What were Israel's war aims during the Suez Crisis of 1956?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,296
SoCal
What were Israel's war aims during the Suez Crisis of 1956? Did it want to conquer and annex both Gaza and the Sinai? Or did it have some other war aims during this crisis?
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,967
I wrote some undergrad paper on the Suez invasions about 12 or 13 (?) years after he fact. It is long gone with all the rest of those "intellectual efforts." From what I can recall based on whatever info was available in those days, Israel saw Mr. Nasser as a potential existential threat to the State of Israel. Soviet influence was on the rise in Egypt and included large amounts of military equipment and weapons systems that could only be seen as directed against Israel. There was also concern that Egypt was attempting to form an offensive alliance with Syria and Jordan to surround Israel.

Britain and France had other concerns, but the vital interests of all three were convergent. Israel also wanted to open their southern port on the Gulf of Aqaba to access the Indian Ocean and the trade of Asia. That was blocked by Egyptian control of the Sinai. As I recall, now that this has been brought up in the OP, David Ben-Gurion had some changes in political geography in mind to better defend Israel's position in the Middle East. Jordan would cease to exist, and some cockamaimie scheme would resettle all the Palestinians in Iraq. Lebanon would become a primarily Christian state (what would happen to the Moslem population of Lebanon I don't remember now - maybe it wasn't articulated).

Israel in 1956 was still primarily concerned with survival. The Suez campaign was intended to cripple Egypt's military capability (a preventive war) so that the more powerful anti-Israel state would be unable to form a coalition that could destroy the State of Israel. (The U.A.R. was established later in the 1950s with Egypt-Syria, but that collapsed with political events in Syria I think in 1961 or 62.) The campaign was most successful for Israel, for France and G.B., not so much.

So, Israeli war aims were survival, the opening of a port to the south, and demonstrating to the Arabs - and to others - that Israel was capable of acting in its own interests.

I do not think any territory was acquired in 1956, the Israeli position being to negotiate the return of occupied areas for guarantees of access to Aqaba and the Indian Ocean. Those were violated by Mr. Nasser in 1967, along with renewed threats against Israel by Egypt and Syria. In the Six Day war Israel occupied the Golan heights, Gaza, the West Bank, and at that time the entire Sinai Peninsula until after the Camp David agreement when Carter was POTUS.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,654
I wrote some undergrad paper on the Suez invasions about 12 or 13 (?) years after he fact. It is long gone with all the rest of those "intellectual efforts." From what I can recall based on whatever info was available in those days, Israel saw Mr. Nasser as a potential existential threat to the State of Israel. Soviet influence was on the rise in Egypt and included large amounts of military equipment and weapons systems that could only be seen as directed against Israel. There was also concern that Egypt was attempting to form an offensive alliance with Syria and Jordan to surround Israel.

Britain and France had other concerns, but the vital interests of all three were convergent. Israel also wanted to open their southern port on the Gulf of Aqaba to access the Indian Ocean and the trade of Asia. That was blocked by Egyptian control of the Sinai. As I recall, now that this has been brought up in the OP, David Ben-Gurion had some changes in political geography in mind to better defend Israel's position in the Middle East. Jordan would cease to exist, and some cockamaimie scheme would resettle all the Palestinians in Iraq. Lebanon would become a primarily Christian state (what would happen to the Moslem population of Lebanon I don't remember now - maybe it wasn't articulated).

Israel in 1956 was still primarily concerned with survival. The Suez campaign was intended to cripple Egypt's military capability (a preventive war) so that the more powerful anti-Israel state would be unable to form a coalition that could destroy the State of Israel. (The U.A.R. was established later in the 1950s with Egypt-Syria, but that collapsed with political events in Syria I think in 1961 or 62.) The campaign was most successful for Israel, for France and G.B., not so much.

So, Israeli war aims were survival, the opening of a port to the south, and demonstrating to the Arabs - and to others - that Israel was capable of acting in its own interests.

I do not think any territory was acquired in 1956, the Israeli position being to negotiate the return of occupied areas for guarantees of access to Aqaba and the Indian Ocean. Those were violated by Mr. Nasser in 1967, along with renewed threats against Israel by Egypt and Syria. In the Six Day war Israel occupied the Golan heights, Gaza, the West Bank, and at that time the entire Sinai Peninsula until after the Camp David agreement when Carter was POTUS.
Survival. Engaged in a criminal conspiracy with france and Britian to invade it;'s neighbors on manufactured pretext and lie, so it could expand it's territory.

Yes your honor when I mugged that man and stole his wallet I was motivated by self defence.

Somehow all Israel "defense wars" usually started by a surprise attack in conquest of other people's land,

chutzpah. But they have been very sucessful in writing their own narrative in the popular accepted version of history in teh west,
 

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,472
Wirral
Survival. Engaged in a criminal conspiracy with france and Britian to invade it;'s neighbors on manufactured pretext and lie, so it could expand it's territory.

Yes your honor when I mugged that man and stole his wallet I was motivated by self defence.

Somehow all Israel "defense wars" usually started by a surprise attack in conquest of other people's land,

chutzpah. But they have been very sucessful in writing their own narrative in the popular accepted version of history in teh west,
I’m not sure about the popular accepted bit. I’d say that in the U.K. Suez means nothing to some and as a national humiliation to the rest of us. Those that do know of it are aware of the Anglo/French/Israeli double dealing.
 
Mar 2015
1,456
Yorkshire
I wrote some undergrad paper on the Suez invasions about 12 or 13 (?) years after he fact. It is long gone with all the rest of those "intellectual efforts." From what I can recall based on whatever info was available in those days, Israel saw Mr. Nasser as a potential existential threat to the State of Israel. Soviet influence was on the rise in Egypt and included large amounts of military equipment and weapons systems that could only be seen as directed against Israel. There was also concern that Egypt was attempting to form an offensive alliance with Syria and Jordan to surround Israel.

Britain and France had other concerns, but the vital interests of all three were convergent. Israel also wanted to open their southern port on the Gulf of Aqaba to access the Indian Ocean and the trade of Asia. That was blocked by Egyptian control of the Sinai. As I recall, now that this has been brought up in the OP, David Ben-Gurion had some changes in political geography in mind to better defend Israel's position in the Middle East. Jordan would cease to exist, and some cockamaimie scheme would resettle all the Palestinians in Iraq. Lebanon would become a primarily Christian state (what would happen to the Moslem population of Lebanon I don't remember now - maybe it wasn't articulated).

Israel in 1956 was still primarily concerned with survival. The Suez campaign was intended to cripple Egypt's military capability (a preventive war) so that the more powerful anti-Israel state would be unable to form a coalition that could destroy the State of Israel. (The U.A.R. was established later in the 1950s with Egypt-Syria, but that collapsed with political events in Syria I think in 1961 or 62.) The campaign was most successful for Israel, for France and G.B., not so much.

So, Israeli war aims were survival, the opening of a port to the south, and demonstrating to the Arabs - and to others - that Israel was capable of acting in its own interests.

I do not think any territory was acquired in 1956, the Israeli position being to negotiate the return of occupied areas for guarantees of access to Aqaba and the Indian Ocean. Those were violated by Mr. Nasser in 1967, along with renewed threats against Israel by Egypt and Syria. In the Six Day war Israel occupied the Golan heights, Gaza, the West Bank, and at that time the entire Sinai Peninsula until after the Camp David agreement when Carter was POTUS.
I think this is a pretty good summary from the Israeli point of view.

It is difficult to under-estimate the appeal of Nasser across the Arab world, charm, charismatic, strong, good-looking, young and beautiful Arabic diction - a Saladin in the making. In 1955 he received huge supplies of arms from Czechoslovakia (proxy for the USSR).

The British had recently removed their forces from the perceived buffer of the Canal by sign the Anglo-Egyptian Pact in 1954 - illegally then nationalised. Incursions across the Israeli- Gaza border were almost daily events - it was common to switch on the radio only to hear of another breach of the Armistice and another tit for tat artillery duel.

The Arab world was in turmoil but must have seemed evident to the Israelis that threat from Nasser was likely only to grow.

In response to the threat they received modern Mystere jets from France, their most important ally at the time (due to the Algerian War). Hence they had the means briefly to blunt what Pikeshot correctly calls the existentialist threat from Egypt. Little did we know at the time how effective the small Israeli Defence Force would be or how ineffective the Egyptian military.

It should also be remembered that none of the other Arab States came to Egypt's rescue - this was Israel versus Egypt.

IMO, Israel met all its limited war aims and I don't think it had any territorial aims (at that stage).
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,654
How was the nationalization of the Suez Canal Illegal?

In response to the threat they received modern Mystere jets from France, their most important ally at the time (due to the Algerian War). Hence they had the means briefly to blunt what Pikeshot correctly calls the existentialist threat from Egypt. Little did we know at the time how effective the small Israeli Defence Force would be or how ineffective the Egyptian military.
There was no threat. This is just Israeli proprganda,
What was small about the Israeli Defense force.?



It should also be remembered that none of the other Arab States came to Egypt's rescue - this was Israel versus Egypt.
And Britain and France . Jordanian military was still British Officered. Syria had almost no modern weapons,. Israeli plus two other major nations what could they have possibly have done?


IMO, Israel met all its limited war aims and I don't think it had any territorial aims (at that stage).

They intended to keep the Sinai and has reached agreement withe their British and French allies., they had asked for the west bank, Golan and southern Lebanon. But the French and British thought that too much,
 

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,472
Wirral
How was the nationalization of the Suez Canal Illegal?


There was no threat. This is just Israeli proprganda,
What was small about the Israeli Defense force.?




And Britain and France . Jordanian military was still British Officered. Syria had almost no modern weapons,. Israeli plus two other major nations what could they have possibly have done?





They intended to keep the Sinai and has reached agreement withe their British and French allies., they had asked for the west bank, Golan and southern Lebanon. But the French and British thought that too much,
I’m not here to defend Israel’s actions in all this. However, and I don’t know the detailed story, it may be that the Suez issue gave them the opportunity to strike a blow against Egypt rather than it being a planned attack by them. I could find out from somewhere but I don’t know whether it was the U.K./France or Israel that instigated the Sevres talks.
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,967
I’m not here to defend Israel’s actions in all this. However, and I don’t know the detailed story, it may be that the Suez issue gave them the opportunity to strike a blow against Egypt rather than it being a planned attack by them. I could find out from somewhere but I don’t know whether it was the U.K./France or Israel that instigated the Sevres talks.
And to think secret diplomacy went out with the First World War. :D