Back to the Straits of Tiran

(Israel Hayom) Eyal Zisser - The Six-Day War broke out in 1967 because of the Straits of Tiran. In May 1967, Egyptian President Nasser closed the straits to Israeli shipping. He hoped this would economically suffocate the Israeli city of Eilat just as it was becoming Israel's gateway to Africa and the Far East. Egypt said it had the right to deny Israeli passage because it had sovereignty over the islands of Sanafir and Tiran. The two islands fell under Israeli control during the Six-Day War and were returned after the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Renewed Egyptian-Saudi cooperation is very much in line with Israel's vested interests. The new partnership is necessary if there is to be a moderate axis of Sunni-Arab states to counter the radicalized forces in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This cooperation is also an important counterweight to Iran, which Saudi Arabia considers a major threat. Saudi Arabia essentially vowed to comply with the terms of the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel. That treaty mandates that these two islands remain demilitarized. The treaty also led to the creation of an international peacekeeping force to ensure free passage through the straits. The writer, Vice Rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

2016-04-13 00:00:00

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