Monday, December 24, 2018

On Those 1948 Arab "Volunteers"

On the "volunteers" who invaded the former Palestine Mandate intent on wiping out nascent Israel and, in the process, help to prevent the establishment of an Arab state therein:

Despite their determination and fortitude, however, the battle was stacked against them from the beginning. Some states, like Lebanon, had only recently achieved independence; others, like Egypt, were still under indirect colonial rule. Rivalries between governments back home undermined coordination and the brave sacrifices of volunteers. As historian Leila Parsons has noted, the volunteer forces sent to the front were small and poorly-equipped, a stark contrast with the Zionist militias that had spent the better part of the last few years and months preparing for this day and importing weapons in anticipation.  

Those "volunteers", in the main, were regular soldiers from the armies of states.

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2 comments:

L. King said...

Had the Czech small arms not arrived in May 1948 it is likely Israel would have been defeated, its Jewish inhabitants exterminated. The irony is that the Arabs, specifically Syria and Egypt, had originally ordered these weapons but could only pay in promissory notes and in Egypt's case, cotton harvests. The Israelis, prob due to successful fundraising in the US Jewish community, could afford to pay in hard currency, which the Czechs desperately needed as Soviet 5-year plan mindset had screwed the Czechs badly. That year 25% of Czech foreign sales were to the fledgling Jewish revolutionary state.

Ref: The Arab-Israeli Arms Race: Arms, Embargo, Military Power and Decision in the 1948 Palestine War, Amitzyr Ilan, 1996.

Joe in Australia said...

Those "volunteers", in the main, were regular soldiers from the armies of states.

And, at least in the case of Transjordan, serving in an army established and trained by Great Britain. When you look at the final years of the British Mandate in Palestine the parallels with other foreign British projects seem obvious; something obscured by treatment of Israel as a colonial power. Britain was the only major country to recognise Transjordan's rule over Jerusalem: I think we need to ask whether it was merely post-colonial realism or if it actually represented a further stage in British colonial strategy.