By Juliana Lima, Nicholas Ortiz and Nicole Letti

Conflict in the Middle East: Israel and the Arabs

Jewish Terrorism:

·         King David Hotel

o   The British military headquarters stayed in there

o   July 22 1946 – Irgun members (Jewish terrorist group) dressed up like Arabs and found a way to place explosives inside the building.

·         This showed the hatred towards the British rule.

·         Because of the Holocaust, there were people supporting (demanding) a Jewish independent state – somewhere they could live in peace.

o   These people were called Zionists

·         The Palestinian Jews got tired of supporting the British in WW2 and started seeing them as a barrier to their independence.

o   That’s why terrorism started to spread.

o   From 1945-1948, over 300 British soldiers/officials were killed in Palestine.

International Pressure on Britain:

·         Sympathy in Europe and US for the Jews after the Holocaust.

·         Zionists in the US forced Truman to put pressure on Britain.

o   100,000 Jewish refugees should enter Palestine.

o   They refused, believing it would result in civil war.

·         Continuing the stopping of boatloads of illegal Jews, the British entered world criticism.

Britain Hands over to the UN:

·         After WW2, Britain could not afford taking care of Palestine anymore.

·         1947 – After 30 years in Palestine, the British handed the case to the UN.

UN Partition Plan:

·         Nov. 1947 – UN votes for the division of Palestine – one state for Jews, another for Arabs: Partition

·         Criss-cross arrangement – they thought it would work (put picture)

o   Arabs rejected the idea – the Jews had most of the land.

§  The western powers should find another area for the Jews.

o   Jews accepted the plan

§  Many were not happy because they didn’t have the holy city of Jerusalem.

What caused the Arab flight?

·         After partition, there were more fights between Arabs and Jews.

o   Many massacres, especially in the roads to Jerusalem

o   Arabs from Syria and Iraq started to interfere

o   Haganah – organized Jewish defense forces.

·         April 1948 – Dier Yassin Massacre

o   Before Britain left, there were even worse fighting.

·         May 1948 – British finally withdrew

o   By then, over 300,000 Arabs had fled.

The War of 1948 – 1949:

·         The Israel state was created and no Arab states recognized it

·         There would be 25 years of conflict and 4 major wars.


The Invasion of Israel May 1948:

·         May 14 1948 – New state of Israel proclaimed

·         Immediate invasion: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq armies go to Israel.

·         The Arab armies were really disorganized and unprepared

o   Only Jordan’s army (Arab Legion) was experienced and efficient: captured the Old City of Jerusalem.

·         June – UN ordered ceasefire.

·         Israelis reorganized and acquired new weapons

·         By January 1949, Israeli had driven Arabs out and even occupied some of their territory.

·         Israelis would not return the territory; Arabs would not accept that Israel existed.

·         Truce was made, not peace.


How did Israel survive?

·         Jewish soldiers were disciplined and hardened because of the fighting in WW2

·         They fought hard because they were protecting their new country.

·         They knew they were surrounded by enemies, so they were constantly on alert.

·         The army was the key element.

·         Kibbutzim – cooperative farms

·         Received financial help from the US and Germany

o   Soon they established industries.

A Nation on Guard

·         Israel didn’t feel safe from attacks

o   They knew Arabs would come back for their land at one point

·         West Bank and Gaza – Palestinian fighters were using it to carry out raids into Israel.

o   Israelis hit back fiercely.

Important vocabulary:

-          Irgun

-          Zionists

-          Holocaust

-          Refugees

-          Partition

-          Haganah

-          Kibbutzim

The Arab-Israeli conflict 1945-1949
Righteous Victims

The Last Years of the British Mandate:

·         A committee was created with the purpose of seeking a resolution for the issue between Arabs and Jews. They heard Jew, Arab, British, and outsiders’ claims also in order to find the best solution for the conflict.

·         Regarding Jewish colonization in Palestine and the Arab resistance towards this, the committee was convinced that the Jews who lived in Poland and surroundings were in an `atmosphere of terror’ and that they should be moved to Palestine, but they weren’t sure of what to do about the Arab resistance to this.

·         June 29th 1946 – British launched the operation Agatha which aimed in reducing and controlling Jewish military capacity because of rioting.

·         Jews wanted statehood and the Arabs wanted independence without land changes.

·         Morrison-Grady Plan – attempt to create two separate countries for Arabs and Jews = FAIL

·         October 4th 1946 – President Truman announces US support to partition and Jewish statehood.

·         Nor the Arabs or Jews wanted a resolution that gave them less than Palestine as a whole as their independent country.

·         February 14th 1947 – the British cabinet decided to leave the Palestine issue to the United Nations putting an end to their mandate over Palestine.

·         August 12th 1947 – There was an all-party consensus to quit Palestine quickly because of the many revolts that killed British citizens.

UNSCOP partition plan:

·         United Nations Special Committee on Palestine was given power to take care of the DP conflicts

·          At the general assembly on September 1st proposed the partition plan of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Jerusalem and Bethlehem would be international cities. Britain would continue to administer the country for two years and during those 150 000 Jews would be allowed to enter the country. And Palestine was supposed to be given independence as a federal state.

·         September 20th 1947 – British decided to evacuate Palestine completely.

·         After Britain announced their future withdrawal USA and Soviet Union immediately publicly restated their support for partition.

The outbreak of civil war:

·         (better on the power point presentation)

British withdrawal:

·         November 13th 1947 – Britain announced that by August 1st 1948, they would have withdrawn all its troops from Palestine.

Establishment of Israel:

·         The United Nations votes to partition of Palestine into two sovereign states - one Arab, one Jewish. Under this plan Jerusalem would be internationalized. The transition from British rule would occur on Oct. 1, 1948.

·         Jews accept the U.N Partition Plan. Arabs, resenting another instance of Western imperialism, reject it.

Arab Response:

·         Immediately after the adoption of United Nations Resolution 181 (II) on November 29, 1947, to partition the country into Jewish and Arab states with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum, Arab delegates declared their opposition to partition and their determination to fight it by force if necessary.

·         On the day that Israel declared its independence (May 15, 1948), Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, at Cairo press conference, (reported in the New York Times, May 16, 1948) declared "jihad", a holy war. He said that the Arab states rejected partition and intended to set up a "United State of Palestine."

·         The early Arab attacks resembled the Arab Revolt of 1936-9, with attacks on villages and terrorism in the cities. A volunteer "Arab Liberation Army".

·         The Muslim view is that Israel is a Naqbah (catastrophe), an affront to their religious faith.

·         Israel must be resisted by all available means and eradicated as soon as possible.

1948/49 war:

·         Israel invaded by the regular forces of Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. 

·         From 1945 to 1948 Zionists waged guerrilla war against British troops and against Palestinian Arabs supported by the Arab League, and they had made substantial gains by 1948.

·         As independence was declared, Arab forces from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel.

·         The Egyptians gained some territory in the south and the Jordanians took Jerusalem's Old City, but the other Arab forces were soon halted.

·         In June the United Nations succeeded in establishing a four-week truce.

·         Fighting erupted again in August and continued sporadically until the end of 1948. An Israeli advance in Jan., 1949, isolated Egyptian forces and led to a cease-fire (Jan. 7, 1949).

·         Protracted peace talks resulted in armistice agreements between Israel and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan by July, but no formal peace.

Download Study Guide and Presentation Here

1945-1949 Part 1.docx
File Size: 16 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

1945-1949 Part2.docx
File Size: 16 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

File Size: 121 kb
File Type: pptx
Download File