Egyptian President Anwar Saadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin conversing at
Egyptian President Anwar Saadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin conversing atDavid Rubinger - Yedioth Ahronoth Group

#1 Thankfully we ignored Abie Nathan's calls on Voice of Peace radio

It was 1973 and I was on Kibbutz Saad in the Negev.

Yom Kippur was just over and in a few minutes I was supposed to go over to the bomb shelter to help clear it out. The nightmarish war was well underway and many had already been called up and left Saad before the fast ended.

I flipped on my radio trying to get some news about the war and there was someone on in English urging the soldiers to put down their weapons. Not to fight. I thought it was an Arab station. But it wasn't. It was Abie Nathan on the Voice of Peace.

On August 2, 1995 I asked him about it:

IMRA: Did you ever get any flack from people who remember that you called for soldiers to put down their arms at the start of the Yom Kippur War?

Nathan: "We asked for people on both sides to put down their weapons and many people still remember it. I know many Egyptians who tell me that they heard the broadcast. I was broadcasting off of Port Said. We had just started broadcasting on the ship. It was on Yom Kippur and all the [Israeli] radio stations were silent. Since I was off of Port Said I was really among the first to know that the war had started.

"No one thought there was anything wrong with calling for the soldiers not to fight. If the soldiers on both sides had only listened to me it would have left the war for the generals to fight."

But he wasn't calling in Arabic. It was in English.

And while some Egyptians may have heard him. his audience was overwhelmingly Israeli.

Thank God no Israeli soldier heeded his call.

#2. The Israeli victory

At the end of what Egypt terms the "victorious 1973 October War" the Egyptian Third Army was "victoriously" trapped and "victoriously" starving to death. True, the start of the war was a disaster for Israel, but it managed to turn the tide.

The "victorious" Egyptian Army met with the "defeated?" Israeli Army at Kilometer 101.

But Kilometer 101 was not 101 kilometers from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

It was 101 kilometers from Cairo.

Israeli forces did not advance to Cairo because America made them stop.

By the same token, the "victorious" Syrian Army did not reach a ceasefire with the "defeated" IDF with the "victorious" Syrian army on the road to Haifa. Instead the "defeated"

IDF was on the road to Damascus after pushing back the "victorious" Syrian army.

#3. Sadat - Not Golda Meir - rejected negotiations to avoid Yom Kippur War

A. The Kissinger initiative

The following excerpt from "The Rabin Memoirs by Yitzhak Rabin" (pages 215-218) provides solid evidence that Prime Minister Golda Meir was open to negotiating an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai before the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It was Anwar Sadat who opted for war over diplomacy.

February 28 [1973]...Kissinger, who received me at the White House at 7:30 that evening with an omniscient expression on his face. "I imagine that the prime minister has had a tough and depressing day," he said in what sounded to me like a self-satisfied tone. ...he noted that his approach in his talks with Hafez Ismail of Egypt had concentrated on the principle of "security versus sovereignty."

Translated into pragmatic terms, it meant that Israel would have to accept Egyptian sovereignty over all of the Sinai but that Egypt, in turn, would have to accept an Israeli military presence in certain strategic positions, such as Sharm el-Sheikh (though he hastened to add that such an Israeli military presence might have to be disguised as a civilian one).

...Golda readily agreed, so long as it was understood that such explorations would be undertaken with Israel's knowledge but not in her behalf. I immediately notified Kissinger...

...In April, Dr. Kissinger continued his efforts to reach an understanding with Hafez Ismail on the basis of the "security versus sovereignty" formula, but in May President Sadat rejected the proposal - as he had earlier rejected the idea of "proximity talks." By then Sadat was already fully determined to go to war, and he was not interested in exploring any political solution that was not set out purely on his own terms...."

B. The Israeli initiative

Ronen Pollak reported on Israel Radio 9 June 2013 that documents published by the State Archives show that three months before the Yom Kippur War.Prime Minister Golda Meir asked German Chancellor Willy Brant to send a message to President Sadat of Egypt that Israel was willing to give up most
of the Sinai Peninsula, but stressed that Israel would not return to the '67 lines.

Israel did not report the move to the United States.

A German envoy met with the Egyptian President's senior advisor and consultant Hafez Ismail who rejected the offer as long as Israel was not willing to withdraw to the suicidal '67 lines.

Dr. Aaron Lerner is editor of IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis, since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations