Monday, April 20, 1998 Published at 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Israel in War and Peace
The former BBC Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, looks back at the history of Israel.
After Israel's conquests of 1967 there was a short period of triumphalism.
The Israelis annexed East Jerusalem, announcing it as their unified and eternal capital, and imposed military rule on Syria's Golan Heights, the formerly Jordanian West Bank and Egyptian-administered Gaza.
Israel, in confident mood, considered American and other peace moves in the region. But, such land as the Israelis considered minimally vital to their security was the same land the Arabs reckoned minimally to be rightfully theirs. The Arab-Israeli stand-off persisted.
But out of their second humiliating defeat in less than 20 years, the Arabs - including the emergent Palestinian national movement - were beginning to rebuild their self-esteem and increase and enhance their armaments.
No Arab state recognised Israel. Israel felt free to act accordingly and ignore United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, urging the return of occupied Arab territories, which had been passed in November 1967, after the Six-Day War.
The settlement programme was a key part of Israel's strategy: by 1973 there were 42 settlements built in the occupied territories in and around Arab East Jerusalem, and 35 more set for the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel's relationship with the United States was now an unbreakably deep alliance sealed in arms and money. Since 1949, Israel has received more than $62,000m in aid from the United States government alone - the equivalent at present rates of nearly $11,000 a year for each Israeli.
Yom Kippur: the first military set-back
But the Soviet bloc was also arming Israel's main Arab neighbours, Egypt and Syria.
President Nasser of Egypt had died in September 1970, broken by the defeat of 1967. His successor, President Anwar Sadat, was determined to win back Egyptian territory.
Against all expectations and taking advantage of Israeli overconfidence and the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Egyptian forces managed to cross the Suez Canal on October 6, 1973, while the Syrian army burst through on the Golan Heights.
But Israeli morale was badly damaged. Nearly 3,000 Israelis were dead or missing, a horrific figure for such a small nation. The eventual disengagement agreements brokered by the United States reduced Israel's positions in both the Sinai and the Golan Heights.
Land for peace
The deal was land for peace. Egypt gradually received back the Sinai, taking full control in 1982. In return, Israel had a lasting peace with what until then had been its most significant Arab enemy. Without Egypt's forces, a successful Arab military offensive against Israel was, and remains, unthinkable.
The Labour party, which had ruled Israel since the state was formed, had fallen from office under pressure of economic troubles, the fallout from the 1973 War, and internal divisions over policies towards the Arabs.
Labour was out of government for nearly 10 years. During that time, the Likud Coalition led Israel into dangerous military escapades.
It also shaped a new, more conservative Israel, in which, to survive in office, Likud gave hardline religious minority parties a disproportionate amount of power in return for their votes.
The History of Israel
Part 1: The return of the Jews to the promised land
Part 2: The birth of Israel
Part 3: Israel builds a nation
Part 4: Israel in war and peace
Part 5: Israel and the PLO
Part 6: The Intifada
Part 7: The road to Oslo