Fifty year ago on this day, the six day war between Israel and her Arab neighbours ended. Whilst there was euphoria for the victorious Jewish state, it is the years that followed that generates the most attention. In focusing on this complex conflict and its consequences, certain issues do need to be addressed; not only the fact that the nature of the war is largely forgotten, but the immensely favourable position that the Jewish state was presented with. It is also important to address the consequences of the decisions that were taken after the war ended.

What actually happened?

It is important at the outset to address the war itself and what led to battle. As I alluded to in the title, the conflict that took place, according to the Algemeiner website, was viewed by the "Israelis and their friends" as simply "a miracle". But why is it viewed like that? Mainly because of what the Israeli nation faced in the days and weeks leading up to the 5th June 1967. This was not a battle between Israel and one other nation, but a war that was to be fought on multiple fronts. "A trio of enemies" as it is put, between Egypt, Syria and Jordan had "diligently prepared themselves" for what was called "an inevitable confrontation" as the Algemeiner reported. Even back in 1965 the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser stated that "we shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil covered in blood".

As her Arab neighbours mobilised troops on its borders and without the support from the UN and Europe, Israel launched a "preemptive aerial strike" on Egypt. What was also so mightily impressive was the swift and decisive action taken by the Israeli army. As The Wig website noted, "after demolishing the Egyptian army", Israel "turned their attention" to both Syria and Jordan and "inflicted a similar fete" on them.

After what seemed to be "long odds", the Israelis had defeated its enemies "in just six days". It was a remarkable victory from such a small state.

The consequences of war

However, albeit incredible, it is the consequences of the war that requires the most attention. Most importantly was the land that was captured. In addition to East Jerusalem, the Sinai and the Golan Heights, Israel also took control of the West Bank and Gaza.

This Period Of Time, more than any other since its inception in 1948 was the most critical for the Jewish state. Why? Because of the position that they were in. They were no longer the weak state that wore the bruises of the Holocaust; they were a strong and powerful nation. And as you may well know, land is power. This period of time, with their new found strength could have led to peace with its neighbours. They did not need the land that they had captured, and the exchange of land for peace could have happened. Just look at the peace deal reached between Egypt and Israel in 1979. As the BBC reported, what led to peace between the countries was that "Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula".

Let us remember that only 10 or so years earlier, the Arab leaders had proudly declared "no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel". What this essentially showed was that peace was actually possible. If they had followed suit with the Golan Heights and the now called Palestinian territories, the political landscape in the Middle East could have been very different.

Problems emerge

However, it didn't and what followed was bad decision after bad decision. It is important to note the religious connotations that followed the end of the war. I mentioned earlier the miraculous element and this is what was firmly seen by a number of people in Israel as a biblical war. This belief that all of the land was theirs was echoed by right wing politician Miri Regev who stated, as the Guardian newspaper reported, that the land captured was at the "heart of the greater land of Israel".

It was this that led to the construction of settler homes in the occupied territories; this belief that all the land was for the Jews as 'promised' by God led to what we have now. A process which began in 1968 has now led to a situation where in 2015 there were at least 386,000 settlers in the West Bank. In addition to not exchanging land for peace and the biblical aspect, another bad decision was Israel's failure to effectively deal with the Palestinian people. Angered at the fact that they were left isolated and alone, it was this sentiment that led to the rise of groups such as the Hamas movement.

Where we are today

What is interesting is where we are today. As I stated in the opening paragraph, the nature of the war is actually forgotten and what is remembered is the consequences of the war itself; namely the land it attained.

Whilst they were in a favourable position in the aftermath of the war, their failure to capitalise on that is a major contributor to where we are today. Fraction, terrorism, divide and stalemate are the key words in current environment. But it could have been so different. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only they could have known what was to come fifty years ago.