The Second Arab-Israeli war- The Suez Sinai War, 1956
1.1 Israeli desire to strengthen and expand the state of Israel
1.2 Nasser's actions to strengthen Egypt's military and economy. This worried the British and French as a stronger
Egypt may threaten their influence in the middle east. Also, they controlled the Suez Canal which may be taken and
this would damage their trade links, especially oil as otherwise they would have to transport it around the whole of
Africa. Therefore they refused to provide weapons to Egypt, this actually triggered the taking over of the Suez
Canal. This is because Egypt turned to the USSR for weapons, Britain in protest of this cancelled their loans for the
Aswan Dam, and so Nasser took over the canal claiming he would pay for the construction of the dam using tolld
charged at the canal.
1.3 Secret negotiations between Israel, Britain and France to strike at Israel
1.4 Israel's desire to crush 'fedayeen' groups whose bases were in Egypt and
who were supported by Nasser.
1.5 Nasser's aims to destroy Israel by strengthening
their military, supporting the 'fedayeen' and
blockading Israel's southern shipping route.
2 Key phases of the war
2.1 The first stage , as was planned beforehand, was when Israel attacked Egypt.
On 29th October 1956 Israel attacked Egypt in Sinai. Within a week the Israelis
had occupied all of the Sinai peninsula and were striking at the canal zone.
2.2 The second stage, as was planned, was for the British and French forces
to intervene supposedly to keep the peace but in reality to attack Egypt.
However, when they attacked they met widespread condemnation from
the international community. Most serious was the criticism from
President Eisenhower who was concerned about what problems would
arise in the middle east from this, especially the withdrawal of oil
supplies and the possible intervention of the USSR. When the US
threatened to withdraw economic support for Britain the attack
collapsed and they withdrew.
3.1 For Israel
3.1.1 Israel removed all the fedayeen bases in the Sinai
3.1.2 Reopened the Gulf of Aqaba
3.1.3 Israel was confirmed as being a tough military force
which the Arabs would need concerted strength to
destroy ensuring that Israel would not face a direct war
for some years
3.1.4 A UN 'buffer zone' on the border of Egypt
and Israel helped to assist in Israel's
protection from the south.
3.2 For Arabs
3.2.1 Nasser's reputation as a man striving for Arab freedom
3.2.2 Egypt's military weakness had been shown.
3.2.3 The problem of Palestine and the refugees was not solved and
Israel had just been strengthened.
3.3 For superpowers
3.3.1 The USSR began supplying Egypt with
weapons and other equipment.
3.3.2 The USA was persuaded that the conflict needed
urgent attention, one cause was the use of oil as a
weapon, also after the war Eisenhower issued
what was to be known as the 'Eisenhower
Doctrine' which said that the USA was prepared to
give assistance to any country in the Middle East
under threat from direct aggression from another
state. This was particularly aimed at preventing
the USSR increasing their influence. Furthermore
to counter the Soviet supply of weapons the USA
began to do the same for Israel and in the 1960s
they approved, for the first time, the sale of arms
3.4 For Palestinian Terrorist groups
3.4.1 More organised Palestinian groups developed out of
the fedayeen after the war such as the PLO.