If you enjoyed the first part of this piece, its excellence is not my doing. The asides and reflections are my own, but the text has mainly been based on a magnificent book, “Fortress Israel: the inside Story of the military elite who run the country – and why they can’t make peace,” by a former colleague and friend, Patrick Tyler. There are a lot of books on Israel lodged in my library, but Tyler’s is one of the best.
It is history of the first distinction – accurate, incredibly well researched and brilliantly written. The excellence of his retailing certain incidents, his keen insights into the personalities of the actors, his talents of staging and his sense of connection with what he relates to a broader framework of cultural reference -- are all first class.
But to return to the narrative.
By 1956, in Israel, Nasser had become, “Hitler on the Nile.” This clearly displays a lack of proportion and certain hysteria, but it was a widespread Israel’s military. Egypt’s large, formidable army and its leader threatened Israel’s existence and France and Britain also shared this view.
It was Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal that led to a secret alliance between the British and the French whose purpose was to destroy Nasser his armies.