How have the Arab-Israeli wars shaped the security paradigm in Pakistan?
The State of Israel was proclaimed in May 1948 and was immediately attacked by the armies of its Arab neighbors. Relations between Israel and the Arab states were not normalized even after the end of the first Arab-Israeli war with the signing of the 1949 armistice agreements between Israel and each of its Arab neighbors.
In the armistice agreement, signed between Israel and Egypt, Israel was guaranteed that the Strait of Tiran would remain open. A peacekeeping contingent known as the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was deployed along the Egyptian-Israeli border, but there was no demilitarization agreement between the two sides . Despite the agreement, Egypt did not accept Israel’s right to navigation in the Strait of Tiran and imposed a naval blockade which remained in effect until 1956.
The Strait of Tiran is the narrow sea passage between the Sinai and Arabian Peninsulas that separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea proper. The distance between the two peninsulas is about 13 km (7 nautical miles). Access to the Israeli and Jordanian ports of Eilat and Aqaba is via the Gulf of Aqaba respectively, giving the Strait of Tiran strategic importance.
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Looking at the excerpts from the story
In 1956 Israel, Britain and France invaded Egypt after President Jamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal. While Britain and France had attacked Egypt with the intention of reversing the nationalization of the Suez Canal, Israel had its work cut out for it. Relying on Britain and France during the Suez Crisis, Israel’s objective was to force the reopening of the Strait of Tiran which had been closed by Egypt to all Israeli shipping since 1948.
In the wake of heightened tensions in the months leading up to the outbreak of war in June 1967, Israel reiterated its post-1956 position that another closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping by Egypt would be an act definitive casus bellian or an event which provokes or serves to justify a war. In 1967, 90% of Israeli oil passed through the Strait of Tiran.
The Six-Day War was fought from June 5-10, 1967 between Israel and a coalition of Arab states including Jordan, Syria and Egypt (then known as the United Arab Republic or UAR). In May, President Nasser announced that the Straits of Tiran would once again be closed to Israeli shipping, then mobilized the Egyptian military along the border with Israel, and ordered the immediate withdrawal of all UNEF personnel. On June 5, as UNEF prepared to leave the area, Israel launched a series of airstrikes against Egyptian airfields and other installations, resulting in the deaths of 15 Indian and Brazilian peacekeepers. Israel initially claimed it was first attacked by Egypt, but later said its airstrikes were preemptive
The Egyptian forces were taken by surprise and nearly the entire Egyptian Air Force was destroyed with few Israeli casualties in the process, giving Israel the advantage of air supremacy. Simultaneously, the Israeli army launched a ground offensive in the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. By the end of the Six Day War, Israel had captured the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the west bank of the Jordan including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.
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Naser’s reign in Egypt
During Nasser’s reign (1952-70), Egypt was a bulwark of Arab nationalism and the nerve center of the Arab world. A towering figure, Nasser commissioned Nazi scientists who helped the UAR produce supersonic fighter jets, biological weapons, and a delivery system (providing the backdrop for Frederick Forsyth’s thriller “The Odessa File”). Interestingly, while Messerschmitt was busy designing the UAR’s Helwan fighter plane, Kurt Tank, another Nazi aeronautical engineer, was building the HF-24 Marut for India. Both aircraft were to be powered by the Egyptian E-300 Brandner jet engine. Nasser and Nehru knew that the foundations of the aerospace programs of the United States and the Soviet Union rested on German military technology from World War II.
Alluding to Israel while attending a military parade, Nasser said his rockets could land in southern Lebanon. While considering the threat from Israel, perhaps Nasser ignored that during World War II many future Israeli military commanders had served on the Allied General Staff. After its defeat in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt gradually lost its influence in the Arab world.
The impact of the 1967 war on the Arab world and the countries of its periphery cannot be fully understood without taking into account the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, also a corollary of the 1967 war. In 1973, Anwar Sadaat, the successor to Nasser, attempted to restore the status quo ante bellum by attacking Israel in a planned two-pronged war with Syria.
The war ended in a stalemate in which the Egyptian Third Army was trapped by Israeli armor when it exploited a breach in the Egyptian defenses on the east bank of the Suez Canal. The discrepancy was indicated to the Israelis by American satellite photos. However, Sadaat achieved his strategic goal of reclaiming the Sinai Peninsula from Israeli occupation.
The Camp David Accords, signed by US President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978, established a framework for a peace treaty concluded between Israel and Egypt in March 1979. Feeling betrayed, the other front – aligned Arab states – Jordan and Syria, along with the rest of the Arab world, boycotted Egypt. If during the period Egypt came out of isolation, it no longer represents Arab political consciousness.
Bearing in mind its political and economic interests at the time of the partition of the subcontinent, India voted against the 1947 UN plan to partition Palestine and the admission of Israel to the UN in 1949. Nehru saw India as the successor to the British Raj and craved symbols. of geostrategic aristocracy – an aircraft carrier, a nascent nuclear program with a military dimension, and even a single power bloc known as the Non-Aligned Movement led by India, Egypt and Yugoslavia . The Non-Aligned Movement was one of many Trojan horses sponsored by one or other of the superpowers during the Cold War.
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On September 17, 1950, India officially recognized the State of Israel.
New Delhi’s military ties with Tel Aviv, though modest, began in the 1960s. Not only did Israel provide military assistance to India in its wars in 1962, 1965 and 1971, but Tel Aviv also was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh. When the traditionally pro-Israeli Hindu right-wing Jan Sangh government (forerunner of the BJP) was briefly in power from 1977 to 1979, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan paid a secret visit to New Delhi in August 1977 to strengthen ties bilateral.
After decades of non-aligned and pro-Arab politics, India formally established relations with Israel when it opened its embassy in Tel Aviv in January 1992. Ties between the two nations have since flourished, mainly due common strategic interests. In 1999, Israel supported India in the Kargil war by supplying arms and ammunition. Israeli ammunition was reportedly used in the failed IAF attempt to bomb Balakot on February 26, 2019.
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Since 2014, Indo-Israeli relations have been very close and warm under President Narendra Modi. In 2017, he was the first-ever Indian prime minister to visit Israel. India continues to be the largest customer of Israeli arms. Defense relations between the two countries are old and pose a threat to Pakistan. I wrote earlier that Pakistan should reconsider its relationship with Israel because India, Pakistan’s sworn enemy, has a strategic relationship with Israel. This relationship gives India access to advanced Israeli military technologies stolen from the United States.
Saleem Akhtar Malik is a Pakistani military veteran who writes on national and international affairs, defence, military history, and military technology. He tweets at @saleemakhtar53. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.