The British Low-Profile Policy and Its Failure in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1964–1967

Moshe Gat

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Following the Suez Campaign in October 1956, Great Britain began to step away from the Middle East. Its policy aimed at a gradual withdrawal from the region while protecting its interests, ensuring the uninterrupted supply of oil, and curbing Soviet expansion. Hence the policy of the United Kingdom (UK) was to maintain stability as another war between Israel and its Arab neighbors would be detrimental to its economy and provide the Soviet Union with the opportunity to deepen its incursion into the region. Britain therefore adopted a low-profile policy, designed to avoid taking sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In practice, it was burying its head in the sand. The Arabs viewed the absence of clear support for them, particularly in the issue of water, as implicit support for Israel, especially since Britain was secretly supplying the latter with weapons. London’s low-profile policy did not stand the test of regional developments. The tension between Israel and Egypt that emerged in mid-May 1967, intensified over the closing of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt, led the UK to take steps to ensure free passage through them.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-180
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of the Middle East and Africa
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


    • Arab-Israeli conflict
    • Egypt
    • Great Britain and the Middle East
    • Israel


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