Arab-Israeli War (1948-49)
Golan Heights is the only high ground in Middle East at this time. It’s like Appalachian
Mountains, not Rockies.
At the end of war, Jews had 80% of old Palestine, new Israel.
They didn’t have West Bank,
Gaza Strip, and half the city of Jerusalem.
Population in new Israel: 800,000; Population in Gaza Strip and West Bank: 800,000
Israel had no friends in its neighborhood; nobody talked to Israel.
During 1949-1956 (1
war), there were many border skirmishes.
There was no
widespread fighting, though.
This was all going to change after Nasser came to power in
Nasser seizes power in 1954.
One of the first things he did was to declare that the Arabs
would take responsibility for themselves.
Over the next three years, he offends Israel, GB,
He organized commando-style guerilla units that he attacked across the border
from Sinai into Israel.
Today, we’d call them terrorists.
He managed to offend the British
by seizing and nationalizing the Suez Canal.
He offended the French because, beginning in
early 1950s in Algeria, there began a revolt here against French rule.
There was a group
called the FLM, who received arms and money from Nasser.
Without this help from Nasser,
the French would have kept the situation under control somewhat or entirely.
In summer 1956, leaders of these three countries, Anthony Eden (GB), Gene Mollet (Fr),
David Ben Gurion (Israel), asked US quietly, “What would your position be if we go against
We replied we wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
At this time, US foreign
policy was trying to appeal to non-alliance countries and gain their friendship.
against regime change.
October 24, 1956, the three men met secretly and signed a pact: they would attack Egypt,
overthrow Nasser, and impose a different government (regime change).
Israel would launch
an assault against Sinai Peninsula.
Eventually, they’d get the Suez Canal.