist entity and the expulsion of the Americans and the British from the region." – Algerian Prime Minister Houari Boumedienne
"We want war. War is the only way to settle the problem of Israel. The Arabs are ready." – Yemeni Foreign Minister Salam

General References

1) Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Mitchell G. Bard, 2001
2) Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Martin Gilbert, 1993
3) Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Michael B. Oren, 2002

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