As United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger continued his Middle East Peace mission, Israel mourned on Monday (14 October) the nearly two thousand officers and men of its armed forces who fell during the Middle East war a year ago.
As United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger continued his Middle East Peace mission, Israel mourned on Monday (14 October) the nearly two thousand officers and men of its armed forces who fell during the Middle East war a year ago. That war saw some of the greatest armoured battles since the Second World War and ended with Israel driving the Syrians back along the road to Damascus and thrusting deep across the Suez canal into the heartland of Egypt.
But victory did not mean peace for the Israelis. United in their new found strength and re-armed by the Soviet Union the Arab States made use of their vast oil resources as a political weapon to hold over the heads of Western nations friendly to Israel.
The United States in particular had to decide how far support for Israel was worth the risk of yet another Arab-Israeli war.
The result has been a gradual withdrawal from Arab territory by the Israelis, symbolically market by the return of the town of Kuneitra to the Syrians and the Suez canal to Egypt.
During this period, Arab guerrillas have struck hard at targets in Israel while in return Israeli naval and air force units have hit targets in Syria and Lebanon.
All this has resulted in a steady trickle of casualties for Israel many of whose inhabitants now regard the Arabs with respect and are beginning to accept the fact that only if Arab and Jew settle their differences at the conference table can their be lasting peace in the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: As Dr. Kissinger continued his efforts to find a permanent peace settlement for the Middle East, Israel mourned the nearly two thousand officers and men who fell in the October war a year ago. That fourth Arab-Israeli conflict was the bloodiest between them for a quarter of a century. Israel threw back the advance of the Syrians and Egyptians and counter-attacked to win the war. But the price was high, leaving her with inflation and unrest at home.
The Israeli people demanded a change in government. Mrs. Golda Meir stepped down and General Yitshak Rabin became Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Rabin and General Ephrat, who is chief of Israel's Central Command, took part in the ceremonies held in Jerusalem's Mount Herzl cemetery in remembrance of those who fell on the battlefield. As a siren sounded everyone stood to attention.
The siren was the signal for all traffic to stop throughout Israel. In Tel Aviv, men and women stood in silence in the streets as they paid their respects to those who fell in the Yom Kippur War.
As Israel remembered her dead, many feared the resumption of yet another war. Israel has been continuously harassed by guerrilla attacks and has struck back hard.
Israel's new leaders are displaying a more flexible attitude. Mr. Rabin has publicly stated that Israel is prepared to make territorial concessions as a price for peace. The town of Kuneitra has already been returned to Syria and the Suez canal to Egypt.
Israel and Egypt have expressed their hopes for a peace settlement, but there are still many obstacles in the way. Egypt recently recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation arousing great resentment in Israel which has suffered many guerrilla attacks.