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Six-Day War: Statement to the Knesset
by Prime Minister Eshkol

(May 23, 1967)

Egypt had announced the renewed blockade of the Straits of Tiran early that morning. Prime Minister Eshkol addressed the Knesset in the afternoon, for the second day in a row. The blockade, he said, constituted an act of aggression against Israel.  Please find the full text of Eshkol's May 23, 1967 address to the Knesset below.  

At this grave hour, I have no intention of replying in detail to all the things that have been said in the debate. From the speeches and the inter-party consultations I have held today, I have gained the impression that the Knesset is united in its views and its will. The events of the past day make it necessary for me to be content with a brief statement on one single subject.

This morning a statement by the Egyptian President was published declaring his intention to block the international waterway which passes through the Straits of Tiran and joins the Gulf of Eilat with the Red Sea to the passage of Israeli flagships and ships of other flags whose cargoes are of a strategic character.

Members of the Knesset:

Any inference with freedom of passage in the Gulf and the Straits constitutes a gross violation of international law, a blow at the sovereign rights of other nations and an act of aggression against Israel.

As the Knesset is aware, a number of Governments, including the major maritime Powers, have publicly stated, since 1957, their intention of exercising their rights to free passage through the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Eilat.

During the past few days, the Government of Israel has been in close touch with the Governments that have proclaimed and exercised the principle of free passage in these waters since 1957. After these exchanges, I can say that international support for these rights is serious and widespread.

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs