The Unholy War

October 6 1973 – Yom Kippur, a day of atonement

On the holiest night of the Jewish calendar, a holy war would ensue.

A secret assembly would take place first, a conference of powerful individuals plotting their next course of action. This assembly of men had representatives from both of the great military alliances of the era: those of the Warsaw pact and those of NATO. Intelligence was leaked to concerned third parties with interests in the Golan Heights and the surrounding areas currently occupied by Israel. Confidentiality was key to ensuring the safety of their assets. By the time the sun rose in the east, contingency plans were being created to ensure that the valuable commodity underneath the earth’s crust in the occupied territory would remain untouched by both of the combatting nations. This was pleasing to the families vying to gain control of the occupied land for excavation and drilling. Some of the megalithic structures and artefacts in the region were of importance to this conglomerate of individuals, because they admired these structures for the meaning they held to past civilisations.

And yet some buildings in the region were displeasing to these men. The great mosques of Al Nuri and Nabi Yuzus were to be destroyed and the arch of Palmyra to be preserved. These orders found their way to Israeli defense headquarters the day after the Egyptian offensive.

The Israeli Defense Minister received a black envelope by his Chief of Staff; it was sealed in red and stamped with a seal depicting an owl.

6th October 1973


I have received word of an offensive being carried out on your borders with Egypt and Syria.  Our investors and other interested parties would be incredibly disappointed if the oil-rich Golan heights fell into the grasp of the enemy. The council suggests you mobilize your reserve forces from the settlements close to the Syrian border in order to ensure the oil fields take no collateral damage. There is indeed a serious risk of Soviet competition with the petrodollar if these lands are retaken. This of course means that World Petroleum Corporation would be in quite the conundrum if the occupied land we purchased from your regime fell into the possession of the enemy. The international criminal court and the United Nations would be unlikely to make a successful intervention. In the event of such a crisis, the funds we offered would need to be reattributed to the corporation, one way or another.

In return for your cooperation we shall ensure that the United States executive authorizes military aid to your war efforts from its Mediterranean fleet.

Salutations comrade.

Gregory Astor

October 7th 1973 – diary entry 1 from David Silverstein, IDF Reservist

Dear Diary, 

The Yom Kippur services at my local synagogue in Northern Jerusalem were interrupted by armed men in uniform today. I recognized them instantly as soldiers of the IDF. They bore the star of David on their left arm. The men loudly and clearly professed their apologies and declared all fighting age and fit reservists were to report to camp Isiah to retrieve their weapons and uniforms. By this time, people were aware of the Arab offensive. Only now had the government decided to draft the reserves. This could only mean that military capabilities were going to be stretched.

The dread in the air was palpable; as a people we are known as confident and proud of our past victories. I was only a boy then. Six years ago my father went to carry out his civic duties in the military. Even then I knew it – he was fearful, concerned that he would not return.

I was now in the same state of mind.

Israel was fighting a war on two fronts; they fought hard to scramble their reserves on the day of atonement. Meanwhile KGB agents in London established a meeting with an American double agent whom they referred to as “the source”.  This anonymous source provided them with digital intelligence implicating the United States in providing Israel with nuclear arms. The man known only as Agent Milton gave them with a fine paper wallet holding classified presidential communication documents.

October 7th 1973- letter from the Secretary of State to the President

Mr. President,

I know from my experience as Secretary of State, that establishing a strong hold in the Middle East is imperative for our strategic supremacy. It is ubiquitously clear that U.S strategic supremacy is essential for world peace under a free and democratic world order. Our greatest foe, our ideological enemy, is using the political turmoil in the region to its advantage. If we do not intervene immediately, then our stronghold in the Middle East and hopes for control over the region will be lost.

Upon discussing with the generals of our alliance, I am requesting authorization to transfer our nuclear payload from one of our Mediterranean submarines to the Israelis on the northern coast. Measures have been taken to ensure the swiftness of this operation; all that is required is your authorization.

Yours respectfully,

William Bundy

October 16th 1973, diary entry 2 from David Silverstein, IDF Reservist

My regiment has been assigned to aid the centurion tank brigade on the northern front. Intel suggests that the Soviets have provided the enemy with state of the art T55 tanks. I heard the colonel mention that we will receive reinforcements with the new American hardware. I don’t know why they ordered us to attack the border now. It all seemed so hasty; it’s unlike our leadership to act out of haste. They seem determined to get us into the Golan Heights as quickly as possible. I’m surprised the regiment has held out this long. We have managed to keep the Syrian T55 units from crossing the plains beyond the oil fields in the Golan. They tend to launch attacks at night, but their pressing has been ineffective due to the forts along the Bar Lev line. From the forts, my regiment launched coordinated remote-controlled missile attacks on the moving tanks. I have been living in this very fort for days now awaiting the arrival of the second tank division to take over. I fall asleep involuntarily from time to time, but I’m unexpectedly awakened by the loud screeching of cannon and missile fire.

October 22nd 1973 diary entry 3 from David Silverstein, IDF Reservist

We adoringly welcomed the reinforcements who came in aid of my regiment and the Bar Lev line. Hundreds of my people had not made it. The enemy fought valiantly, but they lacked coordination and attacked blindly. Now that the tables have turned, we are in possession of modern, American made M1 Abrams heavy tanks. Tonight we launch a counter attack, despite the United Nations’ peacekeeping initiative. American satellites revealed that the enemy line of defense has a gap about two miles wide. This would be large enough for a squadron of five mobile armored units to slip through.

We moved at nightfall; the objective was for this team of 25 men to reach the rendezvous marked by a Romanesque stone arch in Palmyra, just south of the Golan in Idlib Province.

October 24th 1973 diary entry 4 from David Silverstein, IDF Reservist

Behind enemy lines, we were far from home.

Commander Dayan stressed that it was essential we siege Palmyra without anyone reporting our presence. We moved in the dead of night, a time when no one would suspect an invading force’s audacity in the face of the Syrian defensive line on the border.

Commander Dayan was ruthless but effective. He bore the scars of war in his right eye, which always remained covered by a black patch. I did my duties; I followed orders, but I knew deep down something was wrong. Our orders were simple; some would even consider them exciting since they catered to a man’s instinctive desire to create destruction.

We set the charges around the town. It was pitch black; we could see nothing but what was directly in front of us illuminated by the torches on our heads. Our vehicles did not bear our flag on this occasion. As we travelled on past the town north towards the grand mosque, I looked back at the town of Palmyra. The explosives ignited and sealed the fate of those in the vicinity. In the center of my vision was the arch of Palmyra perched on the hill above the town.

We planted no charges there; it seemed like the only structure that Dayan considered significant in that place. The town went up in a sudden orange blaze. I thought it was comparable to a depiction of hell. I sought no answers; we all knew none were coming.

About haringeyunchained

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to show case the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. We think that through the promotion of our creative thoughts, we can educate our community, bringing to the foreground the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant school in a deprived part of London. We are endeavouring to provide this blog as a platform for our community, giving the space to those whose work otherwise might not be seen or read. Being that the cuffs are off, we are able to express through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, what’s really on our minds. We are free.

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