The Suez, a man-made stretch of water, is now the only natural barrier which separates the ground forces of israel and their opposite numbers in the United Arab Republic.
The Suez, a man-made stretch of water, is now the only natural barrier which separates the ground forces of israel and their opposite numbers in the United Arab Republic. The troops face each other, often within naked-eye viewing distance, in an uneasy peace which is often punctuated with savage gun battles.
By night both Israel and Arab patrols slip across the water in rubber boats to harass their enemies' positions. For the Israelis these missions are vital, for they fear that if allowed to operate without hindrance, the Arabs will build-up their missile and gun emplacements to a level which they might not be able to contain.
By day, the Israeli soldiers stay mainly under cover in a labyrinth of inter-connected bunkers, watching Arab positions through periscopes.
With the United States Peace Plan, as outlined by US Secretary of State, William Rogers, still a matter for discussion in the Israeli Cabinet, Arab air attacks across the Suez have been intensified during the past few days after several weeks of quiet.
President Nasser of the United Arab Republic, despite much opposition accepted the terms of the Peace Plan. But in Israel, Defence Minister, Moshe Dayan told a group of young men and women due for conscription that israel was strong enough not to be forced into accepting dictates from enemies or friends which are against the nation's "basic desire".
Mr Dayan told his young audience that he would not answer questions dealing with the American Peace Plan.
In answer to a question as to the reactivation of the Suez Canal, the Minister of Defence said that President Nasser would not permit the re-opening and operating of the Canal as long as he was unable to remove Israel's presence from its East Bank.
So, the Israeli soldiers stay out in their underground, Canal-side fortresses: for the present, at least.