Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Arab-Israeli War (1948)

Israeli Soldiers raise the flag at Eilat, 1949The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, referred to as the "War of Independence" (Hebrew: מלחמת העצמאות) or as the "War of Liberation" (Hebrew: מלחמת השחרור) by Israelis, is the first in a series of armed conflicts fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. For Palestinians, the war marked the beginning of the events they refer to as "The Catastrophe" ("al Nakba", Arabic: النكبة‎). After the United Nations proposed to partition the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab, the Arabs refused to accept it and the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq (see also: Iraq Maps), supported by others, attacked the newly established State of Israel which they refused to recognize. As a result, the region was divided between Israel, Egypt and Transjordan.


Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the League of Nations granted the British and the French temporary colonial administration over former Ottoman provinces south of present day Turkey. These regions had been called vilayets under the Ottomans, but were referred to as mandates at the time, after the process that allocated them. The two powers drew arbitrary borders, dividing the area into four sections. Three of these — Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon — survive to this day as states.

The fourth section was created from what had been known as "southern Syria". The region was officially named the British Mandate of Palestine, and was called "Falastin" in Arabic and "Palestina (E.I.)" in Hebrew. The British revised its borders repeatedly, but under the direction of Winston Churchill the region was divided along the Jordan River, forming two administrative regions.


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