chapter  2
27 Pages

Two Pledges and the Origins of a Conflict

The settlement that ended the Suez-Sinai War of 1956 provided the pretext for the June 1967 War. Israel agreed to withdraw its forces from the conquered territories largely because of an understanding with Washington that the United Nations Emergency Force would ensure freedom of passage through the Straits of Tiran. By the beginning of 1967 the number of Palestinian refugees was well over 1 million, possibly as high as 2 million. Nikita Khrushchev warned Nasser, before the Anglo-French invasion, that Russia would not get involved in a Third World War for the Suez Canal. Khrushchev opened the Aswan dam and the Russians promoted industrialization in Egypt, but it became evident to Nasser that Russia hoped to replace Western influence in Egypt with Russian influence. But he warned the third Arab summit in Casablanca in September 1965 that war against Israel would not be possible.