The Arab-Israeli crisis 1967- 1973 War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War Flag of the Arab league Flag of Israel.
The Khartoum Resolution1967 The Arab leaders of the Arab league met in this city to discuss what to do next with Israel. They had been badly beaten in the Six Day War. The Palestinian issue was still unresolved. They decided to have: No recognition of the State of Israel. No peace with Israel. No negotiations with Israel.
The War of Attrition. 1969. Gamal Nasser of Egypt still sought to create a united Arab (pan-Arab) front with himself as leader. He now proposed a new idea, the wearing down (‘attrition’) of Israel with constant pressure on her Southern borders. Hopefully Israel was tired of war, and would give in. His goal was more modest also- the surrender of the Sinai desert for Egypt (and his own reputation). The Egyptians spread their military positions several miles deep inside Egypt. It was ‘defence in depth’. It was to try to stop the Israelis attacking them whilst they were attacking the Israelis. In the North Jordan and Syria continued with supporting terrorist raids into Israel, but the main action took place over the Suez canal where the border of Israel and Egypt met.
Irritating raids by Palestinians from Jordan and Syria. Egyptian military build up and defence in depth. Israeli defences – the ‘Bar Lev’ line
A bus bombing in Israel. This was typical of Arab terror raids on Israeli territory.
The Egyptian army enthusiastically shelled Israeli positions across the Suez Canal. The USSR sent military assistance and about 10,000 advisors to help Egypt recover its military abilities. The USSR also saw an opportunity to test out new weapons and radar systems, as well as train personnel in combat situations. The Soviet arms industry had also taken a knock in the Six Day War and saw a chance at research and development. The Egyptians built up large amounts of anti-aircraft weaponry to try to neutralise the effect of the superior Israeli air force. They bought in particular the new, and deadly, SAM (Surface to Air) missile systems from the USSR.
Israeli war effort. The Israeli’s found a solution to the Egyptian ‘defence in depth’ : they launched daring helicopter raids deep into Egyptian territory. These spread alarm and confusion. One raid cut off all electricity to the whole country at one point. Another captured, intact, the latest design Soviet missile defence radar and took it back to Israel! Israel, also, was being largely supported by the USA to counter the USSR’s support of Egypt. (France, a large supplier to Israel, had put an arms embargo on the Middle East). US weaponry was superior to USSR weaponry and new jets- such as the A4 Skyhawk, and the F4 ‘Phantom’ were excellent machines. The Phantom was to dominate the skies for the Israeli air force.
Asymmetric response. ‘Asymmetric response’ was the name given to the overwhelming Israeli retaliation for even the slightest sign of Egyptian aggression. Huge reprisals, bombing, shelling, etc were acceptable for the tiniest reason. Israel argued that because her military was outnumbered, they had to make up for this disadvantage with greater aggression. As a result Egypt lost more men and materiel than Israel in the war. Because the land was largely desert however few civilians were involved. However, Egypt was a bigger country, and could arguably afford to lose more men and machines than Israel could.
August 1970. The Rogers Plan. The UN resolution 242 was clearly not operative in such a situation, and the USA sent Secretary of State Rogers to broker a new deal. The Rogers Plan: Aug 1970 Israel, Egypt and Jordan would have a ceasefire if missile deployment was restricted and certain lands exchanged. They all signed. The Plan (like 242) did not credit the Palestinians with any right to their land- now taken as Israel. Consequently Palestinians began criticism of Nasser and Hussein. The Rogers Plan was immediately broken, however, by the Egyptians who sited new missiles close to the Canal Zone. King Hussein of Jordan, by signing the plan, caused the PLO in Jordan to come out fiercely against him. He had broken the Khartoum Resolution. Arab was now set against Arab in Jordan.
Death of Gamal Nasser.September 1970. For many Arabs Nasser was a fighter for Arab dignity and freedom. His pan-Arab and anti-colonial ideas gave many Arab people a sense of identity. Many of his reforms enhanced Egypt eg the Aswan dam. His involvement in war caused many problems too, however, besides damage and casualties. Not least was the heavy involvement of the USSR in Egypt- which many independent minded Arabs just saw as a new form of imperialism.
September 1970 impact of the death of Nasser. The Egyptian aggression faltered at this point. Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, considered the war of attrition to be a waste of time. Israel was showing no sign of running out of resources. Sadat considered diplomacy to be a cheaper option in the short term. In the longer term, however, he was considering whether inflicting a sharp, limited defeat on Israel would be more effective in forcing concessions from her.
Casualties Israel 1,500 soldiers killed. Egypt 10,000 soldiers killed. Israel 15 aircraft lost Egypt 101 aircraft lost. Territory Not a yard was lost, or gained. The border remained at the Suez Canal.
Intifada. Intifada:انتفاضة Arabic word stands for shaking off or shivering because of fear or illness. It also means abrupt and sudden waking up from sleep or unconcerned status. Politically; The word came to symbolise the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation. The word also stands for the weakness of the Palestinian people and their suffering under the Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian Liberation Organisation‘PLO’ Crest of the PLO. Notice the map of Palestine all one colour. • In Jordan, and particularly the West bank, Palestinian Arabs had been preparing for war. They were organised into many different groups but they were all largely prepared to operate under the umbrella name ‘PLO’. • When King Hussein of Jordan signed the Rogers plan, the Palestinians felt betrayed. When Hussein’s army began receiving arms and equipment from the USA they felt even more threatened. • Different PLO groups began new campaigns of violence. They worked out of fortified refugee camps and cities. They raided Israeli targets , but also Jordanian police and army targets.
King Hussein, for his part, felt threatened by the Palestinians. As refugees in his country they insisted in behaving independently- and had grown in such numbers as to take over several cities. They now comprised 50% of his population. They were confident enough to fight off Jordanian army units who sought to impose Jordanian laws. He saw US help as a solution to this problem. The Jordanian army shelled several suspected bases- where Palestinian activists were thought to be hiding- and he ordered that all weapons be handed in. Arab fighting Arab in Jordan.
PLO?The Palestinian Liberation Organisation was an ‘umbrella’ name for all many Palestinian political groups. It helped small groups have a greater say, and effect, on events and helped to keep secret the organisation of the more militant groups. Fatah - Largest faction, social democratic/nationalist. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - Second largest, radically militant and Communist The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) - Third largest, Communist The Palestinian People's Party (PPP) - Ex-Communist, non-militant. The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF, Abu Abbas faction) - Minor left-wing faction. The Arab Liberation Front (ALF) - Minor faction, aligned to the IraqiBa'ath Party. As-Sa'iqa - Syrian-controlled Ba'athist faction. The Palestine Democratic Union (Fida) - Minor left-wing faction, non-militant The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF, Samir Ghawsha faction) - minor left-wing faction. The Palestinian Arab Front (PAF) - minor faction.
Hijackiing. August 30.1970 The Palestinians (PFLP) in return demanded a say in the government of Jordan and hijacked passenger jets, belonging to Swissair, BOAC and TWA to give weight to their demands. The King refused to be threatened so the Palestinians blew up the jets- (but released the people first though) Several assassination attempts were also made against the King. They all failed.
‘Black September’ 1968 In Syria some army units called ‘The Palestinian Liberation Army’(PLA) had been equipping. The US, meanwhile, promised aid to King Hussein of Jordan, and even Israel flew threatening missions over Syria to stop her supporting the PLO with the PLA. The death of Gamal Nasser (September 1968) took real authority away from the Palestinians. Without his support they had to stop the conflict. Yasser Arafat , leader of the PLO, immediately began looking for new sponsors for the Palestinian cause. The Palestinians called this time ‘Black September’ because their cause, for a while, looked lost.
Victory for the King. October 1968. Yasser Arafat signed a document returning power to King Hussein, ordering Palestinian bases dismantled, and banning concealed weaponry. Large groups within the PLO (notably the PFLP) refused to honour the document however. Fighting continued. Civilians were killed on both sides. The Jordanian army, with US support, made good progress, ultimately silencing all the rebels.
Fighting in Jordan. Many civilian deaths but it is unclear how many. The Jordanians would want the number to be low- so as not to seem too harsh. The PLO would want the number to be as a high as possible so as to win sympathy from outsiders.
Lebanon. The Palestinians were now without power in Jordan. But Yasser Arafat had, by now, made a deal with a Lebanese General that PLO ‘fatah’ fighters could live in the Lebanon (Nov 1969). In fury some of these ‘Fatah’ members set up a radical ‘Black September’ group who would vent their anger on Israel at Munich in 1972. The Palestinians moved to Lebanon to continue the struggle- the Intifada.
The Munich Massacre 1972 The Black September Movementtargeted the Israeli sportsmen who attended the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, 1972. They managed to kill 12 of the Israeli Olympic team and successfully put Western attention back onto the Arab-Israeli conflict. Importance…… • The image of theInternational Terroristbecame widely recognised for the first time. • Three terrorists survived and were later released when other terrorists hijacked a German plane and threatened to kill the passengers. • King Hussein was the only Arab leader to condemn the massacre. A Black September terrorist negotiating with police.
Yom Kippur War 1973 The Yom Kippur War, or October War also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to October 26, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.
Egypt Anwar Sadat began building up to war in 1972. He still had ideas of a sharp blow against Israel, and was still harbouring ideas of an Egyptian led Arab world. New planes(Mig 21s), tanks (T55, T62 ) and anti-aircraft missiles(SA2 to 7 and RPG 7)were delivered, plus old defeated generals were replaced. Soviet objections to his plans resulted in Sadat throwing out all the 20,000 Soviet ‘advisors’ left over from the war of attrition. Egypt would never return to the Soviet side again. The Russians would now look for other friends in the Arab world.
Syria Syria was building up militarily too. With Soviet assistance she was rapidly becoming the strongest Arab nation in the Middle East. She had split with Egypt (the UAR) in 1963, and had successfully resisted both Palestinian influence and Turkish pressure. With her leader, President Assad, she was becoming a serious challenger to Egypt’s authority over the Arab world. Syria’s political ‘Baath’ party established full control over the nation and now established links with the Baath party in Iraq. The centre of the Arabic political world was moving East. President Assad of Syria.
Israel Israel had heavily fortified its borders, especially the Suez area and the Golan heights. In the Suez area the defences were called the ‘Bar Lev’ line after an Israeli general. She knew however, that her greatest assets were her air force and the motivation of her soldiers. These she carefully nurtured. Israeli trenches on the Bar Lev line.
The War begins… Egyptian soldiers cross the canal by boat A tremendous feat of military engineering. The Egyptians bridged the canal and cut through the sand wall fortification, (with water cannons), in 5 hours. The Israelis were taken by surprise.
But Israel did not panic. As Egyptian troops (in red) poured into the Sinai desert, the Israeli armies grouped together and waited for the reserve army to appear. The Israeli’s then counter attacked (in blue) by attempting to punch a hole in the Egyptian line and completely cutting off Egypt’s 3rd army.
The Egyptian army victorious! The UAR flag (Egypt) raised in victory. But it was too soon to celebrate. The battle was won, but the war wasn’t finished.
The Golan Heights. With apparent Egyptian success, Syria now invades Israel from the North, over the Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights. Syria invaded Israel. She had Iraqi air force support in the sky. King Hussein of Jordan reluctantly (?) supplied artillery to protect the South flank. Syrian advance.
Israeli artillery was waiting however. The Israeli reserves moved fast, and the Israeli air force perfected quick refuelling and resupply techniques to keep them in the air longer.
Israel countered attacks. Fighting hard the Israeli reserves managed to push through the centre of the Egyptian assault and push themselves across the Suez canal into Egypt. They advanced on Cairo- and stopped only 65 miles short. They were led by General Ariel Sharon. Equally hard was the fight back against the Syrians. Re-conquering the Golan Heights the Israelis pressed on into Syria, coming to within 35 miles of Damascus.
October 24 1973. Ceasefire. Neither superpower wanted war therefore they co- operated in the United Nations. The United Nations organised a ceasefire. Resolution 338. No Russian soldiers ever arrived in Egypt. This was to the Arabs’ advantage because Israeli forces were close to both Egypt’s and Syria’s capital cities, they had one entire Egyptian army cut off in the Sinai desert, and had, by now, occupied large pieces of Arab territory. The UN sent in peace keepers to the Suez region, and the Golan heights. All forces began to withdraw.
Lebanon Golan Heights Syria The End of the War. -green marks Israeli gains Israel Jordan Suez Canal Egypt
Results The Arab armies did much better than in the Six-Day War and managed to inflict some surprises on the Israelis. This filled some with confidence. The Israelis learned from the experience not to be complacent about Arab threats, or lax in defence. Both sides, consequently, continued updating their weapons, and planned for the next war. The war had solved nothing, and had proved little.
What is a ‘Victory’? The Israelis made most gains- and held new territory that had belonged to the enemy. They felt disappointed however, and cheated by the ceasefire agreement. For them it was an almost victory, but a loss of good men and real victory added up to little. The Arabs conversely lost more men and equipment but regarded it as a victory. They had not done so well before against israel and had been saved from a crushing defeat by the UN. Their military reputation was enhanced and the memory of their defeat in the Six day war had been erased.
Dr.Kissinger and the Sadat Initiative. The United states sent Dr.Kissinger to organise a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. An ‘interim’ agreement was signed September 1975 November 1977 President Sadat proposed the ‘Sadat initiative’. He would visit Jerusalem and speak to the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) to resolve all difficulties. It at last broke the mould of hatred and distrust between Egypt and Israel.
Camp David, USA. Under the guidance of US President Jimmy Carter, President Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachim Begin of Israel met at Camp David to discuss the future of the Middle East. They both won the Nobel Peace Prize when a Camp David peace agreement was signed 1978. It promised peace at last!
Presidents Sadat (UAE), Carter (USA), and Begin (Israel) sign the Camp David Accords. 1978.
The Palestinians, the PLO and most Arab states were furious! It looked like an Arab nation had broken with the Khartoum Resolution and recognised Israel as an independent state (and therefore dismissed Palestinian Arab claims to their own lands). 1981 President Sadat was assassinated. Not one of his bodyguards returned fire on the attackers. There were three US presidents at Sadat’s funeral, and only one Arab leader.
Assassination of President Sadat of Egypt 1981 The crowds run to safety. Egyptian ‘jihadi’ extremists. The president and foreign visitors hide under their chairs
Summary. Egypt and Israel, by a lot of fighting, had found a way to work together. The Palestinians, PLO, were not prepared to tolerate this and would step up their campaign of attacks from their bases in Lebanon. Other Arab states looked to take over Egypt’s role as leader of the Arab league; Syria notably, but also Iraq. Attacking Israel was seen as a good way to get Arab unity.