Muhammad Najem

A surprise assault that transformed the Middle East

Egypt and Syria were determined to recapture land previously taken by Israel. Things did not go according to plan.

The Israelis were caught off guard, having dismissed the early warning signs.

It was October 6, 1973 — Yom Kippur for Jews, Ramadan for Muslims — the day Egypt and Syria launched a two-pronged surprise attack on Israel.

The plan by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Hafez al-Assad, president of Syria, was to regain territory lost in the Six-Day War in 1967.

In ’67, Israel took from Syria the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. It also occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, which to this day haunts the hopes for creating a Palestinian state.

Six years later, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan would be forced to watch his country suffer what many consider its first battlefield defeat since its inception.

But the Israelis counterattacked, while their prime minister, Golda Meir, successfully lobbied US President Richard Nixon for military aid.

After 11 days, the fighting was deadlocked. Arab countries, under OPEC, were angered by the US decision to supply weapons to Israel and imposed an oil embargo that threatened the US economy.

On October 22, the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire. Soon after, the US began diplomatic efforts to end the war.

Both the Arabs and Israelis would go on to declare victory. Today, 50 years after the Ramadan War, who won arguably doesn’t matter. What is that Israel’s continued occupation of land, to this day, stands in the way of real peace


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *