That is why the Arabs were defeated in the first war with Israel

Last Updated on March 15, 2024 8:06 am

29 November 1947. Jews living in Palestine sit in front of a radio set. At that time, a very important proposal was made for voting in the United Nations regarding the Palestinian territory.

The vote was on a proposal to divide Palestine and create a separate state for the Jews. That is why Jews pay so much attention to radio news.

The Jews are anxiously waiting to hear what news comes from the United Nations. When they heard that the resolution had passed the UN vote, there was great excitement in the Jewish quarters. By now they have got a separate territory. The international community has recognized it.

In the book ‘A History of the First Arab-Israeli War’, Israeli historian Benny Morris has presented this picture.

Not far from where the Jews were rejoicing, the Arab villages were filled with gloom and despair. They had been apprehensive about it for a long time.

Making new history

From 1947 to 1949, pro-Zionist armies attacked Palestinian towns and villages. More than 500,000 villages were destroyed and Jews and 15,000 Palestinians were killed. Some of it was like genocide.

The largest massacre was carried out in Deir Yassin area on April 9, 1948. Zionist militias participated in the massacre. At least 107 women and children were killed there. Deir Yassin was an area in present-day West Jerusalem.

The first Arab-Israeli war lasted for a total of 20 months until the resolution adopted by the United Nations in November 1947 and the armistice of Syria with Israel in July 1949.

During this period the political landscape of the Middle East changed forever.

During this period, the existence of Arab Palestine disappeared and the new state of Israel was born. Egypt, Syria and Lebanon were defeated in the war.

Iraq somehow held their border. On the other hand, even though Jordan won, they paid a heavy price. Jordan received the West Bank in exchange for heavy losses.

UN proposal

Palestine was under British control after the Ottomans were ousted after World War I. Since then, Arabs and Jews have been in conflict.

For that, the United Nations proposed to divide Palestine into two parts and establish two states.

On November 29, 1947, a proposal to divide the British-controlled Palestinian territories into two was accepted at the United Nations. It proposed to keep Jerusalem as an international territory under the United Nations.

33 countries voted in favor of this proposal. 13 countries voted against the proposal and 10 countries abstained altogether.

The resolution was passed even though the Arab countries walked out of the session in opposition to the resolution.

At the beginning of the conflict

Conflicts between Palestinians and Jews began immediately after the resolution was adopted at the United Nations.

The Arabs could not accept this declaration at all. Not even possible. Because, their territory is being taken away and a separate state is being established for the Jews.

This was the first Arab-Israeli war. For the Israelis, it was a struggle for independence and for the Palestinians, on the other hand, it was a day of disaster.

The first Arab-Israeli war had two phases. The first stage was the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians. And in the second stage, Arab League countries went to war against Israel.

Within six months of the adoption of the resolution at the United Nations, on May 14, 1948, Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, inaugurated an independent state for the Jews.

Through this the Jews got a state.

The conflict between Palestinians and Jews intensified until this announcement. Tensions in the Palestinian territories were at their peak.

Armed Jewish groups attacked Palestinians in various places. Zionist armed groups carried out massive massacres of Palestinians.

They wanted to make the Palestinians homeless at any cost. Armed extremist Jewish organizations established a reign of terror for that.

As a result, many Palestinians fled their homes. On the other hand, more and more Jews came to these areas.

Participation of Arab countries

However, after the declaration of the state of Israel, the conflict turned into a full military war. After the establishment of the state of Israel, the Arab-Israeli war began on a military scale.

This day is still observed by Palestinians as the ‘Nakba’ or Day of Catastrophe. Five Arab countries attacked Israel simultaneously.

In areas where the establishment of the State of Israel was declared, Israeli forces either expelled or fled most of the Arabs.

Seven and a half million Palestinians became refugees during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-1949.

When Israel declared statehood, Arab forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq advanced toward Palestine. Arab soldiers began to attack.

Within weeks they surrounded the Israeli forces. Israeli forces are facing possible defeat. It was then that the United Nations intervened for a four-week ceasefire. The ceasefire actually went in favor of Israel.

There was no coordination among the Arabs

But in violation of the terms of the cease-fire, Israel imported heavy weapons from the then Czechoslovakia. During these four weeks Israel increased their strength. It changes the dynamics of war.

As soon as the cease-fire ended, Israel launched a counter-offensive and captured two Arab-held areas.

These areas were allocated to the Palestinians by the United Nations. About 70,000 Palestinians were forced to leave those places.

On the other hand, Israel occupied the land allotted to the Palestinians one after another.

Iraqi-born British-Israeli historian Avi Shlaim believes that the Arab army played an effective role in the early part of the war, but when Israel launched a counter-attack, the Arab army did not see much of an effective role against it.

There was little coordination and no cooperation between the armies of the Arab countries. The Arab countries that participated in the war had a headquarters, headed by an Iraqi general.

But he had no control over the troops of other countries. Besides, the military operations of the Arab countries did not go according to their plans.

Arab countries led by Egypt established a Palestinian government in Gaza.

But then King Farouk of Egypt had different intentions. He considered the matter strategic for his country.

On the other hand, King Abdullah of Jordan wanted to take the part of the Palestinians with the Arabs, with Jordan. That is, to further expand Jordan’s borders.

King Farouk wanted King Abdullah of Jordan not to take Palestine as part of them. It was the main purpose of the then King Farouk of Egypt to block it.

Israel, meanwhile, was monitoring the conflict between the Arab states and simultaneously consolidating its position.

Arab indifference

Israel forced the Egyptian army to retreat through airstrikes.

Avi Shlam says that when Egypt called for help, other Arab countries did not heed it.

Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen pledged aid but failed to deliver. Iraqi forces, backed by allies, were shelling some Israeli villages.

“With a few exceptions, the Arab states were either afraid to intervene, or had no interest,” writes Avi Shlam.

By the end of the year the Egyptians were defeated in Gaza. As a result, the dream of preserving the integrity of Palestine ended.

Egypt approached Britain to protect its integrity. As a result, in 1949, Israel signed several agreements with Egypt and several other Arab countries.

This led to the end of the First Arab-Israeli War. Seven million Palestinians were displaced in that war.

After the first Arab-Israeli war, the Arabs lost confidence in their rulers. The Arab people were totally unprepared for this defeat.

They could not accept that such a miserable defeat would be inflicted on him.

Within three years of that war, the then prime ministers of Egypt and Lebanon and the then king of Jordan were killed. In addition, the army overthrew the then president of Syria and the then king of Egypt.

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