Chapter 3 - The first Arab-Israeli War 1948-9


Lo: To learn about the Arab-Israeli War and its outcome. Thus explore the reasons why there was no peace treaty.
Karima Ranieri
Flashcards by Karima Ranieri, updated more than 1 year ago
Karima Ranieri
Created by Karima Ranieri over 5 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
When did David Ben-Gurion proclaim the birth of the new state of Israel? On 14 May 1948
What happened the following day? Armed forces from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Transjordan invaded.
Israel's War of Independence was to consist of how many phases of fighting? Three phases, interspersed by UN ceasefires.
How long did the first phase of fighting last? Started on the 15th May until the 10th of June 1948.
Which Arab army advanced in the south? The Egyptian army of 10,000 men. They crossed the border near the coast and attacked some isolated Jewish settlements.
Which Arab army advanced in the north? How were they the weakest? Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese troops. They crossed the border but were resisted by Jewish settlers and most of the invaders were forced to withdraw. They lacked ammunition and were the least experienced of the Arab forces.
What was the major conflict? The Battle for Jerusalem.
Which Arab army defended the Old City (eastern part of Jerusalem)? King Abdullah of Transjordan's Arab Legion.
Why was King Abdullah's army the one Israelis were keenest to defeat? - Israel wanted to gain control of all the city of Jerusalem, including the Old City which contained the Jewish holy places. - They knew that the Legion was the most effective and best-trained Arab army and they believed that, if they could defeat it, then the other Arab armies would collapse.
Israeli during the first phase of fighting success or failure? Failure: - They were not able to overcome the Legion and the Israeli offensive was halted. Success: - They gained control of west Jerusalem without too much struggle and were thus able to feed and protect the Jewish population in that part of the city. - Arab inhabitants fled or were forced out.
What happened during the UN ceasefire 10th June 1948? - UN persuaded the warring parties to agree to a ceasefire. - Jordanians and Lebanese were open to peace talks while the Egyptians, Syrians and Iraqis were not. - During the lull, the Israelis secured fresh supplies of weapons from eastern Europe, mainly from the Czechs. - Britain had been the main supplier of arms to Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, but was not willing to disobey the UN embargo on supplying arms to the warring sides. - Israelis recruited more men and reorganised and rearmed their forces. - This gave them a significant advantage.
How long did the second phase of fighting last? Commenced on the 9th of July until the 18th of July 1948.
What was Israeli priority in the second phase of fighting? To try widen the corridor leading to Jerusalem, taking land allocated to the Arabs in the process. They were particularly keen to control this territory to forestall any UN peace plan that might force them back to the borders drawn in the 1947 partition plan.
Was Israel successful in achieving their aims? - They were largely successful but the Arab Legion held the Old City of Jerusalem. - However, the Arab Legion did not attempt to seize land allocated to the Jewish state. - In the south, the Israelis resisted further Egyptian advances in the Negev, while in the north they gained control of the whole Galilee region, including land allocated to the Arabs.
In September, during the second truce, what did the UN mediator Count Bernadotte from Sweden propose in his peace plan? Count Bernadotte produced a peace plan: - Added land to the Arabs in the south. - More land to the Israelis in north. - Jerusalem to be an international city, under UN control. - Arab refugees were all to have the right to return home.
What happened to Count Bernadotte the next day? He was assassinated by the Stern Gang.
What did the Israeli government do in order to maintain international support? He ordered the dissolution of the Stern Gang and Irgun. Some of their members were then incorporated into the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
How long did the third phase of fighting last? Commenced on the 15th October 1948 until the 7th January 1949.
Who broke the second ceasefire in mid-October? Israel
What was Israel concentrated on at this point of the war? Defeating the Egyptians in the south.
Was Israel successful at doing so? - Yes, they even pushed the Egyptian army over the border into Egypt. - But had to agree, under American pressure, to withdraw from Egyptian territory. - Nonetheless, they remained in complete control of the Negev when the final ceasefire was arranged in January 1949.
What were the overall results of the war? Israel - Israel emerged from the war exhausted but well organised. - The new nation lost 6000 lives (nearly 1% of the entire Jewish population of 650,000) - Israeli's now controlled 79% of what had been the British mandate of Palestine rather than the 55% allocated to them by the UN partition plan 1947.
What were the overall results of the war? Palestine - By the end of the war, over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs had become refugees, having fled or been driven from their homes. - Most ended up in Gaza, or what became known as the West Bank. - In Arabic, this fight was known as the Nakba (catastrophe/disaster).
Armistice agreements between January and July 1949. Armistice with Egypt: - Confirmed their pre-war borders while the Gaza area of Arab Palestine came under Egyptian military rule.
Armistice agreements between January and July 1949. Armistice with Jordan: - King wanted his forces to keep control of the West Bank. This area would now be governed as part of his kingdom, meaning that much of Arab Palestine, including the Old City of Jerusalem, became part of the new enlarged Kingdom of Jordan. - Israelis were to keep control of the newer, western part of Jerusalem. They preferred a partitioned Jerusalem to the international zone.
Armistice agreements between January and July 1949. Armistice with Syria: - In July 1948, the UN negotiated that the Syrians would withdraw from the ceasefire lines if the vacated area became a demilitarised zone. Meaning that Israel could not station any troops or weapons there.
What two key issues could both sides never agree on? Borders and refugees
What did the Arab states feel about the refugee problem? - Israel had created the problem and the refugees had the 'right to return' to their homes or be compensated by Israel.
What did Israel feel about the refugee problem? - They claimed that the Arabs had created the refugee problem by invading Israel and starting the war. - Israelis wanted most of the refugees to be settled outside of Israel.
What were the main obstacles to permanent peace? - Public opinion in Arab countries. Many were bitter about their defeat and hated Israel. - For the Israeli government, peace was desirable, but not worth it at the expense of giving up territory and agreeing to the return of large numbers of Palestinian refugees.
What were Israel's priorities at this point? - Build the new state - Implement large scale Jewish immigration - Consolidate their independence.
What was needed for the survival and development of Israel? - Massive immigration both for security and development into a strong modern state.
What law was passed in 1950? What happened within four years? - The Law of Return which granted any Jew in the world the right to become a citizen of Israel. - Within four years, the population was to double. - Many of the new immigrants were from North Africa and other parts of the Middle East. They were to be drafted into the IDF.
What did the army receive/have to do? - Received training - Lived together - Had to learn Hebrew
How did the state of Israel become richer, stronger and more highly developed in the 1950s and early 1960s? - Large areas of dessert were irrigated and cultivated. - New industries were built and vast sums of money were spent on armed forces to defend the country. - High level of education and skills of Israeli citizens played a major part in its development. - Country's progress was also accelerated by US aid and American Jews who sent about a billion dollars a year to Israel.
Key Debate How did Israel win the war? Zionist Interpretation - Israel was the tiny Jewish David fighting against a massive Arab Goliath. - Israel had far fewer weapons, lack of modern weapons, fewer soldiers and was poorly equipped and yet won the war through heroic efforts and courage of its people. - Leader David Ben-Gurion was effective and powerful, encouraged sacrifice and courage.
Key debate How did Israel win the war? Revisionist interpretation - It is true that at the start, Israelis had only about 35,000 soldiers and that their weapons were inferior. - However, they managed to build up their army to nearly 100,000 by December 1948. - Arab forces built up their army as well, but not as rapidly as the Israeli forces. - During the first truce in June-July 1948, Israel gained access to much more equipment from eastern Europe and were better armed fro the rest of the war. - Israelis had military advantages: 25,000 Israelis had fought in the British army in the Second World War and gained valuable experience in training, organisation and technology. - The only Arab force that was as well trained and disciplined was the 10,000 strong Arab Legion of Transjordan.
War aims and co-ordination Difference between Jews and Arabs - Jews were united in their aims, they knew they needed to use force in order to establish a new state. - The Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, never really recovered from the losses they suffered during the Rebellion of 1936-9. - The governments of the neighbouring Arab states had begun to plan for invasion only in April 1948. - They had agreed on a plan and the King Abdullah of Transjordan claimed to be commander-in-chief. However, Arab leaders were not united in their goals and each tended to fight for their own particular interests, which meant to gain Palestinian territory for themselves. - There was little co-ordination of their efforts in the war and both the Egyptian and Syrian governments were deeply suspicious of the King Abdullah's aims.
King Abdullah and the Israelis What did King Abdullah feel about the Palestinian Arab state? - Before the war he held a secret meeting wit Palestinian Jewish leaders. - He let it be known that he did not think that the Palestinian Arab state could survive on its own.
King Abdullah and the Israelis What were King Abdullah's aims? - He wished to attach Palestinian land to his state. - His aim was to gain control of most of Arab Palestine (on the western side of the River Jordan) - Not to destroy the state of Israel.
King Abdullah and the Israelis What mutual understanding was established? - He let Jewish leaders believe that he would not invade territory allocated to the new Jewish state. - Indeed, when the war started the Arab Legion defended the Old City against Israeli forces, but made little effort to stop the Israelis seizing west Jerusalem. - Nor did the Legion invade the territory of the new Jewish state. - The Arab Legion even remained neutral when the Israelis fought Egyptian forces and did not support the Egyptians in the second and third phases of war.
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