War in Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy
War in Palestine 1948: Strategy and diplomacy sheds new light on one of the most decisive moments in Arab-Israeli relations an the series of events that were to decide the modern borders of Israel.
Arab involvement in the Israeli-Palestine conflict had begun during the late 1930s, but military intervention was not considered until November 1947, when the United Nations passed its Partition Resolution to divide Palestine into two states: one Palestinian and the other Jewish. At a time when decisive action was badly needed, the Arab states were divided, both among themselves and internally. The Arab League tried to form a unified army to prevent the implementation of the Partition Resolution, and failed: even the government and army of the strongest Arab nation, Egypt, were opposed to the idea of sending a force to Palestine. However, the pressure of public opinion and the insistence of King Farouq carried the day and on 15 May 1948 Egyptian forces crossed the borders into Palestine. There was no resistance. Israeli forces were preoccupied with securing territory allotted to the new Israeli State by the UN and with the battle for the road to Jerusalem. The Israeli-Egyptian Front was a low priority. Farouq's forces penetrated as far as the UN-designated Palestine-Israel border, then stopped.
Against all expectations, the state of Israel did not collapse in the face of its larger and more powerful opponent. Dr. Tal examines the reasons behind the new state's victories against Egypt, as well as its failures, which were decisive in delimiting Israel's borders, finally sealed in the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement, signed on Rhodes in March 1948.
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