Arab-Israeli Wars


The Rabinnovich article titled 'Seven Wars and a Peace Treaty',gives a
chronological background of wars made between Arabs and Israeli's after the
birth of Israeli state. I: First War;1948-1949 The Israeli's reffered this war
as the war of Independence.It had two distinct phases.It first begun in 1947
after UN resolution on the partition of Palestine.The resolution was accepted by
the Jewish community,but Arabs rejected.The result was a civil war.Until May 15,

1948 th two feuding communities tried to predispose the outcome of the
full-fledged strife that was bound to folow te evacuation of British forces.As a
result,much of fighting was mainly over the control of roads and the mixed
cities. After Israeli's declaration of independence,Egypt,Lebanon,Iraq,Syria and

Jordan invaded Palestine to help Palestinian Arabs.This war lasted eight
months.Israel Defence Forces (IDF) a formal army,fought with 5 arab states
armies. By December 1948,it was clear that Israel had won the war.Egyptian army
was advanced well into Sinai.Lebanese army was pushed back to its borders and

Israelis captured part of South Lebanon.Syrian army was forced to retreat to a
line corresponding,to the pre 1948 international boundary.Those zones became
demilitarized.The war ended with Jordan in control of what became West

Bank.Iraqi army played a minor role,ts major role was pushing the Arab League to
intervene in the war. But how could Israel succeed? It enjoyed the benefit of
coherent leadership,whose impact was magnified by David Ben-Gurion's ability to
integrate military and politiical elements into comphrensive strategy.Israel was
predicted on social and political structures of its own long before.Later in the
war,it obtained arms and turneits early military disadvantages into
advantages.Soviet assistance to Israel was one reflection of the international
dimension of the war.By helping Israel,Moscow hoped to disturb the status quo.

In the end of the war,Israel had larger area than the UN partition solution had
reaffirmed.So Palestine refugee problem was created.It was humuliating for

Arabs. 2. THE SINAI-SUEZ CAMPAIGN WAR;OCTOBER 1956 1950's the antiagonism of the
states was expressed in the means of politic,economics and military acts.The

Arab boycott,the closure of Gulf of Tiran and Suez Canal to Israel shipping can
be shown as such examples. Arabs designed a full-scale war to undo the
consequences of 1948-1949 war and destroy Israeli state.For Israel, it would be
a limited war,just to stregethen its position and anticipate Aon an arab attack.

In the mean time Egypt was growing to be a regional power under the rule of

Nasser,who was a pan-Arabist leader,a friend of Soviet Union,It was the
firestarter of struggles against Israel. There were waves of raids organized by

Palestinian groupings from Gaza Strip and West Bank against Israel.Nasse created
a tripartite military pact among Egypt,Syria and Jordan. Nationalization of Suez
canal and Britain's evacuation from the place increased the influence of Egypt
over Syria and Jordan.Nasser's attack on the remnants of of Britain and France's
colonial empires had an important effect too.So France and Israeli alience was
formed.Briatin and France wanted to save their position in the region.So In

Ocober 1956,in collusion with Britain and France,Israel attacked Egypt. Iasrael
believed its was waging a defensive war,Arabs were becoming belligerent.So she
decided to launch the Sinai campaign,to reach Suez Canal,to destroy Egyptian

Army in the Sinai and to capture Sharm el Sheikh,the point at the southern tip
of the Sinai Peninsula dominating the Tiran strait.By reaching the Suez

Canal,they would pave the way for the Britain and France to launch their own
military operation. Although they were thwarled by USA and SU, Israel evacuated
the Sinai and the Gaza Strip in 1957( later in return for security arrangements
made by the Eisenhower adminitration.) Nasser turned this military defeat into
political victory.Sinai was to be demilitarized and to be held by a limited

Egyptian power in case of any surprise attack.Also,UN forces were to be settled
in the Gaza Strip,along Sinai and Sharm el-Sheikh. This war showed Israel's
impressive military capability,it contributed to the consolidation of its
regional and international standing.But Nasser did not take any lessons,he
started another war.He rested on the advantage of an Egyptian and arab militay
build up,a sufficiant measuere of Arab cooperation to permit the formation of a
single arab around Israel and Israel's international isolation. 3. THE SIX DAYS

WAR;JUNE 5-10 1967 Soviet Union felt USA was trying to topple Syrian Baath Party
regime and isolate Nasser,led it to the extend an unsual degree of support to

Syria and to feed the Egyptians false information concerning Israel plan to
attack Syria.Nasser wanted to gain prestige where he lost in the preview was
with Israel,it was also going to take revenge.Plo was trying establish its
presence and it playeda small role in contributing the war. The outbreak of the
war was bit conflicting,The arabs wanted Israel to be the agressor.So they were
escalating the problems.For example,Egypt blocaded the Tiran
strait,remilitarized Sinai and evacuated the UN forces from here. Even USA
government reached a conclusion that there was no political solution to the
crisi and Israel military action was inevitable.It was an important development
in the Israel government taking reassurance from USA. Israel sought to achieve a
number of purposes to retain a element of surprise,to deal with what was
percieved as the major threat namely the Egyptian military build up in the

Sinai,to accompion that within a short period of timr and to limit the scope of
the war. As a result,the war took six days.It was a watershed in the history of

Arab Israeli conflict.It led the creation of an arms race and military buildup
on an entirely different level.Another importatnt result of the war was the
renewal of the war for Palestine.Since 1948,there was one authority in control
for Palestinian Arabs in West Bank.Israel's posesssion of West Bank,regenerated
nationalism,PLO won its autonomy. The unanswered porblem between Israel and

Syria emerged after this war;it was the 'Golan Heights'.Arabs were once again
humuliated,they understood that Israel could not be defeated by them in the war.

4.THE WAR OR ATTRITION, DECEMBER 1968- AUGUST 1970 Israel wanted to use the
occupied areas from the previous wars as tools for peace settlement. But Arabs
were not favour to this,they wanted to punish Israel because it was the
agressior and peace was a reward.They came together in August 1967 Khartoum

Summ't Conferance and decided on their wellknown three nos to Israel. They even
went to complain to Security Council of UN ,but they could not make any headway.

So next year Nasser realised that this stalemate was detrimental,and decided to
launch a war of attrition against Israel , Jordan Syria and PLO was supporting
too. They were thinking that Israel was either not capable or not interested in
launching a war on their challenge. After the increased shelling and
ambushes,Israel decided to change its attitude;it was relying on its air
force.Besides Israel launched commando raids on Egypt . Egypt collobrated with

Soviet ground to air missile and planes were deployed in Egypt. Finally US

Secratary of state W. Rogers come with a plan that resulted with a cease fire
agreement. In August 1970,they were pozitive to have a ceasefire,because both
sides suffered alot . Throught this period PLO got permission from King Hussein
to turn Jordan territory into a base of operation against Israel. It was also
backed by many Arabs states. 5. THE OCTOBER WAR (OCTOBER 5- 22 1973) This war is
also called th Ramadan War by Egyptians,and Yum Kipur War by Israelis. Th
detante period was going on between the super powers,and this period was in
favor of Israel establishing good relations.Sadat came to power after the death
of Nasser and his plan was posing a limited war against Israel in cooperation
with Syria.This was consisted of the crossing of the Suez Canal and control of
its western bank and Syria to open a front in Golan Heights.In order to their
plan,Egypt launched a surprise attact,ghypt crossed Sinai.so this time Israel
crossed The Suez Canal before Egypt,then pushed a counterattack on Syria in Glan

Heights.Egypt wanted to continiue the war but Syria wanted to take passive
stance.By the way,Soviet was supporting Egypt.But in the end of the war the was
no no conclusion.Israel gained some more territory,it advanced its position no
more than 60 miles to Cairo.But Egypt Forces were in control of the most of the
west bank of Suez Canal.But Israel had several problems too;decline of
government,high economic and financial costs of war and most importantly
increase of the the Arab world's internatonal effects. 6. THE ARAB ISRAELI

SETTLEMENT After the October war,Egypt started asking itself could and should

Egypt continue participating in this Arab-Israeli conflict.Because it was
imporeristed and became depent on other rich Arab states. In November 1973,The

Algiers summit,introduced two conditions for a political settlement with

Israel.These were the returning of all the territories captured in 1967 and
restoring of legitmate rights of the Palestinians. Egypt was willing to
gofurther to regain Sinai.Both Egypt and Syria signed disengagement agreements
with Israel. By 1977,Sadat felt that PLO and Syria were following an
obstructionist cause that would prevent Egypt to get back Sinai,so he went to

Jerusalem and conducted bilateral relations with Israel.In return,Begin came to

Egypt,Ismailia.America was trying to mediate for more beneficial peace
settlements.In 1978,president Carter invited both leaders to Camp David .Israel
agreed that Palestinians had legitmate national rights.Camp Davidproduced two
more agreements.One was dealing with a Israeli Egyptian peace treaty and the
second was specifying a five years period of autonomy for Palestians of the West

Bank and Gaza with local representatives. They could not brind any solution to

Palestinian question but showed that political process could bring them
improvements.This was the first Arab-Israeli peace agreement. 7. THE WAR IN

LEBANON JUNE 1982-SEPTEMBER 1982 This war was the first war between Israelis and

Palestinians after the war of 1948-1949. Israel aimed to destory PLO military
infrastructura nd their presence in Southern Lebanon,to eliminate their capacity
to shell northern Israel.It also aimed to help Lebanese State (radical maronite
christians) to establish an effective centarlized government,to improve its
posture in the next phase of Arab-Israeli settlement processby destroying the

PLO's autonomous territorial base in Lebanon forming a normal relations with a
second Arab state. So in June 1982,Israel invaded Beirut.PLO had to retreat to
other arab states.Israel took control of Southern Lebanon.In the mean time,

Bashir Jumayyil (the leadet which Israel favored) was assasinated.Then his
brother came to power,but he was not as pro-Israel as he thought,so this was
infavorable for Israel. As a result ,in may 1983, an agreement wa signed between

Israel and Lebanon arranging Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in return of
normalization and for security arrangements in Lebanon. Israel declared that the
foreign forces should leave Lebanon but Syria was not evacuating and also
preassuring the new established Lebanese state,also was rejecting the agreement.

As a result war in Lebanon unfolded in two stages from September 1982 to June

1985; and from June 1985 to the end of the decade. During the first stage the

Lebanese problem became a regional issue; so Arab -Israeli coflict was in fact
suspended. The new Israeli government in 1985 led by Labor party was supported
by US in its neghotiations with Jordan.In the same time PLO started taking a
stand in Jordan so the negotiations failed After this ;Intifada started because
of the fact that PLO' headquarter had to move from Lebanon these people
mobilized the Wests Bankers and Gazzans. Syrian- Israeli was a bit reduced;but

Syria still had the Soviet support.Till the end of 1980's relations continued
with an expecation of a new war.