chapter  10
20 Pages

Towards the June 1967 War

The settlement that ended the Suez-Sinai War of 1956 providedthe 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. Egyptian forces did not re-enter the Gaza Strip, and Israel was free from fedayeen attacks from that area between March 1957 and May 1967. Israel, furthermore, secured the understanding of the Eisenhower administration. The sea route to Eilat was also a matter on which Israel could find sympathy from traditional maritime countries, including Britain. Trading nations had vested interests in issues like freedom of the seas, and these could override other considerations. Having achieved comparative security, Israel was able to concentrate on furthering its international status and internal development, as well as its military preparations.1