Gates of Gaza: Israel's Road to Suez and Back, 1955-1957

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The secret alliance between Israel, Britain, and France to destroy Nasser's rule in Egypt was a pivotal event in the history of the modern Middle East. The "Suez crisis" brought about both a humiliation for the old imperial powers and a remarkable victory for Israel. Mordechai Bar-On was General Moshe Dayan's personal assistant during the Suez Campaign and has drawn on both his own diary and many years of research to produce a gripping, definitive account of the Israeli side to the war. The Gates of Gaza ...

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Overview

The secret alliance between Israel, Britain, and France to destroy Nasser's rule in Egypt was a pivotal event in the history of the modern Middle East. The "Suez crisis" brought about both a humiliation for the old imperial powers and a remarkable victory for Israel. Mordechai Bar-On was General Moshe Dayan's personal assistant during the Suez Campaign and has drawn on both his own diary and many years of research to produce a gripping, definitive account of the Israeli side to the war. The Gates of Gaza describes the fears, suspicions, and agonizing debates that resulted in Ben-Gurion's decision to enter the clandestine pact, the overwhelming military victory in the Sinai, and subsequent withdrawal in the face of pressure from the United Nations. What was at the time a frustrating conflict for Israel should now be seen, in Dr. Bar-On's view, as a crucial event in securing the new nation's position in the Middle East and providing a breathing space before the great Arab challenge of 1967. The Gates of Gaza is an extremely important source for the history of Israel and for understanding one of the postwar world's most complex and fascinating crises.

Moshe Dayan's personal assistant during the Suez campaign has drawn from his own diary and his many years of research to produce a gripping account of the Israeli side of the war, describing the fears, suspicions, and debates surrounding Ben-Gurion's decision to enter the clandestine pact and Israel's overwhelming military victory in the Sinai.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This fresh interpretation of the Suez crisis is based on recently declassified material and the author's own recollections; as defense minister Moshe Dayan's personal assistant, Bar-On was a witness to many of the events considered here. He reveals how the 1955 Egyptian-Czech arms deal and Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal presented Israel with two major threats to its security, then discusses steps the Jewish state took to ensure that the inevitable confrontation would take place under conditions favorable to itself. In his vivid account of the military campaign that followed, Bar-On argues that Israeli generalship exemplified the proper subordination of military priorities to political exigencies: Dayan made changes that ran counter to military doctrine in the allocation of forces, choice of targets, timetables and operational tactics to satisfy political demands. The author explains a major paradox in connection with the 1956 conflict: Though arrayed against each other on the battlefield, both Israel and Egypt emerged as victors. France and Britain were the losers. Bar-On concludes his study with a discussion of ways the Sinai Campaign influenced the outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War. (May)
Library Journal
In this comprehensive and richly detailed history, Bar-On, who was Gen. Moshe Dayan's personal assistant during the 1956 Suez Crisis, presents an authentic account of Israel's role during this period. Employing declassified Israeli defense archives as well as his own personal records, the author notes the Israeli reaction to the Egyptian-Czech arms deal in 1955, which spurred the nation to take a position to halt what it perceived to be an ``aggressive'' Egyptian policy. Bar-On discusses the feints against Syria and Jordan, and his personal recollections enhance his description of the intricate and delicate negotiations with the British and French. The military engagements, reactions from the Eisenhower administration, and the difficulties with the United Nations regarding withdrawal are all considered. A definitive contribution on the topic; absolutely essential for anyone interested in the period or the region.-- Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312123406
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/15/1995
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
1 The Egyptian-Czech Arms Deal: The Formation of a National Emergency 1
2 Status Assessment 15
3 Crisis Diplomacy 25
4 Preventive War 37
5 Operation Kinneret 57
6 Defensive Deployment 69
7 "The Alpha Plan" 83
8 The Peace Brokers: Robert Anderson's Mission 99
9 The Struggle Over the Armistice Agreements 115
10 The Failure of Arms Procurement in the United States 137
11 Success in France 155
12 Waiting in the Wings: August-September 1956 177
13 The Jordanian Border Flares Up 201
14 General Challe's Scenario 219
15 "Collusion": The Sevres Conference 233
16 Operation Kadesh: Political Dimensions 249
17 Withdrawal 271
18 Difficult Decision 289
Afterword 315
List of Abbreviations 324
Notes 325
References 387
Index 397
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