Last updated on: 5/14/2008 1:49:00 PM PST
What Was the First Arab - Israeli War of 1948?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in his 2001 book Righteous Victims, wrote:

"The first Arab-Israeli war was to have two distinct stages: a civil war, starting at the end of November 1947 [upon the U.N. General Assembly Partition vote] and ending in mid-May 1948, largely characterized by a guerrilla struggle between the Yishuv [the Jews] and the Palestinian Arab community; and a conventional war, from May 15, 1948 until early 1949, between the newly founded State of Israel and the armies of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq, and small expeditionary forces from a number of other Arab countries, including Yemen and Saudi Arabia."

2001 - Benny Morris, PhD 

Albert Hourani, the late Director of St. Antony's College Middle East Centre at Oxford University, in his 1991 book A History of the Arab Peoples, wrote:

"On 14 May the Jewish community declared its independence as the state of Israel, and this was immediately recognized by the United States and Russia; and Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese forces moved into the mainly Arab parts of the country. In a situation where there were no fixed frontiers or clear divisions of population, fighting took place between the new Israeli army and those of the Arab states, and in four campaigns interrupted by cease-fires Israel was able to occupy the greater part of the country."

1991 - Albert Hourani 

A United Nations 1990 document titled "The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988, Part II 1947-1977," contained the following:

"Israel declared its independence on 14 May 1948. The departure of the British High Commissioner the next day ceremonially signalled the end of the Mandate...

The fighting between the Arab forces on one hand and what were now Israeli forces on the other escalated into the first Middle East War. The Israeli forces were well manned and well trained, drawing on the Jewish Brigade formed during the Second World War, and on the various armed groups such as the Haganah, the Palmach, and the Irgun. They were well equipped with arms acquired within and without Palestine during the Mandate period. The intervention by the Arab States in support of the 'Arab State' in Palestine proved largely ineffective in the face of decisive Israeli military superiority. Within weeks, Israel had occupied most of the territory of Palestine, with the exception of the 'West Bank' of the Jordan, held by the Arab Legion from Jordan and the Gaza Strip, held by Egyptian forces. But for these exceptions, Israel now controlled virtually the entire territory claimed by the Zionist Movement at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 as the 'Jewish national home'."

1990 - United Nations (UN)