King George VI (1936-1952)
The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 : The newly-minted state of Israel’s Arab neighbours tried to prevent it taking shape, but ended up defining it.
The Arab-Israeli War of 1948

Former British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour’s dream of a national home for the Jewish people was realised on 14th May 1948, with the founding of the State of Israel. It had not even agreed its borders before its neighbours sought to wipe it out.

WHEN the British Mandate for Palestine, a temporary arrangement created by the San Remo Conference of 1920, expired at midnight on May 14th, 1948,* the United Nations honoured Britain’s long-standing commitment and recognised a sovereign State of Israel, plainly reflecting British political values, in a thin strip of land between the Jordan and the sea.*

Israel’s Arab neighbours, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, took immediate military action, hoping to found in its place what they called a ‘United State of Palestine based upon the democratic principles’. Jewish residents were ruthlessly cleansed wherever the Arabs invaded, including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City; villages were razed, synagogues were demolished, holy sites were captured.

The fighting destroyed homes and took innocent lives on both sides, and Israel was flooded with homeless Jewish families expelled from angry Arab nations. But the newly-minted Israeli Defence Forces proved the stronger: Israel remained, and a series of armistices from February to July 1949 secured an uneasy peace.

* The British Mandate was finally ratified by the League of Nations (the forerunner to the modern-day United Nations) on September 29th, 1923.

* About 80% of the Mandate lay east of the Jordan River, and was called the Transjordan by the British (in 1946 it became the Arab Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan). Israel and the Palestinian Authority within it equates to about 20% of the Mandate. See the Times of Israel for more information.

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Picture: © Djamba, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 4.0. View original
The Memorial for the Defenders of the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. It commemorates the Israeli soldiers who fought for the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, and lies at the entrance to the Garden of the Missing Soldiers in Mount Herzl, Jerusalem.

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