The Suez Crisis Essay Research Paper Carleton — страница 3

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history of expansionism in the area. David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, was to have even said that he considered the Sinai peninsula to be part of Israel that would inevitably be absorbed into the Jewish State. This line of thinking would logically follow that Israel, ever the territorial opportunist, simply used the crisis of the day as a smokescreen in order to achieve its oppressive goals. The Israeli position is very different in answering why they invaded- they always see themselves as the waiting victim in a sea of dangerous Arab states that crave their inevitable downfall. One Israeli source stated that although almost all world opinion disagreed, the real reason for the October 29 strike was not collusion with the Europeans, neither was it

expansionist dreams that fuelled the attack. It was launched in anticipation of a coming Arab strike which events had been pointing to ever since the 1948 War came to a close. One Major General Chaim Herzog of the Israeli military concurred with this view, saying that Israel in fact had three distinct aims in the attack: One, the remove the Egyptian threat in Sinai; Two, to destroy the framework of the fedayeen rebels; Three, to secure freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran for Israeli vessels. That the opinions of the Arab and Israeli authors on why Israel invaded are in such contrast is another illustration of one of the central problems in this conflict- neither side is prepared to examine the others perception of the situation. In looking at the outcomes of this

conflict, an interesting study is to examine how each side thought they fared in the aftermath. I believe this exercise to be especially relevant to this war in that the results were seen more on a political level for better or worse, for the three main actors. For the Anglo-French pact, rather especially Britain, the Suez Crisis looked as if it was one that should have been avoided. A historical account of the affair notes that even as the United Nations and the United States had effectively ended the conflict and were in the midst of sending UNEF troops to the area, Prime Minister Eden was still filled with vigour for his hopeless cause, and ready to destroy his domestic economy in the name of British prestige. Other sources agreed that the invasion and attempt to take the

Canal zone over by force had been a disaster, one stating that it had been an “abysmal failure” , another stating that it confirmed that British and French could not operate anything without superpower (read US) approval. One area of agreement throughout my sources was in the view that Egypt, who was apparently beaten in a humiliating fashion on the combat front in the war of 1956, had achieved a very significant political victory. Under the skillful handling of Nasser, the event was not just (another) military defeat, but a brave stand taken against the colonial powers that small but mighty Egypt had emerged virtually unscathed. One Arab source spoke as if Nasser understood the situation as helpless in the beginning due to massive foreign intervention- that at once on

October 29 the Israeli-European collusion was obvious. Nasser even refused the offered help from Syria and Jordan in order to “spare them” . This idea that Nasser turned down Arab help was contrary to some Israeli reports that refer to this lack of assistance as a reason for another Egyptian defeat at Jewish hands- again pointing to Nasser’s mastermind of the situation. In general, most of the Israeli sources admitted that Nasser had turned the defeat into a victory, writing that despite the intervention of both the Israelis and the massive British and French power, Nasser remained in power and his prestige as leader of the Arab world grew. Evaluation In assessing the opinions and biases I found in the readings for this paper, I find that it is most pertinent to again

examine the opposing perspectives of the two factions. Both of the warring sides in this dispute, in my view, see themselves as the victim: The Israelis of a region-wide Arab plot to destroy them and their state and the Arabs of a Jewish/Western conspiracy to deny both them and especially their Palestian Brothers and Sisters what is rightfully theirs- the land of Palestine. This alone is bad enough, but the problem is compounded by the fact that neither side is at all willing, at least up until now, to try and view the situation from the others point of view- they are too busy trying to undermine what they perceive as the others motives with both diplomatic wrangling and military manouvers. My reading done on the Suez Crisis of 1956 support this perspective. For example, when