Revisiting the 1967 Arab-Israel war and its consequences for the regional system

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This paper examines the causes and consequences of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war utilizing Waltz’s three levels of analysis, system, state and decision-makers. It first examines the causes, looking at why the MENA regional system, but particularly the Arab-Israeli subsystem, was so war prone; assessing why a certain bellicoseness was built into both Israel and several of its Arab neighbours; and assesses the calculations and miscalculations by leaders on both sides that led to war. 1967 was a “war of vulnerability" and miscalculation for Egypt but for Israel the war derived from a mix of vulnerability (from vulnerable borders) and opportunity (to acquire “defensible’ borders). The paper then examines why the 1967 war did not lead to peace, but rather to a chain of new wars. Victory in 1967 reinforced Israel’s territorial ambitions; shifted the power balance decisively toward it; and ultimately shattered Arab unity against it; but because the imbalance in Israel’s favour was insufficient to impose a pro-Israeli peace, the result was new wars in which Arab states sought to reverse and Israel to reinforce the verdict of 1967.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-609
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue number4
Early online date6 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • War
  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • IR theory
  • Waltz
  • Middle Eastern Studies


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