The Impact Relations And Infrastructural


While the most evident impacts of wars are the human loses through deaths and disability, wars also have serious economic impacts ranging from destruction of infrastructure and buildings, loss of working population, increased debt and interference with the normal economic activities within the warning areas. Based on the case study of Egypt versus Israel’s war of attrition of 1969-1970, this essay aims to highlight some of the economic impacts Israel experienced as a result of engaging in the war.

The war of Attrition (1969-1970)

The war of attrition was initiated by the then Egyptian President Gamal Nasser in an attempt to recapture the Sinai Peninsula; a territory that had been captured by the Israeli during another war termed ‘The Six Day War (Blanga, 2012). According to Stein (2011), the war predominantly took place within the Suez Canal and was considered significantly unique from other wars that had occurred before, especially due to the fact that it was mostly in form of ‘static fighting’ which resulted into no territory being captured by any of the fighting sides.

Economic Impacts of the War of Attrition

There were interesting economic activities that occurred between Israel and The United States during the war of attrition. When Israel was caught up in the war of attrition with Egypt, the US had to implement its policy of containment and this was in competition with USSR (Soviet Union) to gain influence on most regions globally (Gat, 2016). As a result, when the USSR assisted Egypt with combat aircraft systems and 1500 soldiers to fight against Israel, the US responded by granting Israel a loan of $545 million, estimated to be 20 times the amount of military aid Israel had received from any donor, and twice what they had received in 22 years since the country’s existence. Whereas there was no absolute winner in this war, Herf (2014) speculates that this economic aid played an important role in the development of Israeli’s military equipment and personnel.


The war caused serious destruction of property and infrastructure that Israel had built in Sinai after capturing the Peninsular from Egypt during the Six Day War. According to Norton (2016), Israel had occupied the Sinai Peninsula and had established various infrastructural developments such as mining equipment as well as roads for transporting oil resources from the peninsula. However, when the Egyptians initiated the way, all these property and infrastructural development were destroyed, leading to huge economic loses. Wolf (2015) also gives an account of the attack by an incident of the war when the Israelis attacked the Egyptian on 14th July 1967, and the Egyptians retaliated by sinking Israeli destroyer with 47 soldiers inside. A destruction of such equipment is considered serious economic loss due to the massive investments Israel had made in purchasing such equipment.

The war also had serious ramifications on Israeli’s labour force. For instance, according to Herf (2014), the war involved approximately 275,000 Israeli reserve personnel in the entire three years, 600 -1400 estimated to have died, while 2600 estimated to have sustained injuries. Hence, from the perspective of the military personnel alone, the war caused a serious decrease in the workforce and the replacement process for this workforce cost huge financial resources.

During the early stages of the war, the Israeli Citizens demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the war and the number of casualties that had been encountered (Oron, 2012). As a result, according to Gat (2016), there was increased public unrest and people demonstrated in Israeli cities and towns. This led to constant political instability within the country which led to a decline in economic and investment activities. According to Wolf (2015), Israel experienced a period of declined economic activity and slowing down its economic growth. Moreover, in the process of the war, Damascus airport was bombarded and those triggered serious economic loss by curtailing the transportation of goods in and out of the country (Gat, 2016).

Post-1970, the decline of Central authority in Lebanon encouraged the terrorist attacks against northern Israel where civilians were hijacked on passenger planes. According to Wolf (2015), these attacks had serious economic implications of the air transport characterized by a decline in the economic activity of passenger planes, leading to loss of jobs by Israeli pilots and airport operators.

The war also led to a displacement of Israeli citizens who were running their daily economic activities within the Sinai Peninsula and this led to a disruption of economic activity. According to Wolf (2015), many people flee the peninsular and businesses could no longer continue to operate. This had serious economic impacts on Israel because they lost revenue collected from these businesses. Indeed the busy economy in the Sinai Peninsula was no more; the Israeli government was no longer benefiting from tax revenue.

Ultimately, a major economic impact of the war was the indecisive outcome of the war, where no side of the battle gained a full control over the mineral-rich Sinai Peninsula. According to Wolf (2015), there was no territorial exchange and neither Egypt nor Israel won the territory. However, from a sheer economic perspective, Israel lost the absolute control of Sinai Peninsula, which apart from its rich mineral and oil content, was a major tourist attraction that could have been a major source of Israeli national income.

In conclusion, this paper has highlighted the fact that the Egypt versus Israel war of attrition (1969-1970) had serious economic implications that are worth noting. It has been established that Israel benefited economically from the war by receiving a $545 million grant from the US. Contrariwise, the Egyptian attacks on Israel within the Sinai territory led to a loss in Israel’s military labour force through death, destruction of property and infrastructure, loss of jobs, and a halt in Israel’s economic activity both in the Peninsular and back at home. Equally, Israel ended up losing the Sinai Peninsula, a territory rich in oil and mineral resources.

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  • Blanga, Y. U. (2012) ‘“Why are they shooting?”: Washington’s view of the onset of the War of Attrition’, Israel Affairs, 18(2), pp. 155–176. doi: 10.1080/13537121.2012.659074.
  • Blanga, Y. U. (2016) ‘“Between Two and Four”: The French Initiative and the Multi-Power Diplomatic Initiatives to Resolve the Middle East Crisis’, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 27(1), p. 93.
  • Gat, M. (2016) ‘Military power and foreign policy inaction: Israel, 1967‒1973’, Israel Affairs, 22(1), pp. 69–95. doi: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111636.
  • Herf, J. (2014) ‘“At War with Israel”’, Journal of Cold War Studies, 16(3), pp. 129–163. doi: 10.1162/JCWSpass:[_]a_00450.
  • Israeli, O. (2013) ‘The 1973 War: Link to Israeli-Egyptian Peace’, Middle East Policy, 20(4), pp. 88–98. doi: 10.1111/mepo.12048.
  • NORTON, R. J. (2016) ‘Reconstructing a Shattered Egyptian Army: War Minister Gen. Mohamed Fawzi’s Memoirs, 1967-1971’, Naval War College Review, 69(2), pp. 142–143.
  • Oron, I. (2012) ‘Wars and Suicides in Israel, 1948-2006’, International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 9(5), p. 1927. Available at:
  • Stein, E. (2011) ‘The “Camp David Consensus”: Ideas, Intellectuals, and the Division of Labor in Egypt’s Foreign Policy toward Israel’, International Studies Quarterly, 55(3), p. 737.
  • Wolf, A. B. (2015) ‘The Arab Street: Effects of the Six-Day War’, Middle East Policy, 22(2), pp. 156–167. doi: 10.1111/mepo.12135.
  • Yahel, I. (2016) ‘Covert Diplomacy Between Israel and Egypt During Nasser Rule: 1952-1970’, SAGE Open, 6(4), p. 1.

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