Timeline (Chronology): Israel War of Independence
Chronology of the First Arab-Israel War of 1948
The birth of Israel
Civil War in Palestine - November 29 1947 - May 15, 1948
|Nov 17, 1947||Golda Meir meets secretly with Jordan's King Abdullah in Naharayim. Abdullah wants the "Jewish State" to become part of Transjordan. Meir refuses. Abdullah proposes to take over the Arab part of any partition offered by the UN. Meir indicates that the Jewish state will not actively support this move, but would acquiesce in it as a temporary measure.|
|Dec 12, 1947||Irgun bombing at Damascus gate kills 20, wounds 50 (Levi, 1986, p. 432) .|
|Dec. 15, 1947||Arabs cut water pipes to Jerusalem; damage repaired by British; Jerusalem prepares for siege.|
|Dec 29, 1947||Irgun bombing at Damascus gate kills 12 Arabs, 2 British killed, 43 wounded (Levi, 1986 p. 433) .|
|Dec 30, 1947||The Haifa refinery riots and massacre-Irgun threw bombs from a speeding car into a crowd of Arabs outside the Haifa oil refinery; six killed and forty-two wounded. Survivors surged into the refinery compound and, along with some of the Arab refinery workers, attacked the Jewish refinery workers. In the hour it took for the British soldiers and police to arrive, forty-one Jews had been killed and forty-nine wounded.|
|Dec. 31, 1947||Old City Jewish quarter under siege.|
|Dec. 31, 1947||Palmach revenge for Haifa refinery massacre at Balad as Sheikh.|
|January 1948||Arab Salvation Army (also called Arab Liberation Army - ALA) are admitted to Palestine by the British, supposedly following a promise not to attack Jewish settlements. Their leader, Fawzi Al-Kaukji may have entered Palestine only in March. Jewish Agency concludes arms deal with Czechoslovakia, but most arms do not arrive until June 1948, after the British have left. The UN, including the US, had placed an arms embargo on Palestine. This did not apply to Arab countries including Transjordan. As independent states, they were allowed to acquire arms. The Jordan Legion received a steady supply of arms from Britain through the Suez Canal, at least until May 1948, including a large number of 25 pounder cannon at the beginning of 1948. Hagana agents purchased 20 Auster light aircraft in Britain, sold for scrap, rebuilt them and brought them to Palestine for use of the Haganah. Haganah later rebuilt Spitfires left by the mandate for scrap as well, but did not have real fighter and bomber aircraft until May 1948 when Czech Messersccmidtts (or Avia imitations) and B-17s purchased clandestinely were brought into the country.|
|Jan 4-5||Haganah blows up Semiramis hotel in Katamon. 40 killed 45 injured. (Levi, 1986, p 434).|
|Jan 6||Convoy to Jerusalem attacked at Sarefend (Tzrifin) by Arab Legion (Levi, 1986, p 434).|
|Jan. 7, 1948||Jaffa Gate bombing - The Irgun rolled a bomb from an armored car into the Arab crowd at the Jaffa Gate stop of the No. 3 bus (Collins & Lapierre, 1973 pp. 416 ff.). killing 14. Irgun car crashed and three were killed trying to escape. A fourth was caught, but was later freed by comrades (Levi, 1986 p.. 435). Arab fire from Sheikh Jarakh on Beit Yisrael in Jerusalem kills 4. Five Arabs killed in counter fire.|
|Jan 9, 1948||Arab Liberation army Yarmuk battalion crosses into Palestine, attacks Dan and Kfar Szold; attack repulsed with the help of the British.|
|Jan. 12||Deir Yassin (near Jerusalem) - Arab village fight off attempted infiltration by Arab irregulars - one villager killed.|
|Jan 14, 1948||Major attack of Arab irregulars on Gush Etzion beaten off; 100-150 Arab dead. Jewish defenders have 3 dead, 12 wounded (Levi, 1986, p. 436)|
|Jan 16, 1948||Convoy of 35 - Jewish convoy to Gush Etzion, near Jerusalem, ambushed, 35 underground members massacred.|
|Jan 21, 1948||Twenty trucks carrying 700 men of the ALA under Safr Bek crossed the border into Palestine from Syria. according to Kurzman, 1970). Supposedly, Fawzi el Kaukji may have entered the country January 25.|
|Jan 25||British intervene in fighting between Jews and Arabs near Kastel. 10 Palmach and 30 dead, 2 injured, 30 Arab casualties (Levi, 1986, p 437).|
|Jan 28||Attempt by Arab irregulars to infiltrate Deir Yassin repulsed by inhabitants.|
|Jan 29||Harel Brigade attacks village of Yazur, fires 12 moratr shells; 15 Arab dead (Levi, 1986, p 437).|
|Feb 1, 1948||Palestine Post bombing - Planned by SS-trained explosive expert Fawzi el Kuttub and executed with the help of British deserters. Just after 11 PM, Abou Khalil Genno and two British deserters, brought a truck loaded with half a ton of TNT in front of the Palestine Post building and blew it up. (Collins & Lapierre, 1973, pp 161 ff.) and see here. One person was killed and 20 wounded, the newspaper still managed to put out an edition by 6 AM on 2 Feb. The "Column One" editorial began, "The truth is louder than TNT and burns brighter than the flames of arson." See Palestine Post Bombing for original clipping with account of the bombing.|
|Feb 14, 1948||Sasa raid - A Haganah force under Moshe Kelman raided Sasa in the north, blew up 35 houses and killed 60 Arabs before retreating via a swamp.|
|Feb 16, 1948||Battle of Tirat Tzvi - Arab Liberation army Yarmuk battalion attacked kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in the Galilee. Forewarned, a mobile Jewish force flanked the ALA and attacked, killing many. Jews lost one dead.|
|Feb 22, 1948|
|Feb. 25||Saris & Kastel - Convoy is attacked twice on its way to Jerusalem, 2 dead, 13 wounded. (Levi, 1986, p 441).|
|Mar. ?? 1948||Provisional Jewish government formed in Tel-Aviv.|
|March 3-4, 1948||Operation "Samuel" - A company of Moriah battalion ambushes Arab transport, but is attacked by Arabs afterwards. 16 Jewish casualties. (Levi, 1986 p 442).|
|Mar 10, 1948||Plan Daled finalized. This plan had originally been intended for implementation after the British left, to ensure contiguity and defensibility of Jewish areas of Palestine. As the situation worsened, it became obvious that it would have to be moved up.|
|Mar 11, 1948||Jewish Agency bombing. Fawzi al Kuttub, the SS trained demolitions expert, packed car with a quarter ton of TNT and a timer mechanism that used a wristwatch. The car was parked in front of Hagannah headquarters at the Jewish agency. An alert guard rolled it way. The guard and 11-13 others in the civilian wing of the Jewish agency died. Among the injured were Aura Herzog, wife of Vivien (Chaim) Herzog and Reuven Shiloach (Collins and Lapierre, 1973 195 ff) Some incorrectly give the date of this bombing as March 12 or March 14. Date of March 11 i given by Collins and Lapierre and Levi, 1986 p 443).|
|Mar 18, 1948||Attack on convoy on Shaar Hagay Hartuv road near Jerusalem, 10 Jewish dead. (Levi 1986, p. 443).|
|Mar 20||Arab attack on Tsuba quarry (near Motza on road to Jerusalem) and on Motza and Arza. 3 Jewish dead.|
|Mar 24||Attack on convoy to Atarot north of Jerusalem, 14 killed, 9 wounded (Levi, 1986, p 444)|
|Mar 26, 1948||Last convoy to Jerusalem until April 6. Road blocked. Photo shows queue for water.|
|Mar. 27, 1948||Convoy to Gush Etzion ambushed by Arabs at Nebi Daniel (see Nebi Daniel Convoy)|
|Mar. 27, 1948||Convoy to Yehiam ambushed by Arabs at Kabri, 47 killed (see Yehiam Convoy )|
|March 27, 1948||Negev closed to Jewish traffic.|
|Mar. 31, 1948||Hulda (road to Jerusalem - Convoy attacked as it gets under way. 21 dead, 16 wounded, convoy is cancelled.|
|Apr 1, 1948||Operation Hasida (Stork)- DC-4 chartered by Freddy Fredkens lands at an abandoned RAF airstrip, bringing 200 rifles and 40 light machine guns. (Collins and Lapierre, 1986). According to a different account, the craft was a C-54 Skymaster (Hebrew Wikipedia). This is sometimes thought of as the start of Operation Balak, since the pilot's code was supposedly Balak-1.|
|Apr. 1, 1948||Attack on Tzuba quarry by Jewish forces fails.|
|Apr 2-3, 1948||Preliminary phases of operation Nachshon - First brigade-sized operation, Haganah goes over to the offensive. In Ramle, Haganah commando blows up the headquarters of Hassan Salameh, area commander of the Mufti's army of Salvation. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005 page 30). First attack on Qastel (or Kastel), a key point overlooking the blockaded Jerusalem road. Attack fails.|
|April 3, 1948||SS Nora docks. 10,000 Czech rifles, some light machine guns and a large supply of ammunition are removed from concealment among its cargo of onions and rushed to Haganah units preparing for Operation Nachshon and implementation of Plan Daled.|
|April 4, 1948||Fawzi Al Kaukji's Arab Liberation ("salvation") army, including Kadisia Battalion and units of the Yarmuk and Hittin Battalion, supported by artillery lent by the Syrians, move into the hills surrounding kibbutz Mishmar Ha'emek (Mishmar Haemeq), and attack. pitched battles continue for five days. (see Battle of Mishmar Ha'emek)|
|April 5-8, 1948|
Death of Abd-El-khader Al-Husseini (photo at right) at Qastel - The foremost Palestinian military leader is shot by a Jewish sentry April 8, when he wanders into Jewish held Qastel in the Jerusalem corridor thinking it is in Arab hands. Arabs recapture Qastel searching for Abd-el-Khader, then abandon it when his body is found. 39 Jews killed, 31 Arabs. All were combatants. (Casualties from Levi, 1986, p 447). (see also: Operation Nachshon)
|April 9, 1948||Deir Yassin Massacre - Jewish dissident underground groups - Irgun and Lehi, invade Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Over 100 Palestinian Arabs, mostly civilians, and 4 attackers are killed.|
|April 10, 1948||Israeli agents in Italy sink the SS Lino in Bari Harbor, sending 6,000 rifles and 8 million rounds of ammunition to the bottom of the Harbor. The supplies were destined for Arab forces. The Arabs eventually salvaged the rifles, which were put on another ship, but that ship found its way to Haifa and Israeli forces instead of docking at Beirut. (Collins and Lapierre, 1973 p. 263).|
|April 11, 1948||Kolonia conquered by Palmach.|
|April 12, 1948||Fawzi el Kaukji renews the attack on Mishmar Haemeq (Mishmar Ha'emek) following a British negotiated truce. Despite superiority in weapons, numerical superiority and aid from Druze under Shahib Wahab who launch an attack on Ramat Yohanan, Kaukji's forces are cut off and withdraws to Jenin. The battle for Ramat Yohanan continued for two days with heavy Jewish losses, but eventually the Carmeli brigade of the Haganah was victorious.(see Battle of Mishmar Ha'emek)|
|April 13, 1948||Hadassah Convoy Massacre - In alleged retaliation for Deir Yassin massacre, Arabs killed 77- 80 Jewish medical personnel and wounded civilians and soldiers as well as fighters guarding the convoy on their way to Hadassah hospital.|
|April 13-20, 1948||Operation Har'el launched by Hagannah at conclusion of Operation Nachshon. Takes Saris on the Jerusalem road April 16.|
|April 17, 1948||Large successful convoy to Jerusalem in the framework of Operation Harel 0 227 trucks (Levi, 1986, p. 164).|
|Apr. 16-18, 1948||David Shaaltiel, Jerusalem Haganah commander, gets faulty intelligence, cables Yigal Alon that British are about to leave Jerusalem and that Arabs will take their place. It is decided to end Operation Har'el and move the Har'el brigade to Jerusalem on this basis of this faulty intelligence. (Levi, 1986, p. 205). This was the basis of operation Yevusi (Jebussi) which was to have activated plan D in Jerusalem as the British leave..|
|April 18-19||Palmach/Haganah take Tiberias as British withdraw. Arabs flee voluntarily to Jordan. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p 33)|
|Apr. 20, 1948||Convoy with Ben Gurion, Rabin and others to Jerusalem - 200 trucks. Convoy is ambushed at Shaar Hagay (Bab El Wad) - 15 killed and 44 wounded including top Haganah commanders. 45 trucks are towed to Kiriat Anavim. No more supplies to Jerusalem except by air until the the "Burma Road" is opened.|
|April 22||Operation Yevusi commanded by Yitzhak Sadeh begins. As the British have not left Jerusalem, they prevent capture of Sheikh Jarakh and its police station. Likewise, attacks on Shuafat and Nebi Samuel fail (Levi, 1986, pp 205-213). Total of about 23 Jewish dead and 28 wounded (Levi, 1986, p 450). Arab casualties not known.|
|April 22, 1948||At Bidu-Nebi Samuel junction, Jewish convoy is blocked and ambushed. 15 dead and 28 wounded. Convoy returns to Ma'aleh Hahimasha (Levi, 1986, p. 450).|
|April 22||Operation Ben Ami begins - Carmeli brigade seizes Arab strongholds north of Haifa and northeast of Acco (Acre) and establish communications with Yehiam and Hanita. During the operation, Shavei Tzion on the northern seacoast is reached by sea, and Napoleon hill is captured by Haganah.|
|Apr 20-30||Operation Chametz (Hametz) to isolate Yaffo (Jaffa) - This involved taking Arab villages to the east, manned by Iraqi volunteers (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p. 36). Qiryati Brigade pinned down Arab forces in Jaffa, while Givati Brigade pushed up from the south (Tel Arish and Yazur) as the Alexandroni Brigade came down from the north capturing Tel Litvinsky Camp El-Kheiriya, Sakiya, Salameh, Yazur.|
|April 25||Irgun attack on Jaffa. This attack stalls, and is then supported by Hagannah forces under unified command. Attack cuts Manshiyeh in half. However, British threaten to attack Tel Aviv. Haganah agrees to replace Irgun, British take up positions between Yaffo and Tel Aviv. Jaffa surrenders. Population fled despite British entreaties. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p. 36).|
|Apr. 26, 1948||Jewish forces complete a light plane runway Jerusalem in the Valley of the Cross allowing for transport of personnel, some ammunition and supplies..|
|Apr. 27||Operation Yevusi general staff is disbanded on the direct intervention of Ben-Gurion because of poor operational achievements and bickering between Yitzhak Sadeh, operational commander and David Shaltiel, Jerusalem commander. (Levi, 1986, p 214) Harel Brigade suffered 222 casualties in Yevussi and the combat ready troops had been reduced to 750 (Levi, 1986, p. 169).|
|April 22-31 1948||Operation Misparayim launched by Haganah to assume control of Haifa after British withdrawal and attacks by Arab forces and Irgun. Capture of Haifa is accompanied by flight of the Arabs after stubborn resistance of Arab Liberation Army irregulars. Photo shows a Haifa street scene in 1948.|
|Apr 28-30, 1948||Operation Yiftach ( to May 10) in the Galilee- begins. Palmach and Haganah capture police fort in Rosh Pinah, army camp, villages of Birya and Ein Zeitun north of Safed.|
|April 29-30||Jerusalem front - Battle of San Simon Monastery and Katamon. After conquering the monastery from Iraqi forces, Jewish forces are attacked from north and east by a well armed Arab force led by Abu Dayieh. Both sides suffer many casualties. After Haganah intelligence intercepts a call from Arab forces indicating they are on the brink of surrendering, Jewish forces cancel their own plans to surrender. Jews lost 21 dead and 83 wounded at least. Arab casualties 34 dead, 50 wounded. This one successful action in operation Yevussi provided a significant gain in the Jewish position in southern Jerusalem (Levi, 1986, pp 214-220 and p 451).|
|May 3-4, 1948||Attempt to capture Augusta Victoria Hospital on Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem fails. 5 dead, 15 wounded.|
|May 7 -19||Operation Maccabee - Supposed to secure the road to Jerusalem by neutralizing villages and towns along the road. Succeeded in many points except Latrun where the Arab Liberation Army of Fawzi Al Kaukji takes up residence.|
May 7-8- aborted attack
May 9-10 - Beit Mahsir captured by Jewish forces along with surrounding strategic points.
May 11 - British give the "Radar Station" to Arabs, and two buildings near the upper pumping station (near Saris) and the lower one to Jews.
May 12 - Convoy from Hulda to Haganah forces meets resistance (Deir Ayub Convoy - 10 killed, 20 wounded).
May 12/13- Radar station captured by company of Harel. Jews attacked and retreat from the detention camp area near Latrun.
May 13-14 - Capture of Abu Shusha
May 14-15 - Capture of Al Kubab
May 15-16 - Capture of Deir Ayub and subsequent abandonment by the Jewish forces, after the ALA left the area and the Arab Legion entered. Attempts to put through convoys failed more or less completely. By May 17, the Arab Legion had over 3,300 troops in the area of Latrun, whereas the Haganah had about 1,900 including Harel Brigade, Beit Horin battalion and battalion 52 with 650 troops. Total Jewish losses in Operation Maccabee - 60 dead 92 wounded. (Levi, 1986, pp 169-180)
|May 10, 1948||Conclusion of operation Yiftach. Safed (Tsfat) captured by Haganah/Palmach.after overnight shelling. Arab inhabitants leave before Jewish forces enter.|
|May 10, 1948|
|May 11, 1948||Golda Meir and Ezra Danin meet with Jordan's King Abdullah and attempt unsuccessfully to dissuade him from going to war.|
|May 5- 11, 1948||Operation Matateh ("broom") - Haganah opens road to Metullah.|
|May 10-12, 1948||Operation Barak - Givati brigade operation in the area north of Gaza preparatory to Egyptian invasion. Some Arab villages (Kaukaba, Zarnuga) were destroyed and the bridge connecting the coast road with the north ("ad halom") was blown. (Wikipedia Hebrew) Operation Kitur - supposedly part of operation Barak, capturing a group of villages including Akir and Katara (according to the sources it was on March 4 - perhaps an error for May 4) .(Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|May 12, 1948||Beginning of large Arab Legion and irregular attack on Gush Etzion. The Russian monastery falls as well as other points. 24 Jewish dead, 37 wounded. Arabs - 9 dead and 6 wounded. (Levi, 1986, page 453)|
|May 13, 1948||Operation Medina - Capture of Arabic Kfar Saba by Alexandroni brigade, following repeated attacks by Arab Liberation Army and irregulars (29 dead) and battle of Kfar Tira (defended by Arab Liberation Army and Fawzi Al Kaukji (31) dead. An attempt to take Kalkilia failed. Alexandroni held Kfar Saba after the Arabs fled, despite repeated attempts by the Transjordan legion to retake it during the day. (Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|May 13, 1948||Jaffa surrenders to Haganah .|
|May 13, 1948||Kfar Etzion Massacre - Arabs killed about 129 Jewish defenders at Kfar Etzion, most after they had surrendered. Apparently the massacre was motivated by desire to avenge Deir Yassin massacre. 36 Arab dead and 30 wounded (Levi, 1986 page 454 and other sources).|
|May 13, 1948||Beisan (Beth She'an, Beith Shean) in eastern Galilee surrenders to Avraham Yaffe's Golani Battalion 13 (Gideon). The clearing of the Arab Liberation Army from Beith Shean valley is sometimes called "Operation Gideon." The area had been evacuated by the British April 28, giving the border guard camp to the Jews, and the police station to the Arabs. Gideon battalion captured Tel Beit Shean first and then pointed large irrigation pipes at the town, disguised as artillery. The city surrendered after negotiations on May 12, and Haganah entered the town on May 13. House to house searches revealed large quantities of arms. Inhabitants were expelled to prevent cooperation with forces of Kawkji. (source: Wikipedia in Hebrew)|
|May 14, 1948||Beit Dajan (Dagan) police station surrenders.|
|May 14-19,1948||Operation Kilshon (or Qilshon) - As part of plan D, connecting between isolated Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, particularly in the southern part of Jerusalem, and taking over British camps and positions abandoned as they left. Following were taken in southern Jerusalem - Baqa, German Colony, Greek colony, Allenby camp, Defense area "b," David Building; train station and electric power plant nearby and the neighborhood of Abu Tor (18 May).In the center - "Bevingrad" compound, Italian hospital, OBG/OPK/Postal building triangle, Princess Mary St. Storrs St. Mamila St., commercial compound, Russian compound, Sheikh Jarrakh, and the police school, Notre Dame Hospice and a part of Mousrara (19 May), Weaker forces allotted to the northern areas failed to take Jaffa gate and French Hill, but did take Zion gate and broke the siege into the Old City Jewish quarter for a brief time (18/19 May). However, there were no troops available to hold Zion gate open. As the Arab Legion began arriving in Jerusalem, and attacked from the Northern sector, Kilshon forces there proved inadequate. Jerusalem command also tried to capture Rockefeller museum. This key operation failed. (Levi, 1986, page 225- 235).|
|May 14, 1948||Remaining kibbutzim of Gush Etzion surrender. British High Commissioner Cunningham leaves Palestine.|
|Operation Shfifon - intended to a) Take over strongpoints in the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem abandoned by the British b) widen control by taking additional strongpoints outside the Jewish quarter. c) go to offensive and break out of the siege of Jewish quarter. Phases b and c were cancelled on May 13 as not consistent with cease fire undertaking given to the United Nations. (Levi, 1986, p. 40 ff)|
|State of Israel declared on Friday May 14, in advance of the Sabbath. recognized immediately by USA and on May 17 by USSR. Photo shows David Ben-Gurionreading the 1948: Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Jerusalem was inaccessible. Broadcast technicians worked out of a lavatory or closet, and were able to produce the scratchy historical recording that was broadcast around the country that afternoon.|
Second Phase of the Israel War of Independence (Arab-Israel War of 1948)
May 15, 1948
Israel War of Independence (1948 War), Second phase begins. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia declared war on Israel. Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Iraqi and Lebanese invasion began.
|May 15, 1948|
|May 15, 1948||Battle of Gesher - Iraqi army attacks Kibbutz Gesher, near the Naharayim Bridge in Northern Israel. After being held to a standstill and repulsed at Gesher and Kochav Hayarden (Belvoir), the Iraqi expeditionary force withdrew into the West Bank about May 22.|
|May 16, 1948||Operation Tinok ("baby") - Babies and noncombatants are evacuated from Kibbutz Nitzanim, on the coast between Majdal and Isdood. Wikipedia in Hebrew|
|May 17, 1948||Haganah captures Acco (Acre) at conclusion of operation Ben-Ami. Most of the Arab population flees the city before it is captured. However, significant numbers remained. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p. 35)|
|May 18, 1948|
|May 19-24, 1948|
|May 19-20, 1948||Jerusalem - As operation Kilshon (see above) draws to a close, Jordan Legion invades Jerusalem and takes up positions in Zion Gate (12:00 hrs May 19), closing access to Jewish quarter. Jordan Legion takes Police Station at Sheikh Jerakh, as Irgun defenders flee without a fight, while Yitzhak Levi, head of Haganah intelligence in Jerusalem, tries to coax them back to their posts. British-officered Arab Legion takes Sheikh Jerakh, blunders into Mandelbaum gate area and is repulsed after heavy battle. Its actual objective was Damascus gate in the wall of the Old City.|
|May 20, 1948||Battle for Kibbutz Degania - Syrian army beaten off by kibbutz defenders with help from Palmach and with the aid of Israel's first artillery. (see Battle of Degania)|
|About May 20 - August||Operation Balak - Airlift of arms from Czechoslovakia to Akir air field (later Tel Nof) south of Rehovot. (Wikipedia Hebrew). Actually the start of this operation may have been the landing on April 1, 1948 of the first arms shipment from Czechoslovakia in an improvised airfield near Beit Darras.|
|May 22, 1948||Ramat Rachel first attack - Kibbutz in southern area of Jerusalem attacked, Jewish defenders withdraw temporarily - 13 Jewish dead, 31 Arab dead. At night the Kibbutz is attacked and reoccupied by Kibbutz members and Moriah battalion. (Levy, 1986, p. 457)|
|May 23, 1948||Ramat Rachel second attack - Again Arab irregulars attack in the morning and capture kibbutz, which is retaken (partly) in the evening by Israeli defenders. . See-saw battles continue to May 26, when the entire kibbutz is retaken. (Levy, 1986, p. 458-9)|
|May 20-24, 1948||Notre Dame Hospice Jerusalem - British officered Arab Legion begins heavy daily mortar and artillery bombardment to take this strongpoint facing the walls of the old city, preliminary to their conquest of Jewish West Jerusalem. These attacks renewed 24 May. Jordanians lose about 25 dead, Israelis have 3 dead. (Levy, 1986, p. 457-9)|
|May 21/22||Zion gate - Attempt to recapture Zion gate by Haganah fails. (Levy, 1986, p. 457)|
|May 23||Operation Namal (port) - Capture of Tantura south of Haifa by Alexandroni Brigade. Tantura had remained the Arab sea connection with Lebanon after the capture of Haifa and was therefore of high strategic importance. MA student Teddy Katz alleged that a massacre of Arab inhabitants took place at Tantura. He was sued by Alexandroni veterans. Comparison of transcripts he prepared with tapes of witnesses showed he had falsified the transcription of testimonies and he was forced to racant. (Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|May 25||Zion gate - Attempt to recapture Zion gate by Haganah fails. Levy, 1986, p. 458).|
|May 25||Operation Bin Nun (A) - First attempt to take Latrun on the Jerusalem road from the Arab Legion fails. About 73 killed, 140 wounded in Israeli forces.. (See Latrun)|
|May 26||Jordan Legion attack retakes Radar station (now called "Radar Hill). 19 Israeli dead. Jordanians lose 2 dead.|
|May 27/28||Zion gate - Last attempt by Haganah to recapture Zion gate and enter old city fails. (Levy, 1986, p. 460)|
|May 28, 1948||Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem falls to the Jordan Legion. The inhabitants were protected from the wrath of a lynch mob by the Legion under Abdullah Tell but were ethnically cleaned - noncombatants were expelled to West Jerusalem. About 300 Haganah defenders were taken prisoner and sent to Jordan. The entire quarter including all but one of the synagogues, was demolished by the Arab mob despite efforts of the Legion. Photo shows remains of the quarter with Nissan Beck synagogue in the background. (see The Ethnic Cleansing of Jerusalem)|
|May 28, 1948||IDF officially formed.|
|May 28-30, 1948||Operation Erez - In the southern Galilee, Golani brigade opens Wadi Ara, captures Zarin, Nuris, Maz'ar on the Gilboa, and Megiddo and Lajun, gaining control over Kaukji's army which flees North. (Wikipedia in Hebrew). According to another source however, the Golani operation in Megiddo and Lajun was May 31/June 1 and was part of, or coordinated with operation Yitzhak to take Jenin. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, page 58).|
|May 29, 1948||Attempted Egyptian advance on Tel Aviv - Israeli reconnaissance spots 500 Egyptian vehicles on the coastal road from Gaza. Mohammed Neguib - in charge of the column - had 2,300 men of the 2nd Brigade, 10 tanks and 6 field guns. Only one Israeli unit was available to confront the Egyptians - a company whose men were mostly suffering from food poisoning. Egyptians were stopped by an attack by Israel's first four Messerschmitt -AVIA S199.. The hastily assembled planes did not do much damage. Two planes crashed and one of the pilots was killed. The air attack is sometimes considered part of Operation Paleshet.|
However, the Egyptians were impressed by the air power, and believed the Israelis had a large force blocking the road road ahead. In any event, they halted at the bridge blown by Givati in Operation Barak (May 12) about 3 km north of the village of Isdud and dug in. This bridge is now called "Gesher Ad Halom" (bridge of "until here"). For a full account of the air attach see Debut of Israel's Air Force. Israeli 65 mm artillery and Givati raiders harassed the Egyptian flanks.
|May 30/31||IDF Operation Bin Nun B - Attempt to capture Latrun on the Jerusalem road nearly succeeds, but Jordanians counterattack. IDF loses 41 dead and 52 wounded. Jordanians lose 20 dead, 40 wounded. (Levy, 1986, p. 461)|
|June 1, 1948||First Israeli vehicles get through the "Burma Road" bypassing Latrun from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Beginning of construction of Burma road and convoys to Jerusalem by mule and porters (Levy, 1986, page 288)|
|June 2, 1948||First Battle of Negba - Kibbutz in Gaza. At 0700 hours Egyptian tanks and infantry of First Brigade under Brigadier Said Taha Bey attacked Kibbutz Negba under cover of a smoke screen - 1,000 Egyptians against 140 Israelis. Israelis had no tanks or heavy machine guns. The Egyptians advanced to the inner fence but the Israeli's sole Piat team destroyed six tanks, and others were driven off by Molotov cocktails.An Israeli jeep force (Samson's Foxes) also threatened the Egyptian's rear. A second smoke screen shielded the Egyptians as they withdrew. The Egyptians suffered over 100 casualties. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005. p 74).|
|June 1-3||Operation Paleshet - Egyptian forces were stalled at "ad halom" bridge April 29. A Givati counterattack on June 1-3 failed to dislodge them, There were about 50 dead, over 100 casualties. According to some sources, attack was strong enough to persuade the Egyptians to turn south. However Mohamad Neguib, commander of the Egyptian forces wrote that his brigade size force of about 2,300 was not considered large enough to advance north. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005. pp 72-3 and Wikipedia in Hebrew).|
|June 7, 1948|
|June 8/9||Operation Yoram - Third battle of Latrun - Attempt to take it from the rear fails. (Levi 1986 p. 463) 17 dead.|
|June 9||Outposts protecting "Burma road" temporarily captured by enemy. Retaken by IDF (Levy, 1986, page 463)|
|June 10||First regular vehicular convoy on "Burma road" brings 10 tons of flour to Jerusalem. (Levy, 1986, page 463)|
|June 10||Gezer captured by Transjordan Legion, 27 killed, 31 civilians taken prisoner. (Levy, 1986, page 464). Gezer was soon recaptured.|
|June 11, 1948||First truce begins, lasting until July 8. During this period, Israel was able to organize and train its forces and acquire considerable arms.|
|June 23, 1948|
|June, 28, 1948||Count Folke Bernadotte's first peace plan - No Jewish state, limited Jewish immigration, Jerusalem and Negev to be Arab .(see Bernadotte Plan First Plan of Count Bernadotte for settling the Arab-Israel war of 1948.)|
|July 08, 1948||War resumes. This phase of the war is known as "the ten days."|
|July 8||Kfar Darom evacuated ahead of Egyptian attack. Egyptians capture the village July 9 and find it empty. (Wikipedia in Hebrew) It was resettled after 1967, but evacuated again in 2005 in the disengagement plan.|
|July 8||Egyptians violate the truce in a surprise attack, using Sudanese and Saudi auxiliary troops to avoid having the blame cast on them. They took Huleikat and Kubeiba dislodging the surprised Negev Brigade. They also attacked Givati forces in Beit Darras and initially made some gains.|
|July 9-12||Operation Av-Peer (anti-Farouk) - Owing to the Egyptian attack it was decided to begin the planned Av-Peer operation early. Givati and Negev Brigade attempt to dislodge Egyptians. The main aim of Av-Peer was to take Iraq el Sueidan police fort held by the Egyptians and open the way to the Negev, but it failed. Givati took Beit Affa and Ibdis and held off an Egyptian counter attack at Ibdis. After failing at Ibdis, the Egyptians turned on Kibbutz Negba. They also took Outpost 105 (Mishlat 105) but that was retaken by Givati. Egyptians also attacked Kibbutz Gal-on. (Wikipedia in Hebrew) Givati suffered about 300 casualties in this fighting.|
|July 12, 1948||Second Battle of Negba - Egyptians attack Kibbutz Negba with armor and massive troop concentrations. Divisional Commander Muwawi sent in 3 infantry battalions, an armored battalion and an artillery regiment. Israelis suffer 5 dead, 16 wounded, Egyptian casualties 200- 300 dead and wounded. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005 p 86 and various sources).|
|July 9-18||Operation Dani (Danny) - the Israeli conquest of Lydda (Lod) and Ramla, breaking the Arab siege of Jerusalem, and creating thousands of refugees, as well as advances in the north.|
Main part of operation Dani was aimed at opening the Jerusalem corridor- the road to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and surrounding areas held by Jordan Legion. This was to relieve relieve Jerusalem and remove the threat to Tel Aviv. The first phase was to occupy the towns and areas of Lod and Ramla. The second phase called for the capture of Latrun and Ramallah with the intention of raising the siege on Jerusalem. Only the first phase was successful. In Lod and Ramla the Transjordan legion put up no resistance. The operation was carried out under Palmach command, utilizing a task force comprised of the Yiftach Brigade, the new 8th Armored Brigade ( made up of a tank battalion, a commando battalion of jeeps and half-tracks), and two battalions from the Kiryati and Alexandroni Brigades, as well as additional artillery and engineering units. This was supposedly the first use of tanks by the IDF (French H-35 and two Cromwells brought over by British deserters).
Two forces struck in a pincer movement, one advancing towards Lod and Ramla from the northwest, the other from the southwest. Lod surrendered (July 11?) but took up arms again when the Transjordan was counter-attacking. Arabs were forced to leave Lod after their rebellion.
During this advance, a small force detached itself to capture al-Safiriyya and then pushed on to capture Lod (Lydda) airport. Several villages were taken as well. On July 12, Kiryati units took Ramla, which surrendered after a brief engagement. Arabs were encouraged to leave Ramla.During this time Israel had acquired three B-17s and some Dakotas. One of the B-17s succeeded in dropping some bombs on Cairo on its way to delivery in Israel, others bombed Damascus and Rafah. (Herzog & Gazit 2005 p 80-82).
|July 11/12||Operation Betek - Alexandroni brigade takes Migdal Tzedek and also Rosh Ha'ayin, which had been seized by the Iraqis from the Irgun at the of May. (Wikipedia in Hebrew)|
|July 9-18||Operation Dekel - Capture of Nazereth in the north, and clearing southern Galilee of the ALA (Arab Liberation Army of Fawzi El Kawki. Operation by by Carmeli Brigade and elements from Golani Brigade. Advancing south east from Acco, the force successfully attacked Shefaram on 14 July and pressed on southeast to take Zippori the following day, after stubborn fighting.When the force was less than a mile away from the city of Nazareth, the commander of Nazareth sent out an armored car unit to block its advance. The brigade column advanced without pausing as it fired. Nazereth surrendered on the eve of 16 July. Fawzi Al Kawkj and most of his forces escaped into the mountains to the north.|
|July 9-18||Operation Brosh - Carmeli and Oded brigade units commanded by Modechai Makleff. Unsuccessful attempt to dislodge Syrian forces from eastern Galilee (Mishmar Hayarden salient) area and reach Bnot Yaakov bridge. About 200 Syrian troops and 100 Israeli troops were killed in this action. The operation failed because of heavy artillery and aerial support enjoyed by the Syrians.|
|July 10, 1948||Arab League announced the establishment of a temporary Palestinian civilian administration over Arab held-areas of Palestine, but it was never implemented.|
|July 12, 1948||Latrun area- 9 Israeli dead in capture of Hadita and Legion counter attack (Levi, 1986, p 466)|
|July 15, 1948||B-17s flown to the IAF bomb Cairo Airport and Rafia (Morris) - Arab cities bombed for the first time. (Morris, 1999, p 241)|
|July 15/16||Fourth (final) Israeli attack on Latrun - This last action in the corridor before the truce was the last attempt of Israelis to take Latrun as part of operation Danny (Dani). Harel Brigade, and elements of Kiryati and Yiftach took part, but the attack failed (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p. 83). 23 Israeli dead, numerous casualties. (Levi, 1986, p. 466-7)|
|July 16-19||Arab Legion attacks in Jerusalem in the area of Sheikh Jerakh and advances on Mandelbaum gate area. The attacks and attempts to improve positions continued until July 19, past the supposed official truce (Levi, 1986, 312-313)|
|July 16-17||Operation Kedem - Last Israeli attempt to take the old city of Jerusalem before the truce. A combined Irgun/Lehi/IDF operation aimed at breaking through in frontal attack using a cone shaped explosive device, a "Conus," that was to have blown holes in the walls of Jerusalem. The Conus devided failed to breach the walls in two attempts. The attack started late and Transjordanian Legion soldiers poured murderous fire on the attackers. Only the Irgun managed to break through the new gate but failed to pursue their advantage. Bitter recriminations issued against David Shaltiel, Jerusalem commander, for this botched operation, which cost 83 dead and 84 wounded. (Levi, 1986, pp 313-319).|
|July 17, 1948||IAF Dakotas bomb Damascus for the first time (Morris, 1999, p. 241).|
|July 17-18||Operation Death to the Invader - "Mavet Lapolesh" - Givati and Negev brigades attempt to break Egyptian lines before the cease fire and break through to the Negev but failed. It did capture several strategic points and tightened the grip on the Egyptian army. An attack on Beit Affa ended in 19 dead and withdrawal, with many prisoners, but the village of Hatah was taken. Moshe Dayan led a commando unit in capturing Kartiah. Because it controlled the road east to Faluja from the coast) the Egyptians made several counter attacks on Kartiah but failed to retake it, losing a tank in one of the attacks. (Wikipedia in Hebrew).|
|July 18, 1948||Second truce goes into effect at 19:00 hrs. (End of the 10 days)|
|July 22-24||Operation Shoter (Police) - Called a police action so that it would not be a violation of the truce, and since the area attacked was within the area of the partition plan allotted to Israel. Alexandroni brigade captured three Arab towns in coast road that interfered with traffic on the Haifa road - Ein Raz'al, G'eba and Igzim. The Arab defenders fled to Wadi Ara. (Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|July 27||Operation G'ys (G.Y.S) - combined operation of Givati, Yiftach and Negev brigades made possible because Egyptians had violated the truce. Failed attempt to take Iraq el Manshiya and Faluja (Plugot) and dislodge the Egyptians. (Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|Sept 17, 1948||Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, a UN mediator, was assassinated in Jerusalem, and Lehi members were suspected. The Israel government outlawed the organization's branch in Jerusalem and shut down its publication, Hamivrak. The leaders of Lehi, Natan Yellin-Mor and Mattityahu Shmuelevitz, were sentenced to long jail terms by a military court, but were released in a general amnesty. Bernadotte, who had been instrumental in saving about 21,000 Jews in WW II, was proposing to "relieve" Israel of the Negev, apparently at the insistent prompting of the British foreign office, and force return of the Palestinian refugees. The latter proposal was adopted in UN General Assembly Resolution 194. ( see Bernadotte Plan with map Second plan of Count Bernadotte for settlement of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 )|
|Sept. 26, 1948||Israeli cabinet decides against continuing the war with Jordan and conquering the Judea-Hebron region as well as Jerusalem (Morris p. 242). This avoids confrontation with Britain, but seals the fate of the Old City of Jerusalem. It leaves Israel free to confront Egypt in the south.|
|Sept 22, 1948||Palestinian States created - AHC communiqué announces the establishment of the Government of All Palestine (APG; Hukumat 'Umum Filastin); Declaration of Independence proclaimed by Hajj Amin Al Husseini to Palestine National Council in Gaza (30 Sept-1Oct) on 1Oct, with Hajj Amin as President of the PNC, Ahmad Hilmi ‘Abd al-Baqi as PM, Jamal al-Husayni as Foreign Minister, in the Mandate territory of Palestine, with the flag of the 1916 Arab Revolt. Jerusalem as capital, Gaza as seat of government. Recognized and sponsored by Egypt and Arab League, who sought to forestall ‘Abdullah’s plan to annex West Bank; strongly opposed by Jordan, who organized a much larger rival Palestinian Congress in Amman on 30 Sept to support Jordan’s policy in Palestine. APG issued Palestinian passports; but with Egyptian disillusionment, HQ transferred to Cairo in Oct, Hajj Amin al Husseini was confined to Cairo and his actions curtailed; many leading members left to work for Amman. Ahmad Hilmi continued to represent Palestine in the League until his death in September 1963,.|
|Oct. 15, 1948||Second truce ends.|
IDF Operation Yoav (also Egrof - fist, also "ten plagues") - Operation Yoav was a large operation all along the Egyptian front. IDF attacked at numerous points, captured Beersheba and opened a corridor to the Negev. Ignoring the provisions of the second truce, the Egyptians denied Jewish convoys passage through the Hatta-Karatiya gap in their line. The convoys had been offered as "bait" and the Egyptians took the bait. In addition, they captured positions beyond the truce demarcation lines and attacked several IDF posts that covered the pass. On October 15, the Israel Army and Air force took the offensive and launched Operation “Yoav," attacking from both east (Jerusalem) and West to clear the two pincers of the Egyptian advance.
The goal of Operation “Yoav” was to open a corridor to the Negev, cut the Egyptian lines of communications along the coast and on the Beersheba-Hebron-Jerusalem road, isolate and defeat the Egyptian forces, and ultimately to drive them out of the country.
Operation Yoav was headed by Southern Front commander Yigal Allon. The force consisted of three infantry brigades; “Negev," “Givati,” and “Yiftach,” plus an armored battalion from the 8th Armored Brigade and the largest artillery formation that had ever been available to the IDF. The 'Oded' Brigade joined the command on October 18.
On the eve of October 15, Gaza, IAF bombed Majdal and Beith Hanun on the coast, and part of the Air Force at El-Arish was put out of action. This kept most of the Egyptian front line fighters out of the skies and gave the IDF air superiority for the first time. The commando battalion of the “Yiftach” Brigade mined the railway between El-Arish and Rafah and various roads in the Rafah-Gaza area, and attacked Egyptian installations and camps.
Two battalions of the “Givati” Brigade forced a wedge southwards to the east of Iraq El-Manshiye cutting the road between Faluja and Beit Guvrin.
On the morning of October 16, a tank battalion of the 8th Armored Brigade, along with an infantry battalion of the 'Negev' Brigade, launched a major attack against Iraq El-Manshiyeh in an attempt to open the corridor to the south-east. This attempt failed and the force suffered heavily, in both casualties and loss of four light tanks. The following night, Givati units made a breakthrough west of Faluja, fighting their key battles at Hill 113 and nearby Egyptian strongholds known as the junction positions dominating the crossroads between Majdal and Faluja. After fierce hand-to-hand battle, Hills 113 and 100 were captured, and a day later the junction positions and Kaukaba were taken.
Knowing that the Security Council was anxiously trying to impose a cease-fire, Yigal Allon realized that he had little time to open the Negev road. He tasked the “Givati” Brigade to attack the formidable Huleiqat defense system south on 19-20 October which was successful in capturing the complex and after bitter fighting the road to the Negev was open.
At 4:00 on the morning of 21 October, the IDF moved to capture Beersheba. The force that moved on Beersheba consisted of major elements of the 8th Brigade, the commando battalion and two other battalions of the 'Negev' Brigade. While some units took up blocking positions north and south of the town to hold up Egyptian reinforcements, and another carried out a diversionary attack in the direction of Hebron to the North. After fierce fighting, the Egyptian garrison broke and, by 09:00 hourrs that morning, Beersheva - capital of the Negev had surrendered to Israeli forces. The Arab inhabitants fled before the Israelis entered the town.
The eastern part of the Egyptian Army was now cut into four isolated forces with brigades in: Rafah-Gaza; Majdal;Faluja (in which a brigade under the command of the Sudanese Brig. Gen. Taha Bey was with its operation officer Maj. Gamal Abdal Nasser was surrounded with all its main supply lines cut and two battalions in the region of Hebron-Jerusalem. (Herzog and Gazit 2005 p 89-97 and various sources.)
The Israel Navy shelled enemy coastal installations, preventing supplies from reaching Gaza and Majdal by sea, and scoring an outstanding victory on the very eve of the truce when its special unit sank the Amir Faruq ("Emir Farouk"), flagship of the Egyptian navy, off the shores of Gaza. (Herzog and Gazit 2005) SeeYoav, Operation
Operation Hahar - ("the Mountain) As part of Yoav, the Harel Brigade was mainly active in the mountainous area between the Jerusalem corridor and Bet Guvrin, keeping the Egyptian army busy there and conquering south east until it was in range of conquering Kfar Ezion. That part of the advance was stopped on orders from Ben Gurion because of the start of the truce and fear of encountering the Transjordan Legion. It widened the approaches to Jerusalem and cut the Egyptian artery from Bet Guvrin to Bethlehem. These conquests set the borders in this are that came into force in the armistice agreements. (Wikipedia Hebrew here and here)
A truce was ordered for 15:00 hours on October 22 , but there was some action in the days immediately following. The police fort at Bet Guvrin fell on October 27.
|October 19||Operation Yekev - Moshe Dayan proposed to take Beit Jalah south of Jerusalem. Ben Gurion agreed, provided that the operation can be finished in one night so as not to violate the upcoming truce. The attack failed when the attacking column was pinned down for hours by a single strategically placed machine gun. The final lines achieved became the border of Jerusalem in the south until 1967. (Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|October 22||In the north, Fawzi El Kaukji's Arab liberation army attacks in the area of Manara at Sheikh Abed, which controlled the road to Manara, near the "finger" of the Galilee, despite the supposed truce. A counterattack by Carmeli brigade failed.|
|October 23||Operation Yael unsuccessfully attempted to capture Sheikh Abed from Kaukji and lift the siege of Manara. (Wikipedia in Hebrew)|
|Oct. 28-31||Operation Hiram under general Carmel is undertaken to remove Fawzi El Kaukji and the Lebanese from the Galillee. Kaukji had about 3000-4000 men in the Arab Liberation Army and the Lebanese had four battalions and the Syrians had 3 brigades on the east. Carmel had the Oded Brigade, 7th Brigade, Galni and Carmeli with 2 75 mm and 2 65 mm artillery batteries. Seventh brigade commanded by Ben Dunkelman, a Machal volunteer, moved from Safed to Sasa taking Meron on the way and the Oded brigade to Tarhisha and then moved to Sasa from the west. Carmeli brigade cleared the Lebanese and reached the Litani River in Lebanon. Syrians withdrew in the East except for Mishmar Hayarden. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005 pp. 89 -91) (see Operation Hiram)|
|Oct, 28||Egyptians evacuate Isdood (Ashdod) - occupied by IDF. Most Arabs leave with Egyptian army.|
|Nov. 6||Egyptian army evacuates Majdal (near Ashqelon) - occupied by IDF. Most Arabs leave with Egyptian army.|
|Nov. 9||Iraq Suedan fortress, held by Egyptian army, site of bitter fighting, finally captured, after Israeli forces had failed to take it during previous attacks. Renamed Yoav Fortress in honor of this operation. It is now the Givati Museum. However, Israel was unable to break down Egyptian resistance entirely and the Egyptians remained trapped in the Fallujah pocket until the end of the war. Yigal Allon met with Brigadier Gen. Said Taha Bey when Iraq Suedan fell and offered honorable surrender. Bey replied that though the position was hopeless, his duty was to save the honor of the Egyptian army.|
|Nov 23-25||Operation Lot of Negev Brigade connects Sodom with Beersheba via Mamshit (Kourkub) and Maaleh Akrabim. After capture of Kourkoub without resiste, the main difficulty was in creating a road passable by vehicular traffic. (Wikipedia Hebrew)|
|Dec. 11, 1948||UN Resolution 194 called for cessation of hostilities, return of refugees who wish to live in peace. The resolution reflected UN and US anger over the assassination of Count Bernadotte.|
|Dec. 1948||Israelis advance into Egypt; Nokrashy Pasha, Egyptian PM, assassinated.|
|Dec 5-7||IDF Operation Asaf (Assaf) - takes control of the western Negev Desert.Following Operation Yoav, the Egyptian Army had tried to stabilize a defensive line between its two arms of controlled territory in the Negev, along the Beer-Sheva - Gaza road. This would support their claim to the Western and Southern Negev. This was the first operation of the Golani Brigade in the Negev.|
Israel wished to disconnect the two arms of the Egyptian pincer. Beginning December 5, IDF units were transported via Beer-Sheva to the Egyptian Army's southern (rear) flank. They attacked northwards, surprising the Egyptians in the rear.
In addition, an assault battalion and several armored personnel carriers from the armored battalion of the 8th Armored Brigade, participated in combat. A few artillery and mortar batteries assisted them.
The main assaults operation were carried out by the mechanized forces, while Golani's infantry brought up the rear.
Phase 1, went according to plan, with IDF forces capturing three important Egyptian positions without major combat or casualties, on December 5, 1948.
Phase 2, carried out December 6,1948 captured another important position, thus completing all the operation's objectives. However, the Israelis met stronger resistance at another position (which was not captured) and were forced to stop their advance when they hit a minefield in another location.
An Egyptian counter-attack on December 6 failed, with the tank battalion losing 5 of its 12 attacking tanks on that day.
Five Israelis were killed in the counter-attack and 28 were wounded. A subsequent counterattack on December 7 was foiled when Israeli Air Force reconnaissance revealed the Egyptian preparations in the morning. The Israeli assault battalion attacked the Egyptians' flank and chased them westward until meeting heavy resistance. Reportedly a hundred Egyptian soldiers were killed; the Israelis had 2 wounded and none killed.
|Dec 19, 1948- Jan 7, 49||Israeli Operation Horev (AKA Operation Ayin - Dec. 22- Jan 77) conquers Gaza and enters Sinai, conquering El-Arish. On January 7 Israel shot down five Spitfires and one Tempest which had supposedly been strafing Israeli positions. According to some accounts, these planes were monitoring an Israeli retreat, according to others they were sent to stop the Israelis. British sent a Mosquito and two Hawker Tempests to look for the missing Spitfires and Israelis shot down one of the Tempests. Two British pilots lost their lives. At this point, intervention by angry British and US forced Israel to withdraw January 7, 1949. (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p. 103-4). The British action must be considered in the light of strenuous British foreign office efforts to cut the Negev from Israel and allow them to build a base on the Mediterranean in an expanded Jordanian state. See Operation Horev.|
|Dec 28/29||Operation Hisul - Part of Operation Horev. Alexandroni Brigade attack on Falluja pocket ends in failure. The Israeli forces managed to take Iraq el Manshiyeh (now Kiriat Gat) for a time. An Egyptian counter attack was mistaken for friendly forces and allowed to advance, trapping a large number of men. 87 Israeli troops including defenders of the religious platoon died. As this was the second day of Hanukah a memorial showing a candle was erected (photo below) (Herzog and Gazit, 2005, p. 97 and Wikipedia in Hebrew)|
|March 7-10, 1949|
Operation Uvda - IDF Golani and Negev brigades complete the conquest of the Negev, capturing southern Negev including Eilat (Um Rashrash) with no resistance. A Jordanian force at Ein-Amar fled with the advance of the Israelis. This was an ambitious operation involving air support from Sde Avraham. Golani and Negev brigade (Palmach) competed for the honor of reaching Eilat first and ending the war. The Negev Brigade won because orders to Golani were not transmitted in time and because of some operational difficulties.
In the photo, young Kibbutznik Avram Adan (Bren) of Kfar Giladi raises an improvised flag drawn in ink at Eilat in a famous photo. Adan went on to become a general in the IDF. The singing of Hatiqva by the Negev brigade soldiers in Eilat is thought of as the ceremonial conclusion of the war. (Wikipedia Hebrew). SeeOperation Uvda - Liberation of Eilat and Operation Uvda.
Ironically, the iconic raising of the flag eventually became the logo of the right-wing Tehiya party.
|Feb-Jun, 1949||Israel and Arab states agree to armistice in separate agreements. Israel - Egypt, Israel-Syria, Israel - Lebanon, Israel- Jordan. Israel gained about 50% more territory than was originally allotted to it by the UN Partition Plan. The war created about 726,000 Palestinian refugees who fled or were evicted from Jewish held areas. Gaza fell under the jurisdiction of Egypt. The West Bank of the Jordan was occupied by Jordan and later annexed, consistent with secret agreements with the Jewish leadership made before the outbreak of hostilities.|
|April 27 – Sept 1949||Lausanne conference - Abortive Israel Arab truce negotiations. Minor achievements - working recognition of Israel by Arab States who attended the conference, and acceptance of UN Resolutions by both sides. However no substantive agreements were reached.|
Bibliography and additional Information:
Collins, Larry, and Lapierre, Dominique, O Jerusalem!, Pan Books, N.Y. 1973.
Herzog, Chaim and Gazit Shomo, The Arab Israeli Wars, Vintage Books, N.Y. 2005.
Levi, Yitzhak, "Tisha Kabin" (9 Measures) (Jerusalem in the War of Independence, (in Hebrew) Maarachot - IDF, Israel Ministry of Defense, 1986.
Morris, Benny, Righteous Victims, Alfred Knopf, 1999.
Off-Site: MACHAL In Israel's Wars MACHAL in Israel's War of Independence MACHAL - in illegal immigration to Palestine Virtual Museum of Israel War of Independence
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