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Broadcast to the Nation by Prime Minister Eshkol

(May 28, 1967)

On 28 May the Government of Israel decided to continue to use political means for the time being to obtain the re-opening of the Straits of Tiran. The Prime Minister hoped that international factors would take effective measures to ensure free international passage. Text:

The Cabinet today held a meeting to discuss the situation. At the end of the deliberations the following decisions were adopted:

1) The danger which confronts Israel as a result of the concentration of the Egyptian Army in Sinai, and as a result of the blockade of Israeli shipping in the Red Sea, is in full force. In view of this danger, and for so long as it exists, the necessity remains to continue to maintain our military readiness. The Government received a report on the measures of readiness which were taken, and it states that the Israel Defence Forces are fully prepared to defend the security of Israel.

The Government notes with satisfaction the firm spirit of the people and of the Israel Defence Forces, which are an expression and a guarantee of the strength of the State.

2) The Government of Israel expresses its view that the blockade of the Straits of Tiran against Israeli shipping is the equivalent to aggression against Israel. We shall oppose it at the proper time, in accordance with the right to self-defence vested in every State.

3) The Government heard from the Minister for Foreign Affairs a report on his talks with the President of France, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the President of the United States, on contacts with other States, including the Soviet Union, and on the growing readiness in the international arena to bring about, without delay, the speedy removal of the blockade which Egypt has imposed on the Straits of Tiran. There is no doubt that the mobilization of the Israel Defence Forces and their readiness for any test have constituted and continue to constitute a decisive factor in the stimulation of world political activity.

The Government laid down directives for the continuation of political action in the world arena, which is designed to stimulate international forces to take effective measures to ensure free international passage in the Straits of Tiran.

Lines of action were also determined for the moving of military concentrations from Israel's southern border and for action to protect our sovereign rights and the security of our borders and to prevent aggression so that we shall not have to take action for self-defence with our military forces.

The Government states that the Israel Defence Forces are sufficiently strong to defeat any aggressor and to ensure the sovereign rights of Israel.

I shall tomorrow have the opportunity to clarify the position of the Government and the nation in my statement to the Knesset.



Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs