Brent Scowcroft Center Ambassador-in-Residence Michael Oren writes for CNN on conflict in the Gaza Strip:
Back in the mid-1960s, a Palestinian guerrilla group called Fatah — the Conquest — began launching cross-border attacks against Israeli civilians.
Sponsored by Syria and led by Palestinian activists, among them the young Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah aroused admiration throughout the Arab world. So much so that Egypt, then Syria’s rival, formed its own group and called it the Palestine Liberation Organization — the PLO — which also staged attacks into Israel.
The Israelis wouldn’t sit passively, though, but struck back at Fatah’s Syrian hosts, who in turn shelled Israeli villages. Not to be outdone, Egypt in May 1967 evicted U.N. peacekeeping forces from the Sinai Peninsula and amassed troops along Israel’s border. This precipitated an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Egypt which, within hours, ensnarled Syria and even Jordan. Six days later, Israeli troops controlled the territories, whose final status remains bitterly unresolved.