Cascon Case SIN: Sinai 1956

Egypt_sm99.jpg (104284 bytes)

Status Quo Side: Egypt

Non-Status Quo Side: Israel

Region: Middle East

Conflict Type: Interstate

Issues in Dispute: Territory

Phase 2: 1955

The 1948 hostilities [see PAL] following the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine ended with UN-supervised armistice agreements. When the British Middle East Command withdrew from the Suez area, fedayeen (Arab guerrilla) raids and Israeli reprisals intensified. Israel moved toward military action in the face of the Arab economic blockade, Egypt's Soviet-bloc arms deal of 1955, and US and British failure to give either security guarantees or arms assistance (provided chiefly by France until then). French and British determination to reverse Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal provided an opportunity to coordinate military planning, in secret arrangements that included Israel.

Phase 3: 10/29/1956

Israel launched attacks aimed at both ends of the Canal and Sharm al Sheikh in the Straits of Tiran. In the UN, France and Britain issued an ultimatum demanding Egyptian and Israeli withdrawal to 10 miles from the Canal, followed on October 31 with somewhat half-hearted air and naval attacks against Egyptian airfields and in support of Israeli operations. By November 5, when a UN peace-keeping force (UNEF I) was created, Israel had achieved its immediate goals of destroying Egyptian Sinai positions, opening Elath in the Gulf of Aqaba, and damaging Arab prestige. (But France and the UK, under severe US pressure, had to abandon their goals including the Canal itself.) [see SUE]

Phase 4: 11/6/1956

Israel accepted the UNGA's call for a cease-fire. Withdrawal was completed by March 8 1957 only after US and other assurances that the Tiran Strait would be kept open, and that UNEF would have responsibility in Gaza until a peace settlement. The subsequent failure to honor these assurances contributed to the 1967 June War. [see AIW and MEW]

Cascon Home Copyright 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton