1948 Arab-Israeli War

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1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 arab israeli war - May15-June10.jpg
Overview
Part of Arab-Israeli conflict
Date May 15, 1948-March 10, 1949
Location Israel
Combatants
Flag of Israel.png Israel Arab League
Consisting of:
Egypt
Syria
Jordan
Lebanon
Saudi Arabia
Iraq
Commanders
David Ben-Gurion Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam
Farouk of Egypt
Abdullah I of Jordan
Muzahim al-Pachachi
Husni al-Za'im
Strength
Casualties


The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, referred to as the War of Independence (מלחמת השחרור) by Israelis, and The Catastrophe ("al Nakba", النكبة) by Arabs, where some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or self evacuated [1][2][3] told by Arab leaders to leave (till after "victory") from their homeland, was the first armed conflict fought by the modern state of Israel, with a total population of approximately 600,000, against the armies of the Arab nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other Arab militias. About 6,000 Israelis died in the war, or fully one percent of the population, but the war ended in 1949 with a United Nations-brokered armistice. As a result of the war, Israel grew by some 50% over the original Partition of British Palestine. Some 800,000 Jews were expelled from neighboring Arab states and allowed to settle in Israel.

Arab threats pre 1948 war

At the time, Head of Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna declared: "If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea"[4]

Renowned author, I. F. Stone, at the time:[5]
"The partition line proposed," Jamal Husseini of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee boldly warned the UN, "shall be nothing but a line of blood and fire." Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, dropped the mask of moderation and told the Egyptian press, "This war will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."

Cowardice

Eyewitness:[6]

...for those who run from the battlefield when the fate of their fatherland is at stake. It expects them to stand their ground, fight, bleed, die and not to yield, no matter how powerful the enemy or hopeless the odds.

It is no disgrace to lose a battle to a superior foe after exhausting all one's strength in combat. But, the headlong flight from Jaffa and other Arab towns, without any attempt to make a stand, would condemn the Arabs to the miseries of their diaspora in dusty refugee camps. I know where of I speak.

I was there and saw it all as a member of the inchoate Israeli Army. I could not understand why the Palestinians, with all the advantage of superior arms and the support of five Arab states, made only a feeble attempt at combat.

Ethnic cleansing - Jerusalem

There was a cruel ethnic cleansing by the armed Arabs of the pious Jews in Jerusalem. The Jews of the old city, the dwelling of their families in Jerusalem going back for generations, were given one hour to pack. It has been documented: the Arab Legion’s scorched-earth tactics that razed and burned to the ground every structure there, including all its synagogues and yeshivahs. The Arabs expelled all of the city’s residents, mainly defenseless, old Orthodox Jews. They were given about an hour to vacate homes that most extended families had lived in for centuries.[7] The Jordanian commander, Abdullah el-Tal, boasted to his superiors:[8][9][10]

"For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews' return here impossible."

All the while, there was no ethnic cleansing of Arabs.[11]

Ethnic cleansing: Jews from Arab Muslim lands

Mep ethnic.png

Bigotry in Arab Islamic countries led to explusion of over close to 900,000 Jews.

Prior to 1948, approximately 950,000 Jews[12] lived in Muslim countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf.[13]

As many as 870,000 Jews (persecuted by the Arab League as the “Jewish minority of Palestine”) were driven from, or fled, the Arab world at around the same time as the Palestinian refugees — and as a consequence of the same conflict, merely because Jews in Arab lands shared the same religion and ethnicity as Israelis.[14]

Arab Palestinian exodus - pawns

Thousands of  Palestinian Arabs left their homes in 1947-48 for a variety of reasons.[15] These refugees [16] have been used by theirs and by Arab leaders as a weapon against Israel and as scapegoats. Efforts by Israel to improve their conditions have been rejected for decades.


Author:[17] The Palestinian national narrative is the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.


Expert:[18]

By most definitions, refugees are those forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. Nearly every refugee in the world is cared for by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, whose ultimate goal is repatriation, resettlement and integration. The exception? Palestinian refugees.

Arab states insisted on a different definition for Palestinian-Arab refugees of the Israeli War of Independence — and a different agency to care for them. Today, millions of people are referred to as “Palestinian refugees” even though the only home they, and in many cases even their parents and grandparents, have ever known is either a refugee camp or an Arab host nation like Jordan.

External links


Further reading

  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed. The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict A Political, Social, and Military History (4 vol. 2008)

References

  1. Were the Palestinians Expelled? The historical record has something definitive to say about the next big item on the anti-Israel agenda: a "right of… by Efraim Karsh, Commentary Magazine, July/August 2000
  2. Myths & Facts - The Refugees - Jewish Virtual Library
  3. Contradicting Its Own Archives, New York Times Cites Expulsion of Haifa’s Arabs By T. Sternthal, CAMERA, May 18, 2020
  4. Aim To Oust Jews Pledged By Sheikh; Head of Moslem Brotherhood Says U.S., British 'Politics' Has Hurt Palestine Solution. Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES By Dana Adams Schmidt, Aug. 2, 1948, page 4 CAIRO, Egypt, Aug. 1 -- Sheikh Hassan el-Bana, head of the Moslem Brotherhood, largest of the extremist Arab nationalist organizations, declared in an interview today: "If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea ...
  5. Stone, Isidor Feinstein., Cooke, Jerry., Capa, Robert., Gidal, Tim. This is Israel. United States: Boni and Gaer, 1948. p. 21.
  6. Reisfeld, Alfred. To Run for Life from Swastika and Red Star. United States: Xlibris, 2002. 456
  7. Richard Pollock, "A Will to Survive’ recalls Arab ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem’s Jews", JNS, August 12, 2021.

    A “Life” magazine photojournalist rekindles the 1948 Arab destruction of the city’s Jewish Quarter, along with the eviction of its residents.

    I recently stumbled upon a photography book shot by the acclaimed Life magazine wartime photographer John Phillips. The large, innocuous-looking book was simply titled, A Will to Survive. After flipping through the pages, I realized I entered a time capsule that memorializes the Arab destruction of Jerusalem’s ancient Jewish Quarter in 1948.

    Not only is it a dramatic firsthand account of the fall of the Jewish Quarter in 1948, but it documents the Arab Legion’s scorched-earth tactics that razed and burned to the ground every structure there, including all its synagogues and yeshivahs. The Arabs expelled all of the city’s residents, mainly defenseless, old Orthodox Jews. They were given about an hour to vacate homes that most extended families had lived in for centuries.
  8. Hadoar, Vol. 81. Iss. 19. ha-Doʻar Association, 2002. p. 10.
  9. Alan Balfour, "The Walls of Jerusalem: Preserving the Past, Controlling the Future," (John Wiley & Sons, 2019), p. 142.
    An estimated 2000 Jews remained in the old city during the conflict and every man woman and child who had lived in peace with their Arab neighbors for centuries were driven out into the new Israel. (At the end of the conflict more than 10 000 Jews had been forced to evacuate from Arab held areas.. Col. el-Tell... he is quoted as saying the systematic demolition inflicted merciless terror in the hearts of the Jews, killing both fighters and civilians... For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews' return here impossible.
  10. Benjamin Pogrund, "Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel," (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), p. 257.
  11. Haaretz: There was no ethnic cleansing in 1948, (Haaretz), Rotter, 10/08/16.

    At the bottom of his article - which was published here last Friday under the heading "Ethnic cleansing? ..." - Prof. Daniel Blatman is described as a "historian". If so, Blatman excelled in his role when he attributed to me in an article things I had never claimed, and distorted the history of the 1948 war.

    First, Prof. Blatman ignores throughout the article the basic fact that it was the Palestinians who started the war, when they rejected the UN compromise plan, and began hostilities in which 1,800 Jews were killed between November 1947 and mid-May 1948. In the Yugoslavian wars in the 1990s, and indeed carried out ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and elsewhere).

    In the context of the second phase of the 1948 war, Blatman claims that Arab states invaded Israel and most attacked the State of Israel, in order to save their Palestinian brethren from the ethnic cleansing that the Jews had begun to carry out. During this purge, "more than 400,000" Arabs were smuggled out and deported from their homes, which, according to Beltman, made up more than half of the Arab population in Palestine, until May 14 (in fact, there were about 1.2-1.3 million Arabs in the country at the time).

    The real number of those who fled and were smuggled was probably smaller than that, but more importantly - Arab states attacked the State of Israel mainly to harm it, if not to exterminate it. It is a fact that their leaders threatened the invasion even before the UN resolution was passed on November 29, 1947, and before one Arab was displaced from his home; And they continued to threaten the invasion in the months that followed, until May 1948. It was not the tragedy of the Palestinians that motivated the Arab states in their invasion.

    It is true that the flight and smuggling of Arabs from their places in Israel, especially from early April to May 14, 1948 (in this context the conquest of Jaffa, Tiberias and Haifa and the... in Deir Yassin were always mentioned), caused extremism among Arab populations around Israel, and was one of the factors that pushed Arab leaders to decide in favor of an invasion on the eve of May 15th. But other, more important factors influenced Arab leaders in their decision: King Abdullah of Jordan wanted to expand the borders of his country; The king of Egypt wanted to prevent the king of Jordan from great territorial achievements; The leaders of Syria, Iraq and Egypt feared their "street" reaction if they refrained from invading, and more. Concern for the peace of Arab Arabs was not the main motive for the invasion of Arab countries.

    Blatman states that I argued that "more than half a year before the Arab invasion began," the Yishuv leaders sought to expand the state's borders beyond those set out in the UN General Assembly resolution, "and reduce to a minimum" the number of Arabs left in the Jewish state. My words and of history.

    Of course, leaders at the beginning of a country's path are interested in increasing their country's territory, but there is a big difference between personal aspirations and policies. In terms of policy, the leaders of the settlement aspired to expand the territory of the country on the way only around March-April 1948, and not from November 1947; And only after four months of Arab fighting against the settlement - which stood on strategic defense; And only after the Arab leaders made it clear, early in the morning and in the evening, that they intended to attack the Jewish state with the departure of the British from Israel.

    As for the reduction of the number of Arabs, at no stage of the 1948 war was the decision of the Yishuv or the state - neither the management of the Jewish Agency nor the Israeli government, nor the General Staff of the Defense or the IDF General Staff - made a decision to "expel the Arabs." It is true that David Ben-Gurion and Haim Weizmann supported the transfer of an Arab population from the territory of the Jewish state that would be established in the late 1930s and early 1940s. 400,000 Arabs and more.

    During the war, at one point, Ben-Gurion made his officers understand that it was better for as few Arabs as possible to remain in the country, but he never instructed them to "expel the Arabs" (and in July 1948 he even decided against the expulsion of Arabs from Nazareth, Lod and Ramla). The atmosphere of transfer that has prevailed in the country since April 1948 has never been translated into official policy - so there were officers who expelled Arabs and there were those who refrained from deportation. Neither these nor those were reprimanded for it or punished. Finally, in 1949, there were about 160,000 Arabs left in the country - a fifth of its population - who swelled to 1.6 million over the decades (and now their leaders have refrained from attending the funeral of Shimon Peres, who among other things tried to promote a two-state solution). ).

    If Blatman reads my book, he will realize that on March 24, 1948, Ben-Gurion's deputy in the Ministry of Defense, Israel Galili, the head of the national defense staff, ordered all defense brigades not to displace Arab populations from the designated Jewish state. Things did change in early April, due to the dilapidated condition of the settlement and due to the anticipation of the impending Arab invasion. But a general policy of deportation has not yet been adopted - here they were deported, there they were not deported, and for the most part the Arabs simply fled.

    It is true that from the middle of 1948 the State of Israel adopted a policy of preventing the return of refugees - those refugees who months and weeks earlier tried to destroy the country on the way. But this policy still seems to me logical and just.

    I do not accept the definition of "ethnic cleansing" for what was done by the Jews in Israel in 1948 (if one thinks of Lod and Ramla, one can perhaps speak of a partial ethnic cleansing); According to Blatman, the opposite is true. Many were deported, and many were somehow left behind, and became citizens of the Jewish state.

    By the way, the Arab states did carry out ethnic cleansing and displaced all the Jews, to the last of them, from any territory they occupied in 1948 - the Jordanians in Gush Etzion and the Old City of Jerusalem; The Syrians in Masada, the Golan Heights and the Jordan Guard, etc. The Jews, on the other hand, left behind Arabs in Haifa and Jaffa, and in the villages along the country's main transportation arteries - the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road and the Tel Aviv-Haifa road - a fact that is inconsistent with the claim of "successful" ethnic cleansing.

    As for the current preoccupation with the subject, it is ridiculous, to say the least, to claim that the displacement of Jewish settlements from the West Bank is "ethnic cleansing," but it makes sense to have Jews in the Arab territories, just as Arabs live in the Jewish state. In today's circumstances, the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria is an obstacle to possible peace between us and the Palestinians. I have always opposed this enterprise, because a division into two states into two peoples is the just and logical solution. However, Benjamin Netanyahu is right, unfortunately, in saying that the main obstacle to peace is the unwillingness of Israeli Arabs to agree to a compromise based on two states for the two peoples, and the denial of the legitimacy of the Zionist enterprise and the State of Israel by them.

    Prof. Morris is a historian.
  12. R. Moreh, "Remembering the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa", Haam, Jan 29, 2015
  13. Warren Hoge. "Group Spotlights Jews Who Left Arab Lands", November 5, 2007. 
  14. L Julius, "Why are Jews so quick to defend our enemies?", JC, Oct 7, 2021.
    Jewish schools must not teach their pupils a one-sided narrative of Palestinian victimhood... As many as 870,000 Jews (persecuted by the Arab League as the “Jewish minority of Palestine”) were driven from, or fled, the Arab world at around the same time as the Palestinian refugees — and as a consequence of the same conflict, merely because Jews in Arab lands shared the same religion and ethnicity as Israelis.
  15. M Bard, "Overview of Palestinian Refugees", JVL.
  16. M Bard, "The Palestinian Refugees: History & Overview", JVL
  17. Sol Stern, "The Nakba Obsession," City Journal, Summer 2010
    ... I. F. Stone, the most revered left-wing journalist of the day, was one of the most influential American advocates for the Zionist cause. I have in my possession a book by Stone called This Is Israel, distributed by Boni and Gaer, a major commercial publisher at the time. The book, based on Stone’s reporting during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, has become a collector’s item by virtue of the fact that Stone’s fans want to forget that it ever existed. Of the four adoring biographies of the great muckraker published in the last decade, only one even mentions that Stone wrote This Is Israel—and then shrugs off its significance in a few paragraphs.

    It’s obvious why the book would be embarrassing to today’s leftist critics of Israel and Zionism. It opens with a foreword by Bartley Crum, the prominent American lawyer, businessman, and publisher of PM, the most widely read progressive newspaper of the 1940s. Crum evokes “the miracles [that the Israelis] have performed in peace and war. . . . They have built beautiful modern cities, such as Tel Aviv and Haifa on the edge of the wilderness. . . . They have set up a government which is a model of democracy.” His friend and star correspondent, Izzy Stone, has “set down what he knows and what he has seen, simply, truthfully and eloquently.” We Americans, Crum concludes, “can, through this book, warm ourselves in the glory of a free people who made a two thousand year dream come true in their own free land.”

    Accompanied by famed war photographer Robert Capa’s iconic images of male and female Israeli soldiers, Stone’s text reads like a heroic epic. He writes of newborn Israel as a “tiny bridgehead” of 650,000 up against 30 million Arabs and 300 million Muslims and argues that Israel’s “precarious borders,” created by the United Nations’ November 1947 partition resolution, are almost indefensible. “Arab leaders made no secret of their intentions,” Stone writes, and then quotes the head of the Arab League, Abdul Rahman Azzam: “This war will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongol massacres and the Crusades.”

    Palestinian leaders reminded Stone of the fascists he had fought with his pen since the Spanish Civil War. He ticks off the names of several Nazi collaborators prominent among the Arab military units that poured into Palestine after passage of the UN’s resolution. In addition to the grand mufti, they included the head of the Arab Liberation Army, Fawzi el-Kaukji, who took part in the fascist revolt against the British in Iraq in 1940 and then escaped to Berlin, where he recruited Balkan Muslims for the Wehrmacht. Another Palestinian military commander, Sheik Hassan Bey Salameh, was a “former staff officer under Rommel,” Stone writes. “Salameh had last appeared in Palestine in 1944 when he was dropped as a Reichswehr major for sabotage duties.” For good measure, Stone adds, “German Nazis, Polish reactionaries, Yugoslav Chetniks, and Bosnian Moslems flocked [into Palestine] for the war against the Jews.”

    And how does Stone explain the war’s surprising outcome and the sudden exodus of the Palestinian Arabs? “Ill-armed, outnumbered, however desperate their circumstances, the Jews stood fast.” The Palestinians, by contrast, began to run away almost as soon as the fighting began. “First the wealthiest families went,” Stone recounts. “While the Arab guerrillas were moving in, the Arab civilian population was moving out.” Stone blames the grand mufti for giving explicit orders to the Palestinians to abandon Haifa, which had the largest Arab community of any city assigned to the Jewish state under the UN’s partition plan...

    unlike most of his left-wing revisionist colleagues, Morris asserted that the Palestinian calamity and the refugee problem were “born of war, not by design.” Morris was—and is—a committed Zionist of the Left. He believed that his work as a truth-telling historian might have a healing effect, encouraging Palestinian intellectuals to own up to their own side’s mistakes and crimes. The process might lead to some reconciliation, perhaps even to peace. But Morris was shocked when Palestinian leaders launched the second intifada, with its campaign of suicide bombings, just as President Clinton offered them a generous two-state solution at Camp David. Morris was also dismayed to discover that his scholarship on the 1948 war was being used by Palestinian activists and Western leftist academics to build up the Nakba myth. In a 2008 letter to the Irish Times, he wrote:

    Israel-haters are fond of citing—and more often, mis-citing—my work in support of their arguments. Let me offer some corrections. . . . In defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the UN General Assembly Resolution of November 29th, 1947, [the Palestinians] launched hostilities against the Jewish community in Palestine in the hope of aborting the emergence of the Jewish state and perhaps destroying that community. But they lost; and one of the results was the displacement of 700,000 of them from their homes. . . . On the local level, in dozens of localities around Palestine, Arab leaders advised or ordered the evacuation of women and children or whole communities. . . .

    Most of Palestine’s 700,000 “refugees” fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders). But it is also true that there were several dozen sites, including Lydda and Ramla, from which Arab communities were expelled by Jewish troops.

    The displacement of the 700,000 Arabs who became “refugees”—and I put the term in inverted commas, as two-thirds of them were displaced from one part of Palestine to another and not from their country (which is the usual definition of a refugee)—was not a “racist crime” . . . but the result of a national conflict and a war, with religious overtones, from the Muslim perspective, launched by the Arabs themselves.

    ... Several years ago, I briefly visited the largest refugee camp in the West Bank: Balata, inside the city of Nablus. Many of the camp’s approximately 20,000 residents are the children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of the Arab citizens of Jaffa who fled their homes in early 1948.

    For half a century, the United Nations has administered Balata as a quasi-apartheid welfare ghetto. The Palestinian Authority does not consider the residents of Balata citizens of Palestine; they do not vote on municipal issues, and they receive no PA funding for roads or sanitation. The refugee children—though after 60 years, calling young children “refugees” is absurd—go to separate schools run by UNRWA, the UN’s refugee-relief agency. The “refugees” are crammed into an area of approximately one square kilometer, and municipal officials prohibit them from building outside the camp’s official boundaries, making living conditions ever more cramped as the camp’s population grows. In a building called the Jaffa Cultural Center—financed by the UN, which means our tax dollars—Balata’s young people are undoubtedly nurtured on the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors’ homes by the Mediterranean Sea.

    In Balata, history has come full circle. During the 1948 war, Palestinian leaders like Haj Amin al-Husseini insisted that the Arab citizens of Haifa and Jaffa had to leave, lest they help legitimize the Jewish state. Now, the descendants of those citizens are locked up in places like Balata and prohibited from resettling in the Palestinian-administered West Bank—again, lest they help legitimize the Jewish state, this time by removing the Palestinians’ chief complaint. Yet there is a certain perverse logic at work here. For if Israel and the Palestinians ever managed to hammer out the draft of a peace treaty, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, would have to go to Balata and explain to its residents that their leaders have been lying to them for 60 years and that they are not going back to Jaffa. Which, to state the obvious again, is one of the main reasons that there has been no peace treaty.
  18. Richard Goldberg, "Trump should crack down on UNRWA, finally end fiction of Palestinian ‘refugees’", NYPost, December 27, 2017.

    By most definitions, refugees are those forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. Nearly every refugee in the world is cared for by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, whose ultimate goal is repatriation, resettlement and integration. The exception? Palestinian refugees.

    Arab states insisted on a different definition for Palestinian-Arab refugees of the Israeli War of Independence — and a different agency to care for them. Today, millions of people are referred to as “Palestinian refugees” even though the only home they, and in many cases even their parents and grandparents, have ever known is either a refugee camp or an Arab host nation like Jordan.