The Origins of the Second Arab-Israeli War: Egypt, Israel and the Great Powers, 1952-56

In This Review

The Origins of the Second Arab-Israeli War: Egypt, Israel and the Great Powers, 1952-56

By Michael B. Oren
Frank Cass, 1993
199 pp. $40.00
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Books on the Suez crisis of 1956 are not in short supply. Even before the Israeli, American and British archival sources were available, Suez was the subject of lengthy and often partisan analysis. Now the records, except for Egyptian ones, are widely available, and partisanship is being replaced by balanced scholarship, as in this short and incisive survey of the steps leading to war in 1956. The author cites the dynamics of inter-Arab politics as the force pulling Nasser into the Palestinian conflict, Israeli activism for raising tensions, and Dulles' awkward stance of simultaneously backing the British and Nasser for sowing confusion. There is not much that is new in the retelling of the story, but the use of original sources is impressive, and the tone is balanced. One is left with the feeling that Suez was somehow inevitable, or at least the Egyptian-Israeli part of it.

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