War of Independence.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
As Israel remembers its fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terror on Remembrance Day, The Jerusalem Post takes a look back at the wars that marked the nation's history.
Before the 1948 War of Independence, there was much tension while the region was under British rule. This Arab-Jewish conflict came to a head with the Arab murder of 7 Jews on December 1, 1947. Six of the Jews were murdered while riding a bus bound for a Jerusalem and the seventh person was killed later that in Jerusalem. These events were highly significant in the Jewish-Arab conflict leading up to Independence.
War of Independence
Immediately after the British Mandate came to an end and Independence was declared on May 14, 1948, the battle began in Jerusalem. Muslim forces invaded Israel from the north, east, south, as well as by air. This launched over nine months of fighting and created a deep, long-standing rift between Israelis and Palestinians.
In this war, 6,373 Jewish fighters were killed, which amounted to one percent of Israel's population at the time.
Six Day War
The Six Day War began on June 6, 1967 and was fought by Israel against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Following the mobilization of Egyptian forces along the Israeli border in the Sinai, Israel began a series of preemptive airstrikes as well as a ground offensive into Gaza and through the Sinai to Egypt. After six days of fighting and thousands of deaths on both sides, Israel seized control of both the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, thus tripling the areas under Israeli control.
In the war, 776 IDF soldiers were killed.
War of Attrition
The 1969 War of Attrition was a result of the lack of diplomatic resolution following the Six Day War. In September 1967 the Arabs states formulated a policy of barring peace, recognition or negotiations with Israel. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser believed that military action was the best way to encourage an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai and hostilities began once again along the Suez. The conflicts began a similar duels and incursions into Sinai, but in 1969 Egypt began larger scale battle. On March 9th 169 Nasser proclaimed the launch of the war of attrition between Israel and Egypt. Fighting along the Suez continued through August 1970, ending with a cease-fire and no progress in peace negotiations.
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, began when the Arab coalition launched a surprise attack on Israeli forces in the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula, both of which came under Israeli control during the Six Day War. With the aim of expelling Israel from the Sinai, Egypt sent forces into the Peninsula, but the Israeli army managed to hold them back and settled with a stalemate. In the Golan, Israeli forces pushed the Syrians back to the pre-war cease-fire lines and began shelling Damascus. By the time a cease-fire was brokered to end the war of October 25, Israel had encircled the Egyptian army as well as the city of Suez. As part of peace negotiations during the 1978 Camp David Accords, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and Egypt became the first Arab country to peacefully recognize Israel.
In the Yom Kippur War, 2,688 IDF soldiers killed.
First Lebanon War
The First Lebanon War began in June, 1982 when a group of Palestinian terrorists, led by Abu Nidal attempted to assassinate Shlomo Argov, Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom at the time. This event was the final straw in a series of provocations, and the IDF responded with a massive artillery. Bombs and rockets rained down on he Galilee throughout the fighting. Israeli forces attacked the PLO as well as Syrian and Muslim Lebanese forces. The IDF eventually surrounding the PLO and parts of the Syrian army. Israel successfully expelled the PLO from Lebanon, thus removing Syrian influence, and installed a pro-Israeli Christian government led by Bachir Gemayel. Israel's hopes for a peace treaty with the new government were dashed after the assassination of Gemayel. After Israel moved out of Lebanon, the Lebanese Civil War broke out.
Between June 1982 and May 31 1985, 1,216 IDF soldiers were killed.
The first intifada lasted from 1987 to 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed. The uprisings first began in December when an IDF truck collided with a civilian car, killing four Palestinians. In response, Palestinians both violently and peacefully protested Israeli sanctions. The throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF forces was widespread, along with violent terror attacks aimed at civilians.
The second intifada, the next Palestinian uprising against Israeli forces and civilians, began in September 2000 when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, what was then seen as provocative move. Palestinians demonstrators threw rocks at police and were then tempered by the Israeli army using rubber bullets and tear gas. Both parties contributed to the very high number of causalities and violence. Palestinian suicide bombings and shooting killed numerous Israeli civilians and soldiers. The intifada ended on February 8th, 2005 when Sharon and President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to a cease-fire.
Second Lebanon War
The Second Lebanon War, sometimes called the Israeli-Hezbollah war, took place during the summer of 2006 in northern Israel, the Golan Heights and Lebanon. Throughout the 34-day military conflict, Israel and Lebanon traded rocket fire and fought in a ground invasion. The fighting kicked off when Hezbollah guerrillas conducted a cross-border raid which killed eight IDF soldiers and kidnapped two others. Israel aimed to expel Hezbollah from southern Lebanon. The war ended up being inconclusive and was resolved with a UN-brokered cease-fire agreement on August 14th, 2006.
Between July 12 and August 14, 2006, 43 Israeli civilians and 117 IDF soldiers were killed. There were 4,262 people injured, along with another 2,773 who were treated for shock.