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1948 Palestine war

1948 Palestine war
Part of the Arab–Israeli conflict
Date 30 November 1947 – 20 July 1949
(1 year, 7 months, 2 weeks and 6 days)
Location Former Mandatory Palestine, Sinai Peninsula, southern Lebanon
Result - Israeli victory
- Jordanian partial victory[1][2]
- Palestinian Arab defeat
- Egyptian defeat
- Arab League strategic failure
-1948 Palestinian exodus and Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries

1949 Armistice Agreements:
- Establishment of the State of Israel beyond the borders proposed by the Partition Plan
- Establishment of All-Palestine Government in the Gaza Strip under Egyptian patronship

- Jordanian occupation of West Bank and East Jerusalem
- Syrian foothold North and South of Sea of Galilee

After 29 November 1947 :
After 15 May 1948 :

After 29 November 1947 :
Allied Bedouin tribes[3][4]

After 26 May 1948 :
Minorities Unit

Foreign volunteers:


After 29 November 1947 :
Holy War Army
Arab Liberation Army

After 15 May 1948 :
Arab Liberation Army

Foreign volunteers and irregulars:
Holy War Army
Saudi Arabia[5]

Commanders and leaders
David Ben-Gurion
Chaim Weizmann
Yigael Yadin
Yaakov Dori
David Shaltiel
Moshe Dayan
Yisrael Galili
Yigal Allon
Yitzhak Rabin
Moshe Carmel

John Bagot Glubb

Habis al-Majali
Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni 
Hasan Salama 
Fawzi Al-Qawuqji
Haj Amin Al-Husseini
King Farouk I
Ahmad Ali al-Mwawi
Muhammad Naguib
Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam
Israel: c. 10,000 initially, rising to 115,000 by March 1949 Arabs: c. 2,000 initially, rising to 70,000, of which: Egypt: 10,000 initially, rising to 20,000
Iraq: 3,000 initially, rising to 15,000 – 18,000
Syria: 2,500 – 5,000
Transjordan: 8,000 – 12,000
Lebanon: 1,000[7]
Saudi Arabia: 800–1,200
Arab Liberation Army: 3,500 - 6,000
Casualties and losses
6,373 killed (about 4,000 troops and 2,400 civilians) 4,000 (for Egypt, Jordan and Syria)[8]–15,000 killed[9]

The 1948 Palestine war, known in Hebrew as The War of Independence ([13] and the official end of the first Arab-Israeli war on July 20, 1949.[14]

Historians divide the war into two phases:[15][16]

At the end of the war, the State of Israel kept the area that had been recommended by the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 as well as almost 60% of the area allocated to the proposed Arab state,[18] including the Jaffa, Lydda and Ramle area, Galilee, some parts of the Negev, a wide strip along the Tel-AvivJerusalem road, and some territories in the West Bank, putting them under military rule. Transjordan took control of the remainder of the Palestinian mandate, which it annexed, and the Egyptian military took control of the Gaza Strip. With Jordan occupying the West Bank and Egypt occupying Gaza, no state was created for the Palestinian Arabs.

Dramatic demographic changes accompanied the war in the country. Around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the area that became Israel, and they became Palestinian refugees.[19] Due to the war, around 10,000 Jews fled or were expelled from their homes in Palestine. In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews fled from Europe and Arab lands and immigrated to Israel, with one third of them having left or been expelled from their previous countries of residence in the Middle East.[20][21][22] These Jewish refugees were absorbed into Israel in the One Million Plan.[23][24][25] [26]

In Israel, the war is known as War of Independence or War of Liberation, because the modern State of Israel originated in the Yishuv (the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine) declaring its independence from the British Imperial Mandate in 1948. Israelis usually mark the anniversary of their independence on the 5th of Iyar of the Hebrew Calendar.[27] It is known in Arabic as al-Nakba ("the Catastrophe"), because of their loss of lands which they had occupied for centuries, the high number of displaced persons, and their failure to create an Arab State in Palestine following their defeat in the 1948 war.


  • Background 1
  • 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine 2
    • Plan Dalet and second stage 2.1
  • Course of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War 3
    • Arab Invasion 3.1
    • First truce: 11 June – 8 July 1948 3.2
    • Second phase: 8–18 July 1948 3.3
    • 18 July 1948 to 10 March 1949 3.4
  • Aftermath 4
    • Armistice lines 4.1
    • Casualties 4.2
    • Demographic consequences 4.3
  • Historiography 5
  • See also 6
  • Further reading 7
  • Quotes 8


Proposed separation of Palestine

On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution "recommending to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union", UN General Assembly Resolution 181(II).[28] This was an attempt to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict by partitioning Palestine into "Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem". Each state would comprise three major sections; the Arab state would also have an enclave at Jaffa in order to have a port on the Mediterranean.

With about 32% of the population, the Jews were allocated 56% of the territory. It contained 499,000 Jews and 438,000 Arabs and a majority of it was in the Negev desert.[29] The Palestinian Arabs were allocated 42% of the land, which had a population of 818,000 Palestinian Arabs and 10,000 Jews. In consideration of its religious significance, the Jerusalem area, including Bethlehem, with 100,000 Jews and an equal number of Palestinian Arabs, was to become a Corpus Separatum, to be administered by the UN.[30]

The Jewish leadership accepted the partition plan as "the indispensable minimum,"[31] glad to gain international recognition but sorry that they did not receive more.[32] The representatives of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab League firmly opposed the UN action and rejected its authority in the matter, arguing that the partition plan was unfair to the Arabs because of population balance at that time.[33] The Arabs rejected the partition, not because it was supposedly unfair, but because any form of partition[34][35] was rejected by the Arabs' leaders. They upheld "that the rule of Palestine should revert to its inhabitants, in accordance with the provisions of [...] the Charter of the United Nations."[36] According to Article 73b of the Charter, the UN should develop self-government of the peoples in a territory under its administration.

In the immediate aftermath of the UN's approval of the partition plan, explosions of joy amongst the Jewish community were counterbalanced by the expression of discontent amongst the Arab community. Soon after, violence broke out and became more prevalent. Murders, reprisals, and counter-reprisals came fast upon each other, resulting in dozens of victims killed on both sides. The sanguinary impasse persisted as no force intervened to put a stop to the escalating violence.

1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine

An Arab road block, at the main road to Jerusalem
Air dropping supplies to besieged Yehiam, 1948
Aftermath of the car bomb attack on the Ben Yehuda St., which killed 53 and injured many more.

This period constitutes the first phase of the war, which took place following the United Nations General Assembly vote for the

  1. ^ (2005)L'imaginaire d'Israël : histoire d'une culture politiqueAnita Shapira, , Latroun : la mémoire de la bataille, Chap. III. 1 l'événement p. 91–96
  2. ^ Benny Morris (2008), p.419.
  3. ^ Palestine Post, "Israel's Bedouin Warriors", Gene Dison, August 12, 1948
  4. ^ AFP (24 April 2013). "Bedouin army trackers scale Israel social ladder".  
  5. ^ a b c d Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, Chapter 5.
  6. ^ Moshe Yegar, "Pakistan and Israel," Jewish Political Studies Review 19:3–4 (Fall 2007)
  7. ^ Pollack, 2004; Sadeh, 1997
  8. ^ a b Casualties in Arab-Israeli Wars
  9. ^ a b Chris Cook, World Political Almanac, 3rd Ed. (Facts on File: 1995)
  10. ^ Reuven Firestone or calamity. I therefore refrain from assigning names to wars. I refer to the wars between the State of Israel and its Arab and Palestinian neighbors according to their dates: 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982.'nakba). To Arabs, and especially Palestinians, it is the milchemet ha'atzma'utTo Jews, the Jewish-Arab war of 1947–1948 is the War of Independence ( Reuven Firestone, Holy War in Judaism: The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea, Oxford University Press, 2012 p.10, cf.p.296
  11. ^ Neil Caplan, , translated as “The Catastrophe” and including in its scope the destruction of their society and the expulsion and flight of some 700,000 refugees.’Al-Nakba) full of the joys and overtones of deliverance and redemption. For Palestinians, it is milhemet ha-atzama’ut‘Perhaps the most famous case of differences over the naming of events is the 1948 war (more accurately, the fighting from December 1947 through January 1949). For Israel it is their “War of Liberation” or “War of Independence” (in Hebrew, The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories, John Wiley & Sons, Sep 19, 2011 p.17.
  12. ^ Neil Caplan Although some historians would cite 14 May 1948 as the start of the war known variously as the Israeli War of Independence, an-Nakba (the (Palestinian) Catastrophe), or the first Palestine war, it would be more accurate to consider that war as beginning on 30 November 1947'. Futile Diplomacy: The United Nations, the Great Powers, and Middle East Peacemaking 1948–1954, (vol.3) Frank Cass & Co, 1997 p.17
  13. ^ Resolution 181 (II). Future government of Palestine A/RES/181(II)(A+B) 29 November 1947 Archived December 25, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ This corresponds to the signing of the armistice agreement between Syria and Israel. Others consider the war to have ended at the last ceasefire on January 8, 1949.
  15. ^ Demise of the British Empire in the Middle East: Britain's Responses to Nationalist Movements, 1943-55, by Michael Joseph Cohen, Martin Kolinsky. 1998. p. 54.
  16. ^ Yoav Gelber, – consisted of two distinct, consecutive, but separate campaigns fought by different enemies, under dissimilar circumstances, each phase under different rules. The first encounter commenced early in December 1947 and lasted until the British mandate in Palestine expired. It was a civil war between Jews and Palestinians that took place under British sovereignty and in the presence of Jewish troops. The second contest began with the invasion of Palestine by the regular Arab armies on 156 May 1948.’Israel's War of Independence — the equivalent to the Palestinians' Al- Nakba (Arabic for "Disaster") Palestine, 1948: war, escape and the emergence of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, Sussex Academic Press, 2nd rev ed. 2004 p.4.
  17. ^ David Tal, War in Palestine, 1948. Strategy and Diplomacy, Routledge, 2004.
  18. ^ Cragg, Kenneth. Palestine. The Prize and Price of Zion. Cassel, 1997. ISBN 978-0-304-70075-2. Pages 57, 116.
  19. ^ a b — Benny Morris, 2004. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, pp. 602–604. Cambridge University Press; ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6. "It is impossible to arrive at a definite persuasive estimate. My predilection would be to opt for the loose contemporary British formula, that of 'between 600,000 and 760,000' refugees; but, if pressed, 700,000 is probably a fair estimate";
    Memo US Department of State, 4 May 1949, FRUS, 1949, p. 973.: "One of the most important problems which must be cleared up before a lasting peace can be established in Palestine is the question of the more than 700,000 Arab refugees who during the Palestine conflict fled from their homes in what is now Israeli occupied territory and are at present living as refugees in Arab Palestine and the neighbouring Arab states.";
    Memorandum on the Palestine Refugee Problem, 4 May 1949, FRUS, 1949, p. 984.: "Approximately 700,000 refugees from the Palestine hostilities, now located principally in Arab Palestine, Transjordan, Lebanon and Syria, will require repatriation to Israel or resettlement in the Arab states."
  20. ^ Devorah Hakohen, Immigrants in Turmoil: Mass Immigration to Israel and Its Repercussions in the 1950s and after, Syracuse University Press 2003 p.267
  21. ^ Displaced Persons retrieved on 29 October 2007 from the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
  22. ^ Tom Segev, 1949. The First Israelis, Owl Books, 1986, p.96.
  23. ^ Morris, 2001, chap. VI.
  24. ^ "Jewish Refugees of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict". Mideast Web. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  25. ^ Axelrod, Alan (2014). Idiot's Guides: The Middle East Conflict. Penguin Group.  
  26. ^ Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, chap. VI.
  27. ^ Howard Sachar, A History of Israel. From the Rise of Zionisme to our Time, 2007, p.315.
  28. ^ "A/RES/181(II) of 29 November 1947". 1947. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  29. ^ Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 47. Retrieved 13 July 2013. The Jews were to get 62 percent of Palestine (most of it desert), consisting of the Negev 
  30. ^ Pappe, 2006, p. 35
  31. ^ El-Nawawy, 2002, p. 1-2
  32. ^ Morris, 'Righteous Victims ...', 2001, p. 190
  33. ^ Gold, 2007, p. 134
  34. ^ UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE A/AC.25/W/19 30 July 1949,"The Arabs rejected the United Nations Partition Plan so that any comment of theirs did not specifically concern the status of the Arab section of Palestine under partition but rather rejected the scheme in its entirety."
  35. ^ Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 67. Retrieved 13 July 2013. p. 67, "The League’s Political Committee met in Sofar, Lebanon, on 16–19 September, and urged the Palestine Arabs to fight partition, which it called “aggression,” “without mercy"'; p. 70, '"On 24 November the head of the Egyptian delegation to the General Assembly, Muhammad Hussein Heykal, said that “the lives of 1,000,000 Jews in Moslem countries would be jeopardized by the establishment of a Jewish state." 
  36. ^ "Arab League Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine, 15 May 1948", Jewish Virtual Library. Archived 19 December 2010 at WebCite
  37. ^ Resolution 181 (II). Future government of Palestine A/RES/181(II)(A+B) 29 November 1947
  38. ^ Special UN commission (16 April 1948), § II.5
  39. ^ Yoav Gelber (2006), p.85
  40. ^ Yoav Gelber (2006), pp.51-56
  41. ^ Dominique Lapierre et Larry Collins (1971), chap.7, pp.131-153
  42. ^ Benny Morris (2003), p. 163
  43. ^ Henry Laurens (2005), p.83
  44. ^ Dominique Lapierre et Larry Collins (1971), p.163
  45. ^ Benny Morris (2003), p.67
  46. ^ Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 116. Retrieved 13 July 2013. At the time, Ben-Gurion and the HGS believed that they had initiated a one-shot affair, albeit with the implication of a change of tactics and strategy on the Jerusalem front. In fact, they had set in motion a strategic transformation of Haganah policy. Nahshon heralded a shift from the defensive to the offensive and marked the beginning of the implementation of tochnit dalet (Plan D)—without Ben-Gurion or the HGS ever taking an in principle decision to embark on its implementation.  
  47. ^ Dominique Lapierre et Larry Collins (1971), pp.369-381
  48. ^ Benny Morris (2003), pp. 242-243
  49. ^ Benny Morris (2003), p.242
  50. ^ Henry Laurens (2005), pp.85-86
  51. ^ Benny Morris (2003), pp.248-252
  52. ^ Benny Morris (2003), pp.252-254
  53. ^ Retrieved 9 April 2012Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel: 14 May 1948Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
  54. ^ "The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917–1988. Part II, 1947–1977", United Nations
  55. ^ "The First Truce". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  56. ^ Morris, Benny (2008). 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press.  
  57. ^ a b Benny Morris (2008), p.269
  58. ^ Benny Morris (2008), p.322
  59. ^ Benny Morris (2008), p.205
  60. ^ a b c d e Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. 
  61. ^  
  62. ^ Alfred A. Knopf. A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. New York. 1976. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-394-48564-5.
  63. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 448.
  64. ^ Benny Morris (2008), p.323.
  65. ^ Shapira, Anita. Yigal Allon; Native Son; A Biography, Translated by Evelyn Abel, University of Pennsylvania Press ISBN 978-0-8122-4028-3 p 247
  66. ^ Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 339. Retrieved 13 July 2013. Al-Qawuqji supplied the justification for Operation Hiram, in which the IDF overran the north-central Galilee "pocket" and a strip of southern Lebanon... In truth, as with Yoav, Operation Hiram had been long in the planning... on 6 October, at the IDF General Staff meeting, Carmel had pressed for [Hiram] authorization, but the Cabinet held back. The Arabs were shortly to give him his chance. Before dawn on 22 October, in defiance of the UN Security Council cease-fire order, ALA units stormed the IDF hilltop position of Sheikh Abd, just north of, and overlooking, Kibbutz  
  67. ^ Benny Morris (2008), p.369.
  68. ^ General Progress Report and Supplementary Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Covering the Period from 11 December 1949 to 23 October 1950, published by the United Nations Conciliation Commission, 23 October 1950. (U.N. General Assembly Official Records, 5th Session, Supplement No. 18, Document A/1367/Rev. 1) Archived April 5, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  69. ^ L. Rogan, Eugene; Shlaim, Avi. "The War for Palestine. Rewriting the History of 1948". Institute of Historical Research. Archived from the original on 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  70. ^ "Jewish Refugees of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict". Mideast Web. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  71. ^ Benny Morris (1 October 2008). 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press. p. 412.  
  72. ^ David J Goldberg (28 Aug 2010). "A book review of: In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands by Martin Gilbert". The Guardian. while it is pertinent to point out that 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands have been fed, housed and absorbed by Israel since 1948 while 750,000 Palestinian refugees languish in camps, dependent on United Nations handouts 
  73. ^ Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, chap. VI.
  74. ^ Malka Hillel Shulewitz, The Forgotten Millions: The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands, Continuum 2001.
  75. ^ Ada Aharoni "The Forced Migration of Jews from Arab Countries, Historical Society of Jews from Egypt website. Accessed April 4, 2013.
  76. ^ Yehuda Zvi Blum (1987). For Zion's Sake. Associated University Presse. p. 69.  
  77. ^ Displaced Persons retrieved on 29 October 2007 from the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
  78. ^ Tom Segev, 1949. The First Israelis, Owl Books, 1986, p.96.
  79. ^ Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, chap.VI.
  80. ^ Population, by Religion and Population Group, Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 2006, retrieved 7 August 2007 
  81. ^ Dvora Hacohen, Immigrants in Turmoil: Mass Immigration to Israel and its Repercussions in the 1950s and After, Syracuse University Press, 2003
  82. ^ a b Avi Shlaim, "The Debate about 1948", International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Aug., 1995), pp. 287-304.
  83. ^ Jeff Weintraub, "Benny Morris on fact, fiction, & propaganda about 1948", The Irish Times, 21 February 2008, [2] Archived 14 August 2009 at WebCite


  • Yoav Gelber, Palestine 1948, Sussex Academic Press, Brighton, 2006, ISBN 978-1-84519-075-0
  • Saleh Abdel Jawad, The Arab and Palestinian Narratives of the 1948 War, in Robert I. Rotberg, Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict, Indiana University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-253-21857-5.
  • Efraim Karsh, The Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Palestine War 1948, Osprey publishing, 2002.
  • Walid Khalidi (ed.), All that remains.ISBN 978-0-88728-224-9.
  • Walid Khalidi, Selected Documents on the 1948 Palestine War, Journal of Palestine Studies, 27(3), 79, 1998.
  • Benny Morris, 1948, Yale University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-300-12696-9
  • Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld Publications, 2006, ISBN 978-1-85168-555-4
  • Eugene Rogan & Avi Shlaim, The War for Palestine — Rewriting the history of 1948, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • David Tal, War in Palestine, 1948. Strategy and Diplomacy, Routledge, 2004.

Further reading

See also

In 1980, with the opening of the Israeli and British archives, Israeli historians started giving new insights into the history of this time period. In particular, the roles played by Abdullah I of Jordan and the British government, the goals of the different Arab nations, the balance of force, and the events related to the Palestinian exodus have been expressed in more complexity or given new interpretations.[82] Some of the issues continue to be hotly debated among historians and commentators of the conflict today.[83]

After the war, Israeli and Arab historiographies have differed on interpretation of the events of 1948. In Western historiography, the majority view was of the vastly outnumbered and ill-equipped Jews fighting off the massed strength of the invading Arab armies; it was also widely believed that the Palestinian Arabs left their homes on the instruction of their leaders.[82]


During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, around 10,000 Jews were forced to evacuate their homes in Palestine or Israel.[70] The war indirectly created a second, major refugee problem, the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands. Partly because of the war between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, hundreds thousand Jews who lived in the Arab states emigrated, were intimidated into flight, or were expelled from their native countries, most of them reaching Israel. The immediate reasons to the flight were the popular Arab hostility, including pogroms, triggered by the war in Palestine and anti Jewish governmental measures.[71] In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, where they absorbed, fed and housed[72] mainly along the borders and in former Palestinian lands.[73] Beginning in 1948, and continuing until 1972, an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jews fled or were expelled.[74][75][76] From 1945 until the closure at 1952, more than 250,000 Jewish displaced persons lived in European refugee camps. About 136,000 of them immigrated to Israel.[77] More than 270,000 Jews immigrated from Eastern Europe,[78] mainly Romania and Poland (over 100,000 each). Overall 700,000 Jews settled in Israel,[79] doubling its Jewish population.[80][81]

The causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus are a controversial topic among historians.[69] The Palestinian refugee problem and the debate around the right of their return are also major issues of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Palestinians have staged annual demonstrations and protests on 15 May of each year.

During the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War that followed, around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled.[19] In 1951, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine estimated that the number of Palestinian refugees displaced from Israel was 711,000.[68] This number did not include displaced Palestinians inside Israeli-held territory. The list of villages depopulated during the Arab–Israeli conflict includes more than 400 Arab villages. It also includes about ten Jewish villages and neighbourhoods.

Demographic consequences

Israel lost 6,373 of its people, about 1% of its population in the war. About 4,000 were soldiers and the rest were civilians. The exact number of Arab losses is unknown but is estimated at between 4,000 for Egypt (2,000), Jordan and Syria (1,000 each) [8] and 15,000.[9]


In 1949, Israel signed separate Mixed Armistice Commissions were set up to monitor ceasefires, supervise the armistice agreements, to prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN peacekeeping operations in the region.

Israel after 1949 Armistice Agreements.

Armistice lines


On 5 March, Israel launched Operation Uvda; by 10 March, the Israelis reached Umm Rashrash (where Eilat was built later) and took it without a battle. The Negev Brigade and Golani Brigade took part in the operation. They raised a hand-made flag ("The Ink Flag") and claimed Umm Rashrash for Israel.

On 22 December, large IDF forces started Operation Horev. Its objective was to encircle the Egyptian Army in the Gaza Strip and force the Egyptians into ending the war. The operation was a decisive Israeli victory, and Israeli raids into the Nitzana area and the Sinai peninsula forced the Egyptian army into the Gaza Strip, where it was encircled. Israeli forces withdrew from Sinai and Gaza under international pressure and after the British threatened to intervene against Israel. The Egyptian government announced, 6 January 1949, that they were willing to enter armistice negotiations. General Yigal Allon persuaded Ben-Gurion to continue as planned, but Ben-Gurion told him: "Do you know the value of peace talks with Egypt? After all, that is our great dream!"[67] He was sure that Transjordan and the other Arab states would follow suit. On 7 January 1949, a truce was achieved.

Before dawn on 22 October, in defiance of the UN Security Council cease-fire order, ALA units stormed the IDF hilltop position of Sheikh Abd, overlooking Kibbutz Manara. The kibbutz was now besieged. Ben-Gurion initially rejected Moshe Carmel’s demand to launch a major counteroffensive. He was wary of antagonizing the United Nations so close on the heels of its cease-fire order. During 24–25 October, ALA troops regularly sniped at Manara and at traffic along the main road. In contacts with UN observers, Fawzi al-Qawuqji demanded that Israel evacuate neighboring Kibbutz Yiftah and thin out its forces in Manara. The IDF demanded the ALA's withdrawal from the captured positions and, after a “no” from al-Qawuqji, informed the United Nations that it felt free to do as it pleased.[66] On 24 October, the IDF launched Operation Hiram and captured the entire upper Galilee, originally attributed to the Arab state by the Partition Plan. They drove the ALA back to Lebanon. At the end of the month, Israel had captured the whole Galilee and had advanced 5 miles (8.0 km) into Lebanon to the Litani River.

On 22 October, the third truce went into effect.[65]

During the truce, the Egyptians had regularly blocked with fire the passage of supply convoys to the beleaguered northern Negev settlements, contrary to the truce terms. On 15 October, another supply convoy was attacked by the Egyptians, and the already planned Operation Yoav was launched.[64] Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba-Hebron-Jerusalem road and to open the road to the encircled Negev settlements. Yoav was headed by the Southern Front commander Yigal Allon. The operation was a success, shattering the Egyptian army ranks and forcing the Egyptian forces to retreat from the northern Negev, Beersheba and Ashdod.

At 19:00 on 18 July, the second truce of the conflict went into effect after intense diplomatic efforts by the UN. On 16 September, a new partition for Palestine was proposed, but it was rejected by both sides.

18 July 1948 to 10 March 1949

By the time the second truce took effect at 19:00 18 July, Israel had taken the lower Galilee from Haifa Bay to the Sea of Galilee.

In Operation Dekel, Nazareth was captured on 16 July. In Operation Brosh, Israel tried and failed to drive the Syrian army out of north eastern Galilee.

Israeli Operation Danny resulted in exodus from Lydda and Ramle of 60,000 Palestinian residents. According to Benny Morris, in Ben-Gurion's view, Ramlah and Lydda constituted a special danger because their proximity might encourage co-operation between the Egyptian army, which had started its attack on Kibbutz Negbah, near Ramlah, and the Arab Legion, which had taken the Lydda police station. The author believes that Operation Dani, under which the two towns were seized, revealed that no such co-operation existed. Widespread looting took place during these operations. In total, about 100,000 Palestinians became refugees in this stage, according to Morris.[63]

Israeli forces launched a simultaneous offensive on all three fronts: Dani, Dekel, and Kedem. The fighting was dominated by large-scale Israeli offensives and a defensive Arab posture. The fighting continued for ten days until the UN Security Council issued the Second Truce on 18 July.[60]

An Otter armored car captured by the Haganah from the ALA (Arab Liberation Army- Kaukji's army) on 1948. The car still carries the ALA emblem, a dagger stabbing a Star of David.

Second phase: 8–18 July 1948

As the truce began, a British officer stationed in Haifa said that the four-week-long truce "would certainly be exploited by the Jews to continue military training and reorganization while the Arabs would waste [them] feuding over the future divisions of the spoils".[60] On 7 July, the day before the expiration of the truce, Egyptian forces under General Muhammad Naguib renewed the war by attacking Negba.[62]

"The Arabs violated the truce by reinforcing their lines with fresh units (including six companies of Sudanese regulars,[57] Saudi battalion [58] and contingents from Yemen, Morocco [59]) and by preventing supplies from reaching isolated Israeli settlements; occasionally, they opened fire along the lines".[60] The Israeli Defense Forces acquired weapons from Yitzhak Rabin, an IDF commander at the time and later Israel's fifth Prime Minister, said, "[w]ithout the arms from Czechoslovakia... it is very doubtful whether we would have been able to conduct the war".[61] As well as violating the arms and personnel embargo, both sides sent fresh units to the front.[60] The Israel army increased its manpower from approximately 30,000 or 35,000 men to almost 65,000 during the truce. They increased their arms supply to "more than twenty-five thousand rifles, five thousand machine guns, and more than fifty million bullets".[60]

An arms embargo was declared with the intention that neither side would make any gains from the truce. Neither side respected the truce; both found ways around the restrictions. Both the Israelis and the Arabs used this time to improve their positions, a direct violation of the terms of the ceasefire.

The UN declared a truce on 29 May, which began on 11 June and lasted 28 days. The ceasefire was overseen by UN mediator Folke Bernadotte and a team of UN Observers, army officers from Belgium, United States, Sweden and France.[55] Bernadotte was voted in by the General Assembly to "assure the safety of the holy places, to safeguard the well being of the population, and to promote 'a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine'".[56] Bernadotte spoke of "peace by Christmas" but saw that the Arab world had continued to reject the existence of a Jewish state, whatever its borders.[57]

Folke Bernadotte

First truce: 11 June – 8 July 1948

Over the next few days, contingents of four of the seven countries of the Arab League at that time, namely Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, and Syria, invaded territory in the former British Mandate of Palestine and fought the Israelis. They were supported by the Arab Liberation Army and corps of volunteers from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Yemen. The Arab armies launched a simultaneous offensive on all fronts, Egypt forces invaded from south, Jordanian and Iraqi forces invaded from east, while Syrian forces invaded from north. Co-operation among the various Arab armies was poor.

On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.[53] Both superpower leaders, U.S. President Harry S. Truman (de facto) and the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, immediately recognized the new state, while the Arab League refused to accept the UN partition plan, proclaimed the right of self-determination for the Arabs across the whole of Palestine, and maintained that the absence of legal authority made it necessary to intervene to protect Arab lives and property.[54]

Arab Invasion

Volunteers evacuating a wounded man during Egyptian bombardment of Tel Aviv.

Course of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War

Preparing for Arab intervention from neighbouring states, Haganah successfully launched Operations Yiftah[51] and Ben-'Ami[52] to secure the Jewish settlements of Galilee, and Operation Kilshon. This created an Israeli-controlled front around Jerusalem. The inconclusive meeting between Golda Meir and Abdullah I, followed by the Kfar Etzion massacre on the 13 May by the Arab Legion, led to predictions that the battle for Jerusalem would be merciless.

The British had essentially withdrawn their troops. The situation pushed the leaders of the neighboring Arab states to intervene, but their preparation was not completed, and they could not assemble sufficient forces to turn the tide of the war. The majority of Palestinian Arab hopes lay with the Arab Legion of Transjordan's monarch, King Abdullah I. He did not intend to create a Palestinian Arab-run state, as he hoped to annex much of the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine. Playing a double-game, he was in contact with the Jewish authorities as with the Arab League.

Within the framework of creating Jewish territorial continuity according to Plan Dalet, the forces of Haganah, Palmach and Irgun intended to conquer mixed zones of population. Palestinian Arab society was shaken. Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Beisan, and Jaffa were taken prior to the end of the Mandate, with Acre falling shortly after. More than 250,000 Palestinian Arabs fled from these locales.[50]

At the same time, the first large-scale operation of the Arab Liberation Army ended in a "débâcle", as they were roundly defeated at Mishmar HaEmek.[48] Their Druze allies left them through defection.[49]

During this time, and independently of Haganah or the framework of Plan Dalet, irregular troops from Irgun and Lehi formations massacred a substantial number of Arabs at Deir Yassin. The event that was publicly deplored and criticized by the principal Jewish authorities had a deep effect on the morale of the Arab population.

1500 men from Haganah's Givati brigade and Palmach's Harel brigade conducted sorties to free up the route to the city between 5 April and 20 April. The operation was successful, and enough foodstuffs to last 2 months were trucked into to Jerusalem for distribution to the Jewish population.[47] The success of the operation was assisted by the death of al-Husayni in combat.

The first operation, named Nachshon, was directed at lifting the blockade on Jerusalem.[46] In the last week of March, 136 supply trucks had tried to reach Jerusalem; only 41 had made it. The Arab attacks on communications and roads has intensified. The failure of the convoys and the loss of Jewish armoured vehicles had shaken the Yishuv leaders confidence.

The adoption of Plan Dalet marked the second stage of the war, in which Haganah took the offensive.

Arab armies invasion. Israel on June 1948
Palmach soldiers attack the San Simon monastery in Katamon, Jerusalem, April 1948 (battle reconstruction)
Palestinian irregulars of the Holy War Army, approaching al-Qastal village near Jerusalem to take it back from Palmach.

Plan Dalet and second stage

Ben-Gurion ordered Yigal Yadin to plan in preparation for the announced intervention of the Arab states. The result of his analysis was Plan Dalet, which was put in place from the start of April onwards.

While the Jewish population was ordered to hold their ground everywhere at all costs,[44] the Arab population was disrupted by the general conditions of insecurity to which the country was exposed. Up to 100,000 Arabs, from the urban upper and middle classes in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, or Jewish-dominated areas, evacuated abroad or to Arab centers to the east.[45]

This situation caused the USA to withdraw their support for the Partition plan, and the Arab League began to believe that the Palestinian Arabs, reinforced by the Arab Liberation Army, could put an end to partition. The British decided on 7 February 1948 to support the annexation of the Arab part of Palestine by Transjordan.[43]

To counter this, the Yishuv authorities tried to supply the city with convoys of up to 100 armoured vehicles, but the operation became more and more impractical as the number of casualties in the relief convoys surged. By March, al-Husayni's tactic had paid off. Almost all of Haganah's armoured vehicles had been destroyed, the blockade was in full operation, and hundreds of Haganah members who had tried to bring supplies into the city were killed.[42] The situation for those who dwelt in the Jewish settlements in the highly isolated Negev and North of Galilee was more critical.

[41] From January onwards, operations became increasingly militarized. A number of

These figures correspond to an average of more than 100 deaths and 200 casualties per week in a population of 2,000,000. [39] and by the end of March, the figure had risen to 2,000 dead and 4,000 wounded.[38]

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