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Friday, October 4, 2013

Kissinger Disagreed With Golda Meier Over the 1973 Yom Kippur War

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                        

According to today's article by David Ignatius in our Oregonian today, Henry Kissinger, the USA national security adviser to President Nixon,  didn't agree with 1973's Prime Minister, Golda Meier in not talking to Sadat before it all started.  He thought it could have been averted.  Kissinger then became the USA's Secretary of State in September 1973 and remained there till 1977.    He is a German Jew.  "In 1938, fleeing Nazi persecution, his family moved to London, England, before arriving in New York on September 5th."  This was a year before my uncle, Werner Oster, was able to get out of Germany as one of the last who managed to escape.  It had taken every penny his parents had to save him but could not save the rest of his family.  

I hate to argue with Kissinger, but he was working for the USA's best interests then and not Israel's. He was acting like a disinterested person in regards to Israel.   The war started on October 6, 1973 when Egypt, Syria and 9 other Middle East nations attacked Israel.  One week after the attack, and against Kissinger's own advice but through Nixon's directions, the US military conducted the largest military airlift in history to help Israel on October 12, 1973. Ignatius writes that by the 6th, Kissinger was frustrated because he had found out that Sadat had a peace initiative and had aspirations to launch his peace initiative that would allow Egypt to regain most of the Sinai and disconnect it from the larger Arab-Israeli dispute.  Kissinger hadn't even told President Nixon about the attack on Israel which occurred on Yom Kippur, the most holy Jewish day, the  Day of Atonement, when all Jews were attending a synagogue.  Kissinger didn't tell him in order to keep him from interfering.  Which side was he on, anyway?

It seems that Kissinger and his American secret diplomacy started with a secret meeting in March 1973 in Armonk, NY with Sadat's national security adviser, his mirror image, Hafez Isrmail.  The Egyptians had been publicly threatening to attack Israel to regain territory lost in the 1967 war, but that Sadat had in mind a peace initiative which turned out to be what was negotiated in Camp David Accords anyway,  5 years later.  Yigal Kipnis, author of a new book, "1973:  The Road to War," that Sadat was ready in September 1973, the month before the 11 nation attack on Yom Kippur.  His research comes from Israeli records that had just been released recently.

Kissinger talked to Yitzhak Rabin and Simcha Dinitz, Israeli ambassadors to Washington in 1973 about his secret conversations.  Rabin told his boss, Golda Meir,  about Kissinger's conversation where a peace offer was laid out, but Meir and the other Israeli leaders were wary.  Meir was against any negotiations.  She considered Sadat an enemy and didn't believe him after the threats she had received.  According to Ignatius, Meier depended on a Mossad agent who was inside Sadat's inner circle, Ashraf Marwan.  He had warned Golda 6 times that Egypt was about to go to war, and he had been wrong.  Then he warned her again just the day before the Arab nations attacked but wasn't taken seriously.  It's the old story of crying Wolf, wolf!  Had he been a double agent?  Did Israel realize that Egypt had been prepared to go to war?  For this tiny nation of about 5 million, they suffered with 2,500 soldiers killed.  The Arabs lost more than that.

By conducting this massive airlift and siding with Israel, they contributed to the 1973 oil crisis in the USA and western European allies which ended in March of 1974 in which Kissinger was the negotiator to end the war.

As usual when the Arabs have attacked Israel, Israel wins and in defending their land, attain some of the Arab land.  Tit for tat.  Something has to happen when Arabs keep attacking Israel in a war.  This time wasn't different.  Israel regained territory it lost in the early fighting and gained new territories from Syria and Egypt including the Golan Heights which it continues to hold.  This is a strategic site that is high and gives Israel a chance to see what takes place below.

They also gained land on the western bank of the Suez Canal but lost some land on the eastern side of the Canal that had been in their hands since the end of the Six Day War of 1967.

It was Kissinger who pressured the Israelis to cede some of the newly captured land back to its Arab neighbors which became the beginnings of the Israeli-Egyptian non-aggression which was a warming in US-Egyptian relations that was on the downside since the 1950's.  Peace was finalized in 1978 when Jimmy Carter was a part of the 1978 Camp David Accords.  This is when Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula  in exchange for a peace agreement including the recognition of the state of Israel by Egypt.  "After his term, his opinion was still sought by some subsequent US presidents and other world leaders."

The question remains as to when does a wary nation talk to the enemy before the big bang and they find themselves in a full blown war?  In this case, as with Iran, the country doing the threatening should not be surprised if they suddenly turn 180 degrees around and out of the blue ask for talks.  You call Wolf once too many times and who's going to believe you?  This is why Netanyahu is not anxious to talk to President Rouhani of Iran.  You are known by your reputation, whether you are a student in school  or are the President of a country.  Your words follow you.

One of my friends had been in the 1973 war.  You could say he was a sufferer from PTSD from being a tank commander.  I don't think that Israel's leaders were guilty in missing out in a chance to have peace before the attack. Chances are that Israel wouldn't have been in favor of the total package anyway but that they would have needed to sit down and discuss all the itty bitty parts of it.   How was it that the 11 nations  were so ready to attack Israel?  Be sure to read about the Yom Kippur War in my reference below.

Oregonian newspaper, 9/4/13, page B5, A study in Middle East diplomacy by David Ignatius.  

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