J U L Y—L I B E R A T I O N
Soldiers hoist the UAR flag in Eilat in mockery of
the 1948 Ink Flag raising (1962)
July 13th 1962 — August 2nd 1962
Decisive Arab Victory
Mashriq (until July 15th)
Iran (from July 17th)
Jamal Abdel Nasser (President)
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (President)
United Arab Republic
United Arab Republic
The 1962 Middle Eastern War (also commonly called the 1962 Arab-Israeli War) was an armed conflict fought from July 13th 1962 to August 2nd 1962 between an Arab coalition of the United Arab Republic, Mashriq (National Salvation Government) and Palestine against Israel and Iran. Arab-Israeli ties never fully normalized following the conclusion of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Instead the Israelis and neighbouring Arab states continued engage in a series of clashes along their borders, known as the Shadow War. Simultaneously, both the Soviet Union and the USA increased military sales and assistance programs to their respective allies in the Middle East, emboldening local conflicts and resulting in regional tensions becoming dangerously heightened. In 1961, a dispute over the Al-Awja Zone between the United Arab Republic and Israel sparked a brief battle over the territory, which saw an Arab victory. Thereafter, the IDF adopted a policy of thwarting Arab attacks through preemptive military operations. The most significant of which was the controversial and highly successful Operation Blink which neutralized a large portion of the Mashriqi airforce.
On July 13th (3-days after Operation Blink), the UAR launched a series of airstrikes against Israeli airfields, claiming that the Israeli attack on the Mashriq had been an effective casus belli; the question of which side caused the war or if the Arab assault was justified remains one of a number of controversies relating to the conflict. Israel was caught by surprise by the extent of the Arab attack and the failure of its Soviet air defence systems to detect the low-flying aircraft. Nearly the entire Israeli Airforce was destroyed with few Arab losses, ensuring Arab air superiority over the IDF. Simultaneously, Arab forces launched a ground offensive into the Negev region which overwhelmed the defending Israelis. In May 1962, Iran had entered into a 'friendship and defence cooperation' treaty with Israel in response to the overthrow of the Mashriqi government by Arab nationalists. The Arab government debated if this meant Iran would enter the conflict on the side of the Israelis. On July 17th while the Mazar was still deciding to go to war with Iran, Arab forces launched another preemptive strike against Iranian airfields and invaded Khuzestan.
The sweeping Arab victories was the result of a well-prepared and enacted strategy combined with the lacklustre performance of Israeli and Iranian equipment in comparison to systems utilized by the UAR, their unpreparedness to deal with the scale of the Arab operations and poor military and political leadership. At the cessation of hostilities, the UAR had occupied all Israeli territory as well as the Iranian Kharg Island and Shadegan Region. A United Nations brokered ceasefire which came into effect on August 2nd, 20 days after the start of the war, ended hostilities between Iranian and Arab forces. The overwhelming Arab victory had humiliated the once-preeminent Israel, the Iranians and by extension their Soviet-patrons, leading to the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1963. The Arab military victory had established the UAR as a strategic asset for the Western-bloc (especially the United States) leading to an improvement in bilateral ties. It had also demonstrated the capabilities of the United Arab Republic as a conventional military power to the international community. Nonetheless, Arab ties with the Eastern-bloc further worsened after 1962. Simultaneously, many non-Aligned governments in the third-world severed relations with the UAR in response to the continued occupation of land seized from Israel and Iran in violation of international law.
In 1973 Iran would initiate another conventional war in a bid to reclaim its lost territory. Arab military overconfidence and complacency resulting from the events of 1962 would contribute to a series of early Iranian victories. From 1962 to 1966, Palestinian refugees were allowed to resettle in former-Israeli territory. While political concessions, as well as Arab citizenship were offered to Jewish residents in the area in an effort to maintain stability. Politically the land was transferred to a temporary military governate, followed by Palestinian administration and then after a referendum in 1965, direct Arab rule. The displacement of civilian populations as a result of the war would have long term socioeconomic consequences, as around 215,000 Iranians fled or were expelled from the Shadegan Region and Kharg Island. The end of the Arab-Israeli Conflict would begin the process of post-nationalism in Arab society. The lack of an Israeli enemy and the return of Palestinian refugees extinguished many of the irritants that had encouraged pan-Arabism. This opened the door for a less zealous nationalist interpretation and the gradual establishment of new political movements which were not directly connected to the Nasser-era government establishment.
The war is widely called the 1962 Arab-Israeli War in common and academic discourse outside the Middle East. In Arab-speaking countries, the term July Liberation (Arabic: تحرير تموز , Transliteration: Tahrīr Temmūz) is utilized to emphasize the liquidation of Israel and restoration of Palestinian statehood over all of historic Palestine. Iranian government officials, media and historians refer to the events of 1962 as the War of Unlawful Aggression (Farsi: جنگ تجاوز غیرقانونی , Transliteration: Jāng Tijāvāz Gheīr Qānūnī), maintaining that the Arab invasion of Khuzestan province had been unprovoked. Sympathizers of Zionism and the Israeli government in exile have called the conflict the War of Exile (Hebrew מלחמת הגליה , Transliteration: Mīlekhemett Hagāliyah). All these terms have come under academic scrutiny for focusing on a specific perspective related to the war while failing to remain impartial. To remedy this, the term 1962 Middle Eastern War (Arabic: حرب الشرق الأوسط , Transliteration: Harb Al-Sharq Al-Āwsat , Farsi: جنگ خاورمیانه , Transliteration: Jāng Khāvarmīyāneh , Hebrew: מלחמת המזרח התיכון , Transliteration: Mīlekhemett Hamīzerākh Hatikhūnn) began to be popularized through international historical associations as a neutral and comprehensive name.