Note: This is not a syllabus topic, but it is included to complete the narrative and to provide part of the background to the 1967 war.
In 1949 Egypt closed the Suez Canal to Israeli ships and cargoes destined for Israel. In 1952 King Farouk of Egypt was deposed by an army revolt, and after a few months, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser replaced the leader of the revolt, General Mohammed Naguib, and became President. He developed a program of socialism, Arab nationalism and non-alignment, which had a wide appeal in the Arab world.
In September 1955 Egypt concluded an arms deal with the USSR. In the same month Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran. This meant that Israel had no access by sea to the East, including Australia. Egypt also equipped and trained the Fedayeen (“commando”) groups based in Gaza, which engaged in violent incursions against neighbouring Israeli settlements.
In October 1955 a federation was proclaimed between Egypt and Syria, adopting the name “United Arab Republic”.
In June 1956 Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, repudiating the treaties concluded with Britain and France when the Canal was constructed in 1869 by Anglo-French Suez Canal Company. As the crisis intensified Australia’s Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, personally visited President Nasser in Egypt and attempted to negotiate a solution.