The baseless myth, of how the Arab armies wanted to destroy the 'Jewish State', has been propagated in all sectors of the Israeli society, especially in its school system, military boot camps, and media. As it will be proven below, this myth was deemed necessary by most Zionists to legitimize their continued USURPATION of the Palestinian people's political, civil, and economic rights.
Often when Israelis and Zionists are confronted with facts contrary to their liking, they counter by accusing the sources of fabrication or being part of the "anti-Semitic" Arab propaganda. To avoid such a "confusion", we'll directly quote two of the most prominent pro-Israeli historians, Martin Van Creveld (the renowned Israeli military strategist and historian) and Martin Gilbert, who wrote:
- "In the Event of invading [Arab] forces were limited to approximately
30,000 men. The strongest [consider
this fact while reading the next quote] single
contingent was the Jordanian one, already described. Next came Egyptians
with 5,500 men, then the Iraqis with 4,500 who ..... were joined by perhaps
3,000 local irregulars. The total was thus around eight rather under strength
brigades, some of them definitely of second-and even third-rate quality. To
these must be added approximately 2,000 Lebanese (one brigade) and 6,000
Syrians (three brigades). Thus, even though the Arab countries [population] outnumbered
the Yishuv by better then forty-to-one, in terms of military manpower
available for combat in Palestine the two sides were fairly evenly matched.
As time went on and both sides sent reinforcements the balance changed in
the Jews' favor; by October they had almost 90,000 men and women under arms, the
Arabs only 68,000." (The
Sword And The Olive, p. 77-78)
- "Senior Hagana commanders met with committee [UN Special Committee On
Palestine-UNSCOP] members in Jerusalem's Talpiot
quarter in similarly surreptitious circumstances to express confidence that
Jewish forces, which they numbered at 90,000, including 35,000 reservists, could
overcome any Arab assault should it come to war." (Jerusalem
- "Ben-Gurion made serious efforts, shortly before the
United Nations vote on the Partition proposal, to seek the neutrality of King Abdullah of Transjordan, whose British trained and officered army, the
Arab Legion, was the STRONGEST fighting
force in the Middle East. The king had long been at loggerheads
with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, for the moral leadership
of the Arabs of the whole region. Abdullah's secret interlocutor was to be
Golda Meir:"' ...... He [King
Abudullah] soon made the heart of the
matter clear: he would not join in any Arab attack on us. He would always
remain our friend, he said, and like us,
he wanted peace more than anything else. After all, we had a common foe, the
Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.'"(Israel:
A History, p.149-150)
- "As for Abdullah's Arab Legion, it had fought better than
any other Arab force. Yet on scarcely any occasion
had the Arab Legion attempted to conquer territories allotted to the Jews by
the partition plan, preferring to stay on the defensive." (The
Sword And The Olive, p. 95)
- ".... there was no common military headquarters, no
attempts at coordinating the offenses of the Arab armies, and ... not even a
regular liaison service for sharing enemy intelligence." (The
Sword And The Olive, p. 83)
- "Perhaps the most important [of the Arab armies problems] was a crippled shortage of
ammunition, owing to the international arms embargo ..., in the case of the Iraqis
and Egyptians, long lines of communications. For example, after February 25,
1948, the Arab Legion received no new ammunition for its 20mm guns. Some of
the ammunition used by the Iraqi artillery was more than thirty years old;
the Syrians had no ammunition for their heavy 155mm guns. Whereas Jewish
stockpiles were growing all the times [especially
the big arms shipment from Czechoslovakia in May 1948], the enemies were so depleted they stole ammunition shipments for each other. In
addition, they were ill-coordinated, technically incompetent, slow,
ponderous, badly led, and unable to cope with night operations that
willy-nilly, constituted the IDF's expertise." (The
Sword And The Olive, p. 95-96)
- Soon after the execution of Operation Dani in the first half of July 1948, Yigal
Allon wrote a Palmach (Haganah's strike force) report stating that the expulsion
of Lydda's and Ramla's
"clogged the routes of the advance of the [Transjordan Arab] Legion and had foisted upon the Arab economy the problem of "maintaining another 45,000 souls . . . Moreover, the phenomenon of the flight of tens of thousands will no doubt cause demoralization in every Arab area [the refugees] reach . . . This victory will yet have great effect on other sectors." (Israel: A History, p. 218 & Benny Morris, p. 211)
Although we disagree with the Arab armies' statistics (30,000 men) that was presented by Mr. Creveld, the reader could conclude the following:
- The strongest Arab army to enter
Palestine was in cahoots with the Israelis from the start. Based on H.M.
King Abdullah's orders (who also commanded the Iraqi Army in addition to
Transjordan's), the strongest Arab armies did not even encroach on the areas allotted to the
by the 1947 UN GA Partition plan. On
the contrary, the truth was the exact opposite, for example:
1- Lydda, Ramla, and the Triangle Areas were handed over to the Israelis without a fight. Although Transjordan's Army withdrew based on the orders of H.M. the King, the Iraqi Army (which was positioned few kilometers north in Ras al-'Ayn) was given explicit orders not to intervene (their motto in Arabic was: maku 'Awamer). It should be noted that these areas used to be densely populated with Palestinians, were fertile, and were strategically located for both Arab and Israeli supply lines.
2- When the Israeli Army attacked the Egyptian (south) and Syrian (northeast) armies in mid-October, 1948, the Iraqi and Jordanian armies were forbidden from opening a third front in the middle and south. The Iraqi Army was capable of splitting Israel in half if it was given the orders, and the Jordanian Army watched from the sidelines as the Israeli Army mauled the Egyptians in southern Hebron and Beersheba areas (Righteous Victims, p. 244). Note that the Iraqi Army was well positioned in the Tulkarm-Jinin areas (southeast of Haifa) which is only 12-14 kilometers from the Mediterranean, click here for a map illustration.
- The other strongest Arab armies, Egyptian and Iraqi, had long supply and
lines away from their bases in their respective
- Saudi Arabian and Sudanese armies contributed few thousand soldiers in the middle of the war to shore up the exhausted Egyptian army in southern Palestine.
- Under American and French pressure, the Lebanese Army was sidelined from
the start, and it did not even cross the international borders. At the most, the Lebanese army provided a mediocre artillery
cover to some ALA [Arab Liberation Army] volunteers at the beginning of the
war. (Righteous Victims p. 233-234)
- When the Arab armies entered Palestine on May 15, 1948, close to 400,000
Palestinian refugees were already ethnically
cleansed out of their homes, and they clogged the roads, burdened local economies, and demoralized the Arab
populations and armies, as it was admitted by
Yigal Allon. In
other words, the Palestinian refugees were used as a weapon against Israel's enemies.
- The Arab armies neither coordinated their military operational plans,
nor shared military intelligence among themselves. In fact, it wasn't
until April 30, 1948 that the Arab armies' chiefs of staff met for the first time
to work out a plan for military intervention. It's worth noting that this
plan was later wrecked by H.M. King Abdullah, when he made last minute
changes just before the entry of any Arab army into British Mandated Palestine. (Simha
Flapan, p. 133 & Iron
Wall, p. 35)
- According to a Jewish Agency assessment of the Arab
intentions and capacities, submitted in March 1948, reported that the Arabs chiefs of staff had warned their government against an invasion of Palestine and any lengthy war because of the internal situation in most of the Arab countries.
For example, revolt in Yemen kept the Saudis at bay and there was a mass riot in
Iraq against the Anglo-Iraqi treaty, (Simha
Flapan, p. 123-124)
- Yochai Sela of Tel-Aviv University, has provided the following
breakdown for the number of Israelis
killed during the 1948 war:
Fatality Category Value Percentage of Total
1,150 20.15% Military killed 4,558 79.85%
100% Soldiers killed between
Nov. 30, 1947 - May 15, 1948
1,345** 23.56% Soldiers killed between
May 15, 1948- March 10, 1949
3,213** 56.29% Killed within the
areas designated by the UN
1,581 27.70% Killed outside the
areas designated by the UN
2,759*** 48.33% Killed defending
984 17.24% Killed attacking
Source: Simha Flapan, p. 198-199.
* Majority died in Jerusalem
** The number of Israelis killed while fighting the Arab Legion 1,367; the Palestinians, 1,092; the Egyptians, 910; the Syrians, 238; the Iraqis, 241; the Lebanese 129; Qawukji' ALA, 336, the British 30.
*** Mostly soldiers, non-civilians.
These statistics clearly show that the number of Israeli soldiers killed in offensive actions were well over 60% (2,759/4,558) of the total Israeli soldiers killed between November 30, 1947 and March 10, 1949. So from the Israeli prospective, the so called "War of Independence" was more offensive than defensive in nature.
- The Israelis maximally exploited the rivalry between H.M. the King Abdullah of
Transjordan and al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini. For example, before the entry of any Arab armies to
Palestine on May 15th, 1948, al-Hajj Amin (who resided at the time in Tyre-southern
Lebanon) wanted to declare a provisional Palestinian government in
with Safad being its capital. To preempt
such a plan, H.M. the King pulled out Transjordan's irregulars troops out of Safad
on May 11th, 1948, which was the primary reason for its falling into Israeli
hands few days later (Benny
Morris, p. 105). Another good reason that enticed H.M. the King to collaborate
with the Jewish Agency was the promise of future payments of $4 million a
year for the next subsequent 5 years. (Simha
Flapan, p. 138)
- Although there was an arms embargo on the warring parties in the Middle East,
the embargo negatively affected the Arabs more than the Israelis. While
the Arab armies were depleting their arms and ammunitions, the Israeli army
stockpiling weapons and ammunitions from a
huge arms shipment from Czechoslovakia that arrived in early May, 1948.
- By October 1948, the Israeli army had 90,000 armed men, while the Arab
armies had 68,000 armed men.
- It's a fabricated myth that seven well equipped, organized, and coordinated
Arab armies attempted to PUSH
the poorly armed Jews into the sea, click
here to read our rebuttal to this myth.
- Click here for a detail map illustrating the standing of the Israeli and Arab armies on May 14th, 1948.
Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister, recognized that Palestinian nationalism created the very danger he was most afraid of. He knew that the victory in 1948 was achieved not because the Israeli Army was more heroic but because the Arab armies were corrupt and the Arab world was divided. He became obsessed with the fear that a charismatic leader would modernize Arab education, their economies, and unite all the Arab states. He wrote on November 11, 1948:
"The Arab people have been beaten by us. Will they forget it quickly? Seven hundred thousand people beat 30 million. Will they forget this offense? It can be assumed that they have a sense of honor. We will make peace efforts, but two sides are necessary for peace. Is there any security that they will not want to take revenge? Let us recognize the truth: we won not because we performed wonders, but because the Arab army is rotten. Must this rottenness persist forever? The situation in the world beckons towards revenge: there are two blocs; there is fear of world war. This tempts anyone with a grievance. We will always require a superior defensive capability." (Simha Flapan, p. 238)
Finally, we like to end this article by directly quoting the famous Israeli historian Avi Shlaim who stated in his famous Iron Wall book:
- "This popular-heroic-moralistic version of the 1948 war has been used
extensively in Israeli propaganda and is still taught in Israeli schools. It
is a prime example of the use of a nationalistic version of history in the
process of nation building. In a very real sense history is the propaganda
of the victors, and the history of the 1948 war is no exception."
(Iron Wall p. 34)
- "Despite all the political miscalculations and failures of those who planned the Sinai Campaign, it is their version that became firmly entrenched in the mind of the overwhelming majority of Israelis. The popular perception of the 1956 war in Israel is that it was a defensive war, a just war, a brilliantly executed war, and a war that achieved nearly all of its objectives. This version of the war was propagated not only by members of the Israeli defense establishment but by a host of sympathetic historians, journalists, and commentators. However deeply cherished, this version does not stand up to scrutiny in the light of the evidence now available. It is a striking example of the way in which history can be manipulated to serve nationalist ends. The official Israeli version of the 1956 war, like that of the 1948 war, is little more than the propaganda of the victor." (Iron Wall, p. 185)
- Zionist Quotes: Expansionism (The Greater Israel)
- Zionist FAQ: Why did Arabs reject the proposed UN General Assembly partition plan which split Palestine into Jewish and Arab states?
- JPost: Espionage and the Zionist endeavor.
- Listen to an interview with the former Israeli Foreign Minister (Shlomo Ben-Ami) admitting that it is a concocted myth that the poorly armed Israelis faced an overwhelming attack by the "invading" seven Arab Armies during the 1948 war (starting from minute 5:00).
- First Step to Peace: Conquering Nakba Denial by Yousef Munayyer