Friday, July 01, 2005


2. January 1953 - October 1956 (from Eisenhower's inauguration to the Sinai War)

20 Jan 1953 - Eisenhower assumes office.

Eisenhower's policy "viewed the Middle East as a region of great strategic political and economic importance to the Western world because it contained petroleum resources vital to the West's security and economic well being". Should the Soviets gain a Middle East position from which they could restrict this oil supply, "Western Europeans' will to resist communist collaboration would be greatly weakened." Because the establishment of the state of Israel was in Arab eyes a result of Western and especially U.S. support, it was hoped that Arab cooperation against the Soviets could be gained by at least publicly downplaying the relationship with the Jewish state while at the same time maintaining the moral commitment to its existence." [p. 21] The policy adopted was "evenhandedness", officially termed "Friendly Impartiality".

29 Jan 1953 - Jordanian troops fire on an Israeli patrol. This incident is one of numerous acts of aggression by Jordan, Syria and Egypt, from which a steady stream of murderous infiltrators keeps marauding Israel. As the documentation below indicates clearly, the theme of Arab aggression, followed by Israeli retaliation, followed by US denunciation, is a permanent fixture of the years since the rebirth of Israel.

16 Feb 1953 - The British parliament approves the sale of military jets to Arab countries. This event represents one of Israel's major problems: while the British and Americans keep selling ever-more sophisticated arms to the Arab countries, they adamantly refuse any sales and security guarantees to Israel. As seen below, arms sales constitute a permanent feature in Israeli relations with the West.

26 Feb 1953 - Fierce battle with Jordanian troops who invaded Israeli territory. Jordan complains to the governments of the UK and the US. The UK warns Israel that British troops will have to intervene in accordance with the UK-Jordan defence agreement. Other serious incidents with Jordan occurred on 21-24 April 1953; 27 May, 1953. Interestingly, Britain keeps invoking her defence agreement with Jordan to threaten Israel, even as Israel is attacked.

Britain used the defence agreement with Egypt as a club to constraint Israel from winning decisively against Egypt in 1948/9. Ironically, the Brits were soon to be turfed out of both Egypt and Jordan, with the removal of John Glubb being particularly humiliating - see below.
02 Mar 1953 - Faisal al-Saud, the Saudi foreign minister, visits Washington; the White House statement clearly implies reversing Truman's policy, in line with the new "evenhandedness". Recall that it was a letter from Crown Prince Abdullah that also changed Bush's policy from "hands off" to the calamity of the Roadmap. See IsraPundit article on this issue.

08-11 Apr 1953 - Israeli foreign minister, Moshe Sharett, holds talks with Henry Byroade, the Middle East undersecretary for the Middle East (ME). Ignoring Sharett's questions about arms sales and security guarantees, Byroade asks about Israel's readiness to make territorial concessions. On Ben-Gurion's orders, Sharett flatly refuses. Byroade also demands return of refugees. In a further meeting at the State Department, with Dulles himself, Sharett repeats his suggestion for a US-Israel defence pact. A defence pact with the US would have deterred the terrorist acts from Egypt, Syria and Jordan, which characterized the subsequent months. But the US was bent on appeasing the Arabs in an attempt to seduce them into a regional defence pact, at Israel's expense, of course. The guise was "working towards a peaceful solution" by squeezing Israel on territory, "refugees" and Jerusalem. The overall US strategy and tactics do not seem to have changed to date. The difference is the prime minister: Ben-Gurion, rather than Sharon.

09 May 1953 - Dulles, Byroade and other State officials leave on a 20-day ME tour. In Egypt, Naguib and Nasser told the delegation that their problem was Britain (that had a military presence), not Communism. Arab leaders in other countries identified the problem as Israel, and the US policy which was being made by Zionists. Visiting Israel, Dulles lectured the leader about Jewish pressures. Even while en route, Dulles developed the thinking that step by step he must appease the Arabs: more aid, help to get Britain out of Egypt, help to settle refugees. This summary of the crucial trip by Dulles et al highlights just how little things have changed in half a century, except that Egypt is no longer obsessed with removing the British forces.

01 Jun 1953 - Dulles' delivers a TV address about his tour: calls for "evenhandedness", implies that Israel is to blame for refugee problem. The "new policy" is rearing its ugly head. To my mind, this shift is no different in principle from Bush's Rose Garden speech, 24 June 2002, which, for the first time, reflected presidential endorsement of an Arab state in Yesha. The two speeches were given 49 years apart, but the thinking is basically the same.

11 Jul 1953 - Eisenhower approves NSC policy, influenced by the Byroade-Dulles thinking and oil interests pressure. The relevant document is "Recommendation 155/1, US Objectives and Policies with Respect to the Near East". In line with this now official policy of "evenhandedness", on the same day, State condemns the move of the Israeli Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the previous day. Significantly, Dulles was advised about the move during his visit to Israel and his only request was not to implement the move during his tour of the ME. Another element that has not changed in 52 years: US obstruction of Israel's efforts to turn Jerusalem into a capital in fact.
15 Jul 1953 - Another step in the context of the new thinking: Eisenhower promises Egypt's President Naguib aid as soon as the problem of the British military in the Suez is resolved.
02 Sep 1953 - A new problem surfaces: Israel begins a water diversion plan, with the starting point within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border with Syria. Naturally, Syria objects, and the UN representative, Bennike supports Syria. US threatens to cut off aid if Israel continues with the project. (The Danish General Vagn Bennike was the head of the UN Truce Supervision Organization, UNTSO). Three perpetual elements are reflected in this incident: (i) the constant obstruction by Israel neighbours any time Israel attempts to develop the land; (ii) the UN siding with Israel's enemies, especially when Scandinavians are involved - Bernadotte, Hammarskjold, Bennike, etc. (Trygve Lie, the first Secretary General of the UN, is an exception); (iii) the US, as an unreliable ally, uses the whip of withholding aid, especially when the US is afflicted by acute bouts of "evenhandedness".

13 Sep 1953 - Israel-bound ships stopped in the Suez Canal; Israel complains to the UN. As usual, even when the West agrees with Israel, it takes no steps to remedy the damage caused to Israel. The UN then turns around and threatens Israel not to use force. When Israel does, she is condemned. This phenomenon is another constant.

29 Sep 1953 - Dulles, in preparation for a meeting with Eban, receives from Byroade a memo spelling out demands from Israel before aid might be restored: "reconsider" Jewish immigration policy; stop work on diversion of Jordan water sources; accept UN water plan currently under preparation; cease retaliation; repatriate refugees. This memo contains the most outrageous demands that would not only freeze Israel's development, but indeed destroy her. Unlike Bush's pressure, however, Israel, under Ben-Gurion, resisted every demand. Nonetheless, it shows just how far the US administration is willing to go to appease the Arabs.

13 Oct 1953 - Grenade thrown into house in Tirat Yehuda, killed mother, two children. Even the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission (MAC) held Jordan liable. This terrorist act is an example of the constant terror to which Egypt and Jordan subjected Israel. Normally, the MAC, headed by anti-Israel UN officials, declined to condemn the aggressors.

14-15 Oct 1953 - In retaliation for the terror act of Oct 13, Unit 101 under Sharon dynamited 42 houses in Kibya, killing 66 Arabs. The condemnation of Israel is global: including UN agent Bennike; Britain demands Security Council debate, Churchill protests. In line with the new administration's appeasement policy, US sends Israel a particularly tough note. In fact, after Kibya, the murders resulting from Jordanian infiltration fell considerably. This episode reflects the traditional lining up of nations against Israel. It also recalls the times when Sharon was a fighter rather than one who flees.

16 Oct 1953 - Eisenhower appoints Eric Johnston, who later developed the Johnston water plan. Johnston's efforts continued for two years, to October 1955. The Johnston episode is an example of Eisenhower's efforts to achieve peace through small steps of development, economic growth, and settling the "refugees". Johnston failure , in turn, reflects the one point Eisenhower failed to grasp: the Arabs were not (and still are not) interested in any of these; their object is to remove the West, especially Israel, from the ME, even to their own detriment.

17 Oct 53 - Johnston's first visit to the ME; visits Israel on 27 Oct 1953. Arabs make demands regarding the size of the water allocation to Israel, and demand that Israel use the water only for the Jordan Valley - Israel wanted the water to develop the Negev. A typical example of the egregious demands Arabs make - and mostly, they get away with it because of Western cowardice.

18 Oct 1953 - UN Security Council condemns Israel in the matter of Kibya. This, of course, could not have happened without the US support, indicating just how far the US efforts to appease the Arabs would go.

26 Oct 1953 - A Jewish delegation meets Dulles, reminds him that the US has done nothing regarding Egypt's violation of the Security Council's resolution regarding Israel's navigation in the Suez, or Arab incursions into Israel. The meeting ended acrimoniously but the pressure soften the previous US position: To pressure Israel to suspend work on the water diversion plan, Dulles had suspended the meagre assistance Israel received via the Mutual Security Act (MSA) on October 20.

27 Oct 1953 - Security Council unanimously adopts a French resolution to support a temporary suspension of Israel's water work. Israel accepts, in accordance with a compromise worked out with Eban in advance. Aid under MSA is resumed. Though both Dulles and Eisenhower resented Jewish pressure, it did help somewhat, as this example shows. Similarly, enough pressure today could have derailed the Roadmap and the Deportation, but Jewish pressure is absent. This example also highlights the economic vulnerability of Israel.

29 Oct 1953 - The administration's Operations Control Board, OCB, consisting of the representatives of the CIA, State, and other analysts, suggest that Israel must limit Jewish immigration as a condition for US aid. The OCB, which recommends policy and supervises its implementation, even goes as far as to set limits on Jewish immigration to Israel: 1953 - 73,000; 1954 - 54; 1955 - 41.1. This little-known and vexing episode calls to mind the micro-management the US has now undertaken with regard to the Roadmap. It also reflects the US insensitivity to the basic aspirations of Israel: serving as a safe haven for Jews.

24 Nov 1953 - Ben-Gurion resigns, retires to Sdeh Boker; Moshe Sharett becomes premier. Israel has fallen into the hands of a weak-kneed bleeding-heart; as Oslo and the Roadmap show, not for the last time.

16 Jan 1954 - Yet another Eban-Dulles meeting in which Israel asks to purchase arms and protests arms sales to the Arabs.

27 Jan 1954 - Israel again complains to the UN Security Council about the Egyptian blockade in the Suez canal. On Mar 28 the USSR uses her veto to stop a draft resolution demanding an end to the Suez blockade.

17 Mar 1954 - One of the most horrible terrorist attacks on Israel to that date: a passenger bus is attacked en route to Beer Sheva - 11 Israelis murdered. When the Israel-Jordan MAC refuses to condemn Jordan, Israel quits the MAC. Two days earlier, on 15 Mar 1954, Syrians shell Israeli boats in Lake Kinneret.

02 Apr 1954 - Turkey and Pakistan sign a mutual defense agreement; in February 1955, with the joining of Iran, Iraq, and the UK, they form the Baghdad Pact - see below, entry for 24 February 1955. This pact is part of Dulles' policy to ring the USSR with pro-western pact members. The implications for Israel surfaced immediately: Israel's enemies would be armed and aided by the US, while Israel is to be shunned.

26 Apr 1954 - US agrees to provide arms to Iraq, as enticement to join the future Baghdad pact; Israel protests in vein.

01 May 1954 - Byroade speaks to an American anti-Zionists group, the American Council for Judaism. He presents OCB demands as official US policy. State disseminates the speech widely in Arab countries, to gain Arabs' favour. Arabs rejoice, furor in Israel. Eban files a protest with Dulles. The policy of "evenhandedness" is becoming progressively repressive, just like the Roadmap policy is becoming currently.

Jul 1954 - Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan is invited to visit General Guillaume, the French Chief of Staff. A French agreement to sell Israel Ouragan and Mystere II planes, as well as AMX tanks and radar. Beginnings of a short but vital French-Israel friendship. In this respect, things have changed for the worse - currently, Israel has no friends.

28 Sept 1954 - The Israeli ship Bat Galim is sent through the Suez Canal; the ship and crew are arrested, in violation of the 1951 Security Council resolution. Until the Bat Galim incident, Egypt allowed Israel-bound ships flying foreign flags to pass; subsequently, Egypt prohibited these ships too, as subsequent entries indicate. Security Council refuses to act on the Bat Galim issue. The crew spends 95 days in captivity, the ship is never returned. The Bat Galim incident reflects the contempt shown by both the UN and the US for Israel and for any standard of decency. Bat Galim highlights that in any real test, Israel stands alone, while the world stands by and watches with indifference or hostility. Nothing has changed since the Holocaust.

19 Oct 1954 - Final Suez agreement signed by the UK and Egypt under US pressure. Israel deeply concerned, as the British army that serves as a buffer will be removed, and no provision for Israeli navigation was made. US considers the agreement to be an achievement, hoping that Egypt will now join the embriyonic Baghdad pact. The US pressure reflects the US myopia, whenever Arabs are concerned. It will get progressively worse as the Sinai War of 1956 approaches. Bush is a living example of the same type of myopia displayed right now.

Nov 1954 - US, UK discuss secret Alpha Plan for ME peace, even while Johnston's mission is getting nowhere. The Alpha Plan includes the demand that Israel relinquish part of the Negev and accept "refugees". The Alpha Plan, hatched even while the Johnston mission is failing, represents an example of the refusal of the West to learn from mistakes. It is as mind boggling as it is infuriating.

04 Jan 1955 - Representatives of the US, UK and France call upon Egypt to stop the anti-Israel blockade in the Suez. Egypt announces that the blockade would continue.
21 Jan 1955 - Egyptian troops kill three Israeli soldiers. Israel-Egypt Mixed Armistice Commission (MAC) condemns Egypt. As Israel feared, no sooner was the Anglo-Egyptian agreement on the Suez signed, when the war against Israel intensified. The MAC condemnation of Egypt was rare, and in any case, useless.
24 Jan 1955 - Egyptians ambush Israeli farmers at Ein Hashlosha. This incident represents the worsening of the security situation in Israel, 1955, and with it, the deterioration of the population's morale. Ben-Gurions "retirement" becomes a luxury Israel could not afford. The same applies to the absence of a strong leader right now.
21 Feb 1955 - Ben-Gurion, who resigned on 24 Nov 1953, returns to Sharett's government as Defence Minister. It is clear that from this point on, Egyptian incursions and murder will not go unpunished.
24 Feb 55 - Baghdad pact signed: initially, between Iraq and Turkey, followed shortly afterwards by the joining of the UK, Iran, and Pakistan. The US does not join officially, but her blessing and financing are evident to all. Egypt, courted assiduously by the US at the expense of Israel and the UK, failed to join. In fact, by this time, Egypt had been playing it's duplicitous role for quite some time, but Dulles's eyes are too occluded to see. Egypt's anti-Western policy will intensify in subsequent months and years, and will include open subversion.
28 Feb 1955 - Ben-Gurion's avenging hand is evident: Israel retaliates against Egypt for Bat Galim and Fedayeen terrorism by attacking Gaza - 37 Egyptian soldiers die. Israel loses 8 fallen IDF soldiers. On 29 March 1955, the UN Security Council adopts its standard condemnation of Israel. Another in a series of examples showing the UN as an instrument of the Arabs to clobber Israel.

29 Feb 1955 - Byroade moves from a Washington desk at the State Department to become ambassador to Egypt. From the outset, Nasser demands US arms. Byroade recommends $27 million in arms, which Dulles offers free, provided Egypt joins an anti-Communist alliance. Nasser rejects, and playing one power against the other, turns to the USSR.
06 Mar 1955 - Egypt establishes the Arab Pact, together with Syria and Saudi Arabia, as a challenge to the Eisenhower-Dulles Baghdad Pact. The Egyptian-inspired Arab Pact illustrates just how profoundly the Eisenhower-Dulles policy had failed. Notwithstanding the appeasement and anti-Israel policies, Egypt et al continued their anti-US policies.

13 Apr 1955 - As Israel's security situation worsens further, Eban discusses with Dulles Israel's request for a defense agreement with the US; Dulles refuses.
17 May 1955 - In one of an endless series of terrorist acts, an Egyptian mine kills three Israeli offices and severely wounds two other soldiers. Israel retaliates on the following day. Exchange of fire Israel-Egypt follows on 21 May 1955.
23 May 1955 - USSR offers Egypt arms, aid, and financing for the Aswan Dam, in return for cotton. This episode reflect the major difference between 1955 and 2005: the USSR has been removed from the stage, and the Arabs can no longer play one power against the other. Nor do they need to: the US is squarely in the Arab court. Sometime, Bush may reflect on the 1955 lesson: regardless of how zealously Dulles courted Egypt, Nasser gave nothing. In time, the USSR was to learn the same lesson.

30 May 1955 - Egyptian forces fire on Israeli vehicle. Fire erupts along the entire border; 8 Israelis die, settlements shelled.
20 Jul 1955 - Egyptian delegation flies to Czechoslovakia to shop for arms. A week later, on 27 July, the UK announces the sale of war ships to Egypt. On August 9, it is reveals that Switzerland sold Egypt sophisticated anti-tank weapons that Switzerland had refused to sell to Israel. And on 28 August, the USSR announces its willingness to sell Egypt any arms Egypt requires. These items reveal Nasser's uncanny success in tapping into both East and West, while Israel is left with no ally to supply it with arms.
12 Aug 1955 - Egypt announces that any ship entering the Straits of Tiran requires that a license be issued 72 hours in advance.
25-26 Aug 1955 - Fedayeen start a week's campaign of terror all over Israel; 11 Israelis die.

26 Aug 1955 - Dulles delivers speech at the Council for Foreign Relations, CFR. Emphasizes problems of "refugees", mutual fears, need for fixed borders. Suggests: settlement of refugees in their current countries of residence, coupled with repatriations; development assisted by water projects; US and international aid to finance development; additional US aid to all parties to find border agreement, followed by US guarantees. This speech reflects some movement in Dulles' thinking. Byroade's venomous effect had been removed from State, and Dulles began to realize the games Nasser was playing - Nasser, in fact, orchestrated the opposition to the Baghdad pact. Noteworthy is Dulles' change regarding the "refugees".
01 Sep 1955 Retaliation for fedayeen attacks: Unit 101 attacks Khan Yunis, 36 Egyptian soldiers killed. Israel loses one fallen soldier. Same day, Israel shoots down two Egyptian jets over Israel.
11 Sep 1955 - Egyptian retaliating for Khan Yunis: Nasser closes Straits of Tiran to shipping to and from Elat.

29 sep 1955 - Egypt requests $240 million from the World Bank for the Aswan Dam project. The world Bank is supposed to judge on the basis of the economic merits of the project, and notes that Egypt had already "mortgaged" her future cotton production to finance the arms deal; therefore, future loans to Egypt from a third party would require the World Banks approval. Additionally, Sudan had to agree to the project.
04 Oct 1955 - In a news conference, Dulles in fact blames Israel's Gaza operation for Egypt's arms deal with the USSR. Israel points to the Baghdad pact as the cause. Dulles view, as expressed in the news conference, reflect his overall assessment that Israel is a millstone around the neck of the US. The fact that Nasser was out to lead the Arab world according to his nationalistic aspirations evaded Dulles.

07 Oct 1955 - Arab league rejects Johnston water-sharing plan by "postponing" the decision. Eisenhower refuses to blame the Arabs. At this point the difference between Eisenhower and Neville Chamberlain evaporates. Clearly, the Arabs can do no wrong, even as they lead Eisenhower by the nose with the usual tactics of feigning acceptance until the last moment, when rejection is deceitfully dealt as a surprise blow.
11 Oct 1955 - Another in a series of Israeli requests that the US supply Israel with arms, especially in view of the arms shipments to Egypt. This issue becomes even more pressing when Egypt and Syria unified their military commands on 17 October.

26 Oct 1955 - Sharett meets representatives of the major powers in Geneva; tries to have USSR cancel the arms deal with Egypt, tries to find an arms supplier for Israel. Dulles refuses both arms sales and pressure on Nasser. Dulles also warns Sharett against preemption. The French offer Israel Mystere IV jets. The French Foreign Minister, Piney, shows aversion to Nasser over Algeria. This episode continues the Franco-Israel relationship that began when Dayan was invited by the French chief of Staff (see July 1954 above).

29 Oct 1955 - In retaliation for a long series of terror attacks, Israel captures 29 Egyptian POWs.

02 Nov 1955 - Following the July election in Israel, Ben-Gurion presents his new government to parliament, warns Egypt that closure of the Straits of Tiran is considered casus belli, and outlines the benefits for Egypt from peace. Ben-Gurion offers to meet Nasser at any time, at any place.

03 Nov 1955 - After Egypt occupied positions on Israel's side of al Auja's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), IDF launched an operation to eject the invaders, killing 50 Egyptians and capturing the territory. General Burns condemns Israel. Once again one notes that Israel can get no justice in international fora. General Burns, a Canadian, is no exception.

09 Nov 1955 - Anticipating Sharett's visit, Eisenhower released statements calling on Israel and the Arabs to make concession and settle their differences. Arms sales to Israel and security agreements with her are dismissed. Eisenhower decides to send Robert Anderson to push Alpha Plan on Israel and Egypt. Eisenhower's proposals are endorsed by Eden. Regarding the Alpha Plan, see entry for November 1954 above. Note that Eisenhower revived the Alpha Plan notwithstanding the rejection by the Arabs of the Johnston water-sharing plan. The US administration had still not grasped that the Arabs seek no accommodation of any kind - their object has always been the destruction of Israel.

15 Nov 1955 - In the Knesset, Ben-Gurion rejects the Eisenhower-Eden proposals.
17 Nov 1955 - Byroade, now US ambassador to Egypt, meets Foreign Minister Fawzi who accepts mediation along the lines of the Alpha Plan in principle.
21 Nov 1955 - Sharett meets Dulles in Washington to discuss arms sales to Israel; instead, Dulles discusses the Alpha Plan, demands territorial concessions. When Sharett refuses, Dulles demanded a written response, warns Israel not to use force. In this crucial meeting with Sharett, Dulles displays the full arrogance and brutal pressure that the US has adopted in her dealings with Israel, foreshadowing what is to transpire during the Sinai campaign and subsequently - to this very day.

05 Dec 1955 to 09 Mar 1956 - 180 Fedayeen incidents engineered by Egypt.
06 Dec 1955 - Sharett forwards to Dulles Ben-Gurion's reasonse rejecting territorial concession, demanding an end to the Arab boycott as a good will gesture, demanding compensation for the Jewish property confiscated by the Arabs in the old city of Jerusalem, in gush Etzion, in Neve Yaakov, and in Naharayim. Sharett repeats Israel's request for arms. Dulles would not give up on the Alpha Plan.
10 Dec 1955 - Syrians attack Israeli fishing boat in Lake Kinneret. On the following day, Ben-Gurion orders retaliation against Syria. 56 Syrians dead, 30 taken prisoner. On 20 January 1956, UN Security Council condemns Israel; General Burns demands sanctions against Israel. The cycle of 10-11 December is a typical one, and has not changed to this day. Under a strong leader, Israel hits back at her enemies, the "international community" turns a blind eye to the terrorists, excoriating Israel. The UN agent on the ground, whether the Canadian Burns or the Scandinavian Bennike, is always at the head of the anti-Israel calumny.

13 Dec 1955 - Washington rejects yet another Israeli request for arms, using the operation against Syria as an excuse. Note that this is the n-th time the US rejects Israel's request for arms and security guarantees. At the same time, as seen in the next entry, even while the Arabs rebuff the US, Eisenhower continues to court them. The appeasement is designed to prevent further USSR inroads, and to tie up Egypt's money so that Egyptian funds may no longer be applied to purchasing additional arms.
16 Dec 1955 - Washington and London offer Nasser $200 million in addition to $200 million from the World Bank. Shortly afterwards, on 07 January 1956, British tanks arrive in Egypt.

11 Jan 1956 - Anderson meets Nasser as part of his secret mission to sell the Alpha Plan; offers Nasser huge economic aid in return for peace talks with Israel and for spearheading the drive for peace among the Arab countries. Nasser rejects Anderson's overtures, explains to Kermit Roosevelt, his confidant, that he would be assassinated if he agreed. In response to Anderson, Nasser demands refugee return and 'contiguity', meaning all of the Israeli Negev. Even with these demands, Nasser rejects direct talks with Israel. Thus, the failure of the Johnston mission failed to teach Eisenhower/Dulles that the Arabs in general, and Nasser in particular, had no interest in peace; as seen subsequently, the failure of the Anderson mission didn't act as a sobering experience either.
16 Jan 1956 - Sharett writes to Dulles, warning about Israel's precarious condition, asks for arms. Two days later, on 18 January, a Syrian arms deal with Czechoslovakia is announced. Another Israeli request for arms, another arms deal for the Arabs...

23 Jan 1956 - Anderson meets Ben-Gurion in secrecy. Ben-Gurion emphasizes readiness for direct talks at any level, demands US arms. In response, Anderson demands concessions. By now this cycle is all too familiar: Israel asks for arms and security guarantees, the US rejects arms requests and counters with demands for concessions. Fortunately, Israel at that time is headed by a strong leader, unlike the current situation.
25 Jan 1956 - Eban pleads with Dulles for arms; Eban is again unsuccessful.
27 Feb 1956 - Even though Anderson's mission failed, Eisenhower writes to Ben-Gurion and Nasser in an attempt to initiate peace talks. Furthermore, the US again rejects Israel's request for arms and offers Nasser loans for the Aswan Dam. It must be noted with amazement that the US keeps repeating the same vain attempts to snare the Arabs into peace talks, expecting a different result with each attempt.

28 Jan 1956 - In a public statement, Eleanor Roosevelt and other prominent Democrats demand that US counter Soviet advances in the ME by providing Israel with arms; the statement is endorsed by Truman, Walter Reuter (vice president of the AFL-CIO). In assessing the Democrats' public statement, it should be recalled that 1956 was an election year.
30 Jan 1956 - Eban goes public with Israel's demand for arms, in a speech to the Women's National Democratic Club.

03 Feb 1956 - 40 Republican house members write to Dulles, urge him to match Soviet arms shipments to Egypt with arms to Israel. Dulles rejects the plea. One has to wonder at the depth of Dulles' blindness and conceit.
06 Feb 1956 - Another plea from Eban for arms. Dulles refuses and voices resentment over the Israeli pressure. Another old Eisenhower/Dulles theme: resentment over pressure from Israel/Zionists/Jews, but never any resentment over pressure from the Arabists or the oil interests. With time, the Eisenhower/Dulles resentment transforms itself into a vow never to yield, in the name of what they consider "the national interest".

06 Mar 1956 - Anderson back in Cairo to push Alpha Plan. Nasser rejects compromise that would have opened negotiations with Israel, cite's King Abdullah's assassination when Abdullah negotiated with Israel in secret. Nasser also rejects Anderson's refugee compromises - partial settling in their current country of residence. On territorial concessions, rejects Anderson's proposal for a corridor Egypt-Jordan through the Negev, demanding the entire Negev. Nasser adds that even if Israel accepts the settlement he demands, it must be presented as a US proposals to the Arab world... The Anderson/Nasser meeting of March 6, 1956, should have been an eye opener even for the US, as Nasser showed clearly that he was singularly uninterested in peace talks, but keenly interested in concessions to appear the Arab strongman. But none are as blind as those who will not see. With only slight changes, this scenario was repeated in Camp David when the Clinton/Dennis Ross duo wrung a sea of concessions from Israel, only to see Arafat reject the peace plan as a whole.

09 Mar 1956 - Anderson meets Ben-Gurion who focuses on arms requests to counterbalance the Soviet-Nasser menace. Ben-Gurion hints that without US arms, Israel will seek to defang Egypt before it is too late. This watershed meeting is the prelude to the Sinai campaign which turned into reality six months later. Clearly, it was US policy that caused the Sinai campaign, just as it was the US policy 1957-1967 that caused the Six-Day War.

12 Mar 1956 - Anderson reports to Eisenhower, who starts a process of disillusionment with Nasser. Same day, Eban hands the US secret intel about Nasser plan to undermine arab pro-Western regimes, a plan spelled out in a Cairo conference of Egyptian Ambassadors, held on Jan 30, 1956. As part of the plan, Nasser effectively forced King Hussein to dismiss John Glubb, the commander of the Jordanian Army, together with other British brass. Also on this day, Israel complains to the MAC about Egyptian arms concentrations in Gaza and in el Arish. Eisenhower's disillusionment is too little too late, and in any case it didn't prevent the US conduct during and after the Sinai campaign.

14 Mar 1956 - Israel complains to the UN Security Council about 180 fedayeen incidents which occurred in the period Dec 5 1956 to Mar 9 1956. General Burns scoffs at the complaint. Increasingly, Israel's complaints to the UN resemble the complaints of Jews to the German police during the 193O's. In this respect, "nothing has changed in the UN, except for the good things".

28 Mar 1956 - Dulles outlines post-Anderson policy: (i) continue to deny arms to Israel, but allow other Western countries to sell arms to Israel; (ii) US would also stop selling arms to all ME countries except for Iraq, Saudi Arabia; (iii) deny Egypt all aid, including funding of the Aswan Dam; (iii) increase support for Baghdad pact, but without actually joining.
04 Apr 1956 - Israel retaliates for recent fedayeen attacks by bombarding Gaza - 62 Arabs die. Nasser responds by escalated fedayeen attacks, including an attack in the outskirts of Tel Aviv. US leads a UN resolution to send Hammarskjold to ME. One has to wonder at this post-Anderson time, what the US expected to gain by sending Hammarskjold, except for adding yet another anti-Israel personality to the cauldron.

10 Apr 1956 - Hammarskjold meets Nasser et al, requests cease-fire. Nasser agrees to a cease fire to commence next day, 11 April, but sends more fedayeen anyway. An example of the quintessential Arab way of doing business: agreeing in words, opposing in deeds. This is the very policy that Arafat II is using currently.

12 Apr 1956 - in a public letter to the Security Council, Israel documents that notwithstanding Nasser promises, his fedayeen engaged in 8 raids, killed 3 children and an adult and wounded 15 others. Egypt also engages in flights over Israel.

15 Apr 1956 - Hammarskjold in Israel: demands free movement for UN observers, suggests that both sides move troops 500 meters from current borders. Israel emphasizes her concerns: blockades of the Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba, rearmament, state of war, war of incitement. Nonetheless, Ben-Gurion agrees to more UN observers, to a cease-fire, and to freer movement for UN personnel.

23 Apr 1956 - Peres signs first agreement with France to procure 12 Mystere jets.
26 Apr 1956 - Rabbi Silver, one of the few Jews with access to the White House, meets Eisenhower, urges sale of defensive weapons to Israel. Eisenhower expresses resentment over "Zionist pressure", refused arms; Dulles approves Canadian and French arms sales. This development shows just how slowly thinking changes - if it ever does. After being rebuffed by Nasser time and time again, Eisenhower makes one tiny step and approves sale of Arms to Israel by third parties. The policy of dissociating the US from Israel, the "millstone around our neck", had not changed.

16 May 1956 - Nasser recognizes china - US livid with rage.
18 Jun 1956 - As Ben-Gurion plans for war, he pressures Sharett to resign; Sharett is replaced with Golda Meir.
22 Jun 1956 - Peres and Dayan conduct a secret mission to France to set in motion a major arms deal.

19 Jul 1956 - US informs Egypt about withdrawing financial support for the Aswan Dam project; Britain withdraws on the following day.

26 Jul 1956 - Nasser announces nationalization of the Suez Canal; the step is aimed expressly against Britain: 44% of the shares are held by the British government and 1/3 of the ships passing the Canal are British. The Arabs are paying the British Arabists for their anti-Zionist stance in the usual Arab coin of ingratitude.

29 Jul 1956 - US-France-Britain hold consultation in London Eisenhower, Dulles oppose the use of force. It is amazing to note how generals, who learnt from their own experience about the ability of force to stifle tyrants, are transformed into politicians with feet of clay. Colin Powell, Eisenhower, Rabin and Sharon are probably not the only ones.

16 Aug 1956 - London conference of Suez Canal users. Egypt, Greece decline to attend. Nasser rejects international authority from the outset. This is underscored when, on 3 September 1956, a conference delegation headed by Australian PM meets Nasser, who, once again, rejects any international intervention. The position of Greece, supposedly a member of NATO and recipient of endless Anglo-American aid, is quite surprising. Uniquely among Europe's nations, Greece also voted against the UN Partition Plan of 29 Nov 1947.01 Sep 1956 - French troops from Algeria are redeployed in Cyprus. French admiral Barjot inquires whether Israel would join France against Egypt. French ire against Egypt is centered on the Egyptian support for the anti-French terrorists in Algeria, as well as on the nationalization of the Suez. The inquiry is followed on 07 September 1956, by talks in Paris between Barjot and the IDF
08 Sep 1956 - Eisenhower sends letter to Eden, opposing any military action against Egypt and threatening "bad US-UK relations" if his advice is ignored.
11 Sep 1956 - Israel attacks Jordan's Qarya military base in retaliation for recent terrorist attacks, especially the murder of six Israeli soldiers on the previous day.
12 Sep 1956 - Anglo-French talks about action against Egypt. Britain encounters Labour opposition to the use of force, in addition to the US pressure, resulting in the UK abandoning the military option temporarily.

12 Sep 1956 - Arab terrorists murder three Israeli-Druze guards in the Negev. Israel retaliates against Jordan by blowing up a Jordanian police station.
19 Sep 1956 - Peres in Paris for talks, as the time for decision on military action approaches.
22 Sep 1956 - Jordanians open fire on archaeologists in Ramat Rachel, kill 4, wound 16. On the following day, terrorists murder a woman in a village just outside Jerusalem.
25 Sep 1956 - Israel retaliates for Ramat Rachel and other terrorist action by attacking Hussan police station, killing 39 Jordanian troops; Israel loses six soldiers.
29 Sep 1956 - Dayan, Golda Meir, Peres fly to Paris secretly. French suggest the "pretext strategy": Israel to invade Egypt, UK-France to issue an ultimatum to both sides to cease fire and retreat 40 miles from the Canal, and when (as expected) Egypt rejects the ultimatum, the UK and France would invade.

03 Oct 1956 - An Israeli passenger train is attacked near Tul Karem. On the following day, five Israelis are murdered on the road to Beer Sheva. In the wake of this terrorism, Israel informs General Burns that she withdraws cooperation from the Israel-Jordan MAC.
10-11 Oct 1956 - after two Israelis are murdered in Even Yehuda, Israel attacks Qalqilia; 48 Jordanians killed, Israel loses 18; US reaction is extremely hostile to Israel.
15 Oct 1956 - American U2 spy-flights detect signs of mobilization in Israel; the US, however, believes that Israel is about to attack Jordan.

16 Oct 1956 - Two weeks before the Sinai campaign, Eden meets representatives of the French government in Paris, agree to joint Israel-France-UK plan for the Suez.
22 Oct 1956 - Jordan, Syria and Egypt form a joint military command. On the previous day, three Israeli soldiers die as they hit an Egyptian mine in the Negev.
23 Oct 1956 - Talks at Sevres between a delegation headed by Ben-Gurion on the one hand, and the French on the other hand. Ben-Gurion airs many reservations about the plan, including the "pretext strategy". The following day, Ben-Gurion nonetheless approves the plan, and on 26 October the three parties give final consent. Also on 26 October, Israel begins a quite, total mobilization.

27 Oct 1956 - Believing that Israel is preparing to attack Jordan, Eisenhower "advises" Israel to desist.
29 Oct 1956 - Sinai campaign begins. Eisenhower reacts with overt rage.

Posted by Joseph Alexander Norland at June 7, 2005 08:05 AM

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