The 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.

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.

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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.


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.

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.


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.


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 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.

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.


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.

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.


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The Arab-Israeli Wars. (2018, Aug 09). Retrieved from