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November 30: The Arab-Israeli War Begins

November 30, 2011

israelis-1947On this date in 1947, one day after the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states, the Arab League announced its intention to occupy Palestine militarily to prevent forcibly the establishment of a Jewish state. An Arab attack on a bus near Lydda (Lod) killed five Jews, one of several bombing and sniper attacks that set off months of hostilities that would eventually cost the yishuv (pre-state Jewish community) 1,000 lives, according to Benny Morris, and a loss of control over major highways. Beginning in April, 1948, however, the Haganah, soon to become the Israeli Defense Force, was able to turn the tables and capture Arab sections of Tiberias, Haifa, Sfat and Acre. Throughout, British forces were winding down the Mandate era and rarely intervened, though they did suffer scores of casualties. In July, 1948, during the actual war of independence, the IDF conquered Lydda, killing at least 250 Arab men, women, and children before expelling the rest of the town’s Arab population.

“Armed Arab bands from neighboring Arab lands have infiltrated the territory of Palestine and, together with local Arab forces, are defeating the purpose of the Partition Resolution by acts of violence.” —UN Security Council, April 10, 1948