Sinai War


Sinai War
(1956)
   The war had its origins in the regional tensions that were common after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. The arms race was continuing, and tension grew further when the Czechoslovakian-Egyptian arms deal, announced in September 1955, introduced the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a major arms supplier to the Arab states of the Middle East. Palestinian fedayeen (commando) attacks into Israel were on the increase. At the same time, Great Britain and France opposed Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal and its support of anti-French rebels in North Africa. Britain and France agreed with Israel that action against the dangers posed by President Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and his policies was essential, and the three powers secretly organized a coordinated operation. Israel moved into the Sinai Peninsula on 29 October 1956, and by the afternoon of the next day, Britain and France issued an ultimatum (as previously agreed) calling on both sides to stop fighting and to withdraw to positions 10 miles (16 kilometers) on either side of the Suez Canal. Israel accepted, but Egypt rejected the proposal. By 5 November, Israel had occupied Sharm el-Sheikh, Britain and France had withdrawn militarily under pressure from the United States (and Russia), and the fighting ended.
   Israel eventually withdrew from all of the territory its forces had occupied during the conflict under the weight of United Nations resolutions but especially under pressure from the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower. In return for this withdrawal, the United States provided assurances to Israel concerning freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran and in the Gulf of Aqaba. The United Nations Emergency Force was created to patrol the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Israel armistice line, which it did until the days immediately preceding the Six-Day War (1967).
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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