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Published:January 24th, 2006 01:12 EST
A Look Back In History: Israeli-Arab Conflict

A Look Back In History: Israeli-Arab Conflict

By Saly Alhady

National History is the events of our past which change the faces of countries forever in our memories; some of these events giving pride and dignity to their countries, others change the face of some countries to an ugly one, which brings a shame to citizens for many years later. National History was written by the hands of certain people that their countries will never forget.

We will talk here about the period between 1967-1973, the time which included two wars between Egypt and Israel. Neither of the two wars succeeded in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict on June 5, 1967. In the six days of the beggining of the war, known in the Arab world as Al-Naksah (the setback) or simply the June war, although not lasting a long time, left many results in an economic and political embargo on Egypt.

After Israel had conquered the Egyptians, crossed the borders and began its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the political system failed in Egypt and the Egyptians' spirit was damaged. The Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who ruled from 1953 to 1970, responded to the war's consequences by resigning. The millions who spontaneously took to the streets in June, when Nasser declared his resignation, seemed to be venting emotions they could no longer contain. They filled the streets to express their determination to fight and avenge themselves.

Then Naser blenched in his resignation, but it was not easy to the Egyptians, even in their daily life. It was very harmful that the shame they felt was for only a six day war, besides their wishes of revenge and regaining their pride. I addition, they suffered from the economic problems, which continued for 7 years because of the no war/ no peace situation which confused them about their future following Gamal Abdel-Nasser's death.

In 1973, Egyptian president Sadat made the decision of war on Oct. 6, in which the Egyptian army began a coordinated military attack that many consider one of the most significant battles of modern history. The Egyptian forces had penetrated the Bar Lev line and occupied its fortifications; it was the date when the Egyptians regained their honor, dignity and their invaded land.

Everything was changed since that day, the political life became stable, especially after the Camp David agreement was signed and it had been able to end the Arab-Israeli conflict . The war also laid bare the international balance of power, and the economy began to grow, as the centrally planned economy had been replaced by the Open Door policy.

The victory of 1973 gave the Egyptians the means to respect themselves again and erase the damage caused by the psychological trauma of the June '67 defeat, which can be fully fathomed only by Egyptians who lived through the experience.

Now this day become a national day which stills cast its shadow over the region. Perhaps unlike any other event in contemporary Middle Eastern history.