Welcome to lesson seven in our course on the emergence of the modern Middle East. Today we will talk about the escalation and the de-escalation of the Arab/Israeli conflict as it has developed since 1948. The Armistice Agreements that brought the 1948 War to an end did not lead to peace. After the Israeli victory, the Arabs called for what was a second round. And it was against this background of non-peace and the Arab agitation for a second round with Israel, that Israel developed its security doctrine. And Israel's Security Doctrine was developed against the reality of a small country in territory and with also a rather small population. The Israeli Security Doctrine distinguished between two kinds of security. Basic Security and Current Security. Basic Security was that which referred to the very existence of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Current Security was the dealing with the day to day affairs of keeping the Israeli people safe on a regular, daily basis. And it was with these two kinds of security in mind that the Israeli military was structured and the Security Doctrine developed. Since Israel had a very small population, at the time less than 2 million people immediately after the war which grew gradually to 3 million and eventually as it is today to 8 million. This small population had to deal with an array of Arab countries, that had a population which was much greater than that of Israel. And with this small population it would be impossible for Israel to establish a large standing army that would be able to defend the country on a permanent basis. Israel therefore established its military forces on the basis of a reserve army, that is people were called up to serving the reserves for a long period of time after their regular service which ranged from two to three years during Israeli history. So, there were standard military service that people were required to do at the age of 18. After which they entered into the reserve army which became the major component of Israel's land forces. That is people called up at times of emergency to participate in the defense of the country. Another principle in Israel Security Doctrine was the need to take the war to the enemy. That is, being a very small country with borders that were very close to the major centers of population, Israel could not afford to fight a great land war on its own territory, that would be far too costly. And maybe absolutely horrendous as far as the country's long-term existence was concerned. It therefore became a principle of warfare. That if it came to war, Israel had to fight its enemies outside of its own territory, not to allow the Arab states to begin with an invasion into Israel's very small territory. This required two other principles. One was deterrence and the other was preemption. Deterrence that is to dev, to develop a military power strong enough to deter the Arab states from attacking Israel. To create a military power that in the eyes of the Arab world would be strong enough. To have them realize that war with Israel would be too costly. But if deterrence didn't work and there was a chance that the Arab states were about to attack Israel, one Arab state or more than one, it would be absolutely essential for Israel to preempt, that is for Israel to launch a preemptive war. Rather than have the Arabs start the war by invading Israeli territory. And in addition to these principles. Because, of Israel's small size and small population, wars could not be of long duration. Israel could not mobilize its population to fight a war that would be of long duration. The economy could not possibly withstand a long war with, mostly with young people, mobilized for service in the military. Wars therefore had to be brief, rapid, with a decisive conclusion. In the Middle East of the late 1940s and the early 1950s, there is a certain trend of radicalization in the Arab states. As we have seen, the coups in Syria. And the officer regime that rose to power in Egypt in 1952. The most moderative Arab rulers, King Abdullah of Jordan, was assassinated in 1951. And in these circumstances, Israel was completely boycotted by the Arab states around it and in a state of more or less siege. And in the early years after 1948, Israel had a variety of border problems. And these border problems resulted mainly from the fact that hundreds and thousands of people a year would cross the border into Israel. Sometimes for peaceful purposes and other times for purposes of, military attack on, Israeli civilians or soldiers. There were very large refugee populations on Israel's borders, if it is the West bank or the Gaza Strip. And very often refugees would simply cross the border back into Israel, in order to retrieve their property, in most cases, or alternatively, in lesser cases, to attack Israelis. And therefore the, the border situation was relatively insecure in the early years of the country. And it was very difficult to establish a situation of complete border security in the early years of Israel's independence. In May of 1950, the three great Western powers, that is the United States, Britain and France, issued what became known as the Tripartite Declaration. Which recognized and guaranteed the borders of the Middle Eastern states as they existed at that time. This was an indirect guarantee for the borders that Israel had established after the war of 1948. And the three western powers similarly guaranteed that they would see to it that the arms race and the balance of power between Israel and the Arabs would be maintained in equilibrium. The US and Britain had plans for regional security in the Middle East, somewhere along the lines of the NATO pact that was established in Europe, that would allow for the creation of defense pacts with the Arab countries against Soviet influence in the Middle East. For that, they needed an Egyptian Israeli deal. The Western powers were convinced that if they could establish peace between Israel and Egypt, it would be a lot easier to arrange regional defense pacts against the Soviet Union. What these Western powers failed to realize at the time were two things. One, was that the Arab states were completely disinterested for the most part in any pact against the Soviet Union. They didn't see the Soviet Union as an enemy. And were unwilling to engage in such defense arrangements. This was true particularly of Egypt. And what the Western powers didn't take into consideration significantly either at that time was the extent of Arab hostility towards Israel, and the unwillingness of the Arab states, and Egypt in particular to come to terms with Israel. But the idea, nevertheless, of these Western Powers, that was perhaps that Israel should cede parts of the Negev desert to allow connection between Egypt and Jordan, that would pave the way for a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, the most important of Arab states. But Abdel Nasser in Egypt of the early 1950s wanted parts of the Negev, or maybe even all of it, in addition to a free choice for the Palestinian refugees on the question of whether they should return or not to Israel. These were conditions that were totally unacceptable to Israel. Israel would not accept territorial concessions of the 1948 war. It would not accept territorial concessions therefore, in the Negev. And Israel would not allow refugees to return to Israel. Israel's two main guiding principles after the war of 1948 were to preserve both the geographic and the demographic status quo that was created by the war in 1948. This talk about Israel giving up parts of the Negev reduced Israel's willingness to consider international guarantees. After all, if the Western powers had insured Israels boundaries in 1950, just a few years later they were trying to convince Israel to give up parts of the Negev. And these kinds of disappointments for Israel had long term influence on the manner in which Israel understood its place in the region and its capacity to, to rely on international guarantees for its defense. Israel would not budge on two issues. Borders or refugees. Both of these were the guiding principles of Israeli policy, to preserve the gains it had made in the war of 1948. But in fact neither Israel nor Egypt really believed that they could achieve a deal in 1955, when these Western powers were thinking of such an agreement between Israel and Egypt. Both Egypt and Israel firmly believed that the other side was actually looking for a fight. And as a result, Israel's Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion and the Chief of Staff at the time, Moshe Dayan were already beginning to think of the need to pre-empt a possible Egyptian attack. Nasser was very popular in the Arab world. And he was un, unquestionably the most popular and charismatic leader in the Arab world of the 1950s, and perhaps in the Arab world of the 20th century in its entirety. And Israel, therefore, was greatly concerned with the development of Egyptian power. And there was tension on the borders, both with Jordan and with Egypt because of these constant infiltrations coming from both of these countries into Israel. And as a result of the infiltrations, whether it be for civilian purposes or for attacks on Israelis, they resulted in Israeli acts of retaliation against these countries, Jordan and Egypt, in an effort to compel the Arabs to accept the finality of the boundaries that had been created in 1948. This tension between Israel and the neighboring Arab states, Jordan and Egypt in particular, led eventually to the signing of an arms deal between Egypt and Czechoslovakia. And Czechoslovakia in 1955 essentially means the Soviet Union. An arms deal between Czechoslovakia, that is the Soviet Union, and Egypt in September of 1955. This was an arms deal that changed the balance of power between Israel and Egypt. It was extremely troubling from the Israeli point of view. Here there was Egypt with its hostile intentions towards Israel, so the Israelis firmly believed, arming itself with the most modern of Soviet weaponry, whether it was in terms of air power or the armored corps of the Egyptian army. The Soviet Union made a huge political diplomatic game by connecting with Egypt, trying to divert Egypt away from any thoughts of an alliance with the Western powers against the Soviet Union. And for Abdel Nasser, the arms deal from the Soviet Union was of huge symbolic and historical importance. Arms from the Soviet Union meant the ultimate liberation of Egypt. After more than 150 years of subservience and dependence on the West, the ultimate liberation of Egypt from Western dependence. Israel was now in a difficult spot. Israel turned to the United States in an effort of obtain arms from the US that would balance the Soviet deal with Egypt. But the United States refused. Israel in the 1950s was not the ally of the United States as it is in the present. The United States in the 1950s tended to see Israel as much more of a liability than an asset. Supporting Israel, so the US feared, would push the Arabs ever further into the arms of the Soviet Union. Israel had to look for the other, other alternatives, and what was available was the option of France. And why France in the mid-1950s? Between Israel and France of the mid-1950s there was a common interest. The common interest was around the figure of Abdel Nasser and the power of Egypt. In the mid-1950s, the French were fighting to suppress the Algerian war of liberation. The Algerians fighting to liberate themselves from the control of France were strongly supported by the Egypt of Abdel Nasser. And therefore Abdel Nasser was seen by the French as an enemy, just as the Israelis saw him as such. And as the escalation along the border with Egypt continued, Ben-Gurion's fear only increased that Nasser would attack Israel first. And therefore in the late months of 1956 there were very serious French-Israeli decus, discussions, about a joint operation to attack their common enemy, Egypt of Abdel Nasser. Now in the second half of 1956, Nasser was suspected of moving very firmly into the Soviet camp. And on the 19th of July, the United States refused to supply Egypt with aid for the building of the Aswan Dam. And the Aswan Dam, as we have already mentioned, was this seemingly panacea for the ills of Egypt's economy and modernization. And Nasser retaliated a week later by nationalizing the British-French Suez Canal company. This was the background for French, British, Israeli collusion in October 1956 to attack Egypt with a variety of different aims for the different players. The British above all wanted to restore their control of the Suez Canal, and at the same time perhaps in war against Egypt to depose Abdel Nasser. The French would've. Wanted to rid themselves above the Nazi as well, but mainly to prevent Egypt from continuing its intervention in Algeria. And Israel wanted to secure the border of Israel with Egypt and the Gaza Strip by defeating the Egyptians militarily and therefore, adding to Israels long term security. And thus the forces came together for what was called the Sinai Campaign at the end of October in 1956. Israel launched a land operation in the Sinai peninsula and the French and the British launched an assault in the canal zone. But these two military, operations were not conducted simultaneously. First, it was the Israelis who attack in the Sinai Peninsula and within four days they had occupied the entire area. The Anglo French military campaign, which started a few days later started late and turned into a political, military diplomatic fiasco. By starting late [COUGH] they didn't catch anybody by surprise and they were faced immediately with US and Soviet condemnation both powers which had severely condemned the Israelis for attacking Egypt. The US believe that the Israeli attack and that by the French and the British a few days later would only push Egyptians and the other Arabs more firmly into the camp of the Soviet Union. There was US and Soviet pressure on the British and the French and the Israelis to withdraw their forces immediately. The British and the French, therefore, never really reoccupied the canal zone and they had to end their operation before achieving their military objective. And the US, most effective in its pressure, coerced the Israelis to withdraw from Sinai which was in fact completed by March 1957. Israel withdrew, however, from the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a US guarantee for the freedom of navigation in the Straits of Tiran that is in the naval area leading to the Port of Eilat. And another element of Israeli political game from the Sinai campaign was the establishment of a U.N. emergency force along its border with Egypt to keep the peace between the two countries. For Brittain and France, the Suez fiasco was the end of an era. These two powers and their influence in the middle east had come to a tragic end. As for Egypt, Nasser, though defeated militarily by Israel, had won politically, at least in the sense that he had defeated the British, and the French military effort. He had remained in power as opposed to the wishes of those who had attacked him and Nasser emerged from the Suez campaign as the unquestioned, undeniable leader of the Arab world. There was widespread belief and popularity amongst the Arabs, generally speaking, not just in Egypt but in the Arab world as a whole in what one could call the Nasserist Formula. That is this seemingly certain winner for the Arabs, Pan-Arabism, Arab unity, Arab socialism in terms of the structure of their economy and reliance on the Soviet Union as the three components of the formulation of Arab power, prestige, and prosperity that would finally liberate the Arabs from imperialist influence and at the end defeat Israel. Israel having cooperated in the Sinai, Suez war of 1956 with France and Britain only reinforced in the eyes of the Arabs, it's image as a tool of imperialism, that did not make peace making with the Arab States any easier. But Israels victory did bring an end to the border problems that had existed between Israel and Egypt and even between Israel and Jordan. Israel's victory seriously undermined for the first time the rather simplistic Arab thinking about a second round. Arab thinking about the conflict after Suez became much more complex. It was now firmly understood by Nasser and by other Arabs that the struggle with Israel was not about a simple second round that would allow the Arabs to defeat Israel. This was going to be a struggle for generations. Israel militarily was a powerful country, Israel was here to stay, or so it seemed. And for the Arabs, there was the recognition as a result that the struggle with Israel was a long-term affair. After 1957, Israel had what one could call it's ten good years until the war of 1967 when Israel relatively speaking to other period in its history enjoyed relative quiet on its boundaries. After 1956 the boundaries had solidified as had ideological positions. That is the Arabs did not except Israel's boundaries as final by no means but the boundaries for the most part were quiet and what Nasser and the Arabs understood from the war. Was that being a long term affair, a struggle with Israel for generations, required an entirely new strategic approach. If this was going to be a struggle for generations, the Arabs could not afford to allow the Palestinian issue to be forgotten. If Israel was to last for decades until the Arabs could deal with it and emerge victorious, The claim of the Palestinian people to the Territory of Palestine had to be mandate. The Arabs could not allow the Palestinians to disappear and be absorbed into the over all entity of the Arab people.