Weekly Commentary: Lesson of Yom Kippur War – Violations Can’t Be Fixed By
Dr. Aaron Lerner 6 October, 2016
Back on 30 September 2001, speaking at the main memorial service for those
who died in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon noted that
Israel was surprised in that war by Egypt because the Egyptians did not
honor the 1970 cease-fire agreement and thus the lesson of the Yom Kippur
War is that one must always pay attention when agreements are not honored.
It was worse than that.
Now we know the following:
#1 The Egyptians moved anti-aircraft missiles close to the Suez Canal the
very moment that the cease-fire went into effect.
#2 The US had a spy plane that flew over the area that first day and
photographed the violations. They were aware that first day that the
Egyptians had violated the agreement. It should be noted that at the time
the US asked Israel to provide evidence and for several days said it was
waiting for evidence of violation.
#3 While BEFORE the agreement was signed, the US promised Israel that if the
Egyptians moved up their missiles that the US would press the Egyptians to
pull them back, when they finally had to face up to the violation, the US
explained that they could not pressure Egypt. To be clear: discussions of
the agreement held between Israel and the US focused on the Israeli concern
that Egypt would move the missiles. This was anything but a minor footnote.
#4 The US ultimately compensated Israel with “black boxes” for Israeli
aircraft that were meant to offset the damage to Israel’s security caused by
the Egyptian violation.
#5 The “black boxes” weren’t enough. Those same anti-aircraft missiles
ultimately provided invading Egyptian forces protection from the Israeli Air
Force at the opening of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Conclusion: The failure of the United States to honor its commitment
facilitated the devastating Yom Kippur War by making the invasion of the
Sinai by Egypt possible!
#1. Serious security violations of agreements and understandings should be
addressed by insisting on the enforcement of the agreement.
#2. Gizmos are a poor substitute for compliance.
Suffice it to say that this is a lesson that I fear our leadership has
failed to learn.
Our “quiet for quiet” approach that allows our enemies do practically
anything they want in preparation to attack us in gross violation of
agreements (Gaza) and UNSC resolutions (Lebanon) as long as they don’t shoot
too much certainly doesn’t indicate that any lessons have been learned from
I hope with all my heart to be proven wrong.
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