Are the Palestinian-Arab forces well trained?

Myths & Facts: German


"The Jews started the war with the Arabs."
"The Bernadotte Plan was a real alternative to the partition of Palestine."
"The United States was the only nation that condemned the Arab attack on Israel."
"The Jews could only conquer Palestine with the support of the West."
"The Arab economic boycott against Israel was imposed after the 1948 war."

"The Jews started the war with the Arabs."

Almost immediately after the UN announced the partition on November 29, 1947, violent riots broke out in the Holy Land. Jamal Husseini, the spokesman for the Supreme Arab Committee, had declared before the United Nations that the Arabs would "soak the soil of [their] beloved land with the last drop of [their] blood."1
After the United Nations resolution, Husseini's prophecy began to be fulfilled. The Arabs called a protest strike and instigated riots in which 62 Jews and 32 Arabs were killed. After two weeks, 93 Arabs, 84 Jews and seven English were killed and large numbers of people injured. From November 30 to February 1, 1,427 Arabs, 381 Jews and 46 British were killed and 1,035 Arabs, 725 Jews and 135 British were injured. In March alone, 271 Jews and 257 Arabs died in Arab attacks and Jewish counter-attacks.2
The chairman of the Arab Supreme Committee announced that the Arabs would "fight for every inch of their land".3 Two days later, the holy men of Al-Azhar University in Cairo called on the Muslim world to call a jihad (holy war) against the Jews.4
The first large-scale raids began on January 9, 1948, when about a thousand Arabs attacked Jewish communities in northern Palestine. The British said that by February so many units of Arab rioters had invaded from neighboring countries that their armed forces were insufficient to push them back.5 However, they even left British military bases and weapons to the irregular Arab troops and the Arab Legion when they withdrew from the country.
In the first phase of the war, from November 29, 1947 to April 1, 1948, the Palestinian Arabs took the offensive; They were supported by volunteers from neighboring countries. The Jews suffered heavy losses; the most important traffic routes in the country were interrupted.
On April 26, 1948, the Transjordan King Abdullah declared:
"All our efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Palestine question have been unsuccessful. We only have war. I will have the honor and pleasure of saving Palestine."6

On May 4, 1948, the Arab Legion attacked Kfar Etzion. The defenders routed the Arabs, but the Legion returned a week later. After two days, the virtually unarmed Jewish settlers, who were also outnumbered by the Arabs, were overwhelmed. Many of them were murdered after surrendering.7 The incident took place prior to the invasion of regular Arab troops following the proclamation of the State of Israel.
The United Nations blamed the Arabs for escalating violence, but both the Arabs and the British denied the United Nations Palestine Commission entry into Palestine and enforcement of the resolution. On February 16, 1948, the commission reported to the Security Council:
"Strong Arab interests inside and outside Palestine oppose the resolution of the General Assembly and flow together in a deliberate attempt to forcibly change the regulation that is envisaged therein." 8

The Arabs openly took responsibility for starting the war. Jamal Husseini told the Security Council on April 16, 1948:
"The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, but that the Arabs had started the fighting. We did not deny this. We declared to the whole world that we would fight."9

The British Commander in Chief of Jordan's Arab Legion, John Bagot Glubb, admitted:
"At the beginning of January, the first units of the Arab Liberation Army began to infiltrate from Syria into Palestine. Some came through Jordan, some even through Amman ... This should be the first step on the way to the downfall of the Palestinian Arabs."10
Despite their inferiority in terms of number of soldiers, organization and military equipment, the Jews took the initiative in the weeks from April 1 to the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14. The Hagana conquered several large cities, including Tiberias and Haifa, and managed to temporarily reopen the road to Jerusalem.

The partition resolution was never repealed or canceled. As a result, the Jewish state in Palestine was established on May 14, the day the British withdrew from the country. Immediately afterwards, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel. Azzam Pasha, General Secretary of the Arab League, left no doubt about their intentions: "This will be a war of extermination and a huge massacre that will one day be talked about in the same breath as the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades." 11

"The Bernadotte Plan was a real alternative to the partition of Palestine."

In the summer of 1948 the United Nations sent Count Folke Bernadotte to Palestine. He should negotiate a ceasefire and try to resolve the conflict. Bernadotte's plan was for the Jews to cede the Negev and Jerusalem to Transjordan in exchange for Western Galilee. That would have meant a similar course of the national borders as he was in discussion before the partition vote and met with rejection on all sides. Now - after the start of the Arab fighting to prevent partition and the proclamation of the Jewish state - this proposal has been brought up again. Both Jews and Arabs refused.

Remarkably, Bernadotte met with little enthusiasm for independence among the Arabs. In his diary he noted:
"The Palestinian Arabs then had no political will of their own, nor have they ever developed a specifically Palestinian national feeling. The demand for an Arab state of its own in Palestine is consequently made without much emphasis. It appears that most Palestinian Arabs are under Quite satisfied with the current conditions to be incorporated into Transjordan. "12
The failure of the Bernadotte Plan was sealed when the Jews gradually succeeded in repelling the invading Arab forces and extending their control beyond the boundaries set by the partition resolution.

"The United States was the only nation that condemned the Arab attack on Israel."

The United States, the Soviet Union, and most other states recognized Israel immediately after the state was established on May 14, 1948, and condemned the attack on the Arabs. At the same time, the United States called for a resolution outlawing the Arabs' breach of peace.
The Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko declared to the Security Council on May 29, 1948:
"This is not the first time that the Arab states preparing to invade Palestine have ignored a decision of the Security Council or the General Assembly. The delegation of the USSR considers it essential that the Council express its opinion on this behavior of the Arab states towards the Brings decisions of the Security Council to bear more clearly and represent them more forcefully. "13
The initial phase of the fighting ended after the Security Council threatened on July 15 that it would hold Arab governments accountable for violating international law. At this point the Hagana was absorbed by the Israel Defense Forces and had been able to stop the Arab offensive.

"The Jews could only conquer Palestine with the support of the West."

The Jews achieved victory in the War of Independence with at best minimal support from the West, yes, one could almost say, despite all efforts to weaken their military strength.
Although the United States strongly supported the partition resolution, the US State Department refused to provide the Jews with any means of self-defense. State Department spokesman Robert Lovett argued:
"If we do that, the Arabs may use American weapons against Jews, or Jews may use American weapons against Arabs."14
As a result, the United States imposed an arms embargo on the crisis area on December 5, 1947.

Many members of the US State Department saw the embargo as just another means of preventing the division. However, President Truman held on to it, hoping to avoid bloodshed in this way - a naive stance given that the British opposed Lovett's demand that arms shipments by sea to the Arab countries be stopped and, on the contrary, by additional arms shipments negotiated Iraq and Transjordan.15
The Arabs had no difficulty in obtaining weapons in abundance. Jordan's Arab Legion was armed and trained by the British and was subordinate to a British officer. In late 1948 and early 1949, British Royal Air Force planes flew over the Israeli-Egyptian border together with Egyptian flight squadrons. On January 7, 1949, Israeli planes shot down four British planes.16
The Jews, on the other hand, were forced to smuggle in weapons, mainly from Czechoslovakia. When Israel proclaimed independence in May 1948, the army had neither artillery nor tanks. Its air force consisted of nine obsolete aircraft. The Hagana had 60,000 trained soldiers, but only 18,900 of them were armed and ready for action.17 On the eve of the war, the chief of operations, Yigael Yadin, told David Ben-Gurion: "Our chances are fifty-fifty at best."18

The Arab war of annihilation against Israel failed. In the end, the Arabs even had to settle for a smaller territory than they would have received if they had accepted the partition.
However, the cost of this war to Israel was enormous. "Many of the most fertile fields lay fallow and were mined. The citrus groves, for decades the economic basis of the Yishuv (Yishuv, Hebrew› inhabited land ‹, was the name for the entirety of the Jewish settlements and inhabitants in Palestine from 1882 until the founding of the state in 1948) , were largely destroyed. "19 The military expenditure was nearly five hundred million dollars. And worse, 6,373 Israelis, nearly one percent of the total Jewish population of 650,000, had fallen.
If the West had pushed through the partition resolution or given the Jews the opportunity to defend themselves, many human lives would have been saved.
The Arab countries signed a ceasefire agreement with Israel in 1949. First Egypt (on February 24th), then Lebanon (on February 23rd).March), Jordan (April 3rd) and Syria (July 20th). Iraq was the only country that did not sign an agreement with Israel, but withdrew its troops and turned its sector over to Jordan's Arab Legion.

"The Arab economic boycott against Israel was imposed after the 1948 war."

The Arab boycott was proclaimed on December 2, 1945 by the newly formed council of the Arab League: "Jewish goods and products should be classified as undesirable in the Arab countries." All Arab "institutions, organizations, traders, middlemen and ordinary citizens" were called upon to "neither sell nor consume Zionist products".20 As can be seen from this declaration, the terms "Jewish" and "Zionist" were used interchangeably by the Arabs. So the Arabs had already declared an economic boycott against the Palestinian Jews before Israel was founded.
As became clear after 1948, the boycott works on three levels. First, direct trade between Israel and the Arab countries is prohibited. The second boycott front is aimed at companies that do business with Israel. Third, there is a black list of companies that have relationships with companies that in turn trade with Israel.

Once you are on this list, it is very difficult to be removed again because a corresponding request must come from the company itself or from an Arab guarantor. The company must provide evidence that it no longer has any business relationship with Israel and / or is being asked to move the investments it previously made in Israel to the Arab countries. Bribery is also an option to be removed from the list.21
The aim of the boycott was to isolate Israel from its neighbors and from the international community and to prevent Israeli trade relations, which could contribute to the military and economic strengthening of the country. While isolating Israel and cutting the Jewish state off from most of its natural markets, it did not undermine the Israeli economy to the extent that it was intended.
In 1977 the American Congress banned American companies from participating in the Arab boycott. When President Carter signed the bill, he said, "This matter goes to the heart of free trade among peoples." The new law aims to "put an end to the discriminatory effects of foreign boycotts on American life against Jewish members of our society."22
The Arab League threatened stiff opposition to the new law, which it described as part of a "campaign of hysterical laws and ordinances" "which Israel and world Zionism are trying to impose on not only the United States but several countries in Western Europe."
Despite all predictions that the law would drastically reduce American trade with the Arab world, imports and exports rose sharply. Diplomatic and cultural relations also improved. However, certain American companies have been blacklisted for their relationship with Israel. In addition, very few other states also passed anti-boycott laws and instead complied with the boycott.
Because of the behavior of Britain, Japan and other boycott countries, Israel was unable to achieve its full economic potential for decades.

On September 30, 1994, the six Gulf States announced that they would no longer support the second block of the boycott, which bans trade with companies that do business with Israel. At a meeting held in Taba, Egypt, February 7-8, 1995, leaders of the Egyptian, American, Jordanian and Palestinian economies signed a joint document - the Taba Declaration - in which they pledged to " to support all efforts to end the boycott against Israel ".
Since the signing of the peace agreements between Israel, the PLO and Jordan, the boycott front has gradually crumbled. Resistance from countries such as Kuwait, Morocco and Tunisia forced the Arab League to cancel several meetings of the boycott partners that the Syrian hosts had called. The first block of the boycott, which forbids direct relations between Arab countries and Israel, has also slowly cracked since countries like Qatar, Oman and Morocco started signing trade deals with Israel. But even outside of the Middle East, only a few countries comply with the boycott. Japan, for example, has increased its trade relations with Israel exponentially since the beginning of the peace process. Still, the boycott is still in effect formally, and several countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, are adamant.

1 J.C. Hurewitz: The Struggle for Palestine; NY: Shocken Books 1976, p. 308.
2 Facts on File Yearbook; NY: Facts on File 1948, p. 231.
3 New York Times, December 1, 1947.
4 Facts on File 1948, p. 48.
5 Facts on File 1947, p. 231.
6 Howard Sachar: A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time; NY: Alfred A. Knopf 1979, p. 322.
7 Netanel Lorch: One Long War; Jerusalem: Keter Books 1976, p. 47; Ralph Patai (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel; NY: McGraw Hill 1971, pp. 307-308.
8 Official Reports of the Security Council, Supplement (Special Supplement, 1948, p. 20.
9 Official Reports of the Security Council, S / Agenda / 58, April 16, 1948, p. 19.
10 John Bagot Glubb: A Soldier with the Arabs; London: Staughton and Hodder 1957, p. 79.
11 Isi Leibler: The Case for Israel; Australia: The Globe Press 1972, p. 15 .; German text from: Friedrich Schreiber and Michael Wolffsohn: Middle East; Opladen: Leske + Budrich 1993, p. 146.
12 Folke Bernadotte: To Jerusalem; London: Hodder and Stoughton 1951, p. 113.
13 Official Reports of the Security Council, SA / Agenda / 77, May 29, 1948, p. 2.
14 United States Foreign Relations 1947; DC: GPO 1948, p. 1249. [From now on FRUS.]
15 Mitchell Bard: The Water's Edge And Beyond; NJ: Transaction Books 1991, pp. 171-175; FRUS, p. 53739; Robert Silverberg: If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem: American Jews and the State of Israel; NY: William Morrow & Co., Inc. 1970, pp. 366,370 .; Shlomo Slonim: "The 1948 American Embargo on Arms to Palestine", Political Science Quarterly, Fall 1979, p. 500.
16 Sachar, p. 345.
17 Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre: O Jerusalem !; NY: Simon and Schuster 1972, p. 352.
18 Golda Meir: My Life; NY: Dell 1975, pp. 213.222.224.
19 Sachar, p. 452.
20 Terence Prittie and Walter Nelson: The Economic War Against The Jews; London: Gorgi Books 1977, p. 1; Dan Chill: The Arab Boycott of Israel; NY: Praeger 1976, p. 1.
21 Prittie and Nelson, pp. 47-48; Sol Stern, "On and Off the Arab's List," The New Republic, Mar. 27, 1976, p. 9; Kennan Eslik: Congress, the Executive Branch and Special Interests; CT: Greenwood Press 1982, p. 11.
22 Bard, pp. 91-115