Yom Kippur War. Familiar feeling
Photo: GPO

On the brink of war

Op-ed: Situation in Israel too reminiscent of way it was on brink of Yom Kippur War

It happened 37 years, 2 months and 14 days ago. Our credible, high-quality intelligence source, codenamed Babylon, summoned Mossad Chief Zvi Zamir to an urgent meeting in London and delivered the unbelievable warning: A war will break out tomorrow.


The sky fell. The conception collapsed. Egypt and Syria, despite their strategic inferiority, chose to attack Israel in order to secure vital objectives.


The mandate given to the official commission of inquiry into the war failure was limited to the military leadership: Looking into the intelligence failure in predicting the joint offensive and analyzing the mistakes in utilizing forces in the first part of the war.


Yet the archive documents released by law in the past decade prove that this was small change: The real commission of inquiry, which was never set up, was supposed to look into the scandalous conduct of the government on the diplomatic front.


The arrogance, complacency, and short-sightedness did not start in abandoning the Suez Canal outposts, but rather, in ignoring President Sadat’s desperate peace signals and arrogantly disparaging the enemy’s capabilities.


Historian Dr. Yigal Kipnis dedicated the past year to researching the subject in preparation for his next book. He is looking through thousands of documents and says the material is hair-raising and that the WikiLeaks cables pale in comparison.


As fascinating as it may be, the academic discussion is not the essence here: What is blatantly clear is the analogy to the current situation. The state of affairs in Israel at the end of 2010 is too reminiscent, in too many parameters, of the Israel in the summer of 1973.


Israel, which shrugs off the closing window of opportunity vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Israel, which is completely indifferent to the ongoing impasse on the Syrian track despite Bashar Assad’s signals. Israel, which for seven years now has ignored the Arab League’s Saudi peace initiative.


War will be worse this time

Even without Babylon, who fell to his death since then, we must not ignore the following prediction: A war shall break out tomorrow; and if not tomorrow, the next day. Tactically, it will not look like the 1973 war, but it will be stimulated by the same state of affairs: Diplomatic impasse, pushing the Arabs into a corner, a response to domestic pressure (popular unrest, regaining the lost honor,) and the pulling of strings behind the scenes by an interested power (back then it was the Soviet Union, this time it’s Iran.)


The tanks and ground maneuvers will be replaced by ballistic missiles and guerilla operations. It doesn’t really matter, and to a great extent it will prompt worse results, as most of the casualties will be civilians rather than soldiers.


Government ministers, led by the Netanyahu- Barak axis, must finally understand that the day after this horrific scenario materializes they won’t be able to evade responsibility. There will also be no need to wait 30 years for the archives to open, as in the current era diplomacy was mostly managed in the open, not secretly.


A complacent and haughty Israel not only refrained from seriously looking into the plethora of diplomatic options at its doorstep, it also failed to initiate its own peace plan. At this time, we may indeed be dazed by our daily troubles and drugged by the reality shows on TV, yet the first missile will wake us up to reality.










פרסום ראשון: 12.19.10, 18:24
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