Today is the 40th anniversary of Egypt’s surprise attack on Yom Kippur, 1973, and Egypt is celebrating.
But if you look at Egyptian media in Arabic, very often it says that this “victory” was over “the Jews” – not over Israel, or over Zionists.
While many of the articles only talk about the “glorious victory,” without naming over whom, when the enemy is named, more often than not, they are called “the Jews.”
This interview with an Egyptian general in El Balad is peppered with referencs to “the Jews.”
Vetogate, while discussing Muslim Brotherhood threats against the celebrations, notes that it is a happy day because “this is a black day in the history of the Jews.”
This interview with Sadat’s sister at Al Mogaz mostly refers merely to “the enemy” but has a reference to the victory over “the Jews.” Nothing about Zionists or Israel.
Al Masry al Youm incidentally talks bout the “victory over the Jews.”
From a purely military viewpoint it was already clear that the Israelis had come breathtakingly close to a victory that would have matched their swift triumph in the Six-Day War. Despite the important advantages possessed this time by the refurbished Arab armies—the element of surprise, the early losses they inflicted, their easy penetration of the Bar-Lev Line along the east bank of the Suez Canal and Israeli bastions in the Golan Heights—the Israelis managed in scarcely more than two weeks to reverse the tide of battle and push the battlefronts into Syria and Egypt. At week’s end the Israelis claimed that they had captured most of the city of Suez; their armies had fought to within 30 miles of Damascus and about 45 miles of Cairo.
Although the details were still obscured by censorship, the bridgehead made by an Israeli armored force across the southern sector of the canal may rank as the most brilliant military feat in the country’s short but tempestuous history. In the end, Egypt may well have agreed to a ceasefire because it realized that to continue fighting would lead to another disaster.
Enlarging their bridgehead on the west bank of the Suez Canal (TIME, Oct. 29), Israeli forces last week proceeded to neutralize, both militarily and politically, the dug-in Egyptian forces on the east bank. With at least 20,000 men and 500 tanks at their disposal on the southern portion of the west bank, the Israelis cut the vital highway between Suez and Cairo, encircled and later captured most of the city of Suez and pushed on to the port of Adabiya. In the process, they trapped the Egyptian Third Army, which was still in position on the east bank of the canal.
The Egyptian public hardly realized what had happened. At the week’s beginning, a mood of euphoria still persisted in Cairo. Many Egyptians initially resented the declaration of a ceasefire because they believed that it was cheating Egypt out of a clear-cut victory. In any case, full-scale fighting broke out again almost immediately. In the 24 hours that followed the ceasefire, the Israelis drastically improved their position on the west bank. They destroyed large numbers of missile and artillery sites and, most important, they isolated the Third Army, cutting it off from food for its 20,000 men and fuel for its 400 tanks. Time after time, the Egyptians fought ferociously to free themselves but failed.
By [Wednesday morning,] the Egyptian government fully realized to what extent it had blundered in underestimating the seriousness of the Israeli bridgehead on the west bank. But it was too late to change the course of battle; the Egyptian Third Army was, as Moshe Dayan put it, “technically blocked.” In a particularly stinging gesture to the Egyptians, the Israelis announced that they would supply blood plasma to the Third Army, since the Egyptian government was incapable of doing so. The Israelis added that the encircled Arabs were in no immediate danger of dying from thirst or hunger.
… But already, hundreds of thirsty and hungry Egyptian soldiers were walking out of the harsh, blazing desert with their hands up and handkerchiefs waving. From their east-bank positions, the nearest fresh water was 100 miles away; the water conduit from the west was held by the Israelis, who seemed determined to supply them with water only in exchange for surrender. At best, the ones who held out could probably expect to go through what Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a young major, was forced to do in 1949: to await an armistice, after which, by joint agreement, they can walk through Israeli lines to safety.
About the Author: Elder blogs at http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/
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