Unraveling The
Middle-East Conflict:

Part Four - Yom Kippur War

27-08-2023 Sunday 10:00 GMT+06:00
Shahary Kabir Shahary Kabir


_The aftermath of the Six-Day War witnessed a substantial expansion of Israel's territorial control, encompassing an area four times larger than its previous holdings. Following the conclusion of the war, a new wave of conflict erupted in 1973, characterized by a notable escalation of hostilities. This conflict was ignited by the Arab nations' ambition to reclaim territories that had been lost to Israel.


The regions that fell under Israeli occupation included the sprawling 23,500-square-mile Sinai Peninsula, along with the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights, constituting a significant loss for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. This resurgence of conflict unfolded as the fourth Arab-Israeli confrontation, known as the Yom Kippur War or alternately referred to as the October War or the Ramadan War. Of particular significance, Yom Kippur held a sacred place in the Jewish calendar as its holiest day


The conflict's genesis was primarily driven by Egypt and Syria, whose objective centered on reverting the territorial alterations stemming from the prior conflict and reclaiming the territories they had lost. The outset of the Yom Kippur War saw Israeli forces confronting notable setbacks. The element of surprise proved pivotal, catching the Israeli forces off-guard while maneuvering through the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights. During these initial clashes, the armed forces of Egypt and Syria succeeded in imposing substantial casualties on the Israeli forces.


Hostilities began on October 6, supported by Iraqi forces, Jordan, and Soviet weaponry, the Arab armies that helped to make significant initial advances. Yet, within days, Israeli forces launched a counteroffensive, dealing substantial losses to the Arab side in both manpower and equipment. During the Yom Kippur War, US President Richard Nixon provided Israel with $2.2 billion in emergency aid, which displeased the Arab oil-producing nations, notably those within OPEC.

As a response, on October 17th, countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates initiated an oil embargo against the United States and other nations perceived as supporting Israel. This embargo entailed a reduction in oil production and the cessation of oil exports to these targeted nations, resulting in scarcities and surging oil prices. The incident also underscored OPEC's significant influence over worldwide energy markets and demonstrated the potential for energy to be exploited as both political and economic instruments.


Through a collaborative proposal by the United States and the Soviet Union, the United Nations Security Council introduced Resolution 338. This resolution emphasizes the immediate cessation of all firing and military operations by all parties involved. It also reaffirms the significance of Resolution 242, which urges Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967. Subsequently, over a span of 25 years, a significant military meeting occurred between Egypt and Israel, with the aim of negotiating a cease-fire.


Under the administration of Richard Nixon, the United States, led by Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, embarked on an intensive diplomatic endeavor involving a series of visits to various countries in order to facilitate a peace agreement between Egypt, Syria, and Israel. This unique approach introduced a new phrase, "shuttle diplomacy," into the realm of international politics, underlining its novel significance. A disengagement agreement was signed in Geneva On June 5, after 243 days of fighting, this marked the official conclusion of the October War.


Both the Arab states and Israel asserted their victories. Egypt and Syria obtained sections of territory, leading to the establishment of a UN buffer zone between them and Israel.


Unraveling The Middle-East Conflict: Part-4 - Yom Kippur War

Guided by the leadership of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Camp David Accords were formalized on September 17, 1978. These historic agreements, brokered by the United States and held at the Camp David presidential retreat, were underpinned by the principles articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.


While bearing its own notable implications, the accord's framework had not come to fruition by 1979 due to various reasons. This resulted in a situation where the intended objectives were left unrealized. Within the treaty, a dedicated section addressed the Palestinian issue; however, this specific aspect remained unattended and unresolved. Additionally, Egypt faced a boycott from the Arab League ( later readmitted in 1989) as a result of its engagement in the peace process with Israel.


During the extended period of rivalry between Arab nations and Israel, the emergence of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is deeply intertwined with the historical context of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. Amid the Yom Kippur War, the PLO aligned itself with Arab states, perceiving the conflict as an opportune moment to advance its own aspirations. This alignment elevated its status on the global diplomatic platform, even though it was not directly involved in subsequent negotiations, such as the Camp David Accords.


The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is dedicated to the liberation of Palestine, the achievement of Palestinian self-determination, and the pursuit of the return of refugees who represent the Arab population that resided in mandated Palestine prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948. Following 1948, the Palestinian population became dispersed across various nations, leading to a lack of cohesive Palestinian leadership

Consequently, a dearth of political activity emerged within the Palestinian community. Nonetheless, with the support of certain Arab nations, several small, decentralized resistance groups emerged. In 1964, during an Arab League summit held in Cairo, there was a concerted effort to address inter-Arab conflicts and to develop strategies against Israel's aggressive policies.


It was during this summit that the concept of forming an organization to represent the Palestinian people gained traction. Subsequently, on June 2nd, the Palestine Liberation Organization was officially founded. Following the events of the six-day war, the PLO gained increased prominence and recognition. It initiated proactive efforts to champion the Palestinian agenda, striving to shift international focus onto the Palestinian cause and establishing itself as the exclusive and authorized representative.


The Yom Kippur War and its aftermath sparked transformations in regional dynamics and diplomatic strategies, thereby influencing the PLO's approach and interactions within the intricate web of international relations.



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