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Construction Equipment in the Middle of the Jordan River—Blacklisting Threats, an Ultimatum, and Diplomatic Activity after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War

As a first-tour USAID loan officer in Amman, Jordan, Anthony Schwarzwalder observed first-hand the economic aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Following Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem, a U.S. contractor’s construction equipment, valued at $1 million, sat stranded and in limbo at the Jerusalem airport. Recovering the equipment would require a creative effort, as the […]

The Politics of Water in the Middle East: U.S. “Good Offices” Mediation Between Jordan and Israel

For countries in the Jordan River Basin, water is a life-or-death matter. Disagreements and even armed skirmishes over water issues between Israel and Arab states played an important role in the lead-up to the 1967 Six Day War.  A decade later, USAID Foreign Service Officer Selig Taubenblatt found himself mediating long-standing water disagreements between Israel […]

Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty

On June 8, 1967, a Navy intelligence ship, the USS Liberty, was mistaken for an Egyptian warship and attacked by the Israeli military during the Six-Day War. The strafing and torpedo attack left 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.  The Liberty still managed to reach another U.S. vessel despite suffering heavy damage (including a 40-foot […]

Japanese Terrorists in Israel

On May 30, 1972, Israeli security at Lod  Airport (now Ben Gurion International Airport) was caught by surprise when three Japanese travelers opened fire upon their arrival. Airport security was focused on possible Palestinian attacks. The Japanese Red Army members, who were trained in Lebanon by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and […]

Independence and “Catastrophe”: The Deadly Founding of Israel, May 14, 1948

On May 15, 1948, the UK withdrew from Palestine. (It had been given a mandate over the territories after it defeated the Ottomans in World War I.) The evening before, David Ben-Gurion, President of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared Israel’s statehood and independence. This prompted the Syrian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi, and Saudi Arabian armies to invade Israel. […]