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The Palestine War has been by far the most important military encounter in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This book examines the origins of the war and its progression through two distinct stages: the guerrilla warfare between the Arab and Jewish communities of Mandatory Palestine, and the conventional inter-state war between the State of Israel and the invading Arab armies. In doing so it assesses the participants, their war aims, strategies and combat performance. Finally, it examines the reasons for...
The Palestine War has been by far the most important military encounter in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This book examines the origins of the war and its progression through two distinct stages: the guerrilla warfare between the Arab and Jewish communities of Mandatory Palestine, and the conventional inter-state war between the State of Israel and the invading Arab armies. In doing so it assesses the participants, their war aims, strategies and combat performance. Finally, it examines the reasons for Israel's success in the face of seemingly impossible odds and for the failure of the Arab nations to turn their military and numerical superiority into victory on the ground.
|Background to war: The burden of history||13|
|Warring sides: Strengths and weaknesses of Arabs and Jews||22|
|Outbreak: 'The Arabs of Palestine will never submit to partition'||29|
|The fighting: From inter-communal strife to inter-state war||34|
|Portrait of a soldier: Trapped on the battlefield||69|
|The world around war: The great game||72|
|Portrait of a civilian: Leaving Jerusalem||80|
|How the war ended: From ceasefire to armistice||82|
|Conclusion and consequences: Perpetuating the Arab-Israeli conflict||87|
Posted October 29, 2002
An absolutely compelling read on the Middle East by Efraim Karsh, the Head of Mediterranean Studies at Kings College, University of London. Examined in detail are the origins and progressions of the conflict between the Jewish & Arab populations of `British' Mandatory Palestine, prior to the re-birth of the Jewish state in 1948, together with an in-depth study of the subsequent Arab invasion of Israel by the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. The latter invasion of the Jewish state following an Arab decision to reject the UN Resolution calling for the partition of `Palestine' into two independent states, (one Arab & one Jewish with Jerusalem as an `international' city, with all citizens having the right of either Jewish or Arab citizenship). Efraim Karsh provides excellent background material so relevant to any serious or sincere understanding of this time in history. He makes an essential reference to a direct quotation at the time of the public declaration of Jamal Al-Hussein, the Vice-president of the A.H.C. (Arab High Committee - the effective Palestinian-Arab `government');- "We are sadly and PERMANENTLY determined to fight to the last man against the existence in our country of ANY Jewish state, no matter how small it is..." Karsh also quotes with similar relevancy the damning , callous and chilling indictment of the prevalent hatred towards the Jews, still so soon after the Holocaust, when he makes reference to the general public circular of the same Arab High Committee which publicly declared;- "The Arabs have taken into their own hands, the FINAL SOLUTION of the Jewish problem. The problem will be solved only in blood and fire. The Jews will be driven out." The subsequent ensuing conflict based clearly upon an intended genocide resulting in the loss of some 1% of the fledgling Jewish states' population. In further illustration of the context of the struggles in this land, Karsh proceeds to illustrate that the roots of this conflict and unrest stretch way back to the Roman destruction of Jewish statehood in the Land that subsequently became known later as `Palestine'. Karsh declares that, despite having had a continuous presence in their own homeland without at any time having this presence severed, the Jews became a numerical minority under a long succession of foreign occupiers during the next 1,900 years or so. Such foreign occupiers including the Byzantines, the Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottoman Turks, the British and the Arabs. Highlighted is the fact that, despite these periods of foreign occupation, the Jews never gave up their claim/right to their homeland. Facts illustrated by Karsh by long forgotten or sidestepped by the international community. Returning to the time of the British Mandate, Karsh also documents the Jewish immigration into Palestine and the treatment of what the British classed as `illegal immigrants' by the British forces occupying Palestine at that time. The provision of British concentration camps on Cyprus for those Jews `caught' and the Arab-Jewish-British struggles in the Land also being demonstrated. Details and maps and plentifully provided and commendable detail is included relating to both sides in the conflict, plus the inevitable consequences & conclusions pertaining to the conflict itself are studied. Karsh shows another oft-forgotten factor in that around the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which supported a Jewish homeland in then Palestine, resident Arabs actually welcomed the moves. Palestinian Arab residents having been recently subject to Ottoman rule and most of these Arab residents viewed themselves as subjects of the Ottoman empire and were themselves totally impervious to the nationalistic tendencies of small `extremist' groups. Hence the increasing Jewish presence of the post First World War years encountered little widespread opposition. Of course events rapidly changed and Karsh docume
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Posted October 16, 2010
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