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1967: Moscow calls for UN action against Israel

The United Nations Security Council has rejected Soviet demands for an immediate vote on a resolution condemning Israel's aggression in the six-day war.

Moscow - which has close ties with Egypt - is also demanding the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Arab territories. It follows six days of fighting in which Israel has made advances on three fronts doubling the area of land it controls.

Israel says the attacks were launched to counter huge Arab troop movements along its borders

It has seized Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the south and the Golan Heights from Syria in the north.

It has also pushed Jordanian forces out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The advances ended with ceasefires signed as Israeli troops were poised within striking distance of each of the respective capitals, Cairo in Egypt, Damascus in Syria and Amman in Jordan.

It is not clear what action Moscow will take in the face of the UN's hesitation. The council has postponed making a decision on how to respond to the war until tomorrow at the earliest.

Thousands forced to flee

Israel has already declared its intention to remain in control of its newly occupied territories until permanent peace with its Arab neighbours can be established.

Israel's casualties after six days of fighting are calculated at 759 dead and about 3,000 wounded, Arab casualties are far higher, about 15,000.

The scale of the refugee problem caused by the war is also now becoming clear.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is making preparations to help thousands of Egyptian soldiers stranded in the Sinai desert after last week's bitter fighting. Water supplies to the area were cut off in the hope of slowing the Israeli advance.

Gaza City in the Gaza Strip saw some of the fiercest fighting between Egyptians and Israelis during the brief war. It is estimated there are now some 200,000 Arabs living in five camps outside the city. Many have not eaten for days.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is appealing for help to buy tents, blankets and vehicles and has also asked for medical supplies.

It says many of the refugees in Jordan are homeless for a second time - having been forced to flee the camps outside Jericho which had been their homes since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The British Government is contributing towards the cost of the emergency relief, as are many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia which is donating half a month's salary per soldier in its armed forces.

In Context
The General Assembly met again on 19 June but lengthy discussions on what action to take continued for a month until the session adjourned on 21 July and referred the matter back to the Security Council.

The Council, after long discussions, on 22 November unanimously adopted Resolution 242, which became the basis for future United Nations policymaking on the Middle East conflict.

It stated "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and called for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict".

It also called for the acknowledgement of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every national state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure borders.

In the meantime, the Arab nations resolved to ignore Israel's call for peace. With Soviet help, they began rebuilding their armies and adopted a policy of three nays, no to peace, no to recognition of Israel and no to negotiations.

The occupied territories became the basis of the land-for-peace diplomatic concept at the heart of the 1978 Camp David accords and 1993 Oslo accords.

Israeli forces evicted Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip in August 2005 and began to demolish some settlements on the West Bank as well.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations to have made peace with Israel since 1967.


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