The 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, in which Israel defeated far superior forces from Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and additional troops from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Algeria, continues to the leave the region deeply wounded -- with the Palestinian refugee problem from 1948 and 1967 both unresolved and compounded. Israel was able to gain control over Eastern Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights during the highly successful Six Day War, only further compicating the existing 1948 war refugee crisis problems.
In Lebanon, the UN still estimates a total of 404,170 Palestinian refugees existing today, many still unfortunately living in six main refugee camps, some of which have existed since the days of the 1948 war, and only worsened as a result of the 1967 war. Recent military action by the Lebanese military against radicals living in these camps has become a major problem, as Al Qaeda finds the poverty and hopelessness that flourishes in these camps to be a major recruitment factor for this extremist Sunni organization.
In Jordan, a much larger population of 1,827,877 Palestinian refugees live. In Egypt, 70,245 Palestinian refugees currently live. Saudi Arabia has 240,000 Palestian refugees.S yria has 432,048 Palestinian refugees.
In portions of land acquired by Israel during the Six Day War, there are 986,034 Palestinian refugees living in Gaza and 699, 817 living in the West Bank.
Both Hezbollah and Syria are actively rearming for another possible war possibly within months with Israel, another serious complication of the 1967 war aftermath and the inability of Israel to put down the radical Hezbollah forces during last year's conflict in Lebanon.
With serious political problems for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert which started soon after Israel was unable to defeat Hezbollah last year, and were only complicated by a scandal involving massive government corruption, including warnings by the World Bank that Israel is extremely unsafe for foreign investment due to this corruption and the current President of the nation under investigation for rape and other sex crimes, Olmert may find that a new war with both Hezbollah and Syria could relieve some of the political pressures on his government to step down and could help to rally a weary and disillusioned Israeli public.
With poor border security, Hamas continues to rearm by way of radicals in Egypt as well as an arms flow from radicals in other nations. Iran continues to support Hezbollah and a flow of arms into the area as well.
The 1967 Six Day War may have brought Israel the major prize of Eastern Jerusalem. But it has also left the region deeply wounded where the next major breakout of war due to the aftermath of the 1967 may not be very far away.
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