The Suez War 1956 - Israeli Perspective

Essay by DetroitaqHigh School, 11th grade May 2009

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The numerous conflicts between the Arab states and Israel have been ones of considerable stupidity and completely unnecessary. These conflicts have been in vain simply because the Arab states know that Israel is legitimate and that they have no right to attack it. However they see past this fact and home in on the unrealistic-at-best goal of "obliterating Israel from the map of the Middle East." This latest conflict, centring on the threat of Egypt is just another example of this.

In response to the blockade of the Straits of Tiran and the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by Egypt in July 1956, Israel was right to feel alarmed in the least. I must admit that we were in a difficult situation. Egypt was clearly breaching its armistice agreements by blocking Israeli shipping. This is therefore a clear sign of Egypt's intent towards Israel. We needed to act. This constant threat of being attacked could not be accepted.

On 14 October 1956, Egyptian President Nasser stated:"I am not solely fighting against Israel itself. My task is to deliver the Arab world from destruction through Israel's intrigue, which has its roots abroad. Our hatred is very strong. There is no sense in talking about peace with Israel. There is not even the smallest place for negotiations."There was only one way that the threat of Egypt was to be reduced. This way was to make Egypt and the other Arab states wake up to themselves. The only way to do that was open conflict. Israel needed to make itself infamous to the Arab states as being a state that is there and cannot be attacked. By invading the Peninsular of Sinai, Israel aimed to hit its mark hard at the place that it would most hurt Egypt. That was the Suez Canal. With British and French intervention, the war could have ended sooner. By not meeting the demands of the European Powers, Nasser extended the conflict that could have ended sooner and more peacefully.

Israel is not accountable, responsible or blamable for the events that led to and after the Suez War of 1956 or for the war itself. The Arab state of Egypt is to blame; in particular their President, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser. He has shown that the state of Egypt is a threat to the legitimate state of Israel. In a speech on August 31, 1955 Nasser states:"Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam and they will cleanse the land of Palestine....There will be no peace on Israel's border because we demand vengeance, and vengeance is Israel's death."This quotation is an absolute clear indication of Egypt's outrageous tactic of this new kind of warfare. If he had his way, the horrors of the Holocaust would be replaced by Egypt's criminal and irresponsible act of using terrorists and targeting Israeli, in particular Jewish, civilians. This quotation was perceived by Israel as a threat to its sovereignty and its independence.

Also the Suez War can be justified for Israel by a statement by Abba Eban, Israeli Ambassador to the UN on October 30, 1956:"There is aggression, there is belligerency in the Middle East, but we for eight years have been its victims, not its authors."This statement shows that Israel has been the victim of constant attacks from the Arab states, both with their military and their terrorist organisations. Israel was made legally and the conflicts that now arise are because the Arab states that refuse to accept the state of Israel. Jewish Virtual Library (A Division of the American-Israeli Co-operative Enterprise), 2007 IsraCast, 2008