Six-day war: Israeli paratrooper and Palestinian recall conflict 50 years on
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Yitzhak Yifat, who features in David Rubinger Western Wall photograph, and ex-soldier look back: He said, Please stop. And then he took the famous picture
Dr Yitzhak Yifat, an Israeli paratrooper in 1967, was the central figure in David Rubingers famous photograph of three Israeli soldiers celebrating the capture of the Western Wall.
I was 23 then and a corporal. When Gamal Abdel Nasser [the Egyptian president] blockaded the Suez canal, Israelis were being called up. I wasnt called up at first I was a teacher then but on 23 May I was back home in Tel Aviv when I heard the doorbell ring. I opened it. I saw a boy and girl, both soldiers. They had my call-up order and in a few minutes I had prepared a backpack.
Azzam Abu Saud, a former economist and businessman, later a novelist. At the outbreak of the six-day war, Abu Saud, then a student on his summer holidays, volunteered to join the Jordanian forces.
My family had a house in what was then the Mugrabi neighbourhood next to the Western Wall [destroyed after the Israeli conquest]. I was 19 and living with my family in Beit Hanina [in eastern Jerusalem, then under Jordanian control.] The day the war started, June 5th, Id returned from university in Cairo for the summer. My father gave me some money and told me to go to Jerusalem to buy some meat and vegetables we needed.
On the first day of the war, I was with my unit in a kibbutz near Tel Nof airport. We were waiting to board planes to jump in and capture El Arish [in Egypts Sinai]. News came that Jordanian planes had started to bomb Jerusalem and there were casualties in the city. I saw our battalion commander looking preoccupied. He said: Were taking buses to Jerusalem.