TIME PERIOD: 1957 – 1967
“As of 8 March 1957, the UNEF [United Nations Emergency Forces] were deployed along the western side of the Armistice Demarcation Line along the Gaza Strip, along the international frontier between the Sinai and Israel, as well as in the Sharm el Sheikh area.
While quiet prevailed along the Egyptian-Israeli borders after November 1956, there was continued tension in other sectors of the Middle East, particularly on the Israel-Jordan and Israel-Syria fronts.
After the creation, in 1964, of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its main group, El Fatah, there appeared to be a new level of organization and training of Palestinian commandos. Palestinian raids against Israel, conducted mainly from Jordanian and Syrian territory, became a regular occurrence, and the Israeli forces reacted with increasingly violent retaliation. There was a marked contrast between the quiet along the Egyptian border and the confrontation situation in other sectors…
In the evening of 16 May , the UNEF Commander received a request from the Egyptian Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces for withdrawal of ‘all UN troops which installed OP’s [observation posts] along our borders’. The General who handed the message to the Force Commander told him that UNEF must order immediate withdrawal from El Sabha and Sharm el Sheikh, commanding the Strait of Tiran and therefore access to the Red Sea and southern Israel…
The Government of Israel made it known to [U.N. Secretary General] U Thant that it would exercise restraint but would consider a resumption of terrorist activities along the borders, or the closure of the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping, as casus belli… [Egyptian] President Nasser announced the closure of the Strait of Tiran. With this decision the die was cast, and, on 5 June, full-fledged war erupted.”
|Israel & the Disputed Territories (the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights)|
|UNEF (U.N. Emergency Forces)|