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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
beardedbruce BS: Israel's Sharpville (712* d) RE: BS: Israel's Sharpville 11 May 18


"A 'wind of violence'[16] rapidly took hold of the country, foreboding civil war between the two communities.[17] 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 impasse persisted as British forces did not intervene to put a stop to the escalating cycles of violence.[18][19][20][21]

The first casualties after the adoption of Resolution 181(II) by the General Assembly were passengers on a Jewish bus driving on the Coastal Plain near Kfar Sirkin on 30 November. An eight-man gang from Jaffa ambushed the bus killing five and wounding others. Half an hour later they ambushed a second bus, southbound from Hadera, killing two more. Arab snipers attacked Jewish buses in Jerusalem and Haifa.[19]

Irgun and Lehi followed their strategy of placing bombs in crowded markets and bus-stops.[22] As on 30 December, in Haifa, when members of Irgun, threw two bombs at a crowd of Arab workers who were queueing in front of a refinery, killing 6 of them and injuring 42. An angry crowd massacred 39 Jewish people in revenge, until British soldiers reestablished calm.[20][23] In reprisals, some soldiers from the strike force, Palmach and the Carmeli brigade, attacked the village of Balad ash-Sheikh and Hawassa. According to different historians, this attack led to between 21 and 70 deaths.[21]

According to Benny Morris, much of the fighting in the first months of the war took place in and on the edges of the main towns, and was initiated by the Arabs. It included Arab snipers firing at Jewish houses, pedestrians, and traffic, as well as planting bombs and mines along urban and rural paths and roads.[24]

From January onwards, operations became increasingly militarized.

In all the mixed zones where both communities lived, particularly Jerusalem and Haifa, increasingly violent attacks, riots, reprisals and counter-reprisals followed each other. Isolated shootings evolved into all-out battles. Attacks against traffic, for instance, turned into ambushes as one bloody attack led to another.

On 22 February 1948, supporters of Mohammad Amin al-Husayni organized, with the help of certain British deserters, three attacks against the Jewish community. Using car bombs aimed at the headquarters of the pro-Zionist Palestine Post newspaper, the Ben Yehuda St. market and the backyard of the Jewish Agency's offices, they killed 22, 53 and 13 Jewish people respectively, and injured hundreds.[25][26] In revenge, Lehi put a landmine on the railroad track in Rehovot on which a train from Cairo to Haifa was travelling, killing 28 British soldiers and injuring 35.[27] This would be copied on 31 March, close to Caesarea Maritima, which would lead to the death of forty people, injuring 60, who were, for the most part, Arab civilians.[28]

Having recruited a few thousand volunteers, al-Husayni organized the blockade of the 100,000 Jewish residents of Jerusalem.[29] To counter this, the Yishuv authorities tried to supply the city with 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 had paid off. Almost all of Haganah's armoured vehicles had been destroyed, the blockade was in full operation, and hundreds of Haganah members who had tried to bring supplies into the city were killed.[30] The situation for those who dwelt in the Jewish settlements in the highly isolated Negev and North of Galilee was even more critical.

According to the Arab League general Safwat:

    Despite the fact that skirmishes and battles have begun, the Jews at this stage are still trying to contain the fighting to as narrow a sphere as possible in the hope that partition will be implemented and a Jewish government formed; they hope that if the fighting remains limited, the Arabs will acquiesce in the fait accompli. This can be seen from the fact that the Jews have not so far attacked Arab villages unless the inhabitants of those villages attacked them or provoked them first.[31]

Although a certain level of doubt took hold among Yishuv supporters, their apparent defeats were due more to their wait-and-see policy than to weakness.[citation needed] David Ben-Gurion reorganized Haganah and made conscription obligatory. Every Jewish man and woman in the country had to receive military training."




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