Plan Dalet - Background

Background

On November 29, 1947, the UN voted to approve the Partition Plan for Palestine for ending the British Mandate and creating an Arab state and a Jewish state. In the immediate aftermath of the United Nations' approval of the Partition plan, the Jewish community expressed joy, while the Arab community expressed discontent. On the day after the vote, a spate of Arab attacks left at least eight Jews dead, one in Tel Aviv by sniper fire, and seven in ambushes on civilian buses that were claimed to be retaliations for a LHI raid ten days earlier. Shooting, stoning, and rioting continued apace in the following days. Fighting began almost as soon as the plan was approved, beginning with the Arab Jerusalem Riots of 1947. Soon after, violence broke out and became more and more prevalent. Murders, reprisals, and counter-reprisals came fast on each other's heels, resulting in dozens of victims killed on both sides in the process. The sanguinary impasse persisted as no force intervened to put a stop to the escalating cycles of violence.

From January onward, operations became increasingly militarized, with the intervention of a number of regiments of the Arab Liberation Army (consisting of volunteers from Arab countries) inside Palestine, each active in a variety of distinct sectors around the different coastal towns. They consolidated their presence in Galilee and Samaria. Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni came from Egypt with several hundred men of the Army of the Holy War. Having recruited a few thousand volunteers, al-Husayni organised the blockade of the 100,000 Jewish residents of Jerusalem. To counter this, the Yishuv authorities tried to supply the Jews of the city with food by using convoys of up to 100 armoured vehicles, but the operation became more and more impractical as the number of casualties in the relief convoys surged. By March, Al-Hussayni's tactic, sometimes called "The War of the Roads", had paid off. Almost all of Haganah's armoured vehicles had been destroyed, the blockade was in full operation, and the Haganah had lost more than 100 troops. According to Benny Morris the situation for those who dwelt in the Jewish settlements in the highly-isolated Negev and North of Galilee was equally critical. According to Ilan Pappé in early March the Yishuv's security leadership did not seem to regard the overall situation as particularly troubling, but instead was busy finalising a master plan.

This situation caused the USA to withdraw their support for the Partition plan, thus encouraging the Arab League to believe that the Palestinians, reinforced by the Arab Liberation Army, could put an end to partition. The British, meanwhile, decided on the 7 February 1948, to support the annexation of the Arab part of Palestine by Transjordan.

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