Thirty-nine years ago today, on October 27, 1973, Egyptian and Israeli generals agreed to meet near the Suez Canal to discuss the stalemate that had developed at the end of the fighting in the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Israel, having crossed to the West Bank of the Suez Canal in its counteroffensive, cut off the Egyptian Third Field Army from its sources of supply just as a ceasefire went into effect. Egypt was left with a major part of its Army cut off without supplies, and with an Israeli Army on the road to Cairo. On October 27, the Egyptians agreed to direct negotiations, military to military, at the front to seek a disengagement. The first meeting actually took place after midnight, and thus on October 28. The two sides met at Kilometer 101 on the Cairo-Suez road, thus only 101 kilometers from the Egyptian capital.
|UN Checkpoint at Kilometer 101|
It is also easy to forget that Arabs had refusred to negotiate directly with Israelis after the end of the 1948 War and the Rhodes Armistice; talks when they did occur were "proximity" talks with a third-party mediator, and went nowhere. At Kilometer 101, generals met generals on military disengagement issues, but it also met Egyptians and Israelis were talking directly to each other for the first time in years.
|One of the Later Meetinvs at Kilometer 101|