Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
1948 Arab-Israeli War

1948 Arab-Israeli War

Overview
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation ' onMouseout='HidePop("13301")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Arab–Israeli_conflict">Arab–Israeli conflict
Arab–Israeli conflict
The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to political tensions and open hostilities between the Arab peoples and the Jewish community of the Middle East.
Discussion
Ask a question about '1948 Arab-Israeli War'
Start a new discussion about '1948 Arab-Israeli War'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation ' onMouseout='HidePop("13301")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Arab–Israeli_conflict">Arab–Israeli conflict
Arab–Israeli conflict
The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to political tensions and open hostilities between the Arab peoples and the Jewish community of the Middle East. The modern Arab-Israeli conflict began with the rise of Zionism and Arab Nationalism towards the end of the nineteenth century, and intensified with the...

.

The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war
1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine
The 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine lasted from 30 November 1947, the date of the United Nations vote in favour of the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the UN Partition Plan, to the termination of the British Mandate itself on 14 May 1948.This period constitutes the...

, Arab armies invaded Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, escalating the war to one between sovereign states. The fighting took place mostly on the former territory of the British Mandate and for a short time also in the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 and southern Lebanon.

Much of what Palestinian Arabs refer to as The Catastrophe
1948 Palestinian exodus
The 1948 Palestinian exodus , also known as the Nakba , occurred when approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Civil War that preceded it. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute...

, occurred amidst this war. The war is also considered among the main triggers of the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, initiating the first exodus wave of Egyptian, as well as other Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities.

The war concluded with the 1949 Armistice Agreements
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

, which established armistice lines, known as the Green Line
Green Line
- Geographic demarcations :* Green Line, a name for the Gothic Line or "Linea Gotica", a German defensive line in Italy during World War II, renamed the "Green Line" in June 1944...

, between Israeli forces and the forces in the Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian-held West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

.

Background




Following World War II, on 14 May 1948, the British Mandate of Palestine came to an end. The surrounding Arab nations were also emerging from mandatory
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 rule. Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

, under the Hashemite
Hashemite
Hashemite is the Latinate version of the , transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashim", a clan within the larger Quraish tribe...

 ruler Abdullah I
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

, gained independence from Britain in 1946 and was called Jordan, but it remained under heavy British influence. Egypt
Kingdom of Egypt
The Kingdom of Egypt was the first modern Egyptian state, lasting from 1922 to 1953. The Kingdom was created in 1922 when the British government unilaterally ended its protectorate over Egypt, in place since 1914. Sultan Fuad I became the first king of the new state...

, while nominally independent, signed the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt...

 that included provisions by which Britain would maintain a garrison of troops on the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. From 1945 on, Egypt attempted to renegotiate the terms of this treaty, which was viewed as a humiliating vestige of colonialism. Lebanon became an independent state in 1943, but French troops would not withdraw until 1946, the same year that Syria won its independence from France.

In 1945, at British prompting, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Syria, Transjordan, and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 formed the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 to coordinate policy between the Arab states. Iraq and Transjordan coordinated policies closely, signing a mutual defence treaty, while Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia feared that Transjordan would annex part or all of Palestine, and use it as a basis to attack or undermine Syria, Lebanon, and the Hijaz.

On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 approved a plan to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict by partitioning Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Each state would comprise three major sections, linked by extraterritorial crossroads; the Arab state would also have an enclave at Jaffa. The Jews would get 56% of the land, of which most was in the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 Desert; their area would contain 499,000 Jews and 438,000 Arabs. The Palestinian Arabs would get 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
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, with 100,000 Jews and an equal number of Palestinian Arabs, was to become a Corpus separatum, to be administered by the UN. The Jewish leadership accepted the partition plan, without reservation, as "the indispensable minimum," glad to gain international recognition but sorry that they did not receive more.

Arguing that the partition plan was unfair to the Arabs with regard to the population balance at that time, the representatives of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab League firmly opposed the UN action and even rejected its authority to involve itself in the entire matter. They upheld "that the rule of Palestine should revert to its inhabitants, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations."

1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine


The 1947–1948 civil war in mandatory Palestine lasted from 30 November 1947, the date of the United Nations vote in favour of the termination of the British Mandate of Palestine and the UN Partition Plan, to the termination of the British Mandate on 14 May 1948.

During this period the Jewish
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 and Arab communities of Palestine clashed, while the British, who had the obligation to maintain order, organised their withdrawal and intervened only on an occasional basis.

Arab Palestinians left the country in large numbers, especially after Jewish forces took the major seaport of Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 in April 1948.

On 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 declared the independence of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. At this point the conflict became an outright war between the new State of Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Yishuv


Benny Morris
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

 points out that the Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

's aims evolved during the war.

Initially, the aim was "simple and modest": to survive the assaults of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab states. "The Zionist leaders deeply, genuinely, feared a Middle Eastern reenactment of the Holocaust, which had just ended; the Arabs' public rhetoric reinforced these fears". As the war progressed, the aim of expanding the Jewish state beyond the UN partition borders appeared: first to incorporate clusters of isolated Jewish settlements and later to add more territories to the state and give it defensible borders. A third and further aim that emerged among the political and military leaders after four or five months was to "reduce the size of Israel's prospective large and hostile Arab minority, seen as a potential powerful fifth column
Fifth column
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within.-Origin:The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War...

, by belligerency and expulsion."

King Abdullah I of Jordan


King Abdullah was the commander of the Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

, the strongest Arab army involved in the war. The Arab Legion had about 10,000 soldiers, trained and commanded by British officers.
In 1946–47, Abdullah said that he had no intention to "resist or impede the partition of Palestine and creation of a Jewish state
Jewish state
A homeland for the Jewish people was an idea that rose to the fore in the 19th century in the wake of growing anti-Semitism and Jewish assimilation. Jewish emancipation in Europe paved the way for two ideological solutions to the Jewish Question: cultural assimilation, as envisaged by Moses...

." Hostile towards Palestinian nationalism
Palestinian nationalism
Palestinian nationalism is the national movement of the Palestinian people. It has roots in Pan-Arabism and other movements rejecting colonialism and calling for national independence. More recently, Palestinian Nationalism is expressed through the Israeli–Palestinian conflict...

, Abdullah wished to annex as much of Palestine as possible. Ideally, Abdullah would have liked to annex all of Palestine, but he was prepared to compromise. He supported the partition, intending that the West Bank area of the British Mandate allocated for Palestine be annexed to Jordan. Abdullah had secret meetings with the Jewish Agency (at which the future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was among the delegates) that reached an agreement of Jewish non-interference with Jordanian annexation of the West Bank (although Abdullah failed in his goal of acquiring an outlet to the Mediterranean Sea through the Negev desert) and of Jordanian agreement not to attack the area of the Jewish state contained in the United Nations partition resolution (in which Jerusalem was given neither to the Arab nor the Jewish state, but was to be an internationally administered area). In one stunning diplomatic coup, the strongest Arab army agreed not to attack the Jewish state.
However, by 1948, the neighbouring Arab states pressured Abdullah into joining them in an "all-Arab military intervention" against the newly created State of Israel, that he used to restore his prestige in the Arab world, which had grown suspicious of his relatively good relationship with Western and Jewish leaders.

Abdullah's role in this war became substantial. He saw himself as the "supreme commander of the Arab forces" and "persuaded the Arab League to appoint him" to this position. Through his leadership, the Arabs fought the 1948 war to meet Abdullah's political goals.

The other Arab states


King Farouk of Egypt
Farouk of Egypt
Farouk I of Egypt , was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936....

 was anxious to prevent Abdullah from being seen as the main champion of the Arab world in Palestine, which he feared might damage his own leadership aspirations of the Arab world. In addition, Farouk wished to annex all of southern Palestine to Egypt. Nuri as-Said
Nuri as-Said
Nuri Pasha al-Said was an Iraqi politician during the British Mandate and during the Kingdom of Iraq. He served in various key cabinet positions, and served seven terms as Prime Minister of Iraq....

, the strongman of Iraq, had ambitions for bringing the entire Fertile Crescent under Iraqi leadership. Both Syria and Lebanon wished to take certain areas of northern Palestine. One result of the ambitions of the various Arab leaders was a distrust of all the Palestinian leaders who wished to set up a Palestinian state, and a mutual distrust of each other. Co-operation was to be very poor during the war between the various Palestinian factions and the Arab armies.

Arab Higher Committee of Amin al-Husayni


Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is the Sunni Muslim cleric in charge of Jerusalem's Islamic holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.-Ottoman era:...

 and Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

, had collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. In 1940, he asked the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 to acknowledge the Arab right "to settle the question of Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries in accordance with the national and racial interests of the Arabs and along the lines similar to those used to solve the Jewish question in Germany and Italy."

At the beginning of 1948, al-Husayni was in exile in Egypt. He was involved in some of the high level negotiations between Arab leaders at a meeting held in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 in February 1948 to organize Palestinian Field Commands; however, the commanders of his Holy War Army, Hasan Salama
Hasan Salama
Hasan Salama or Hassan Salameh was a commander of the Palestinian Holy War Army in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War along with Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni.- Biography :...

 and Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni
Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni
Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and fighter who in late 1933 founded the secret militant group known as the Organization for Holy Struggle, , which he and Hasan Salama commanded as the Army of the Holy War during the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt and during the 1948...

, were allocated only the Lydda
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

 district and Jerusalem. This decision

paved the way for an undermining of the Mufti's position among the Arab States. On 9 February, only four days after the Damascus meeting, a severe blow was suffered by the Mufti at the Arab League session in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 [where his demands for] the appointment of a Palestinian to the General Staff of the League, the formation of a Palestinian Provisional Government, the transfer of authority to local National Committees in areas evacuated by the British, a loan for administration in Palestine and appropriation of large sums to the Arab Higher Executive for Palestinians entitled to war damages [were all rejected].


The Arab League blocked recruitment to al-Husayni's forces, which collapsed following the death of his most charismatic commander, his cousin Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, on 8 April.

Following rumours that King Abdullah was re-opening the bilateral negotiations with Israel that he had previously conducted in secret with the Jewish Agency, the Arab League, led by Egypt, decided to set up the All-Palestine Government
All-Palestine Government
The All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Shortly thereafter, an Arab-Palestinian Congress named King Abdullah I of Transjordan, "King of Arab Palestine"...

 in Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 on 8 September under the nominal leadership of the Mufti. Historian Avi Shlaim
Avi Shlaim
Avi Shlaim FBA is a British/Israeli historian. He is a professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a fellow of the British Academy.Shlaim is especially well known as a historian of the Arab-Israeli conflict...

 wrote:

The decision to form the Government of All-Palestine in Gaza, and the feeble attempt to create armed forces under its control, furnished the members of the Arab League with the means of divesting themselves of direct responsibility for the prosecution of the war and of withdrawing their armies from Palestine with some protection against popular outcry. Whatever the long-term future of the Arab government of Palestine, its immediate purpose, as conceived by its Egyptian sponsors, was to provide a focal point of opposition to Abdullah and serve as an instrument for frustrating his ambition to federate the Arab regions with Jordan.


Abdullah regarded the attempt to revive al-Husayni's Holy War Army as a challenge to his authority and on 3 October his Minister of Defence ordered all armed bodies operating in the areas controlled by the Arab Legion to be disbanded. Glubb Pasha carried out the order ruthlessly and efficiently.

Military assessments


Benny Morris has argued that although, by the end of 1947, the Palestinians "had a healthy and demoralising respect for the Yishuv's military power", they believed that in decades or centuries "the Jews, like the medieval crusader kingdoms
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

, would ultimately be overcome by the Arab world".

On the eve of the war, the number of Arab troops likely to be committed to the war was about 23,000 (10,000 Egyptians, 4,500 Jordanians, 3,000 Iraqis, 3,000 Syrians, 2,000 ALA volunteers, 1,000 Lebanese and some Saudi Arabians), in addition to the irregular Palestinians already present. The Yishuv had 35,000 troops of the Haganah, 3,000 of Stern and Irgun and a few thousand armed settlers.

On 12 May, David Ben-Gurion was told by his chief military advisers, "who over-estimated the size of the Arab armies and the numbers and efficiency of the troops who would be committed", that Israel's chances of winning a war against the Arab states were only about even.

Yishuv forces


In November 1947, the Haganah was an underground paramilitary force that had existed as a highly organized, national force, since the riots of 1920–21, and throughout the riots of 1929, and Great Uprising of 1936–39. It had a mobile force, the HISH
HISH
The Hish was a corps formed by the Haganah in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1939 following the disbandment of the smaller mobilized force known as the Fosh. It was the Haganah's main surface corps, alongside Him and the Palmach....

, which had 2,000 full time fighters (men and women) and 10,000 reservists (all aged between 18 and 25) and an elite unit, the Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

 composed of 2,100 fighters and 1,000 reservists. The reservists trained three or four days a month and went back to civilian life the rest of the time. These mobile forces could rely on a garrison force, the HIM (Heil Mishmar, lit. Guard Corps), composed of people aged over 25. The Yishuv's total strength was around 35,000 with 15,000 to 18,000 fighters and a garrison force of roughly 20,000. The two clandestine groups, Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 and Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

, had 2,000–4,000 and 500–800 members, respectively. Irgun, whose activities were considered by Mi5 to be terrorism, was monitored by the British. There were also several thousand men and women who had served in the British Army in World War II who did not serve in any of the underground militias but would provide valuable military experience during the war. Walid Khalidi says the Yishuv had the additional forces of the Jewish Settlement Police, numbering some 12,000, the Gadna Youth Battalions, and the armed settlers. Few of the units had been trained by December 1947.

In 1946, Ben-Gurion decided that the Yishuv would probably have to defend itself against both the Palestinian Arabs and neighbouring Arab states and accordingly began a "massive, covert arms acquisition campaign in the West". By September 1947 the Haganah had "10,489 rifles, 702 light machine-guns, 2,666 submachine guns, 186 medium machine-guns, 672 two-inch mortars and 92 three-inch (76 mm) mortars" and acquired many more during the first few months of hostilities. The Yishuv also had "a relatively advanced arms producing capacity", that between October 1947 and July 1948 "produced 3 million 9 mm bullets, 150,000 Mills grenades
Mills bomb
Mills bomb is the popular name for a series of prominent British hand grenades. They were the first modern fragmentation grenades in the world.-Overview:...

, 16,000 submachine guns (Sten
Sten
The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

 Guns) and 210 three-inch (76 mm) mortars", along with a few "Davidka
Davidka
The Davidka was a homemade Israeli mortar used in Safed and Jerusalem during the early stages of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Its bombs were reported to be extremely loud, but very inaccurate and otherwise of little value beyond terrifying opponents; they proved particularly useful in...

" homemade mortars that were highly inaccurate but had a spectacularly loud explosion that demoralized the enemy. Initially, the Haganah had no heavy machine guns, artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, armored vehicles, anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons, nor military aircraft or tanks.

On 5 December 1947, obligatory conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 was instituted for all men and women aged between 17 and 25. By end of March, 21,000 had been conscripted. On 30 March, the call-up was extended to men and single women aged between 26 to 35. Five days later, a General Mobilization order was issued for all men under 40.

Sources disagree about the amount of arms at the Yishuv's disposal at the end of the Mandate. According to Karsh before the arrival of arms shipments from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 as part of Operation Balak
Operation Balak
Operation Balak was a smuggling operation, during the founding of Israel in 1948, that purchased arms in Europe to avoid various embargoes and boycotts transferring them to the Zionists...

, there was roughly one weapon for every three fighters, and even the Palmach could arm only two out of every three of its active members. According to Collins and LaPierre, by April 1948, the Haganah had managed to accumulate only about 20,000 rifles and Sten guns for the 35,000 soldiers who existed on paper. According to Walid Khalidi "the arms at the disposal of these forces were plentiful". The one weapon of which there was no shortage was locally produced explosives.

The Yishuv forces were divided into a number of brigades:
Brigade Commander Size Operations
Golani
Golani Brigade
The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the...

Moshe Mann 4,500 Dekel
Operation Dekel
Operation Dekel , was the largest offensive in the north of Israel after the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was carried out by the 7th Armoured Brigade, a battalion from the Carmeli Brigade along with some elements from the Golani Brigade between 8–18 July. Its objective was to...

, Hiram
Operation Hiram
Operation Hiram was a military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was led by General Moshe Carmel, and aimed at capturing the upper Galilee region from the Arab Liberation Army forces led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji and a Syrian battalion...

Carmeli Moshe Carmel
Moshe Carmel
Moshe Carmel was an Israeli soldier and politician who served as Minister of Transportation for eight years.-Background:Born in Mińsk Mazowiecki in the Russian Empire , Carmel emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1924 when he was 13 years old. He was a founding member of kibbutz Na'an, and was...

2,000 Hiram
Operation Hiram
Operation Hiram was a military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was led by General Moshe Carmel, and aimed at capturing the upper Galilee region from the Arab Liberation Army forces led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji and a Syrian battalion...

Alexandroni
Alexandroni Brigade
The Alexandroni Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces brigade that fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Along with the 7th Armoured Brigade both units had 139 killed during the first battle of Latrun - Operation Ben Nun Alef .The unit is currently a reserve unit.-Katz controversy:In 1998, Teddy Katz...

Dan Even 5,200 Latrun
Battles of Latrun
The Battles of Latrun were a series of military engagements between the Israel Defense Forces and the Jordanian Arab Legion on the outskirts of Latrun between 25 May and 18 July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Latrun takes its name from the monastery close to the junction of two major...

, Hametz
Operation Hametz
Operation Hametz was a Jewish operation towards the end of the British Mandate of Palestine. It was launched at the end of April 1948 with the objective of capturing villages inland from Jaffa and establishing a blockade around the town.-Background:...

Kiryati
Kiryati Brigade
The Kiryati Brigade was formed in 1948 by David Ben-Gurion and was one of the original nine brigades that made up the Haganah. The Kiryati Brigade was initially responsible for securing the area in and around Tel Aviv...

Michael Ben-Gal 1,400 Dani
Operation Danny
Operation Danny was an Israeli military offensive launched at the end of the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The objectives were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem...

, Hametz
Operation Hametz
Operation Hametz was a Jewish operation towards the end of the British Mandate of Palestine. It was launched at the end of April 1948 with the objective of capturing villages inland from Jaffa and establishing a blockade around the town.-Background:...

Givati
Givati Brigade
The Givati Brigade is an infantry brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets...

Shimon Avidan
Shimon Avidan
Shimon Avidan , born Shimon Koch , was an Israeli soldier and officer, the commander of the Givati Brigade during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war....

5,000 Hametz
Operation Hametz
Operation Hametz was a Jewish operation towards the end of the British Mandate of Palestine. It was launched at the end of April 1948 with the objective of capturing villages inland from Jaffa and establishing a blockade around the town.-Background:...

, Barak
Operation Barak
Operation Barak was a Haganah offensive launched just before the end of the British Mandate in Palestine. It was part of Plan Dalet. Its objective was to capture villages North of Gaza in anticipation of the arrival of the Egyptian army...

, Pleshet
Operation Pleshet
Operation Pleshet , named for the geographical region where it took place, was an Israeli military operation during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It was carried out from May 29 to June 3, 1948, in the Isdud/Ad Halom area of the southern front, against the Egyptian Army. The aim of the operation was to...

Etzioni
Etzioni Brigade
The Etzioni Brigade , also 6th Brigade and Jerusalem Brigade, was an infantry brigade in the Haganah and Israel Defense Forces in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It was founded in late 1947 as the Field Corps unit responsible for the defense of Jerusalem and its surroundings, where it operated during...

David Shaltiel
David Shaltiel
David Shaltiel was an Israeli military and intelligence officer, later also diplomat, and was most well known for being the district commander of the Haganah in Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.He was born in Berlin into a Portuguese orthodox Jewish family settled in Hamburg.At 16,...

Battle of Jerusalem, Shfifon, Yevusi
Operation Yevusi
Operation Yevusi was a Palmach military operation carried out during the 1948 Arab Israeli War to assert Jewish control over Jerusalem. The operation, commanded by Yitzhak Sadeh, lasted two weeks, from 22 April 1948 to 3 May 1948. Not all objectives were achieved before the British enforced a...

, Battle of Ramat Rachel
7th Armoured Shlomo Shamir
Shlomo Shamir
Shlomo Shamir was the third Commander of the Israeli Navy , and the first Israeli Navy Commander to receive the rank of Aluf. He was the third Commander of the Israeli Air Force .- Biography :...

Battles of Latrun
Battles of Latrun
The Battles of Latrun were a series of military engagements between the Israel Defense Forces and the Jordanian Arab Legion on the outskirts of Latrun between 25 May and 18 July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Latrun takes its name from the monastery close to the junction of two major...

8th Armoured Yitzhak Sadeh
Yitzhak Sadeh
Yitzhak Sadeh , was the commander of the Palmach, one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel and a cousin of British philosopher Isaiah Berlin.-Biography:...

Danny
Operation Danny
Operation Danny was an Israeli military offensive launched at the end of the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The objectives were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem...

, Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...

, Horev
Operation Horev
At the end of Israel's War of Independence Operation Horev was a large scale attack against the Egyptian army in the Western Negev. Its objective was to trap the Egyptian Army in the Gaza Strip...

Oded
Oded Brigade
The Oded Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade, one of ten brigades fielded by the Haganah . It was headquartered in Jerusalem...

Avraham Yoffe
Avraham Yoffe
Avraham Yoffe was an Israeli general during the Six-Day War. He later entered politics, and served as a member of the Knesset for Likud between 1973 and 1977.-Biography:...

Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...

, Hiram
Operation Hiram
Operation Hiram was a military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was led by General Moshe Carmel, and aimed at capturing the upper Galilee region from the Arab Liberation Army forces led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji and a Syrian battalion...

Harel
Harel Brigade
Harel Brigade is a reserve brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, today part of the Northern Command. It played a critical role in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.- War of Independence :...

Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

1,400 Nachshon
Operation Nachshon
Operation Nachshon was an Jewish military operation during the 1948 war. Lasting from 5–20 April 1948, its objective was to break the Siege of Jerusalem by opening the Tel-Aviv - Jerusalem road blockaded by Palestinian Arabs and to supply food and weapons to the isolated Jewish community of...

, Danny
Operation Danny
Operation Danny was an Israeli military offensive launched at the end of the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The objectives were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem...

Yiftach
Yiftach Brigade
The Yiftach Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade...

Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon was an Israeli politician, a commander of the Palmach, and a general in the IDF. He served as one of the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda party and the Israeli Labor party, and acting Prime Minister of Israel, and was a member of the Knesset and government minister from the 10th through the...

4,500 inc. some Golani Yiftah, Danny
Operation Danny
Operation Danny was an Israeli military offensive launched at the end of the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The objectives were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem...

, Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...

, Battles of Latrun
Battles of Latrun
The Battles of Latrun were a series of military engagements between the Israel Defense Forces and the Jordanian Arab Legion on the outskirts of Latrun between 25 May and 18 July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Latrun takes its name from the monastery close to the junction of two major...

Negev
Negev Brigade
The 12th Negev Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade that served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It was commanded by Nahum "Sergei" Sarig and consisted of four Palmach battalions...

Nahum Sarig 2,400 Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...


Arab forces


There was no national military organization in the Arab Palestinian community. There were two paramilitary youth organizations, the pro-Husayni Futuwa and the anti-Husayni Najjada ("auxiliary corps"). According to Karsh, these groups had 11,000–12,000 members, but according to Morris, the Najjada, which was based in Jaffa and had 2,000–3,000 members, was destroyed in the run-up to the 1948 war, during Husayni's attempt to seize control of it, and the Futuwa never numbered more than a few hundred. At the outbreak of the war, new local militia groups, the National Guard, mushroomed in towns and cities. Each was answerable to its local Arab National Committee. The tendency of the Palestinians to dissipate their forces along village and clan lines would be a major weakness of the Palestinian side. In particular there was a split within the Palestinian community between those loyal to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haji Amin Husseini and those opposed to his leadership. In December, Abd al-Qadir Husseini, who was a protegé of his uncle the Grand Mufti arrived in Jerusalem with one hundred combatants who had trained in Syria and that would form the cadre of the Holy War Army. His forces were joined by a few hundred young villagers and veterans of the British army. There were 7,000 Palestinians who served in the British Army during World War II, and 10,500 Palestinians in the Mandate's para-military police force most of whom deserted during the winter of 1947–48 fight in the war.

The equipment of the Palestinian forces was very poor. The British confiscated most of their arsenal during the 1936–39 rebellion and World War II. A report of 1942 by the Haganah intelligence service assessed the number of firearms at the disposal of the Palestinian at 50,000 [but] this was probably an overestimate or even "highly exaggerated". In early February 1948 the Arab League's military Committee delivered 1,700 rifles to the Palestinian Arabs; at the same time the Egyptian gave the Mufti 1,200 rifles, Iraq sent 1,000 rifles and Syria gave 645 rifles, 78 machine guns and 8 mortars. The Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 (Jaysh al-Inqadh al-Arabi) had been set up by the Arab League. It was made up of around 6,000 volunteers, mostly from Syria, and was led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji
Fawzi Al-Qawuqji
Fawzi al-Qawuqji was the field commander of the Arab Liberation Army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War in Palestine, and a rival of the principal Palestinian Arab leader, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.-Biography:...

. Its officially allotted area was northern Palestine, including Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

.

Jordan's Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 was considered the most effective Arab force. Armed, trained and commanded by British officers, this 8,000–12,000 strong force was organised in four infantry/mechanised regiments supported by some 40 artillery pieces and 75 armoured cars. Until January 1948, it was reinforced by the 3,000-strong Transjordan Frontier Force
Transjordan Frontier Force
The Transjordan Frontier Force was formed, on 1 April 1926, as a para-military border guard to defend Trans-Jordan's northern and southern borders. The TJFF was also an Imperial Service regiment whose Imperial Service soldiers agreed to serve wherever required and not just within the borders of...

. As many as 48 British officers served in the Arab Legion. Glubb Pasha, the commander of the Legion, organized his forces into four brigades as follows:
Military Division Commander Rank Military Zone of operations
Top commander of the Arab Legion John Bagot Glubb Major General Central command
Field commander Norman Lash Brigadier
First Brigade, includes: 1st and 3rd regiments Desmond Goldie Colonel Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

 Military Zone
First Regiment H.C. Blackden Lt. Colonel Nablus Military Zone
Third Regiment William Newman Colonel Nablus Military Zone
Second Brigade, includes: Fifth and Sixth Regiments Sam Sidney Arthur Cooke Brigadier Support force
Fifth Regiment James Hawkin Major Support
Sixth Regiment Abdullah el Tell
Abdullah el Tell
Abdullah el-Tell, served in the Transjordanian Arab Legion during the 1948 war in Palestine rising from the rank of company commander to become Military Governor of the Old City of Jerusalem...

Major Jerusalem Military Zone
Third Brigade, includes: Second and Fourth Regiments Teel Ashton Colonel Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

 Military Zone
Second Regiment R. Slade Major Ramallah Military Zone
Fourth Regiment Habis Al-Majali Lt. Colonel Latrun
Latrun
Latrun is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.-Etymology:...

, Lid, and Ramla
Ramla
Ramla , is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region...

Fourth Brigade Ahmad Sudqi al-Jundi Colonel Support: Ramallah, Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, and Ramla

The Arab Legion joined the war in May 1948, but fought only in the areas that King Abdullah wanted to secure for Jordan: the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Jordanian forces were probably the best trained of all combatants. Other combatant forces lacked the ability to make strategic decisions and tactical maneuvers, as evidenced by positioning the fourth regiment at Latrun
Latrun
Latrun is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.-Etymology:...

, which was abandoned by other combatants before the arrival of the Jordanian forces. In the later stages of the war, Latrun proved to be of extreme importance, and a decisive factor for Jerusalem's fate.

In 1948, Iraq
Kingdom of Iraq
The Kingdom of Iraq was the sovereign state of Iraq during and after the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. The League of Nations mandate started in 1920. The kingdom began in August 1921 with the coronation of Faisal bin al-Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi as King Faisal I...

 had an army of 21,000 men in 12 brigades and the Iraqi Air Force
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force or IQAF is the military branch in Iraq responsible for the policing of international borders, surveillance of national assets and aerial operations...

 had 100 planes, mostly British. Initially the Iraqis committed around 3,000 men to the war effort, including four infantry brigades, one armoured battalion and support personnel. These forces were to operate under Jordanian guidance During the first truce, the Iraqis increased their force to about 10,000. Ultimately, the Iraqi expeditionary force numbered around 15,000 to 18,000 men.

The first Iraqi forces to be deployed reached Jordan in April 1948 under the command of Gen. Nur ad-Din Mahmud. On 15 May, Iraqi engineers built a pontoon bridge
Pontoon bridge
A pontoon bridge or floating bridge is a bridge that floats on water and in which barge- or boat-like pontoons support the bridge deck and its dynamic loads. While pontoon bridges are usually temporary structures, some are used for long periods of time...

 across the Jordan River and attacked the Israeli settlement of Gesher
Gesher, Israel
Gesher is a kibbutz in the Beit She'an Valley in northeastern Israel. Founded in 1939 by immigrants from Germany, it falls under the jurisdiction of Valley of Springs Regional Council. It is situated 10 km south of kibbutz Deganya Aleph and 15 km south of Tiberias. The population is...

 with little success. Following this defeat, Iraqi forces moved into the Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

-Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

-Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 strategic triangle, where they suffered heavy casualties in the Israeli attack on Jenin which began on 3 June, but they managed to hold on to their positions. Active Iraqi involvement in the war effectively ended at this point.

In 1948, Egypt was able to put a maximum of around 40,000 men into the field, 80% of its military-age male population being unfit for military service and its embryonic logistics system being limited in its ability to support ground forces deployed beyond its borders. Initially, an expeditionary force of 10,000 men was sent to Palestine under the command of Maj. Gen. Ahmed Ali al-Mwawi
Ahmed Ali al-Mwawi
Ahmed Abdullah Al-Mwawi , also Mawawi or Muwawi, was a Major General in the Egyptian Army. He served as the General Commander of the Egyptian expeditionary force during 1948 Arab–Israeli War....

. This force consisted of five infantry battalions, one armoured battalion equipped with British Light Tank Mk VI
Light Tank Mk VI
The Tank, Light, Mk VI was a British light tank, produced by Vickers-Armstrongs in the late 1930s, which saw service during World War II.- Development history :...

 and Matilda
Matilda tank
The Infantry Tank Mark II known as the Matilda II was a British infantry tank of the Second World War. It was also identified from its General Staff Specification A12....

 tanks, one battalion of sixteen 25-pounder guns, a battalion of eight 6-pounder guns
Ordnance QF 6 pounder
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 6-pounder 7 cwt, or just 6 pounder, was a British 57 mm gun, their primary anti-tank gun during the middle of World War II, as well as the main armament for a number of armoured fighting vehicles...

 and one medium-machine-gun battalion with supporting troops.

The Egyptian Air Force had over 30 Spitfires
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

, 4 Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

s and 20 C47s
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

 modified into crude bombers.

By the time of the second truce, the Egyptians had 20,000 men in the field in thirteen battalions equipped with 135 tanks and 90 artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 pieces.

Syria had 12,000 soldiers at the beginning of the 1948 War, grouped into three infantry brigades and an armoured force of approximately battalion size. The Syrian Air Force
Syrian Air Force
The Syrian Air Force is the Aviation branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It was established in 1948.-History:The end of World War II led to a withdrawal of the United Kingdom and France from the Middle East, and this included a withdrawal from Syria...

 had fifty planes, the 10 newest of which were World War II–generation models.

On 14 May Syria invaded Palestine with the 1st Infantry Brigade supported by a battalion of armoured cars, a company of French R 35 and R 37 tanks, an artillery battalion and other units. On 15–16 May they attacked the Israeli village Tzemah, which they captured, following a renewed offensive, on 18 May. The village was abandoned following the Syrian forces' defeat at the Degania
Degania
-Further reading:* Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.-External links:* *, from the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive internet site...

s a few days later. Subsequently, the Syrians scored a victory at Mishmar HaYarden
Mishmar HaYarden
Mishmar HaYarden is a moshav in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel. It belongs to the Mevo'ot HaHermon Regional Council. It is located on Highway 91 between Mahanayim and Gadot.It was founded in the 1950s...

 on 10 June, after which they reverted to a defensive posture, conducting only a few minor attacks on small, exposed Israeli settlements. The Lebanese
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 army was the smallest of the Arab armies, consisting of only 3,500 soldiers. According to Gelber, in June 1947, Ben-Gurion "arrived at an agreement with the Maronite religious leadership in Lebanon that cost a few thousand pounds and kept Lebanon's army out of the War of Independence and the military Arab coalition." According to Rogan and Shlaim, a token force of 1,000 was committed to the invasion. It crossed into the northern Galilee and was repulsed by Israeli forces. Israel then invaded and occupied southern Lebanon until the end of the war.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 sent a contingent of 800–1,200 men. Saudi troops were attached to the Egyptian command.

During the first truce, Sudan sent six companies of regular troops to fight alongside the Egyptians. Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 also committed a small expeditionary force to the war effort.

British forces in Palestine


There were 100,000 British troops deployed in Palestine "in two ground forces divisions, two independent infantry brigades, two mechanized regiments, some artillery units and a number of RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 squadrons". The peak deployment was in July 1947, when 70,200 British troops were stationed in Palestine, supported by 1,277 civilian drivers and 28,155 civilian employees. British forces, however, were gradually withdrawn in 1948. British High Commissioner Cunningham left Palestine on 14 May 1948 yet British forces overseeing the withdrawal remained in Palestine for several weeks thereafter, maintaining an enclave in and around Haifa and its port. Four Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 airmen were killed on 22 May when the Royal Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 struck RAF Ramat David, mistaking the airfield for one occupied by the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

. The last British soldiers left Palestine on 30 June 1948.

Intervention by Arab League countries



Five of the seven countries of the Arab League at that time, namely Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Iraq, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Lebanon and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, backed by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

n and Yemenite
Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen
The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , sometimes spelled Mutawakelite Kingdom of Yemen, also known as the Kingdom of Yemen or as North Yemen, was a country from 1918 to 1962 in the northern part of what is now Yemen...

 contingents invaded territory in the former British Mandate of Palestine on the night of 14–15 May 1948. The forces of Syria and Egypt launched attacks outside of the proposed Arab section of the Partition Plan. Jordan invaded the proposed "Corpus Separatum", which had yet to be instituted, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The official motives for their intervention were set out in a statement of 15 May 1948 :
the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, [and whereby] minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries ....

The main legal objection the Arab League had to the division of Palestine in UN Resolution 181 was that it did not respect the rights of its Arab inhabitants
in accordance with the provisions of the Covenant of the League of Nations
Covenant of the League of Nations
-Creation:Early drafts for a possible League of Nations began even before the end of the First World War. A London-based study group led by James Bryce and G. Lowes Dickinson made proposals adopted by the British League of Nations Society, founded in 1915. Another group in the United States—which...

 and the Charter of the United Nations
.
(...)
Security and order in Palestine have become disrupted. The Zionist aggression resulted in the exodus of more than a quarter of a million of its Arab inhabitants from their homes and in their taking refuge in the neighbouring Arab countries.


Nevertheless, some un-official speeches were more aggressive. Azzam Pasha
Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam
Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam ‎ was an Egyptian diplomat, with family origins in Egypt. He served as the first secretary-general of the Arab League between 1945 and 1952.Azzam also had a long career as an ambassador and parliamentarian...

, the Arab League Secretary, is said to have declared, "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades". However, Joffe and Romirowsky report that this "cannot be confirmed from cited sources". Six days later, Azzam told reporters "We are fighting for an Arab Palestine. Whatever the outcome the Arabs will stick to their offer of equal citizenship for Jews in Arab Palestine and let them be as Jewish as they like. In areas where they predominate they will have complete autonomy."

According to Yoav Gelber
Yoav Gelber
Yoav Gelber is a professor of history at the University of Haifa, and was formerly a visiting professor at The University of Texas at Austin....

, the Arab countries were "drawn into the war by the collapse of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab Liberation Army [and] the Arab governments' primary goal was preventing the Palestinian Arabs' total ruin and the flooding of their own countries by more refugees. According to their own perception, had the invasion not taken place, there was no Arab force in Palestine capable of checking the Haganah's offensive".

"[Yishuv] perceived the peril of an Arab invasion as threatening its very existence. Having no real knowledge of the Arabs's true military capabilities, the Jews took Arab propaganda literally, preparing for the worst and reacting accordingly."

The Arab League issued a multiple-point statement as their forces were advancing, describing their intentions and justification.
  • Britain administered Palestine in a manner which enabled the Jews to flood it with immigrants.
  • The events which have taken place in Palestine have unmasked the aggressive intentions of...the Zionists.
  • The Governments of the Arab states have found themselves compelled to intervene in Palestine.
  • The only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian state.
  • The Governments of Arab states recognize the independence of Palestine, which has so far been suppressed by the British Mandate.
  • Security in Palestine is a sacred trust in the hands of Arab states.

First phase: 15 May – 11 June 1948


The British Mandate over Palestine was due to expire on 15 May, but Jewish leadership led by Ben-Gurion declared independence on 14 May (because 15 May was a Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

). The State of Israel declared itself as an independent nation
Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel
The Israeli Declaration of Independence , made on 14 May 1948 , the day before the British Mandate was due to expire, was the announcement by David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, that the new Jewish state named the...

, and was quickly recognized by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Iran, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, and many other countries.
Within hours, Arab forces invaded Palestine. In an official cablegram from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to the UN Secretary-General on 15 May 1948, the Arab states publicly proclaimed their aim of creating a "United State of Palestine", in place of the Jewish and Arab, two-state, UN Plan. In the Arab League's official declaration, they announced their intention to fulfill their responsibilities to restore order in Palestine and establish a single democratic state, which they proclaimed as being the only solution to the conflict, proclaimed Palestine to be an Arab country, and subsequently recognized the independence of the State of Palestine. They claimed that partition was illegitimate, as it was opposed by Palestine's Arab majority, and maintained that the absence of legal authority made it necessary to intervene to protect Arab lives and property. The Israelis maintain that the plan was not illegitimate, since Jews were a majority in areas assigned to the Jewish state. Israel, the United States and the Soviet Union called the Arab states' entry into Israel illegal aggression. China, meanwhile, broadly backed the Arab claims. The United Nations secretary-general Trygve Lie
Trygve Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian Foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United...

 wrote in his memoirs "The invasion of Palestine by the Arab states was the first armed aggression the world had seen since the end of the [Second World] War. The United Nations could not permit that aggression to succeed and at the same time survive as an influential force for peaceful settlement, collective security and meaningful international law".

The Arab plans called for Syrian and Lebanese forces to invade from north while Jordanian and Iraqi forces were to invade from east. The Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Iraqi forces to link up in Galilee and then turn towards Haifa. In the south, the Egyptians were to advance and take Tel Aviv. Co-operation between the various Arab armies was extremely poor, so the plan was not entirely carried out in the spirit envisioned.

As Arab forces invaded Israel, two Royal Egyptian Air Force Spitfires bombed Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. One of them was shot down and its pilot taken prisoner. However, the Egyptians continued their bombing raids over the city. On 18 May, the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station
Tel Aviv Central Bus Station
Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, known as the New Central Bus Station , is the main bus station of Tel Aviv, Israel...

 was bombed, causing over a hundred casualties. Efforts were also made to shell the city from the ground. For the first few weeks of the war, Egyptian warplanes were able to bomb Tel Aviv with almost complete impunity, meeting only ground fire.

On 22 May, Egyptian warplanes attacked Ramat David
Ramat David Airbase
Ramat David Israeli Air Force Base is one of three principal airbases of the Israeli Air Force, located southeast of Haifa, close to kibbutz Ramat David and Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley...

, an airbase in Israeli territory still occupied by British Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 planes covering the withdrawal of British forces from Israel. The Egyptians believed that the base had already been taken over by the Israelis, and attacked it three times. Five Spitfires were destroyed on the ground, a transport plane was destroyed as it landed, a hangar was destroyed, and four airmen were killed. During the third attack, RAF fighters shot down four Egyptian warplanes, and a fifth was shot down by a British Bren gun crew. The British left Ramat David Airbase a few days later.

Two Egyptian columns with air, armored, and artillery cover entered southern Israel, but were met with fierce resistance from numerous settlements defended by armed inhabitants by Israeli troops. Joining the Egyptian Army were a large number of volunteers from the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

. One Egyptian column headed towards Tel Aviv to be joined by more Egyptian troops who arrived via sea at Majdal and another column advanced towards Beersheba. To secure their flanks, the Egyptians laid siege to a number of kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im in the Negev. The Egyptians met fierce resistance from the lightly armed defenders of the besieged kibbutzim. They were stalled in their advance and took heavy losses, while losses sustained by the defenders were comparatively light. Kfar Darom
Kfar Darom
Kfar Darom was a kibbutz and an Israeli settlement within the Gush Katif bloc in the Gaza Strip.-Original kibbutz:Kfar Darom was founded on 250 dunams of land purchased in 1930 by Tuvia Miller for a fruit orchard on the site of an ancient Jewish settlement of the same name mentioned in the Talmud...

, after withstanding an attack by the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

, was attacked by Egyptian tanks who retreated after losing one tank to a PIAT. At the kibbutz of Nirim
Nirim
Nirim is a kibbutz in the northwestern Negev in Israel. Located near the border with the Gaza Strip, about 7 kilometers east of Khan Yunis, it falls under the jurisdiction of Eshkol Regional Council...

, 40 Israelis fought off repeated Egyptian attacks backed by artillery, armor and air power. The most notable of these engagements was the Battle of Yad Mordechai
Battle of Yad Mordechai
The Battle of Yad Mordechai was fought between Egypt and Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, at the Israeli kibbutz of Yad Mordechai. The Egyptians attacked the communal village several times throughout May 19 and May 20, but failed to capture it...

, where an inferior force of 100 Israelis armed with nothing more than rifles, a medium machinegun and a PIAT
PIAT
The Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank was a British hand-held anti-tank weapon developed during the Second World War. The PIAT was designed in 1942 in response to the British Army's need for a more effective infantry anti-tank weapon, and entered service in 1943.The PIAT was based on the spigot...

 anti-tank weapon, held up a column of 2,500 Egyptians, well-supported by armor, artillery and air units, for five days. The Egyptians suffered some 300–400 dead and wounded while Israeli casualties were 26 killed and 49 wounded. These battles were delaying actions, designed to give the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 time to prepare for the Egyptian attack. Haganah forces stopped the Egyptian offensive at Ad Halom
Ad Halom
Ad Halom is a site at the eastern entrance to the city of Ashdod, Israel.-Battle:Ad Halom refers to the northernmost point reached by the Egyptian army in Operation Pleshet, one of the battles of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War....

, near Ashdod, on 29 May, after Israel's fledgeling air force performed its first combat mission. Four Avia S-199
Avia S-199
|-See also:-External links: *** with more pictures and further information...

s attacked Egyptian armored column of 500 vehicles on its way to Ashdod. The Israeli planes dropped 70 kilogram bombs and strafed the column, although their machine guns jammed quickly. Two of the planes crashed, killing a pilot. The attack caused the Egyptians to scatter and lose the initiative by the time they had regrouped. Israeli Givati Brigade
Givati Brigade
The Givati Brigade is an infantry brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets...

 troops then counterattacked and halted the Egyptian offensive.

Over the next few days, approximately 1,000 Lebanese, 5,000 Syrian, 5,000 Iraqi, and 10,000 Egyptian troops (initial numbers) invaded the newly established state, while 4,000 Jordanian troops invaded the Corpus separatum region encompassing Jerusalem and its environs, as well as areas designated as part of the Arab state by the UN partition plan. They were aided by corps of volunteers from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. The Arab nations gradually increased the number of troops by the thousands as the war later progressed. Both sides increased their manpower over the following months, but the Israeli advantage grew steadily as a result of the progressive mobilization of Israeli society and the influx of an average of 10,300 immigrants each month.

Syrian forces advanced into Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 on 15 May, but were bogged down by resistance from numerous kibbutzim. The Syrians were forced to besiege the kibbutzim rather than advance. Throughout the Galilee, numerous isolated Israeli settlement outposts were exposed to Arab attack on all sides, and had to rely on their own armories for defense. The Lebanese Army took the village of Malkiya, which was recaptured by the Israelis three days later. An Iraqi division comprising two infantry and one armoured brigade arrived in an area known as the "triangle" between Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm, where on 25 May 1948 it started an offensive with the aim of taking Netanya, which failed. On 29 May, an Israeli counter-attack against the Iraqis led to three days of heavy fighting over Jenin, which was finally retained by the Iraqis. After these battles, the Iraqi forces became stationary. On 6 June, a Syrian-Lebanese-Arab Liberation Army force retook Malkiya.
Israeli Forces 1948
Initial strength 29,677
4 June 40,825
17 July 63,586
7 October 88,033
28 October 92,275
2 December 106,900
23 December 107,652
30 December 108,300


On 26 May 1948, the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF) was officially established, and the Haganah, Palmach and Irgun were incorporated into the army of the new Jewish state.


As the war progressed, the IDF managed to field more troops than the Arab forces. By July 1948, the IDF had 63,000 troops; by early spring 1949, they had 115,000. The Arab armies had an estimated 40,000 troops in July 1948, rising to 55,000 in October 1948, and slightly more by the spring of 1949.

All Jewish aviation assets were placed under the control of the Sherut Avir
Sherut Avir
The Sherut Avir was the air force of the Haganah and the forerunner of the Israeli Air Force.-Founding:The Sherut Avir was founded in November 1947, just two weeks prior to the passing of the 1947 UN Partition Plan which proposed the division of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.It was at...

(Air Service, known as the SA) in November 1947 and flying operations began in the following month from a small civil airport on the outskirts of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 called Sde Dov
Sde Dov Airport
Sde Dov Airport , also known as Dov Hoz Airport is an airport located in Tel Aviv, Israel which mainly handles scheduled domestic flights to Eilat and , northern Israel , and the Israeli Golan Heights. It is Tel Aviv's largest airport and the second largest in the area, after Ben Gurion...

, with the first ground support operation (in an RWD-13
RWD-13
The RWD-13 was a Polish touring plane of 1935, three-seater high-wing monoplane, designed by the RWD team. It was the biggest commercial success of the RWD.-Development:...

) taking place on 17 December. The Galilee Squadron
Galilee Squadron
The Galilee Squadron was an aerial unit established by the Yeshuv during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to assist the Jewish war effort in northern Palestine. Initially a part of the Sherut Avir, the aerial arm of the Haganah, it was absorbed into the fledgling Israeli Air Force upon the latter's...

 was formed at Yavne'el
Yavne'el
Yavne'el is a moshava and a local council in the North District of Israel. It is named after a village in the tribe Naphtali , which was probably located on the tel north of the moshava. Located south-west of Tiberias, it was declared a local council in 1951...

 in March 1948, and the Negev Squadron was formed at Nir-Am in April. By 10 May, when the SA suffered its first combat loss, there were three flying units, an air staff, maintenance facilities and logistics support. At the outbreak of the war on 15 May, the SA became the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

. With its fleet of light planes it was no match for Arab forces during the first few weeks of the war with their T-6s
T-6 Texan
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s...

, Spitfires, C-47s and Avro Anson
Avro Anson
The Avro Anson is a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm and numerous other air forces prior to, during, and after the Second World War. Named for British Admiral George Anson, it was originally designed for maritime reconnaissance, but was...

s. It was also during this time that the balance of air power began to swing in favor of the Israeli Air Force following the purchase of 25 Avia S-199
Avia S-199
|-See also:-External links: *** with more pictures and further information...

s from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, the first of which arrived in Israel on 20 May. This created the ironic situation of the young Jewish state using derivatives of the Bf-109 designed in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 to help counter the British-designed Spitfires flown by Egypt. The first raid on an Arab capital followed on the night of 31 May/1 June when three Israeli planes bombed Amman. By the fall of 1948, the IDF had achieved air superiority and had superior firepower and more knowledgeable personnel, many of whom had seen action in World War II. Israeli planes also bombed targets in and around Arish, Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

 and Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. Israeli B-17 bombers coming to Israel from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 bombed Egypt on their way to Israel.

At the outset of the war, the Israeli Navy consisted of four former Aliyah Bet ships that had been seized by the British and impounded in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 harbor. These ships were refurbished by a newly-formed naval repair facility with the assistance of two private shipbuilding and repair companies. In October 1948, a submarine chaser
Submarine chaser
A submarine chaser is a small and fast naval vessel specially intended for anti-submarine warfare. Although similar vessels were designed and used by many nations, this designation was most famously used by ships built by the United States of America...

 was purchased from the United States. The five warships were manned by former merchant seamen, former crewmembers of Aliyah Bet ships, Israelis who had served in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and foreign volunteers. The newly refurbished and crewed warships served on coastal patrol duties and bombarded Egyptian coastal installations in and around the Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 area all the way to Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

.

The first mission of the Jewish paramilitary organizations and later the IDF was to hold on against the Arab armies and stop them from destroying major Jewish settlements, until reinforcements and weapons arrived.
The heaviest fighting occurred in Jerusalem and on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road, between Jordan's Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 and the Israeli forces. As part of the redeployment to deal with the Egyptian advance, the Israelis abandoned the Latrun fortress overlooking the main highway to Jerusalem, which the Arab Legion immediately seized. King Abdullah ordered Glubb Pasha
John Bagot Glubb
Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE, MC better known as Glubb Pasha , was a British soldier, scholar and author, best known for leading and training Transjordan's Arab Legion 1939-1956 as its commanding general...

, the commander of the Arab Legion, to enter Jerusalem on 17 May, and heavy house-to-house fighting occurred between 19 and 28 May, with the Arab Legion eventually succeeding in pushing Israeli forces from the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem as well as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. The Israeli forces were seriously short of food, water and ammunition. The Arab Legion fired 10,000 artillery and mortar shells a day. The Jordanians expelled the 1,500 Jewish inhabitants of the Old City's Jewish Quarter, and detained several hundred. Jordanian forces attacked West Jerusalem
West Jerusalem
West Jerusalem refers to:*The section of Jerusalem captured by Israel following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.*The western neighborhoods of Jerusalem today.-Division in 1948:...

 with sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 fire. Israeli attempts to take the Latrun fortress on 25 May, 30 May and 7 June were unsuccessful. The Israeli position in Jerusalem was only saved via the opening of the so-called "Burma Road
Burma Road (Israel)
The Israeli "Burma Road" was a makeshift bypass road between the general vicinity of kibbutz Hulda and Jerusalem. It was built by Israeli forces headed by general Mickey Marcus during the 1948 Siege of Jerusalem...

", as the track through the rough countryside was known, on 11 June. Iraqi forces failed in their attacks on Israeli settlements with the most notable battle taking place at Mishmar HaEmek
Mishmar HaEmek
Mishmar HaEmek is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located in the western Jezreel Valley, it falls under the jurisdiction of Megiddo Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 964....

, and instead took defensive positions around Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

, Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, and Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

, from where they could put pressure on the Israeli center.

On 21 May, the Syrian army was stopped at kibbutz Degania Alef in the north, where local militia reinforced by elements of the Carmeli Brigade halted Syrian armored forces with Molotov cocktail
Molotov cocktail
The Molotov cocktail, also known as the petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, Molotov bomb, fire bottle, fire bomb, or simply Molotov, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons...

s, hand grenades and a single PIAT
PIAT
The Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank was a British hand-held anti-tank weapon developed during the Second World War. The PIAT was designed in 1942 in response to the British Army's need for a more effective infantry anti-tank weapon, and entered service in 1943.The PIAT was based on the spigot...

. One tank that was disabled by Molotov cocktails and hand grenades still remains at the kibbutz. The remaining Syrian forces were driven off the next day with four Napoleonchik mountain guns—Israel's first use of artillery during the war.

On 22 May, Arab forces attacked kibbutz Ramat Rachel
Ramat Rachel
Ramat Rachel is a kibbutz located south of Jerusalem in Israel, as an enclave within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries. Overlooking Bethlehem and Rachel's Tomb and situated within the Green Line, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council...

 south of Jerusalem. After a fierce battle in which 31 Arabs and 13 Israelis were killed, the defenders of Ramat Rachel withdrew, only to partially retake the kibbutz the following day. Fighting continued until 26 May, until the entire kibbutz was recaptured. Radar Hill
Har Adar
-See also:* ....

 was also taken from the Arab Legion, and held until 26 May, when the Jordanians retook it in a battle that left 19 Israelis and 2 Jordanians dead. A total of 23 attempts by the Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

's Harel Brigade
Harel Brigade
Harel Brigade is a reserve brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, today part of the Northern Command. It played a critical role in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.- War of Independence :...

 to capture Radar Hill in the war failed.

On 23 May, the Alexandroni Brigade
Alexandroni Brigade
The Alexandroni Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces brigade that fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Along with the 7th Armoured Brigade both units had 139 killed during the first battle of Latrun - Operation Ben Nun Alef .The unit is currently a reserve unit.-Katz controversy:In 1998, Teddy Katz...

 captured Tantura, south of Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

. Thomas C. Wasson
Thomas C. Wasson
Thomas Campbell Wasson was an American diplomat who was assassinated while serving as the Consul General for the United States in Jerusalem, Palestine. Wasson was also a member of United Nations Truce Commission.-Career:...

, the Consul General for the US and a member of the UN Truce Commission was assassinated in West Jerusalem.

On 24 May, IDF forces at Latrun
Latrun
Latrun is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.-Etymology:...

, consisting of the newly formed 7th Armored Brigade (Israel) and a battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade
Alexandroni Brigade
The Alexandroni Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces brigade that fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Along with the 7th Armoured Brigade both units had 139 killed during the first battle of Latrun - Operation Ben Nun Alef .The unit is currently a reserve unit.-Katz controversy:In 1998, Teddy Katz...

, attacked the Arab Legion forces in Operation "Bin-Nun A"
Battles of Latrun
The Battles of Latrun were a series of military engagements between the Israel Defense Forces and the Jordanian Arab Legion on the outskirts of Latrun between 25 May and 18 July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Latrun takes its name from the monastery close to the junction of two major...

, which was repulsed.The Israelis lost 72 dead, 140 wounded, and 6 captured, while the Jordanians lost 5 dead and 6 wounded. On 1 June 1948 the same IDF forces again attacked Arab Legion forces at Latrun in Operation Bin-Nun B. The attack was also repulsed with a loss of 44 men. The Arab Legion forces lost between 12 and 20 dead, including the lieutenant commanding the fort, while the Jordanians claimed to have lost 2 men and killed 161 Israelis.

On 25 May, Iraqi forces advanced from Tulkarm, taking Geulim
Geulim
Geulim is a moshav in central Israel. Located in the Sharon plain near Netanya, it falls under the jurisdiction of Lev HaSharon Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 774....

 and reaching Kfar Yona and Ein Vered
Ein Vered
Ein Vered is a moshav in central Israel. Located in the Sharon plain, it falls under the jurisdiction of Lev HaSharon Regional Council. In 2007 it had a population of 1,200....

 on the Tulkarm-Netanya
Netanya
Netanya is a city in the Northern Centre District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is located north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa between the 'Poleg' stream and Wingate Institute in the south and the 'Avichail' stream in the north.Its of beaches have made the...

 road. The Alexandroni Brigade
Alexandroni Brigade
The Alexandroni Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces brigade that fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Along with the 7th Armoured Brigade both units had 139 killed during the first battle of Latrun - Operation Ben Nun Alef .The unit is currently a reserve unit.-Katz controversy:In 1998, Teddy Katz...

 then stopped the Iraqi advance and retook Geulim.

On 1 June, the Israeli Carmeli and Golani Brigade
Golani Brigade
The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the...

s captured Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

 from Iraqi forces. They were pushed out by an Iraqi counterattack, and lost 34 dead and 100 wounded. On 2 June 1948, Palestinian Arab commander Hasan Salama
Hasan Salama
Hasan Salama or Hassan Salameh was a commander of the Palestinian Holy War Army in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War along with Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni.- Biography :...

 was killed in a battle at Ras al-Ein
Ras al-Ein
Ras al-Ein is a small Arab Palestinian village in northern Israel. Located in the Galilee near the Tzalmon Stream, it falls under the jurisdiction of Misgav Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 284....

, north of Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

.

Throughout the following days, the Arabs were only able to make limited gains due to fierce Israeli resistance, and were quickly driven off their new holdings by Israeli counterattacks. However, Operation Yoram
Battles of Latrun
The Battles of Latrun were a series of military engagements between the Israel Defense Forces and the Jordanian Arab Legion on the outskirts of Latrun between 25 May and 18 July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Latrun takes its name from the monastery close to the junction of two major...

, launched by the Israelis in an attempt to take Latrun
Latrun
Latrun is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.-Etymology:...

 failed. The Jordanians launched two counterattacks, temporarily taking Beit Susin before being forced back, and capturing Gezer
Gezer
Gezer was a Canaanite city-state and biblical town in ancient Israel. Tel Gezer , an archaeological site midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is now an Israeli national park....

 after a fierce battle. On 6 June, nearly two brigades of the Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 and the Lebanese Army
Lebanese Armed Forces
The Lebanese Armed Forces or Forces Armées Libanaises in French, also known as the Lebanese Army according to its official Website The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) (Arabic: القوات المسلحة اللبنانية | Al-Quwwāt al-Musallaḥa al-Lubnāniyya) or Forces Armées Libanaises in French, also known as the...

 took Malkiya and Kadesh, while Syrian forces attacked Mishmar HaYarden, but were repulsed. On 10 June, the Syrians overran Mishmar HaYarden and advanced to the main road, where they were stopped by units of the Oded Brigade
Oded Brigade
The Oded Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade, one of ten brigades fielded by the Haganah . It was headquartered in Jerusalem...

.

First truce: 11 June – 8 July 1948


The UN declared a truce on 29 May, which came into effect on 11 June and lasted 28 days. The ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 was overseen by UN mediator Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

 and a team of UN Observers made up of army officers from Belgium, United States, Sweden and France. 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'". The truce was designed to last 28 days and 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 placed on them. Both the Israelis and the Arabs used this time to improve their positions, a direct violation of the terms of the ceasefire. "The Arabs violated the truce by reinforcing their lines with fresh units and by preventing supplies from reaching isolated Israeli settlements; occasionally, they opened fire along the lines".

At the time of the truce, the British view was that "the Jews are too weak in armament to achieve spectacular success". As the truce commenced, a British officer stationed in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 stated 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". During the truce, the Israelis sought to bolster their forces by massive import of arms. The IDF was able to acquire weapons from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 as well as improve training of forces and reorganization of the army during this time. Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, an IDF commander at the time of the war and later Israel's fifth Prime Minister, stated "[w]ithout the arms from Czechoslovakia... it is very doubtful whether we would have been able to conduct the war". The Israeli army increased its manpower from approximately 30,000-35,000 men to almost 65,000 during the truce. It was also able to increase its arms supply to more than 25,000 rifles, 5,000 machine guns, and fifty million bullets. As well as violating the arms and personnel embargo, they also sent fresh units to the front lines like the Arabs.

After the truce was in place, Bernadotte began to address the issue of achieving a political settlement. The main obstacles in his opinion were "the Arab world's continued rejection of the existence of a Jewish state, whatever its borders; Israel's new 'philosophy', based on its increasing military strength, of ignoring the partition boundaries and conquering what additional territory it could; and the emerging Palestinian Arab refugee problem". Taking all the issues into account, Bernadotte presented a new partition plan. He proposed there be a Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel and that a "Union" "be established between the two sovereign states of Israel and Jordan (which now included the West Bank); that the Negev, or part of it, be included in the Arab state and that Western Galilee, or part of it, be included in Israel; that the whole of Jerusalem be part of the Arab state, with the Jewish areas enjoying municipal autonomy and that Lydda Airport and Haifa be 'free ports'—presumably free of Israeli or Arab sovereignty". Israel rejected the proposal, in particular the aspect of losing control of Jerusalem, but they did agree to extend the truce for another month. The Arabs rejected both the extension of the truce and the proposal.

On 8 July, the day before the expiration of the truce, Egyptian forces under General Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

 renewed the war by attacking Negba
Negba
Negba is a kibbutz in the northern Negev, Israel. Located near the cities of Kiryat Malakhi and Ashkelon, it falls under the jurisdiction of Yoav Regional Council...

. The following day, Israeli forces launched a simultaneous offensive on all three fronts. The fighting continued for ten days until the UN Security Council issued the Second Truce on 18 July. During the fighting, the Israelis were able to open a lifeline to a number of besieged kibbutzim.

Second phase: 8–18 July 1948


The fighting that followed was dominated by large-scale Israeli offensives and a defensive posture from the Arab side. Operation Danny
Operation Danny
Operation Danny was an Israeli military offensive launched at the end of the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The objectives were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem...

 was the most important Israeli offensive, aimed at securing and enlarging the corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by capturing the roadside cities Lod
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

 (Lydda) and Ramle.

In a second planned stage of the operation the fortified positions of Latrun
Latrun
Latrun is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.-Etymology:...

—overlooking the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway—and the city of Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

 were also to be captured. Hadita, near Latrun, was captured by the Israelis at a cost of 9 dead.

The second plan was Operation Dekel
Operation Dekel
Operation Dekel , was the largest offensive in the north of Israel after the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was carried out by the 7th Armoured Brigade, a battalion from the Carmeli Brigade along with some elements from the Golani Brigade between 8–18 July. Its objective was to...

, which was aimed at capturing the lower Galilee including Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

. The third plan, to which fewer resources were allocated, Operation Kedem
Operation Kedem
Operation Kedem was an action planned and carried out in July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. Its purpose was to capture East Jerusalem . After the first cease-fire of the Arab–Israeli war, which lasted for four weeks, the balance in power in Jerusalem had shifted dramatically...

, was to secure the Old City of Jerusalem, but failed. To the north, Operation Brosh was launched in an attempt to dislodge Syrian forces from the Eastern Galilee and the Benot Yaakov Bridge. The operation failed, and 200 Syrians and 100 Israelis were killed. The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 also bombed Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 for the first time.

In the south, several offensives were launched, including Operation An-Far
Operation An-Far
Operation An-Far was a military operation launched by Israel's Givati Brigade on the night of July 8–9 during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Its objectives were to gain control of approaches in southern Judea and block the advance of the Egyptian army...

. On 12 July, the Egyptians launched an offensive action, and again attacked Negba
Negba
Negba is a kibbutz in the northern Negev, Israel. Located near the cities of Kiryat Malakhi and Ashkelon, it falls under the jurisdiction of Yoav Regional Council...

, which they had previously failed to capture, using three infantry battalions, an armored battalion, and an artillery regiment. In the battle that followed, the Egyptians were repulsed, suffering 200–300 casualties, while the Israelis lost 5 dead and 16 wounded.

Operation Danny


The objectives of Operation Danny
Operation Danny
Operation Danny was an Israeli military offensive launched at the end of the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The objectives were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem...

 were to capture territory east of Tel Aviv and then to push inland and relieve the Jewish population and forces in Jerusalem. Lydda had become an important military center in the region, lending support to Arab military activities elsewhere, and Ramle was one of the main obstacles blocking Jewish transportation. Lydda was defended by a local militia of around 1,000 residents, with an Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 contingent of 125–300. The IDF forces gathered to attack the city numbered around 8,000. It was the first operation where several brigades were involved. The city was attacked from the north via Majdal al-Sadiq and al-Muzayri'a
Al-Muzayri'a
-Location:Al-Muzayri'a was located north-northeast of al-Ramla, on limestone hill, overlooking the coastal plain. A wadi ran along its southern part, and separated it from the village of Qula. The village was about 1 km east of the al-Ramla-Haifa railway line. It was also located to the east...

 and from the east via Khulda
Khulda
Khulda was a Palestinian Arab village located south of Ramla in the Mandatory Palestine. Known as Huldre to the Crusaders, it is also mentioned in documents dating to the periods of Mamluk, Ottoman, and Mandatory rule over Palestine. During the 1948 war, the village was depopulated as part of...

, al-Qubab
Al-Qubab
Al-Qubab was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Ramla. It was depopulated in July 1948 during the Operation Dani led by the Yiftach Brigade.-History:...

, Jimzu
Jimzu
Jimzu also known as Gimzo, , was a Palestinian village, located three miles southeast of Lydda. Under the 1947 UN Partition Plan of British Mandate Palestine, Jimzu was to form part of the proposed Arab state...

 and Daniyal
Daniyal
Daniyal was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Ramla. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War on July 10, 1948 by the Yiftach Brigade under the first phase of Operation Dani. It was located 5 km east of Ramla and south-east of Lydda.In 1945 it had a population of 410...

. Bombers were also used for the first time in the conflict to bombard the city. The IDF captured the city on 11 July. Up to 450 Arabs and 9-10 Israeli soldiers were killed. The next day, Ramle fell. The civilian populations of Lydda and Ramle fled or were expelled to the Arab front lines, and following resistance in Lydda, the population there was expelled without provision of transport vehicles; some of the evictees died on the long walk under the hot July sun.

On 15–16 July, an attack on Latrun took place but did not manage to occupy the fort. A desperate second attempt occurred on 18 July by units from the Yiftach Brigade
Yiftach Brigade
The Yiftach Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade...

 equipped with armored vehicles, including two Cromwell tank
Cromwell tank
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...

s, but that attack also failed. Despite the second truce, which began on 18 July, the Israeli efforts to conquer Latrun continued until 20 July.

Operation Dekel


While Operation Danny proceeded in the centre, Operation Dekel was carried out in the north. Nazareth was captured on 16 July, and by the time the second truce took effect at 19:00 18 July, the whole lower Galilee from Haifa Bay to the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

 was captured by Israel.

Operation Kedem


Originally Operation Kedem
Operation Kedem
Operation Kedem was an action planned and carried out in July 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. Its purpose was to capture East Jerusalem . After the first cease-fire of the Arab–Israeli war, which lasted for four weeks, the balance in power in Jerusalem had shifted dramatically...

 was to begin on 8 July, immediately after the first truce, by Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 and Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 forces. However, it was delayed by David Shaltiel
David Shaltiel
David Shaltiel was an Israeli military and intelligence officer, later also diplomat, and was most well known for being the district commander of the Haganah in Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.He was born in Berlin into a Portuguese orthodox Jewish family settled in Hamburg.At 16,...

, possibly because he did not trust their ability after their failure to capture Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin was a Palestinian Arab village of around 600 people near Jerusalem. It had declared its neutrality during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine between Arabs and Jews...

 without Haganah assistance.

The Irgun forces commanded by Yehuda Lapidot
Yehuda Lapidot
Yehuda "Nimrod" Lapidot is an Israeli historian and former professor of biochemistry. Lapidot was a member of the Irgun and an officer in the Israel Defense Forces. In 1980 he was appointed head of Lishkat Hakesher by former Irgun commander and then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Lapidot...

 were to break through at the New Gate
New Gate
The New Gate is the newest gate in the walls that surround the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built in 1889 to provide direct access between the Christian Quarter and the new neighborhoods then going up outside the walls. The arched gate is decorated with crenelated stonework...

, Lehi was to break through the wall stretching from the New Gate to the Jaffa Gate, and the Beit Horon Battalion
Etzioni Brigade
The Etzioni Brigade , also 6th Brigade and Jerusalem Brigade, was an infantry brigade in the Haganah and Israel Defense Forces in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It was founded in late 1947 as the Field Corps unit responsible for the defense of Jerusalem and its surroundings, where it operated during...

 was to strike from Mount Zion
Mount Zion
Mount Zion is a place name for a site in Jerusalem, the location of which has shifted several times in history. According to the Hebrew Bible's Book of Samuel, it was the site of the Jebusite fortress called the "stronghold of Zion" that was conquered by King David, becoming his palace in the City...

.

On 14 July 1948, Irgun occupied the Arab village of Malha after a fierce battle. Several hours later, the Arabs launched a counterattack, but Israeli reinforcements arrived, and the village was retaken at a cost of 17 dead.

The battle was planned to begin on the Sabbath
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

, at 20:00 on 16 July, two days before the second ceasefire of the war. The plan went wrong from the beginning and was postponed first to 23:00 and then to midnight. It was not until 02:30 that the battle actually began. The Irgun managed to break through at the New Gate, but the other forces failed in their missions. At 05:45 on 17 July, Shaltiel ordered a retreat and to cease hostilities.

Second truce: 18 July – 15 October 1948


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, Count Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

 proposed a new partition for Palestine in which the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 would be divided between Jordan and Egypt, and Jordan would annex Lydda
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

 and Ramla
Ramla
Ramla , is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region...

. There would be a Jewish state in the whole of Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

, with the frontier running from Faluja northeast towards Ramla and Lydda. Jerusalem would be internationalized, with municipal autonomy for the city's Jewish and Arab inhabitants, the Port of Haifa
Port of Haifa
The Port of Haifa is the largest of Israel's three major international seaports, which include the Port of Ashdod, and the Port of Eilat. It has a natural deep water harbor which operates all year long, and serves both passenger and merchant ships. It is one of the largest ports in the eastern...

 would be a free port, and Lydda Airport
Ben Gurion International Airport
Ben Gurion International Airport , also referred to by its Hebrew acronym Natbag , is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel, handling 12,160,339 passengers in 2010...

 would be a free airport. All Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s would be granted the right of return
Right of return
The term right of return refers to a principle of international law, codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, giving any person the right to return to, and re-enter, his or her country of origin...

, and those who chose not to return would be compensated for lost property. The UN would control and regulate Jewish immigration. The plan was once again rejected by both sides. On the next day, 17 September, Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem by the militant Zionist group Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

. A four-man team ambushed Bernadotte's motorcade in Jerusalem, killing him and a French UN observer sitting next to him. Lehi saw Bernadotte as a British and Arab puppet, and thus a serious threat to the emerging State of Israel, and feared that the provisional Israeli government would accept the plan, which it considered disastrous. Unbeknowest to Lehi, the government had already decided to reject it and resume combat in a month. Bernadotte's deputy, American Ralph Bunche
Ralph Bunche
Ralph Johnson Bunche or 1904December 9, 1971) was an American political scientist and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Palestine. He was the first person of color to be so honored in the history of the Prize...

, replaced him.

Operation Shoter


The Arabs had blocked Israeli traffic along the Tel Aviv-Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 highway. Assaults on 18 June and 8 July failed due to poor planning and stiff resistance by Arab militia in superior positions.

Operation Shoter was launched a week after the truce came into effect in response to the killing of two Israeli civilians. It targeted an area known as the Little Triangle outside Haifa. Israeli assaults on 24 and 25 July were beaten back by stiff resistance. The Israelis launched an infantry and armour assault backed by heavy artillery shelling and aerial bombing. The Arab defenses broke, and the three Arab villages surrendered. Israeli soldiers and aircraft struck at one of the Arab retreat routes, killing 60 Arab soldiers. The Arabs claimed that the Israelis had massacred Arab civilians, but the Israelis rejected the claims. A United Nations investigation found no evidence of a massacre.

Israeli operations


Israel launched a series of military operations in order to drive out the Arab armies and secure the borders of Israel.

On 15 October, the IDF launched Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...

 in the northern Negev. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

-Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

-Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev. This was a special concern on the Israeli part because of a British diplomatic campaign to have the entire Negev handed over to Egypt and Jordan, and which thus made Ben-Gurion anxious to have Israeli forces in control of the Negev as soon as possible. Yoav was headed by the Southern Front commander Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon was an Israeli politician, a commander of the Palmach, and a general in the IDF. He served as one of the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda party and the Israeli Labor party, and acting Prime Minister of Israel, and was a member of the Knesset and government minister from the 10th through the...

. Committed to Yoav were three infantry and one armoured brigades, who were given the task of breaking through the Egyptian lines. The Egyptian positions were badly weakened by the lack of a defense in depth, which meant that once the IDF had broken through the Egyptian lines, there was little to stop them. The operation was a huge success, shattering the Egyptian army ranks and forcing the Egyptian forces to retreat from the northern Negev, Beersheba and Ashdod. Only in the so-called "Faluja Pocket" where an encircled Egyptian force were able to hold out. Four warships of the Israeli Navy provided support by bombarding Egyptian shore installations in the Ashkelon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

 area, and preventing the Egyptian Navy from evacuation retreating Egyptian troops by sea. On 19 October, a naval battle took place between three Israeli warships near Majdal
Majdal
Majdal is a common place name in Syria and Palestine and can refer to:* Al-Majdal, Askalan, a village depopulated in 1948, now part of Ashkelon in Israel...

, and an Egyptian corvette with air support. An Israeli sailor was killed and four wounded, and two of the ships were damaged. One Egyptian plane was shot down, but the corvette escaped. Israeli naval vessels also shelled Majdal on 17 October, and Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 on 21 October, with air support from the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

. On 22 October, Israeli naval commandos using explosive boats sank
Israeli naval campaign in Operation Yoav
The Israeli naval campaign in Operation Yoav refers to the operations of the Israeli naval service during Operation Yoav in the final stage of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War...

 the Egyptian flagship Emir Farouk, and damaged an Egyptian minesweeper.
On 22 October, the third truce went into effect. Irregular Arab forces refused to recognize the truce, and continued to harass Israeli forces and settlements in the north. On the same day that the truce came into effect, the Arab Liberation Army violated the truce by attacking Manara
Manara
Manara may refer to:People with the surname Manara:* Alessandro Manara, Italian astronomer* Luciano Manara, Italian soldier* Milo Manara , Italian comic book creatorPlaces:...

, capturing the strongpoint of Sheikh Abed, repulsing counterattacks by local Israeli units, and ambushed Israeli forces attempting to relieve Manara. The IDF's Carmeli Brigade lost 33 dead and 40 wounded. Manara and Misgav Am
Misgav Am
Misgav Am is a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel. Located close to the border with Lebanon near the town of Kiryat Shmona, it falls under the jurisdiction of Upper Galilee Regional Council....

 were totally cut off, and Israel's protests at the UN failed to change the situation.

On 24 October, the IDF launched Operation Hiram
Operation Hiram
Operation Hiram was a military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was led by General Moshe Carmel, and aimed at capturing the upper Galilee region from the Arab Liberation Army forces led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji and a Syrian battalion...

 and captured the entire upper Galilee, driving the ALA, and Lebanese army back to Lebanon, and successfully ambushing and destroying an entire Syrian battalion. The Israeli force of four infantry brigades were commanded by Moshe Carmel. The entire operation lasted just 60 hours, during which numerous villages were captured, often after locals or Arab forces put up resistance. Arab losses were estimated at 400 dead and 550 taken prisoner, with low Israeli casualties. Some prisoners were reportedly executed by the Israeli forces. An estimated 50,000 Palestinian refugees fled into Lebanon, some of them fleeing ahead of the advancing forces, and some expelled from villages which had resisted, while the Arab inhabitants of those villages which had remained at peace were allowed to remain and became Israeli citizens. The villagers of Iqrit
Iqrit
Iqrit was a Palestinian Christian village, located 25 kilometers northeast of Acre. Originally allotted to form part of an Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan, it was captured and depopulated by the Israel Defence Force during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war...

 and Birim were persuaded to leave their homes by Israeli authorities, who promised them that they would be allowed to return. Israel eventually decided not to allow them to return, and offered them financial compensation, which they refused to accept. At the end of the month, the IDF had captured the whole Galilee, driven all Lebanese forces out of Israel, and had advanced 5 miles (8 km) into Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 to the Litani River
Litani River
The Litani River is an important water resource in southern Lebanon. The river rises in the fertile Beqaa Valley valley, west of Baalbek, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Exceeding 140 km in length, the Litani River is the longest river in Lebanon and provides an average...

. Israeli forces captured the Lebanese village of Hula
Hula, Lebanon
Hula is a small village in southern Lebanon on the southern side of the Litani river near the Lebanese-Israeli borders...

 without resistance. Under the orders of two officers, Israeli soldiers executed 35–58 prisoners. Both officers were later arrested and put on trial.

On 9 November 1948, the IDF launched Operation Shmone
Operation Shmone
Operation Shmone was an Israeli military operation conducted against the Egyptian-held police fort of Iraq Suwaydan in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War...

 to capture the Tegart fort
Tegart fort
A Tegart fort is a style of militarized police "fortress" constructed throughout Palestine during the British Mandatory period.The forts are named after British police officer and engineer Sir Charles Tegart, who designed them in 1938 based on his experiences in the Indian insurgency.Tens of the...

 in the village of Iraq Suwaydan. The fort's Egyptian defenders had previously repulsed eight attempts to take it, including two during Operation Yoav. Israeli forces bombarded the fort before an assault. After breaching the outlying fences without resistance, the Israelis blew a hole in the fort's outer wall, prompting the 180 Egyptian soldiers manning the fort to surrender without a fight. The defeat prompted the Egyptians to evacuate several nearby positions, including hills the IDF had failed to take by force. Meanwhile, IDF forces were met with stiff resistance in Iraq Suwaydan itself, losing 6 dead and 14 wounded.

From 5 to 7 December, the IDF conducted Operation Assaf
Operation Assaf
Operation Assaf was an Israel Defense Forces operation against the Egyptian Army between December 5–December 7, 1948, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The successful operation's aim was to take control of the western Negev Desert...

 to take control of the Western Negev. The main assaults were spearheaded by mechanized forces, while Golani Brigade
Golani Brigade
The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the...

 infantry covered the rear. An Egyptian counterattack was repulsed. The Egyptians planned another counterattack, but it failed after Israeli aerial reconnaissance revealed Egyptian preparations, and the Israelis launched a preemptive strike. About 100 Egyptians were killed, and 5 tanks were destroyed, with the Israelis losing 5 killed and 30 wounded.

On 22 December, the IDF drove the remaining Egyptian forces out of Israel with Operation Horev
Operation Horev
At the end of Israel's War of Independence Operation Horev was a large scale attack against the Egyptian army in the Western Negev. Its objective was to trap the Egyptian Army in the Gaza Strip...

 (also called Operation Ayin). The goal of the operation was to secure the entire Negev from Egyptian presence, destroying the Egyptian threat on Israel's southern communities and forcing the Egyptians into a ceasefire. During five days of fighting, the Israelis expelled the Egyptians from the Negev.

Israeli forces subsequently launched raids into the Nitzana area, and entered the Sinai Peninsula on 28 December. The IDF captured Umm Katef and Abu Ageila, and advanced north towards Al Arish, with the goal of encircling the entire Egyptian expeditionary force. Israeli forces pulled out of the Sinai on 2 January 1949 following joint British-American pressure and a British threat of military action. IDF forces regrouped at the border with the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. Israeli forces attacked Rafah
Rafah
Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

 the following day, and after several days of fighting, Egyptian forces in the Gaza Strip were surrounded. The Egyptians agreed to negotiate a ceasefire on 7 January, and the IDF subsequently pulled out of Gaza.

On 28 December, the Alexandroni Brigade
Alexandroni Brigade
The Alexandroni Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces brigade that fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Along with the 7th Armoured Brigade both units had 139 killed during the first battle of Latrun - Operation Ben Nun Alef .The unit is currently a reserve unit.-Katz controversy:In 1998, Teddy Katz...

 failed to take the Falluja Pocket, but managed to seize Iraq el-Manshiyeh and temporarily hold it. The Egyptians counterattacked, but were mistaken for a friendly force and allowed to advance, trapping a large number of men. The Israelis lost 87 soldiers.

On 5 March, Operation Uvda was launched following nearly a month of reconnaisance, with the goal of capturing the southern Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 from Jordan. The IDF entered and secured the territory, but did not meet significant resistance along the way, as the area was already designated to be part of the Jewish state in the UN Partition Plan, and the operation meant to establish Israeli sovereignty over the territory rather than actually conquer it. The Golani
Golani Brigade
The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the...

, Negev
Negev Brigade
The 12th Negev Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade that served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It was commanded by Nahum "Sergei" Sarig and consisted of four Palmach battalions...

, and Alexandroni
Alexandroni Brigade
The Alexandroni Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces brigade that fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Along with the 7th Armoured Brigade both units had 139 killed during the first battle of Latrun - Operation Ben Nun Alef .The unit is currently a reserve unit.-Katz controversy:In 1998, Teddy Katz...

 brigades participated in the operation, together with some smaller units and with naval support. On 10 March, Israeli forces reached Umm Rashrash on the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 (where Eilat was built later) and took it without a battle. Israeli soldiers raised a hand-made Israeli flag ("The Ink Flag") at 16:00 hours on 10 March, claiming Umm Rashrash for Israel. The raising of the Ink Flag is considered to be the end of the war.

Anglo-Israeli air clashes


Israeli raids into Egyptian territory were concerning to the British, who feared that the Israelis might reach the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. The Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 conducted almost daily reconnaissance missions over the Sinai and Israel itself. RAF aircraft took off from Egyptian airbases and sometimes flew alongside Royal Egyptian Air Force planes.

On 20 November 1948, an unarmed RAF photo-reconnaissance De Havilland Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

 of No. 13 Squadron RAF was shot down by an Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

 flown by American volunteer Wayne Peake as it flew over the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 towards Hatzor Airbase
Hatzor Airbase
Hatzor Israeli Air Force Base , also titled Kanaf 4 is an Israeli Air Force military air base, located in central Israel, near kibbutz Hatzor after which it is named...

. Peake's aircraft scored numerous hits, causing a fire to break out in the port engine. The aircraft turned to sea and lowered its altitude, before it exploded and crashed off Ashdod. Both of the crew were killed.

Just before noon on 7 January 1949, four Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

 FR. 18s from No. 208 Squadron RAF
No. 208 Squadron RAF
No 208 Squadron is at present a reserve unit of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Valley, Anglesey, Wales. It operates the BAe Hawk aircraft.-World War I:...

 on routine reconnaissance in the Deir al-Balah area flew over an Israeli convoy that had been attacked by five Egyptian Spitfires fifteen minutes earlier. The pilots had spotted smoking vehicles, and were drawn to the scene out of curiosity. Two planes dived to below 500 feet altitude to take pictures of the convoy, while the remaining two covered them from 1,500 feet. Israeli soldiers on the ground, alerted by the sound of the approaching Spitfires and fearing another Egyptian air attack, opened fire with machine guns. One Spitfire was shot down by a tank-mounted machine gun, while the other was lightly damaged and rapidly pulled up. The remaining three Spitfires were then attacked by patrolling IAF Spitfires flown by Slick Goodlin and John McElroy, volunteers from the United States and Canada respectively. All three Spitfires were shot down, and one pilot was killed. Two pilots were captured by Israeli soldiers and taken to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 for interrogation, and were later released. Another was rescued by Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

s and handed over to the Egyptian Army, which turned him over to the RAF. Later that day, four RAF Spitfires from the same squadron escorted by seven No. 213 Squadron RAF
No. 213 Squadron RAF
No. 213 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. The squadron was formed on 1 April 1918 from No. 13 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service...

 and eight No. 6 Squadron RAF
No. 6 Squadron RAF
No. 6 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 at RAF Leuchars.It was previously equipped with the Jaguar GR.3 in the close air support and tactical reconnaissance roles, and was based at RAF Coltishall, Norfolk until April 2006, moving to RAF Coningsby until...

 Hawker Tempest
Hawker Tempest
The Hawker Tempest was a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force in the Second World War. The Tempest was an improved derivative of the Hawker Typhoon, and one of the most powerful fighter aircraft used during the war....

s went searching for the lost planes, and were attacked by four IAF Spitfires. The Israeli formation was led by Ezer Weizman
Ezer Weizman
' was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.-Biography:...

. The remaining three were manned by Weizman's wingman Alex Jacobs and American volunteers Bill Schroeder and Caesar Dangott. The Tempests found they could not jettison their external fuel tanks, and some had non-operational guns. Schroeder shot down a British Tempest, killing pilot David Tattersfield. Weizmann severely damaged a British plane flown by Douglas Liquorish, but his own plane was lightly damaged by RAF pilot Brian Spragg. Two other British aircraft were lightly damaged during the engagement. The battle ended after the British wiggled their wings to be more clearly identified, and the Israelis eventually realized the danger of their situation and disengaged, returning to Hatzor Airbase.

An RAF salvage team was deployed to recover the wrecks of the aircraft that had been shot down, entering Israeli territory during their search. Two were discovered inside Egypt, and it was later confirmed by local Arabs that Israeli troops had visited the crash sites, removed various parts from the wrecks, and buried the other aircraft. Tattersfield's Tempest was found north of Nirim
Nirim
Nirim is a kibbutz in the northwestern Negev in Israel. Located near the border with the Gaza Strip, about 7 kilometers east of Khan Yunis, it falls under the jurisdiction of Eshkol Regional Council...

, four miles inside Israel. Tattersfield was initially buried near the wreckage, but his body was later removed and reburied at the British War Cemetery in Ramla
Ramla
Ramla , is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region...

.

In response, the RAF readied all Tempests and Spitfires to attack any IAF aircraft they encountered and bomb IAF airfields, but Air HQ refused to authorize retaliation. All British troops in the Middle East were placed on high alert, all leave for British troops was cancelled, and British citizens were advised to leave Israel. The day following the incident, British pilots were issued a directive to regard any Israeli aircraft infiltrating Egyptian or Jordanian airspace as hostile and to shoot them down, but were also ordered to avoid activity close to Israel's borders. At Hatzor Airbase, the general consensus among pilots, most of whom had flown with or alongside the RAF during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, was that the RAF would not allow the loss of five aircraft and two pilots to go without retaliation, and would probably attack the base at dawn the next day. That night, in anticipation of an impending British attack, some pilots decided not to offer any resistance and left the base, while a number of pilots prepared their Spitfires and were strapped into the cockpits at dawn, preparing to repel a retaliatory airstrike. However, British commanders refused to authorize any retaliation.

British diplomacy in support of the Arabs



Britain, which at the time was one of the major powers in the Middle East, supported the Arabs. The reasons for this was laid out in a British staff memo which stated "No solution of the Palestine problem should be proposed which would alienate the Arab states. If one of the two communities had to be antagonised, it was preferable, from the purely military angle, that a solution should be found which did not involve the continuing hostility of the Arabs; for in the that event our difficulties would not be confined to Palestine, but would extend throughout the whole of the Middle East". The diplomat Sir John Toutbeck wrote:
"We [and the Arabs] are partners in adversity on this question. A Jewish state is no more in our interest than it is in the Arabs.... Our whole strategy in the ME is founded upon holding a secure base in Egypt, but the usefulness of the base must be gravely impaired if we cannot move out of it except through a hostile country".
Moreover, it was an article of faith for most British policy-makers that most Jews were Communists, and that Israel would be bound to become a Communist state, thus giving the Soviet Union a toe-hold in the Middle East. For these reasons, the British in the months before May 1948 did their best to encumber and block partition. Trygve Lie
Trygve Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian Foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United...

 wrote in his memoirs with some anger:
"Great Britain had placed the Palestine matter before the Assembly with the declared conviction that agreement between the Arabs and Jews was unattainable. This did not deter the British representative, [Colonial Secretary] Arthur Creech Jones
Arthur Creech Jones
Arthur Creech Jones was a British trade union official and politician. Originally a civil servant, his imprisonment as a conscientious objector during the First World War forced him to change careers. A protégé of Ernest Bevin, he was elected to Parliament in 1935 and served in the Colonial Office...

, from informing the Assembly that Britain would give effect only to a plan accepted by the Arabs and the Jews.... The British approach proved to be not in accord, in my opinion with the either the letter or the spirit of the partition plan.

The United Kingdom could not progressively turn over authority to the Palestine Commission as the Assembly resolution provided, but only abruptly and completely on 15 May. Neither did it "regard favourably any proposal by the Commission to proceed to Palestine earlier than two weeks before the date of the termination of the Mandate". London would not permit the formation of the militia which the Assembly's resolution called for, nor would it facilitate frontier delimitation. The Assembly had further recommended that the United Kingdom endeavour to evacuate by 1 February a seaport and hinterland in the area of the Jewish state adequate to provide facilities for immigration".
General Sir Alan Cunningham wrote to Creech Jones at this time to complain "It appears to me that H.M.G.'s policy is now simply to get out of Palestine as quickly as possible without regard to the consequences in Palestine".

In February 1948, the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

 assured the Jordanian Prime Minister Tawfiz Abu al-Huda of British support for a Jordanian invasion once the British left Palestine. British officials regarded the prospect of an Arab invasion favorably as offering an excellent chance to overturn the UN partition resolution and cut Israel "down to size". Bernard Burrows of the British Foreign Office's Middle East Department wrote:
"It is tempting to think that Transjordan might transgress the boundaries of the United Nations' Jewish state to the extent of establishing a corridor across the Southern Negev joining the existing Transjordan territory to the Mediterranean and Gaza. This would have immense strategic advantages for us, both in cutting the Jewish State, and therefore Communist influence, off from the Red Sea and by extending up to the Mediterranean the area in which our military and political influence is predominant by providing a means of sending the necessary military equipment etc. into Transjordan other than by the circuitous route through Aqaba".
On 20 May, Bevin informed Baron Inverchapel, the British Ambassador to the United States:
"I do not (repeat not) intend in the near future to recognise the Jewish State and still less to support any proposal that it should become a member of the United Nations. In this connection I hope that even through the Americans have recognised the Jewish State de facto they will not commit themselves to any precise recognition of boundaries. It might well be that if the two sides ever accept a compromise it would be on the basis of boundaries differing from those recommended in the Partition Plan of the General Assembly".
In this regard, the British launched a sustained diplomatic offensive to have the United Nations recognize all of the areas taken by the Arabs as belonging to those Arab states, especially Jordan and to reduce the borders of Israel to being more or less what the Peel Plan of 1937 had advised.

In the early days of the war, the British delegation at the UN blocked all efforts at a ceasefire (which was felt to hurt the Arabs, who winning the war at this point more than the Israelis) and because of fears that Article 39 of the Chapter 7 of the UN Covenant might involve sanctions against the Arab states. The British changed position on the ceasefire in the spring of 1948 when the Arab armies were in possession of substantial chunks of Palestine with the Egyptians holding much of the Negev and the Jordanians holding a large section of central Palestine. Sir Ronald Ian Campbell
Ronald Ian Campbell
Sir Ronald Ian Campbell CB, GCMG, PC was a British diplomat.Campbell was the second son of Sir Guy Campbell, 3rd Baronet , by Nina, daughter of Frederick Lehmann. He was educated at Eton and graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford in 1912 with a Bachelor of Arts...

, the British Ambassador to Egypt was instructed by Bevin to tell the Egyptian government after the first ceasefire:
"It might be presumed that the period of truce will be utilised by the Jews to establish an effective administration not only in those parts of their November State which are behind the military lines, but also in the Arab areas which they have occupied, such as the Central and Northern Galilee. If the Arabs are to be in a position to bargain on equal terms, it is essential that they should establish some real authority in the areas behind the lines occupied by their forces. This is particularly important in the area to the south of the Egyptian front line. The greater part of this area was awarded to the Jews last November and the Jewish settlements there are still holding out and presumably maintaining contact with Tel Aviv. We shall have great difficulty in supporting the Arab claim to retain this part of Palestine unless it can be shown that it is in fact and not in name only under Arab administration during the truce...."
Finally as part of the diplomatic effort to support the Arab war effort, the British supported an arms embargo, which was felt to favour the Arabs more than the Israelis. The British reasoning behind the arms embargo was that it was long it was in place, the United States would be prevented from supplying arms to Israel, and if the embargo were lifted the United States could supply vastly greater number of weapons to the Israelis than the British could supply arms to the Arabs.

UN Resolution 194


In December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 passed Resolution 194 which declared (amongst other things) that in the context of a general peace agreement "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so" and that "compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." The resolution also mandated the creation of the United Nations Conciliation Commission
United Nations Conciliation Commission
The United Nations Conciliation Commission was created by UN General Assembly Resolution 194, in order to conclude the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.On December 11, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the proposal to set up the committee with delegates of three nations. France, Turkey and the United...

. However, parts of the resolution were never implemented, resulting in the Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

 crisis.

Weapons


Largely leftover World War II era weapons were used by both sides. Egypt had some British equipment; the Syrian army had some French. German, Czechoslovak and British equipment was used by Israel.
Type Arab armies IDF
Tanks Matilda tank
Matilda tank
The Infantry Tank Mark II known as the Matilda II was a British infantry tank of the Second World War. It was also identified from its General Staff Specification A12....

s, R-39s
Renault R40
The Renault R40 or Char léger modèle 1935 R modifié 1939 was a French light infantry tank that was used early in World War II, an improvement of the Renault R35, of which it is often considered a variant.-Development:...

, FT-17s, R35s, Panzer IV
Panzer IV
The Panzerkampfwagen IV , commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz...

s (dug in and used as stationary gun emplacements) by Egypt), Fiat M13/40
Fiat M13/40
The Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 was an Italian medium tank , designed to replace the Fiat L3, the Fiat L6/40 and the Fiat M11/39 in the Italian Army at the start of World War II...

, Sherman M4, M-22, Vickers
Vickers
Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.-Early history:Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by the miller Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor &...

 MK-6.
Cromwell
Cromwell tank
Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...

 tanks, H39s
Hotchkiss H35
The Hotchkiss H35 or Char léger modèle 1935 H was a French light tank developed prior to World War II.Despite having been designed from 1933 as a rather slow but well-armoured light infantry support tank, the type was initially rejected by the French Infantry because it proved difficult to steer...

, Sherman M4
APCs/IFVs
Infantry fighting vehicle
An infantry fighting vehicle , also known as a mechanized infantry combat vehicle , is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to carry infantry into battle and provide fire support for them...

British World War II era trucks, Humber Mk III & IV
Humber Armoured Car
The Humber Armoured Car was one of the most widely produced British armoured cars of the Second World War. It supplemented the Humber Light Reconnaissance Car and remained in service until the end of the war.-Development:...

, Automitrailleuses Dodge/Bich type, improvised armored cars/trucks, Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car
Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car
South African Reconnaissance Car, better known under as Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car, was a series of armoured vehicles produced in South Africa and adopted by the British Army during the World War II.-History:...

s, Universal Carrier
Universal Carrier
The Universal Carrier, also known as the Bren Gun Carrier is a common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrong. Produced between 1934 and 1960, the vehicle was used widely by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War...

s, Lloyd Towing Carriers
Carden Loyd tankette
The Carden Loyd tankettes were a series of British pre-World War II tankettes, the most successful of which was the Mark VI, the only version built in significant numbers...

British World War II era trucks, improvised armored cars/trucks, White M3A1 Scout Cars, Daimler Armoured Car
Daimler Armoured Car
The Daimler Armoured Car was a British armoured car of the Second World War.-History:The Daimler Armoured Car was a parallel development to the Daimler Dingo "Scout car", a small armoured vehicle for scouting and liaison roles. It was another Birmingham Small Arms design...

s, M3 Half-track
M3 Half-track
The Carrier, Personnel Half-track M3 was an armored vehicle used by the United States, the British Empire and the other Allies during World War II and the Cold War. Nearly 43,000 were produced, and supplied to the U.S...

s, IHC M14 Half-tracks, M5 Half-tracks
Artillery Mortars
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

, 15 cm sIG33 auf Pz IIs, 25 mm anti-tank guns on Bren carriers
Universal Carrier
The Universal Carrier, also known as the Bren Gun Carrier is a common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrong. Produced between 1934 and 1960, the vehicle was used widely by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War...

, improvised self-propelled guns used by Syrians in 1948–49, 65 mm mountain guns on Lorraine 38L
Lorraine 37L
The Lorraine 37L or Tracteur de ravitaillement pour chars 1937 L, was a light tracked armoured vehicle developed during the Interbellum by the Lorraine company to a French Army requirement for a munition and fuel supply carrier to be used by tank units. A prototype was built in 1937 and production...

 chenillettes, 2-pounder anti-tank guns, 6-pounder anti-tank guns
Mortars, 2 inches (50.8 mm) British mortars, 65 mm French howitzers (Napoleonchiks), 120 mm French mortars, Davidka mortars
Davidka
The Davidka was a homemade Israeli mortar used in Safed and Jerusalem during the early stages of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Its bombs were reported to be extremely loud, but very inaccurate and otherwise of little value beyond terrifying opponents; they proved particularly useful in...

Aircraft Spitfires
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

, T-6 Texan
T-6 Texan
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s...

s, C-47 Dakotas, Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

s, Avro Anson
Avro Anson
The Avro Anson is a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm and numerous other air forces prior to, during, and after the Second World War. Named for British Admiral George Anson, it was originally designed for maritime reconnaissance, but was...

s
Spitfires
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

, Avia S-199
Avia S-199
|-See also:-External links: *** with more pictures and further information...

s, B-17 Flying Fortresses, P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

s, C-47 Dakotas
Small Arms Lee Enfield rifles, Bren Guns, Sten guns
Sten
The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

, MAS 36s
Sten guns
Sten
The STEN was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War...

, Mills grenades
Mills bomb
Mills bomb is the popular name for a series of prominent British hand grenades. They were the first modern fragmentation grenades in the world.-Overview:...

, Karabiner 98k
Karabiner 98k
The Karabiner 98 Kurz was a bolt action rifle chambered for the 8x57mm IS/7.92×57mm IS cartridge that was adopted as the standard service rifle in 1935 by the German Wehrmacht. It was one of the final developments in the long line of Mauser military rifles...

 (Czech copies), Bren Guns, MG-34 Machine guns, Thompson submachine gun
Thompson submachine gun
The Thompson is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals...

s, Lee Enfield rifles, Molotov cocktail
Molotov cocktail
The Molotov cocktail, also known as the petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, Molotov bomb, fire bottle, fire bomb, or simply Molotov, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons...

s, PIAT anti-tank infantry weapon
PIAT
The Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank was a British hand-held anti-tank weapon developed during the Second World War. The PIAT was designed in 1942 in response to the British Army's need for a more effective infantry anti-tank weapon, and entered service in 1943.The PIAT was based on the spigot...


1949 Armistice Agreements


In 1949, Israel signed separate armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

s with Egypt on 24 February, Lebanon on 23 March, Jordan on 3 April, and Syria on 20 July. The Armistice Demarcation Lines, as set by the agreements, saw the territory under Israeli control encompassing approximately three-quarters of Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine existed while the British Mandate for Palestine, which formally began in September 1923 and terminated in May 1948, was in effect...

. This was about one-third more than was allocated to the Jewish State under the UN partition proposal. The armistice lines were known afterwards as the "Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

". The Gaza Strip and the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 were occupied by Egypt and Jordan respectively. The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization
United Nations Truce Supervision Organization
The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization is an organization founded on 29 May 1948 for peacekeeping in the Middle East. Its primary task was providing the military command structure to the peace keeping forces in the Middle East to enable the peace keepers to observe and maintain the...

 and Mixed Armistice Commissions
Mixed Armistice Commissions
The Mixed Armistice Commissions is an organisation for monitoring the ceasefire along the lines set by the General Armistice Agreements. It was composed of United Nations Military Observers and was part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization peacekeeping force in the Middle East...

 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.

Casualties


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 8,000 and 15,000.

Demographic outcome


During the 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War that followed, around 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes, out of approximately 1,200,000 Palestinian Arabs living in former Mandate Palestine. In 1951, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine estimated that the number of Palestinian refugees displaced from Israel was 711,000. This number did not include displaced Palestinians inside Israeli-held territory. More than 400 Arab villages, and about ten Jewish villages and neighbourhoods, were depopulated during the Arab-Israeli conflict.

However, the British census in 1946 had listed only 467,000 Muslim Palestinians in the entire British Mandate (although there was some controversy as to how thorough that census was).

The causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus
Causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus
The causes and explanations of the exodus of Palestinian Arabs that arose during the 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War are a matter of great controversy between historians and journalists, and of the Arab-Israeli conflict....

 are a controversial topic among historians.

The Palestinian refugee problem and the debate around the right of their return
Palestinian right of return
The Palestinian right of return is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants, have a right to return, and a right to the property they or their forebears left or which they were forced to leave in what is now Israel...

 are also major issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Arab Palestinians have staged annual demonstrations and protests on 15 May of each year. The popularity and number of participants in these annual al Nakba demonstrations has varied over time. During the al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

 after the failure of the Camp David 2000 Summit
Camp David 2000 Summit
The Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David of July 2000 took place between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat...

, the attendance at the demonstrations against Israel increased.

During the 1948 War, around 10,000 Jews were forced to evacuate their homes in Palestine or Israel, but in the three years following the war, 700,000 Jews settled in Israel, mainly along the borders and in former Arab lands. Around 136,000 came from the 250,000 displaced Jews of World War II. About another 270,000 came from Eastern Europe. The bulk of the rest—around 300,000 people—constituted the first wave of a total of 750,000 or more Jews
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

 who over the course of the next thirty years would flee from the Arab world.

Historiography


After the war, Israeli and Palestinian historiographies differed on the interpretation of the events of 1948. In the West the majority view was of a tiny group of 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. From 1980, with the opening of the Israeli and British archives, some Israeli historians have developed a different account of the period. In particular, the role played by Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

, the British government, the Arab aims during the war, the balance of force and the events related to the Palestinian exodus
1948 Palestinian exodus
The 1948 Palestinian exodus , also known as the Nakba , occurred when approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Civil War that preceded it. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute...

 have been nuanced or given new interpretations. Some of them are still hotly debated among historians and commentators of the conflict today.

Maps


See also

  • 1948 Palestinian exodus
    1948 Palestinian exodus
    The 1948 Palestinian exodus , also known as the Nakba , occurred when approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Civil War that preceded it. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute...

  • Jewish exodus from Arab lands
    Jewish exodus from Arab lands
    The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

  • Killings and massacres during the 1948 Palestine War
  • List of Israeli military operations in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
  • List of villages depopulated during the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • List of modern conflicts in the Middle East

Further reading

  • Aloni, Shlomo (2001). Arab-Israeli Air Wars 1947–82. Osprey Publishing
    Osprey Publishing
    Osprey Publishing is an Oxford-based publishing company specializing in military history. Predominantly an illustrated publisher, many of their books contain full-colour artwork plates, maps and photographs, and the company produces over a dozen ongoing series, each focusing on a specific aspect of...

    . ISBN 978-1-84176-294-4
  • Beckman, Morris
    Morris Beckman
    Morris Beckman is an English writer. To date he has had five books published.-Early life:Morris Beckman was born in the north-eastern London Borough of Hackney. He attended Hackney Downs School...

     (1999). The Jewish Brigade: An Army With Two Masters, 1944–45. Sarpedon Publishers. ISBN 978-1-86227-423-5
  • Ben-Ami, Shlomo
    Shlomo Ben-Ami
    Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami is a former Israeli diplomat, politician and historian.-Biography:Ben-Ami was born in Tangiers, Morocco, and immigrated to Israel in 1955....

     (2006). Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy
    Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy
    Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli–Arab Tragedy is a book by historian and former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, which examines the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict....

    . Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    . ISBN 978-0-19-518158-6
  • Benvenisti, Meron
    Meron Benvenisti
    Meron Benvenisti is an Israeli political scientist who was Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem under Teddy Kollek from 1971 to 1978, during which he administered East Jerusalem and served as Jerusalem's Chief Planning Officer. He is a medieval scholar and published books and maps on the Crusader period in...

     (2002). Sacred Landscape. University of California Press
    University of California Press
    University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

    . ISBN 978-0-520-23422-2
  • Flapan, Simha
    Simha Flapan
    Simha Flapan was an Israeli historian and politician. He was the author of The Birth of Israel: Myths And Realities.He is probably best known for his book The Birth of Israel: Myths And Realities, published in the year of his death....

     (1987), 'The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities', Pantheon Books
    Pantheon Books
    Pantheon Books is an American imprint with editorial independence that is part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.The current editor-in-chief at Pantheon Books is Dan Frank.-Overview:...

    , New York.
  • Gilbert, Martin
    Martin Gilbert
    Sir Martin John Gilbert, CBE, PC is a British historian and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He is the author of over eighty books, including works on the Holocaust and Jewish history...

     (1976). The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Its History in Maps Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd is a British publisher of fiction and reference books. It is a division of the Orion Publishing Group.-History:...

    . ISBN 978-0-297-77241-5
  • Landis, Joshua
    Joshua Landis
    Joshua M. Landis is Associate Professor in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma and Director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies...

    . "Syria and the Palestine War: fighting King 'Abdullah's 'Greater Syria plan.'" Rogan and Shlaim. The War for Palestine. 178–205.
  • Masalha, Nur
    Nur-eldeen Masalha
    Nur-eldeen Masalha is a Palestinian writer and academic.He is Professor of Religion and Politics and Director of the Centre for Religion and History and the Holy Land Research Project at St. Mary's University College, University of Surrey...

     (1992). Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of 'Transfer' in Zionist Political Thought, 1882–1948, Institute for Palestine Studies
    Institute for Palestine Studies
    The Institute for Palestine Studies is the oldest independent non-profit, public service, research institute in the Arab world, was established and incorporated in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1963 and has since served as a model for other such institutes in the region...

    , ISBN 978-0-88728-235-5
  • Morris, Benny, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, (2009) Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-15112-1
  • Reiter, Yitzhak, National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs Versus Jews in Israel (Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution), (2009) Syracuse Univ Press (Sd). ISBN 978-0-8156-3230-6
  • Sheleg, Yair (2001). A Short History of Terror Haaretz
    Haaretz
    Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

    .
  • Zertal, Idith (2005). Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    . ISBN 978-0-521-85096-4

Fiction

  • The Hope by Herman Wouk
    Herman Wouk
    Herman Wouk is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author of novels including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.-Biography:...

    , a historical novel that includes a fictionalized version of Israel's War of Independence.

External links