In the last century, several peacekeeping operations were carried out on the Sinai Peninsula due to the wars. However, even in this century there is no “peace under the olives”.
YEAR OF WAR AND PEACE
Veterans remember that the year 1956 is remembered forever as a year of war and peace. The Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the run of Vladimir Kuts, his two Olympic medals are the pride of our track and field athletics.
On the other hand, the tripartite aggression against Egypt and the conspiracy in Hungary agitated people to the same extent as the events in the Donbas and Syria are now.
The Suez Canal left a deep impression on my life. Even in childhood, after the war, we watched the American film “Suez” with captions (1938 edition of the year). Separate episodes of the film remained in the memory until now. Then there was the Suez crisis of the year 1956.
At that time I was finishing high school. I remember the message in the newspapers:
"The Soviet government is determined to force the aggressors and restore peace in the Middle East." Since then, there has been no such strong statement.
I read the same words again in English (“Bulganin’s Memorandum”) through 12 years at the Port Said Defense Museum. Seven years of my life are connected with the Suez Canal.
The Sinai Peninsula has become "right up to the clove native - Vysotsky". There I know every dune and palm tree. And the palm branch is a symbol of peace.
And that palm tree is alive today?
All the same e attracts in the summer heat
She is a passerby in the desert
(M.Yu. Lermontov, "The Branch of Palestine").
GROZNA AUTUMN 1956 OF THE YEAR
Anglo-French-Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956 in the Military Encyclopedic Dictionary is presented in the style of front-line reports.
The operation took place from October 29 to November 7 on 1956, with the aim of seizing the Suez Canal. The reason for the aggression was the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt.
The scope of the operation can be felt by going deep into the numbers.
The forces of aggressors totaled: 229 thousand people, more than 1 thousand guns and mortars, about 900 tanks and self-propelled artillery pieces, 650 aircraft, over 130 ships (including 6 aircraft carriers - 290 aircraft and 22 helicopters).
The Egyptian Armed Forces had 90 thousand people, 600 tanks and self-propelled guns, 600 guns and mortars, 128 aircraft, 11 ships.
On October 29, 1956, Israeli troops invaded Egypt and by November 1 reached the approaches to the canal. On October 31, the Anglo-French fleet blocked Egypt from the sea, and aviation (540 aircraft) struck at its important facilities.
November 5 The Anglo-French airborne and maritime landing forces captured bridgeheads in the Suez Canal area and the cities of Port Fuad (November 6) and Port Said (November 7).
These tragic events are also called: Operation Musketeer, Operation Kadesh (Purification), the Second Arab-Israeli War, the Hundred-Hour War, the Suez War, or the Sinai War (1956).
From the side of Egypt the troops were commanded by General Abdel Hakim Amer (1919 – 1967), and from the side of Israel the operation was planned by General Moshe Dayan (1915 – 1981).
In December, 1956, England and France, and in March, 1957, Israel withdrew its troops from the occupied territories. An important role in resolving the crisis was played by the United Nations. In Egypt, the UN forces were deployed along the demarcation line.
The decision was made by the General Assembly, and not by the UN Security Council (France and the United Kingdom blocked all resolutions). An eyewitness recalls: “A fantastic sight. The United States and the USSR vote together for a resolution. ”
The UN General Assembly commissioned the UN Secretary General during 48 hours to present a plan for creating an extraordinary international UN force to ensure the cessation of hostilities and to monitor compliance with their cessation (resolution 998 (ES-1, 4 November 1956)).
FOLLOWING THE YEAR 1956 CRISIS OF THE YEAR
The course of hostilities of the second Arab-Israeli war of 1956 is described in detail in the militaryhistorical literature. Almost according to Twardowski: “The environment and the coverage. Flanks, wedges, raids to the rear ... ". Having walked along peace roads on the Sinai Peninsula with a watering can and a notebook from sea to sea in 1973-1980, the author of these lines looked at events sixty years ago with the eyes of memory, spent several months on Mitla Pass, patrolled the pass on UN serpentine helicopters bends, “listened to the voice of history, mountains and desert”, checking Greenwich Mean Time, drawing a profile of the area on a topographic map. He served during the creation of the UN forces in 1973 and during their disbandment in 1979-1980.
We draw attention to some features of the fighting at Sinai in 1956 and 1973.
An Israeli airborne assault on the Mitla Pass in the center of Sinai is striking. Take three familiar names: Ariel Sharon, Micha Cabbage and Raphael Eitan.
Recall that in July the 1956 of the year at the Tushino airfield in Moscow was held the 3-th world championship in parachuting, in which national teams from 10 countries participated. Issued on this occasion, even a postage stamp.
Israeli paratroopers were invited to participate in the third world parachuting championship. Among the participants of the competition was Mikha Kapusta - the commander of the company of the 202 th battalion. Three months later, he participated in hostilities with Sharon on the Mitla Pass.
In correspondence with the journalist and writer, columnist of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper Israel Shamir, I reminded him of the events of 1973 and 1956 in the Suez Canal zone and received the answer:
“We ended up there in October 1973, a few days before the cease-fire.
We are the 101 paratroop battalion under the command of a general with the funny name Micha Kapust. Our task was to block the Cairo-Suez highway and prevent the Egyptians from transferring the main forces to the link with the Third Army. The hill itself was also slightly fortified, there were military depots with Yugoslav stew and mango juice.
We landed helicopters, we dug in and began to perform the task - to hit the highway. The Egyptians did not think that there were so few of us, and they shot at us from tanks mostly with armor-piercing shells. The attacks of their infantry never materialized. A couple of days later the tanks of General Bren came to us, and so we joined the main army.
We were on the farthest patch of the front, and right near the highway, so the choice of the place of negotiations was obvious. But we, of course, did not participate in the negotiations themselves, it was not our mind that was the case! ”
With a parachute in the Union in 1956, jumped and Rafael Eitan (1929 – 2004) - the team’s trainer and commander of the 890 battalion of paratroopers, and then - a participant in the events on the Mitla Pass. He participated in four Arab-Israeli wars.
It is necessary to mention David Elazar (1925 – 1976) - the participant of four wars with Arabs. In 1973, he was chief of staff of the Israeli Army. On the 101 kilometer of the Cairo – Suez road, the author of these lines, while on the UN post, made the following entry on 24 January 1974:
"At 101-m kilometer a big event is scheduled - the signing of the withdrawal plan."
Chief of Staff of the Israeli Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General David Elazar flew by helicopter, which, raising dust, landed in 100 meters from the tents.
After signing the withdrawal plan, the UN Commander-in-Chief, Finnish General Ensio Siilasvuo (1922 – 2003), spoke to the correspondents. The chief of staff of the army of Egypt, General Mohammed Abdel Ghani-El-Gamazi, spoke after him.
General David Elazar spoke the last in English. He is not tall, in a black beret (belonging to armored forces), tired. In the end, the general said that the implementation of the withdrawal agreement would take effect tomorrow. I remember these last words in pure English: "... the implementation of the agreement will start to morrow."
About General Sharon I will give a diary entry made in the Sinai Peninsula at the beginning of 1974: “This day was symbolic and symptomatic. The commander of a tank division, General Sharon, left Sinai, while the Russian captain got into a tank to lay a demarcation line under the UN flag. The words spoken in antiquity come true: "The time of war, and the time of peace." Ariel Sharon (1928 – 2014) visited Russia in 2003 the year when he was already Israeli Prime Minister.
Here is an interesting, but unconfirmed information from the book “Unfading glory: from warriors of internationalists to peacekeepers”, prepared by the Institute of Military History and published in 2004 year:
“Together with the Egyptians“ wing to wing ”, Soviet pilot-instructors also fought. Already at dawn 30 October 1956, they managed (on the MiG-15 bis) to intercept the four Canberra British intelligence officers and shoot down one of them.
The next day, Soviet pilots took part in the storming of the positions of the 202 Israeli parachute brigade. On November 1, a group of MiG-17 fighter-interceptors, which was specially transferred from the USSR, entered the battle, with which the British 2 and 3 managed to shoot down several British aircraft. ”
Memory brings me back to Port Said. I visited the Port Said Defense Museum for the first time in 1968. I remember the English and French parachutes hanging on the walls. We paid attention to the visitors book. The last entry was made in Russian by the well-known Pravda correspondent Yury Glukhov.
It should be said that I met Yuri Glukhov at the 101 kilometer of the Cairo – Suez road at the beginning of the 1974 year.
In my field notebook kept the record.
“January 18 1974. ONVUP. Egypt. Observation post UN on 101-m kilometer.
In the morning at 7 hours listened to the news on the BBC in English. It was reported that an agreement on the withdrawal of troops would be signed at the 101 kilometer. Now further events we observed with skill.
At 8 in the morning, soldiers were sent from the UN Emergency Force. They swept, cleaned, cleaned the area and set up additional tents.
In 10 hours appeared a bus with correspondents from Cairo, about a hundred. Among them are six Russian people headed by Yury Glukhov, a correspondent for the Pravda newspaper. Come to us. I reported on the patrol task. We went into our trailer, we treat guests to coffee. There were questions, pictures taken with the French captain. Then a group photograph. Yuri Glukhov told his fellow journalists about what he can write about today's event and what he cannot. Journalists invited me to Cairo. ”
At this interrupt the story of the war and move on to the story of the world.
LEGENDARY PEACEFUL TAKE
Each peacekeeper keeps the blue beret and other UN peacekeeping symbols for life. The photo in the blue beret of the United Nations (and sometimes the picture painted by the artist) and peacekeeping symbols remind of youth, romance and contribution to peacekeeping.
Probably only a good writer can describe the aesthetic, emotive, magical function, meaning and content of UN peacekeeping symbols.
Service in the UN troops in all armies is honored.
Few people know that the former president of Indonesia served as a UN military observer in 1995 – 1996 along with our peacekeepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Every peacemaker knows that blue beret is a symbol of the UN, a special purpose headdress.
As an element of uniforms, the beret clothing first appeared from the UN peacekeepers in November 1956 of the year during the deployment of the First UN Emergency Force (UNEF I-I) in the Suez Canal zone in Egypt.
The UNEF-I NW includes peacekeeping contingents of 10 countries. For the successful implementation of their mission, it was necessary to urgently come up with such symbols for them that would allow them to be distinguished from the Anglo-French-Israeli combatants who invaded Egypt. Note that the military uniform of one and the other did not differ much. For example, the form of Canadian peacekeepers and British combatants coincided.
From June 1948, when the first UNTSO peacekeeping operation in the Middle East (UN agency to monitor the truce), the UN peacekeepers acting as intermediaries, could be identified only by armbands with the inscription “United Nations” and patchwork with UN emblem. The author of the article still keeps such a bandage.
It was decided to issue UN peacekeepers berets and blue helmets (the color of the UN flag), which would have been clearly visible from afar. At the same time, the UN emblem and two English letters UN were painted on the helmet with white paint, and the UN emblem made of non-ferrous metal or embroidered on fabric was attached to blue berets as well as blue caps.
In addition, military observers and officers of the UN peacekeeping contingents began to use as a distinctive sign and blue scarves, which were tied around the neck and worn under a shirt. Scarves were considered not only a symbol, but also a talisman against all kinds of disasters.
At the first briefing in 1973, our officers experienced peacekeepers advised not to take off the blue scarf even while sleeping in a tent, being at the front edge of the Suez Canal zone.
Yugoslav soldiers from the UN First Emergency Armed Forces patrol a designated area. Photos from www.un.org
There is an opinion that there are two versions of the origin of the blue beret and the UN helmet. It is believed that the decision was made jointly at a meeting at the headquarters of the emergency forces. Another option - the blue beret, was proposed by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961). Note that Indian Sikhs wear blue turbans as part of the UN forces.
It is symptomatic and symbolic that our peacekeepers received UN berets in November 1973 of the year in Cairo, then headed to the Suez Canal zone and the Golan Heights (Syria). They made a significant contribution to overcoming the stereotypes of the Cold War, adequately represented our homeland abroad. Behind us was a great power!
In the past and present century, more than 300 of our peacekeepers were on the watch of peace in the Middle East under the blue flag of the United Nations and in blue berets. Since then, our peacekeepers have visited UN missions at 30.
In 1988, the UN peacekeeping forces were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Justification of the award: “For peacekeeping”.
In this award there is a considerable merit of our peacekeepers, who by that time had been on the watch of the world for 15 for years. We can proudly say “Magnaparsfui” - we were a considerable part, that is, we took a significant part.
Referring to the "Dictionary of International Symbols and Emblems," William Pokhlebkin:
"The term" blue helmets ", which in the modern press from 60-s began to denote UN troops, has no portable, symbolic meaning, but is" talking "and is associated with the blue color of the UN flag and helmets of soldiers of the UN military contingents."
It is simply said, understandable, but at the enigmatic level (mysteriously).
We will say a few words about the UN flag, which was approved by the UN General Assembly 20 October 1947.
The flag has a blue panel, which depicts the globe from the North Pole with a network of meridians and parallels, with the contours of all continents of the world (except Antarctica), framed by olive branches - "branches of the world".
The color of the UN stylized emblem is white (the color of the world).
Taking into account the fact that the blue beret (helmet) has become symbols of peacemaking and joint service of military personnel from different countries under the auspices of the UN, Russian veterans peacekeepers offer to celebrate the 60 anniversary of these UN symbols together with peacekeepers from other countries by holding a poster contest, seminars and conferences, devoted to peacekeeping activities of the world community.
UN FORCES ACT IN DESERT
The first peacekeeping operation with an armed contingent (UNEF I) began in 1956 in connection with the Suez crisis. The operation lasted from November 1956 to June 1967. The headquarters was in Gaza.
The first peacekeeping units arrived in Egypt on November 16 1956. At this time, the UN Radio correspondent was reporting live on the arrival of the first contingents in Egypt. The UN Secretary General visited Egypt from 16 to November 18. 24 countries wanted to separate troops, but settled on 10 countries. Yugoslavia provided the reconnaissance battalion.
Egypt temporarily placed an airfield in Abu Suweira at the disposal of UN forces.
It was the third UN peacekeeping operation. At the beginning of the creation, UN forces numbered the peacekeeper 6073, and during liquidation, the peacekeepers 3378. The last UN peacekeeper left Sinai on June 17 of the year 1967 at the request of Egypt. Over the entire period, losses were 110 people.
Initially, the forces operated in the zone of the Suez Canal and the Sinai Peninsula. Later - along the demarcation line of truce in the Gaza Strip and the international border on the Sinai Peninsula (from Egypt). Israel refused to deploy peacekeepers on its territory.
These forces were established to ensure the cessation of hostilities and control over this process, including the withdrawal of the armed forces of France, Israel and the United Kingdom from Egyptian territory, and after the withdrawal to act as a buffer between the Egyptian and Israeli armed forces. UN forces had freedom to fly over Sinai and Gaza, served the airport in Gaza.
The length of the patrol was 273 km along the demarcation line in Gaza and along the border with Egypt. Along the demarcation line with a length of 59 km, 72 observation posts were established. The section from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Strait of Tiran with a length of 187 km was patrolled by aerial reconnaissance. In the area of Sharm el-Sheikh, there was a unit of UN forces that controlled navigation through the strait.
In May 1967, Egypt secured the withdrawal of UNEF I. The six commanders changed.
The first commander was a member of the First and Second World Wars, the Canadian Lieutenant General Edson L.М. Burns. And the UN General Major Indar Rikhie (1920 – 2007) disbanded the UN forces, which 10 began peacemaking service in Sinai years ago. He left a memoir on the liquidation of UN forces, was a military adviser to two UN secretaries-general, wrote many articles on peacekeeping topics, became a symbol and pride of Indian peacekeeping.
A weekly newspaper, Sand Dunes, was published, a UN medal (UNEF-I) was minted and a stamp dedicated to the UN peacekeeping forces was prepared.
Finnish General Ensio Siilasvuo (1922 – 2003) in 1957, commanded the Finnish contingent in the UN forces in Sinai. In the Middle East, he had to serve 15 for years under the UN flag, seven of them with Russian peacekeepers. In 1993, the general visited the Museum of Peace Operations in the courses “Shot”.
Our peacekeepers had to serve in Sinai after 1973, with officers who were part of UNHR I, and also to meet with peacekeepers who began service as part of the Egyptian-Armored Mixed Armistice Commission in 1949.
We plunged into the origins of peacemaking under the aegis of Clea's patroness of history: 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 - four Arab-Israeli wars. These dates have left a deep impression in the memory of our peacekeepers.
BLUE BEERETS HAVE INTERACTIONS WITH BLUE CASKETS
As part of the UNTSO, a mixed Egyptian-Israeli armistice commission established in 1956 operated up to 1949.
From 1956 to 1967, there were, like, two UN missions in the Gaza region. On the one hand, UNTSO is represented by a mixed Egyptian-Israeli armistice commission. On the other hand, almost all peacemaking work was carried out by UN forces.
The difficulty was that Israel, with 1956, flatly refused and forever refused to participate in the work of the mixed commission. The UN did not recognize such a decision.
After the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, the fate of the mixed armistice commission was lost in the Sinai sands and mirages.
Now the Egyptian-Israeli border has been patrolled by multinational forces and observers for 35 years, but without a mandate, a flag, a beret and a UN helmet.
Note that the UNTSO mission was the source and donor of many UN peacekeeping operations. So it was in 1956 year. Chief of Staff of ONVUP Canadian Lieutenant General E.L.M. Burns was appointed commander of the UN forces. 12 November 1956, he and a group of UNTSO officers deployed a temporary headquarters in Cairo. Thus, the UN military observers initiated the formation of the UN mission in Sinai.
We emphasize that the UN peacekeeping operations in the past century were carried out not only in Yugoslavia, but also the Yugoslav peacekeeping battalion was under the UN flag in the EMF for 10 years. And the Yugoslav colonel commanded the UN forces in 1964 year. As they say, the valid and passive voice is metamorphosis. The history of the Yugoslav peacekeeping battalion is captured in photographs sixty years ago.
Canadian statesman Lester Bowles Pearson (1897 – 1972) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1957 for peacekeeping. Short wording: "For his role in overcoming the Suez crisis." We add that the previous two years the award was not awarded. Prior to the inclusion of our peacekeepers in the peace process, 17 years remained, but these were the Second Extreme Force - UNEF-II (1973 – 1979).
On the last day of October 2015, the irreparable happened. Russian airliner A321 was blown over Sinai. Note that the plane crashed where the Multinational Force and Observers are operating, which can be considered an alternative to the UN peacekeeping forces.
Forces include 1682 man from 12 countries, aviation and maritime component. However, the forces do not operate under the flag of the UN, but on the basis of a bilateral treaty.
Out of habit, when a peacekeeping day in Egypt began with a topographic map and ended with a map, on the old “trophy” five-kilometer map of Sinai (Shemal Sina) plotted the crash coordinates of the A321– 30 ± 10'09 '' N. X. 34 "E
Requiem aeternam - eternal peace to them.