Egypt: The 1973 War and After

The 1973 War and After

Another war with Israel broke out on Oct. 6, 1973, when Egyptian forces attacked Israel on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Israeli forces were caught off guard as Egyptian units progressed into the Sinai, and fighting broke out between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. The fighting escalated both on the ground and in the air.

After Israel had stabilized the Syrian front, its troops crossed the Suez Canal and toward the end of the war were in control of some 475 sq mi (1,230 sq km) on the west bank of the canal between Ismailia and Adabiya, surrounding the city of Suez and trapping Egypt's Third Army on the east side of the canal. Sadat called for a cease-fire coupled with the withdrawal of Israel from territories it had occupied since 1967. At the same time, Arab countries, by reducing—and later stopping—oil exports to selected countries supporting Israel, put pressure on the United States to get Israel to pull back from the occupied lands.

On Oct. 22 the United States and the USSR submitted a joint resolution to the UN Security Council calling for an immediate cease-fire and the beginning of peace negotiations. The Security Council voted to establish a UN emergency force made up of troops from the smaller nations to supervise the cease-fire. Through the mediation efforts of U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Egypt and Israel agreed to face-to-face negotiations on implementing the cease-fire. On Nov. 9, Israel accepted a proposal, worked out by Kissinger and Sadat.

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