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U.S. Makes Representations to Israel on Occupation of Tiran Island

May 24, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States Government informed Israel today that it was “concerned” over Israeli military occupation of Tiran Island at the entrance of the Straits of Tiran. Robert McCloskey, spokesman for the State Department, announced that “we have noted with concern Israeli press reports that Israeli forces had occupied the Island of Tiran.” He disclosed that formal representations had been made to the Israeli Government. The Department described the island as Saudi Arabian territory. Egypt’s closing of the Strait of Tiran last May was an immediate cause of the Six-Day War. The strait is the exit from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea.

Last Sunday, the Israel Foreign Ministry confirmed a report that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had asked Israel to withdraw its forces on the island. The request had been made some months earlier and rejected by Jerusalem. According to the Tel Aviv daily, Maariv, the U.S. Embassy notified Israel that Arabia was seeking the return of Tiran which it had “loaned” to President Nasser of Egypt so that Egypt could blockade the Israeli port of Eilat. Maariv reported that the Embassy received world of the Arabian demand from the U.S. Embassy in Riad. Israel reportedly told the U.S. that Tiran, captured from Egypt last June, was vital to Israel’s security.

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