As the British mandate expired and they pulled on May 14, 1948, the Israelis proclaimed their independence and the official state of Israel. And this state was quickly recognised by big powers including the United States and the USSR.
No fewer than four Arab states rejected the establishment of Israel in Palestine and they marched on it. Among the Arab states that fought against the newly established state of Israel were Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan. They formed the Arab Liberation Army and pledged to defeat the Israeli forces.
The 1948 War
The war that followed the declaration of the state of Israel was the 1948 war. The Arab Liberation Army fought against Israel following the declaration of independence. However, the superpower support and organizational ability proved decisive for Israel.
The United States, Britain and France supported Israel to fight against the Arabs; this established the fact that the state of Israel was established to keep surviving based on its ability to keep fighting for survival.
The Arab Liberation Army was decisively defeated by the allied forces of Israel, including the Israeli terrorist organisations like the Irgum, the Stern Gang and others.
Cease-fire by the UN
The UN organised an intermediate cease-fire and appointed Folke Bernadotte to mediate the crisis. The established truce was to last from the 11th of June to the 9th of July.
Despite the terms of the truce that prohibited armament, Israel used the period to secure ammunitions from the United States and its underground army and terrorist groups (Haganah, Irgum, Palmach, Lehi and Stern Gang) were integrated into a single force, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
After the end of the truce, Israel attacked Egypt. The IDF took the war to Egyptian territory, the Sinai Peninsula until they were forced to withdraw after they had an encounter with the British Force planes.
The IDF had invaded several Palestinian towns, including the towns of Lod, Ramala and many other villages around Tel-Aviv, leading to refugee crisis in the whole of the Middle East
Unfortunately, the Stern Gang murdered Bernadotte in September and he was replaced by an African-American, Ralph Bunche. By the end of the war in 1949, Israel had occupied territory beyond the UN partition plan of 1947. Bunche supervised peace negotiations and arrangements that stated thus:
- Israel should withdraw from the occupied places such as the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula to the partition line drawn by the United Nations in 1947.
- The parliament of Jordan should be opened to include Jews
- There should be the internationalization of Jerusalem and
- Israel should not be denied access between Egypt and Jordan through the transit Negev Desert
Consequences of the War
Although the war did not totally end, Palestine was defeated and they refused to recognise the state of Israel in their land (till today). Therefore, the war continued by economic means.
There were over 1, 600, 000 refugees in the whole of the Middle East. The UN Commission for Refugees stepped in with the continuous increase in refugees across the whole of the Middle East. For instance, there were 500, 000 refugees in Jordan, 100, 000 in Lebanon, 200, 000 in the Gaza Strip, 80, 000 in Syria and over 300, 000 in the new state of Israel.”
Israel paid the Arabs the sum of $3 million in compensation but never justify their historic claims to Arab properties. The Jordan River became another point of disagreement when the UN engineers recommended that two-thirds of the water supply should go to Israel.
No reasonable peace arrangement took place because the attacks never ceased for once. Egypt closed the Suez Canal, the Arabs refused to recognise the state of Israel and Israel terrorist organisations continued to strike attacks by bombing, and massacre of Arabs in Palestinian towns of Lida, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and others.
- Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021, February 9). Middle East. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Middle-East
- History.com Editors. State of Israel proclaimed. HISTORY. (Access date, April 18, 2022). Publisher; A&E Television Networks. Available at https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/state-of-israel-proclaimed