The immediate challenge faced by the newly formed Israel Defense Forces was to rebuff the Arab attack, defending Jewish settlements until the arrival of reinforcements. Following a month-long truce brokered by the United Nations, hostilities resumed in July In March , Operation Uvda saw Israeli forces complete their conquest of the southern part of the country by capturing Eilat.
The War of Independence was concluded by the signing of armistice agreements between Israel and the surrounding Arab states. Israel was left in control of 78 percent of mandatory Palestine — around 50 percent more than it had been allocated in the partition plan. In the shadow of the Holocaust , the victory of the new Jewish state over five Arab armies has sometimes been interpreted as little short of a miracle.
Yet more prosaic explanations are available. Moreover, partly as a result of the high number of World War II veterans in its ranks, the IDF benefited from better training and organization than its adversaries had. Yet the Jews paid a high price for their victory.
More than 6, Israelis — 1 percent of the population — were killed. Many of the casualties were refugees and Holocaust survivors , newly arrived in the country.
The war also intensified divisions within the Jewish population. After the creation of the IDF, it had been agreed that independent paramilitary units the Etzel and the Lehi would be absorbed into the new national army.
But in June , the Altalena — a ship carrying arms destined for the Etzel — reached Israel. The next day, Arab forces from Egypt , Transjordan Jordan , Iraq , Syria , and Lebanon occupied the areas in southern and eastern Palestine not apportioned to the Jews by the UN partition of Palestine and then captured east Jerusalem , including the small Jewish quarter of the Old City.
By early the Israelis had managed to occupy all of the Negev up to the former Egypt-Palestine frontier, except for the Gaza Strip.
Between February and July , as a result of separate armistice agreements between Israel and each of the Arab states, a temporary frontier was fixed between Israel and its neighbours. In Israel, the war is remembered as its War of Independence. Nasser took a hostile stance toward Israel.
In Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal , a vital waterway connecting Europe and Asia that was largely owned by French and British concerns. France and Britain responded by striking a deal with Israel—whose ships were barred from using the canal and whose southern port of Elat had been blockaded by Egypt—wherein Israel would invade Egypt; France and Britain would then intervene, ostensibly as peacemakers, and take control of the canal.
The Israelis were then in a position to open sea communications through the Gulf of Aqaba. Though Egyptian forces had been defeated on all fronts, the Suez Crisis , as it is sometimes known, was seen by Arabs as an Egyptian victory.
Egypt dropped the blockade of Elat. A UN buffer force was placed in the Sinai Peninsula. In early Syria intensified its bombardment of Israeli villages from positions in the Golan Heights. In May Egypt signed a mutual defense pact with Jordan.
The Israeli victory on the ground was also overwhelming. Importantly, the Israelis were left in sole control of Jerusalem.
The sporadic fighting that followed the Six-Day War again developed into full-scale war in The Arab armies showed greater aggressiveness and fighting ability than in the previous wars, and the Israeli forces suffered heavy casualties. The Israeli army, however, reversed early losses and pushed its way into Syrian territory and encircled the Egyptian Third Army by crossing the Suez Canal and establishing forces on its west bank.
Throughout, he examines the dialectic between the war's military and political developments and highlights the military impetus in the creation of the refugee problem, which was a by-product of the disintegration of Palestinian Arab society. The book thoroughly investigates the role of the Great Powers—Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union—in shaping the conflict and its tentative termination in Morris does a good job of exploring the various battles of the war in minute detail including excellent maps which make the troop movements, take overs and losses easy to follow, even for someone