Israel Announces Military Operation in Sinai

(October 29, 1956)


On Monday, October 29, 1956, Israeli paratroopers were dropped near the Mitla Pass in Sinai. That night, Israeli forces crossed the border into Sinai and began to advance southward. On that day, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs issued the following statement on the reasons for the military operations:


Israel has taken the necessary measures to destroy Egyptian fidayun [commando] bases in the Sinai Peninsula.

These units, organized some two years ago by the Egyptian Government and forming part of the Egyptian regular army, were intended to spread terror in Israel by acts of indiscriminate murder, mining, and sabotage.

These units were quiet for a few weeks on the Egyptian border during the period of Egypt's deep involvement with the maritime nations of the world on the Suez Canal issue.

With the conclusion of the [United Nations] Security Council's deliberations, Colonel Nasser [President Gamal Abdel Nasser] felt himself immediately free to authorize the fidayun units to renew their incursions into Israel territory.

Within the last week 24 Israeli casualties in dead and wounded were caused by mines planted by the fidayun in the Negev territory.

Today, following the earlier capture of two other men in Erez and Sde Boker, respectively, a further group was apprehended in Israeli territory by the Israeli security forces.

Colonel Nasser has persistently declared that despite the explicit provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli agreement his country remained in a state of war with Israel. He has carried on a war of limited liability.

It is not Israel which has sent murder gangs into Egypt. It is Egypt which week after week and month after month sent such gangs into Israel.

It is not Israel which has sought to strangle Egypt's economy and life by illegal blockade at the Suez Canal, and it is Egypt which, in its pursuit of a one-sided state of war, has done these things.

It is not Israel which has sought to encompass Egypt with a ring of steel with the announced and flouted purpose of annihilating it at the appropriate moment.

It is Egypt which has glorified in this effort, crowned a few days ago by the setting Lip of a Syrian-Jordanian-Egyptian military command under the Egyptian military chief.

On top of all this, Colonel Nasser has ignored his international obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, has flouted his duty under the Constantinople Convention of 1888 and the Security Council resolution of I September 1951, to pen-nit free passage through the Suez Canal for the vessels of all nations at all times.

And most recently, after the resolution of the Security Council adopted only two weeks ago again reaffirming his duty to afford such freedom of passage to all vessels, the Egyptian Government has again reiterated its determination to block the passage of Israeli shipping through the Canal.

Israel has done everything in its power to achieve peace with Egypt. Israeli leaders have declared their readiness at any time and any place to meet Egyptian representatives and to discuss a settlement of the mutual problems of the two countries.

The proffered hand of peace has always been brutally and even derisively rejected. Egypt's response has been to heighten the propaganda and hostile activities against the very existence of Israel.

All this has been a central part of the comprehensive plan of subversion and imperialist expansion pursued by the Egyptian dictatorship throughout the countries of the Middle East and along the African continent.

Israel seeks a relationship with the people of Egypt based upon mutual respect of rights, free from the threat of attack on its citizens, blockade or interference with its communications whether by land or sea.


Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs