Friday, March 3, 2017

Israel's 1949 To Contested May 14, 1967 Armistice Lines

Nadene Goldfoot                                              
1949 Armistice Lines 
Former President Barack Obama called on Israel to return to armistice lines drawn up in 1949 with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.  These lines had not changed since 1949 by her 19th birthday on on May 14, 1967.  Within 3 weeks, everything would change:  the Six Day War.  What Obama wanted was for Israel's people to leave  their homes in all the cities and towns they were living in  of Judea and Samaria, their ancient homeland.  Impossible!  Even President Bill Clinton didn't expect that and it wasn't the deal made then.
Since her inception on May 14, 1948 when Israel announced she was a state, she was attacked within 5 minutes and was engaging in her War of Independence.  This had actually started on November 29, 1947 when Arabs attacked her, responding with much violence to the United Nations resolution on Palestine, and it lasted until the signing of the Armistice Agreements in 1949.  An armistice  is a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement between the 2 sides; a truce.  That was a terrible time when Israel was invaded by the regular armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and a Saudi-Arabian contingent and  "contingents from Yemen, Morocco, and Sudan also joined the war.  6,000 Israelis were killed in the War of Independence;  out of a population of 650,000, more than in all the subsequent wars combined.                        
King Feisal with black beard, without a hat in front row
Now, the leading Arab, Emir Feisal, knew what was going to happen and was okay with it, and that the fact was done through the UN, but his arch enemy, another Arab, the Sherif of Jerusalem, was highly against it and arranged to have demonstrations of angry Arabs in Jerusalem riot and thus cause the British to panic and to appease them, and take a stand against the Jews.
Israel's Spitfire in 1949. 
After the Arab armies had been driven back, a truce was called and negotiations for an armistice began.  This in itself was a miracle.  Who would have guessed that this declaration of statehood would have caused a war against a people completely unprepared with only ragtag groups of fighters?  They had the will and the need to win, and felt that G-d was on their side.  After all, some of them had just survived the Holocaust.
.   Then came the Sinai War from October 29th until November 5th, 1956.  This important event was a 7 Day War brought about with Russia's helping the Arabs with arms.  Egypt and Syria had blocked the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Eilat, stopping Israel's ability for shipping plus causing attacks by the fidayun units from Egypt and the Sinai, Gaza Strip and elsewhere.  Egypt had been developing military bases near the frontier lines of Israel along the Sinai.  Then Jordan had to join this 2-some.  The fighting took place from October 29, 1956 to November 5, 1956.  and again Israel won the battles and ended up occupying the Sinai peninsula and the Gaza Strip.  This ended the Egyptian army's concentrations in Sinai along Israel's frontier lines, the blockade of the Tiran Straits so that Israel could not connect shipping between Africa and Asia.  She gained free passage through the Gulf of Eilat when 11 other states and the USA recognized Israel's right to free passage.  At this time the UN emergency Force in Sinai was established and also in Gaza so that Egypt and Israel were separated to prevent another war.  However, things don't always go as planned, and Egypt did return  the very next day after Israel's forces left the Strip in March 1967.  The promise given to Israel was NEVER honored in that the Suez Canal for transit of goods to and from Israel would be open to them.
                                                    CALM 10 YEAR DECEPTION
Armistice lines from 1949 to 1967
The yellow sections are demilitarized zones
Or did the Arabs even try?  The UN force remained for 10 years.  Clashes did happen along the frontier, but was quietest from Egypt's side.  The Gulf of Eilat was open, but turned out to be an illusion of calm.  Egypt was planning all the time, and we know this from the speeches they gave and from the letters Gamal Abd al Nasser wrote.
In the summer of 1967, at the outset of the Six-Day War of June 6th, the Government of France imposed an embargo on the supply of arms to Israel, and cancelled a transaction involving the supply of Mirage-5 fighter aircraft that were to be delivered to Israel as of December 1967. This embargo threatened Israel’s ability to defend itself, and the Israel Ministry of Defense consequently decided to assign the highest priority to the design and manufacture of a fighter aircraft – a “Blue and White” product by IAI.  Israel was good at designing, but lacked the money.  
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Israel manufactured the Nesher fighter aircraft that were based on the French Mirage design. These aircraft were supplied to IAF until 1974. In the early 1970s, concurrently with the manufacture of the Nesher aircraft, an effort to characterize and design a more advanced fighter aircraft was initiated. The new aircraft was designated Kfir.                                                                        
A4's now retired  in  2015 after 48 years of service“The Skyhawk era in Israel was opened on December 29, 1967 , after the Six Day War, when the first four Skyhawks were unloaded from a ship which arrived at the Haifa Port and absorbed into the “Valley” and the “Flying Tiger” Squadrons, established especially for the arrival of the new aircraft.”The “War of Attrition”.”During the “Yom Kippur” War, the Skyhawk Squadron aircrews took off to about 1000 operational sorties in the southern front. About half of the aircraft were hit during combat and six aircrew members ejected from their aircraft in enemy territory, and seven were killed,” according to the Air Force.

By the 19th birthday on May 14, 1967, Israel was extremely vulnerable to attack.  Along the Mediterranean coast, it's middle strip was nowhere more than 10 miles wide, at one point only 9 miles wide this narrow waist of Israel was where Israel's main population lived.  Tel Aviv was here, and smaller towns of Ramat Gan and Petah Tikva, Bat Yam and Holon, Herzliya and Netanya.  This was the main commercial and industrial area.  "On the east were the mountains of Ephraim where the Arabs of the Kingdom of Jordan were living.  Israel's central area was open to be shelled by shellfire, clear through from border to border, without a single gun having to be moved across the frontier."

The rest of the state was vulnerable.  In the NE, the Huleh plain had been created out of a swamp, and now was dotted with Israel's green villages, but in this place that was as flat as a billiard table, was an overhang of the Golan Heights, and the heights were then held by the Arabs of Syria.  The Syrians liked to rain down their ammunition upon this fertile Israel.

To the SW was the Sinai desert and of course had sparse population but was well used by the Egyptians with their military airfields and they were within 3 to 10 minutes flying time from Israel's densely population coastal strip.
Assad president since 2000.   He is a son of Hafez al-Assad, who was President of Syria from 1971 to 2000.
It was Nureddin al-Atassi who was president in 1966.  "
Nureddin al-Atassi was overthrown when a falling out occurred between Salah Jadid, the real ruler of Syria from 1966 to 1970, and Hafez al-Assad, the Minister of Defense.Assad initiated a coup in 1970.
Syria started the progress of another war.  In February 1966, they had a revolution, their 9th since 1949.  My, they were an unstable state.  The left wing of the Ba'ath Party, who enjoyed the backing of the USSR, seized power in 1963 with Amin al-Hafiz in February 1966. .  The new Government's policy was of hostility and hatred towards Israel.  They taught:

1. Waging a people's war of liberation against Israel
2. Syria activated terrorist organizations against Israel from its own and other territories
3. The Syrian army on the Golan Heights, shelled Israeli villages in the Jordan Valley below.
4. The Syrian government persisted in diverting the sources of the Jordan River and deprive Israel of the water vital to its citizens and its development.
5. Tension grew between Syria and Israel, exploited in the middle of May by the USSR, Egypt and Syria and produced the escalation leading to the 6 Day War.

Even though Syria is now run over by ISIS terrorists, Bashar al-Assad is still president and holds onto Damascus.                                              

                                                  June 5, 1967
Along the armistice lines of 1949, called the frontier, with just minor insubstantial modifications, that Israel has since then been called on to return, even by her friends, the USA during Obama's term.  This was only an Armistice line of 68 years ago, and times have changed radically.
On June 6, 1967, a shell was fired from the Arab village of Kalkilieh and it sailed southwestward through half its length and all its width and exploded half a mile from the Mediterranean beach, into an apartment near Masaryk Square in Tel Aviv.
The Uzi, Israel's submachine gun The first Uzi submachine gun was designed by Major Uziel Gal in the late 1940s. The prototype was finished in 1950. First introduced to IDF special forces in 1954, the weapon was placed into general issue two years later. in 1956. 
The IDF placed its first orders for the Uzi in 1954. 
All in all, the IDF repelled the Arab world’s combined assault in 1948 with just two hundred machine guns, ten thousand rifles and 3,600 submachine guns. The IDF’s victory came despite its reliance on a motley collection of surplus small arms from around the world, from British small arms and Enfield rifles to surplus Axis equipment—particularly from Czechoslovakia. Some of Israel’s earliest defenders used their own civilian sporting rifles and shotguns. This prevented universal training and was a logistical nightmare, as the different weapons used dozens of different ammunition types.
Israel had waited for 3 weeks from May 15th for international action to stop the escalation and remove the threat from its frontiers, but it didn't happen.  The Great Powers and the UN were incapable of making any change in the situation.
During 1967 War, Israeli tanks moving towards Golan Heights
 On June 5th, war broke out, again instigated by the Soviet Union spreading false reports that Israeli forces were on the Syrian frontier when in reality Egypt was concentrating a bulk of its army in Sinai of 90,000 men and 900 tanks, and their demand that the UN emergency Force to withdraw and stop serving as a barrier between Egypt and Israel. Then Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and called for war.  Egypt was the leader and the rest created a war pact against Israel, so there were the armies of Jordan, Ira and Syria concentrating their forces along the frontiers with Israel.  "In simultaneous action, the Arabs set in motion all the available means of communication with the world at large to make known Israel's forthcoming annihilation.

Even while Israel was surrounded on its borders by these nations' armies, she destroyed them in 6 days. Israel had struck at Egypt first, then fought on the 3 fronts surrounding her.   Cease-fire lines were established along the Suez Canal, Jordan River and the Golan Heights.  The Straits of Tiran were opened for navigation, and Jerusalem was finally united as one city once again.  

These 18 years of hostilities against Israel on every front broke every relevant paragraph in the Armistice Agreements of 1949, which all the states had negotiated and signed and which theoretically governed their relations with Israel.  This was when there were no 'occupied territories' to complain about.  Then, Israel was pressed and urged from many sides to always make the concessions.  Usually it was territory, but then the Arab refugee problem was named as the prime cause of Arab intransigence, as the fons et origo of all the trouble in the Middle East.  That was then proclaimed the major obstacle to peace.  Today it is the land won back from Jordan's aggressive attack that some Israelis have dared to build on.

That wasn't the end of the fighting, however.  The War of Attrition kept on from 1966 to 1970.  The Arabs had a meeting in Khartoum and had decided on NEVER having peace with Israel, NEVER negotiating with Israel, and NEVER recognizing Israel.  They intended to wear down Israel's determination to having peace with secure borders.  This was conducted along the entire cease-fire lines but mainly along the Suez Canal and the Jordan River.  Sporadic terrorist operations were conducted by the Palestinian terrorist organization in the administered areas and, to a lesser extent, inside Israel itself.  It failed everywhere.
Yom Kippur, day of 25 hour fasting and praying in the synagogue
for Jews
Israel, on the other hand, followed their Open Bridges policy since 1967 on its frontier with Jordan, allowing Arabs from the administered areas to travel to neighboring Arab countries, so as to maintain their family ties as well as for business, education and other purposes.
Moshe Dayan during the 1973 Yom Kippur War 

What happened?  1973's Yom Kippur War.                       

Egypt finally signed a peace treaty with Israel on March 26, 1979.  To get it, Israel agreed to a complete withdrawal of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula which Israel had captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. Egypt agreed to leave the area demilitarized. Jordan signed a peace treaty on October 26, 1994.  The treaty settled relations between the two countries, adjusted land and water disputes, and provided for broad cooperation in tourism and trade. It included a pledge that neither Jordan nor Israel would allow its territory to become a staging ground for military strikes by a third country.  It took 27 years to get Jordan to come around after their Khartoum Conference and their 3 NO's.  
Jews are living in the settlement of Kiryat Arba and in the nearby ancient city of Hebron, which has sites that are holy both to Jews and Muslims.
Resource:  Book:  Battleground-fact and fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz
Booklet:  Facts about Israel, Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem*

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