Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Myth of Israeli Invincibility

Since its formation in 1948, the reality of Israel's military strength has been shrouded by a mythical aura of invincibility. Interestingly such myths have not been actively expressed by Israel, but have been given life by the actions of the treacherous Muslim rulers.
Israel's performance in the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 against the Muslims in the region has long been seen as confirmation of Israel's military superiority. In light of this apparent superiority and its seizure of Muslim lands, it is argued that direct military conflict with Israel is not a viable course of action for the Arab states, creating the necessity of entering into negotiations. The direct consequence of such a move has been the acceptance of Israel's sovereignty through plans such as the peace process.

In reviewing Israel's supposed military might one must keep in mind: What purpose does the construction of this myth serve?

The 1948 war - Israel's creation

The war of 1948 led to the establishment of the state of Israel. On the surface it's difficult to understand how 40 million Arabs could not match the fighting strength of just 600,000 Jews. A closer study of the defenders of the Palestinian cause shows how their actions in fact led directly to the establishment of Israel.

The primary representatives of the Palestinian cause were King Abdullah of Transjordan, King Farook of Egypt and the Mufti of Palestine, all of them were extremely weak rulers subject to constant manipulation by the British. King Abdullah's portrayal of himself as a defender of the Palestinian cause was a fa├žade. It was known that he and Ben Gurion (Israel's first Prime Minister) were students together in Istanbul and that in clandestine meetings Abdullah had offered to accept the establishment of Israel in return for Jordanian control of the Arab populated parts of Palestine.

King Abdullah had the Arab Legion at his disposal, a highly trained unit of 4,500 men, with General John Glubb an Englishman as its commanding officer. Glubb in his memoirs recounted thathe was under strict orders from the British, not to enter areas under Jewish control. Egypt further weakened the attack against Israel when Nakrashi Pasha, the Prime Minister, initially did not use existing military units but sent an army of volunteers that had only been organised in January of that year. Jordan also delayed the passage of Iraqi troops across its territory thus thwarting any attack on Israel. This is why a blind Imam brought to rouse the Jordanian army prior to the battle embarrassed Abdullah when he said: "O army I wish you were ours" (referring to the Arab Legion being British).

Although the combined Muslim forces were 40,000 only 10,000 were trained soldiers. The Zionists had 30,000 armed personnel, 10,000 men for local defence and another 25,000 for home guard.

Furthermore there were nearly 3,000 specially trained Irgun and Stern gang terrorists. They were armed with the latest weaponry and funded heavily through Zionist agencies in America and Britain. Despite the preparedness of the Jews, the treachery of the Muslim rulers secured a foothold for the Jews in Palestine.

The 1956 Suez Canal crisis

This conflict was never a war for the liberation of Palestine but rather a struggle between America and Britain for control over the strategically important Suez Canal.

The US saw Egypt as a critical ally if America was to gain influence in the Middle East. Through the CIA, she moved to depose the Pro-British King Farook in a coup in 1952, bringing into power the Free Officers who were to be led by Gamal Abdul-Nasser. The CIA worked on a project in 1951 known as "The Search for a Moslem Billy Graham." Mike Copeland the CIA operative, published classified information in his memoirs in 1989, ‘The Game Player,' about the CIA backed coup d'etat that ousted the British puppet King Farook. Copeland, who activated the project, explains that ‘the CIA needed a charismatic leader who would be able to divert the growing anti-American hostility that was building up in the area.' He explains both the CIA and Nasser were in agreement on Israel. For Nasser talk of war with Israel was irrelevant. Much more of a priority was British occupation of the Suez Canal Zone. Nasser's enemy was Britain.

In 1956 Nasser carried out American demands of nationalising the Suez Canal. The response of Britain was to lure France and Israel into the struggle. This was outlined by historian Corelli Barnett, who wrote about the Suez in his book, ‘The Collapse of British Power': ‘France was hostile to Nasser because Egypt was helping the Algerian rebels, and attached to the canal for historical reasons. After all, a Frenchman built it. Israel was longing to have a go at Nasser anyway because of Palestinian fedayeen attacks and the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran. so Sir Anthony Eden (British Prime Minister) concocted a secret tripartite plot with France and Israel.' He further explained ‘that Israel would invade Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula.' ‘Britain and France would then give an ultimatum to the parties to stop fighting or they would intervene to ‘protect' the canal.'

The US and USSR exercised diplomatic pressure to force Britain to withdraw. Russia directly threatened Paris and London with nuclear attacks. The immense international pressure forced the British and French to withdraw and consequently lose their footing in Egypt. The American administration, under Eisenhower, went as far as threatening the Israelis with economic sanctions if they did not withdraw from occupied territory seized from Egypt, a measure that would have had disastrous consequences on Israel at the time. In the aftermath of the crisis, America emerged as the dominant force in the Middle East.

The 1967 Six Day War

This war was again another episode in the Anglo-American conflict for control of the region. Britain had been surpassed as the region's dominant force 11 years earlier, but still retained some influence through its agents in Jordan, Syria and Israel. In an attempt to weaken Nasser, Britain sought to lure Israel to drag Egypt into a war whereby Israel would seize territory and use it as a bargaining tool in any future peace settlement; a means through which to achieve the security which the Israelis so desperately sought. On 5th June 1967 Israel launched a pre-emptive strike destroying 60% of Egypt's grounded air force and 66% of Syrian and Jordanian combat aircraft.

The Israelis seized the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordanian control. King Hussein, prior to the battle, had positioned his troops in different areas from where the main battle was taking place. In a matter of 48 hours the Israelis seized the major West Bank towns. In a similar manner the Israelis seized the strategically important Golan Heights on the 6th day of the war. The Syrian troops occupying the Golan Heights heard news of Israel's capture of the heights through their own State radio despite the Syrian troops clearly occupying them. Israel also dealt America's Nasser a blow by capturing Sharm al Sheikh and securing the waterway of the Straits of Tiran. The objective of weakening the regime of Nasser was achieved, thus indirectly aiding British interests within the region. Israel was able to seize more land and use it as a bargaining asset in any land for peace negotiations, which today is still used as a basis for negotiations rather then the status of 1948. The United Nations established the UN Partition plan in 1947, which gave 57% of territory to Israel with Palestine becoming 42% of its former self. In the 1967 war Israeli occupation increased further with its territorial gains of up to 78% of historic Palestine.

The 1973 War

An examination of the October 1973 war launched by Egypt and Syria against Israel shows that the aims were limited and never included the liberation of Palestine. The aims never even included the liberation of the Golan Heights which were designed to be restored as part of a peace treaty between Syria and Israel. The aims were to solidify the positions of Anwar Sadat and Hafez al-Assad who were relatively new leaders in countries prone to military coups. Sadat in particular was vulnerable given the fact that he had succeeded the charismatic Nasser.

Mohammed Heikal the respected editor of Al Ahram from 1957 - 1974, who witnessed the war, explained the extent of Anwar Sadat's underlying motives in his book ‘The Road to Ramadhan' where he cites Sadat's mood in the run up to the war. Heikal quotes one of Sadat's generals,Mohammed Fouwzi who gave the analogy of a samurai drawing two swords - a long one and short one in preparation for battle. Fouwzi said that this battle would be a case of the short sword, signifying a limited battle for certain motives.

Anwar Sadat had no intention of having a protracted war of liberation with Israel. This is why he sought peace with Israel whilst commanding a winning position in the war. In the first 24 hours of the war Egypt smashed through Israel's much heralded Bar-Lev fortifications east of the Suez Canal with only 68 casualties. Meanwhile 2 Syrian divisions and 500 tanks swept into the Golan Heights and retook some of the land captured in 1967. In two days of fighting Israel had lost 49 aircraft and 500 tanks. In the midst of this Sadat sent a message to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in which he said that the objective of the war was ‘the achievement of peace in the Middle East and not partial settlements.' The message went on to state that if Israel withdrew from all occupied territories Egypt would be prepared to participate in a Peace conference under UN or neutral auspices.

Thus despite having an immense strategic advantage Sadat was in the mood for negotiations at such an early stage. Sadat's refusal to press home his initial advantage and his delay in launching the second Sinai offensive allowed Israel to mobilise, with aid from the US and she began to seize back lost territory. Hostilities formally came to an end on 25th October 1974.

All the wars with Israel best illustrate how the Muslim rulers have never seriously fought Israel with the intention of liberating Palestine. All the aforementioned examples illustrate the reality behind the myths which the Ummah has been led to believe. The real treachery has been committed by the insincere rulers who have collaborated and helped create the myth of Israeli superiority, kindling it, nurturing it and maintaining it. The wars that the Arab world fought, show that the Muslim countries have never singularly nor collectively fought Israel with the intention of destroying it. Each of the wars was conducted in order to meet specific objectives, none of which were to liberate the land of Palestine and eliminate Israel. Hence the objective of seriously threatening Israel was never an aim, despite the unquestionable strength of the combined Arab armies.

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