The First Arab-Israeli War 1948-9/ Chapter 3


1. The war of 1948-9

  • 14 May 1948 - David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the birth of the new state of Israel.
  • The next day, armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt invaded

The first phase of fighting, 15 May to 10 June 1948

  • In the south, an Egyptian army of 10,000 men crossed the border and attacked some isolated Jewish settlements.
  • In the north, Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese troops crossed the border but were resisted by Jewish settlers
  • The major conflict was the battle for Jerusalem. King Abdullah of Transjordan with his Arab Legion defended the Old City, the eastern part of Jerusalem.  Israelis were keenest to defeat them for two reasons: 1)They wanted to gain control of all of the city of Jerusalem and 2)if they crush Arab Legion, they would be able to collapse other armies
  •  Israelis gained control of the Western part of Jerusalem and the Arabs were forced out
  • On 10 June, The UN persuaded the warring parties to agree to a ceasefire. The Israelis used the ceasefire to recruit more men and rearm their forces. This gave them a significant advantage and when the Egyptians broke the truce, the Israelis went on to the offensive.

The second phase of fighting, 9-18 July 1948

  • The Israeli priority was to try to widen the corridor leading to Jerusalem, taking land allocated to the Arabs.
  • in the south, the Israelis resisted further Egyptian advances in the Negev
  • in the north, the Israelis gained control of the whole Galilee region.
  • In September, the special UN mediator produced a peace plan. It gave added land to the Arabs in the south and more land to the Israelis in the north but Jerusalem was still to be an international city and the Arab refugees were all to have the right to return home
  • The next day, Bernadotte was assassinated by the Stern Gang. The new Israeli government were keen to maintain international support and ordered the dissolution of the Stern Gang and Irgun. Some members moved into the Israeli Defence Forces

The Third phase of fighting, 15 October


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