History Note on Documentary, created by Veleka Georgieva on 27/11/2013.
Veleka Georgieva
Note by Veleka Georgieva, updated more than 1 year ago
Veleka Georgieva
Created by Veleka Georgieva over 10 years ago

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How did Israel Win the WarNarrator: The explanations of the outcome of the first Arab-Israeli war are various. Some historians prefer the Zionist interpretation, which supports the idea that the Arabs have always had an advantage in the war. The Israeli won against all odds thanks to the heroism, tenacity and courage of their people. The New Historians, however, disagree with this view. They admit that even though Israeli started off worse in the war, being a minority, they had valuable war experience gained in War World 2, which gave the strategic advantage. By the end of the war, the New Historians say, they were also better armed, having gain armor from the Czechs, and their population had grown significantly faster than the Palestinian.   Zionist (David Ben-Gurion): Well, at the time of the war Israel was tiny in comparison to the Arab coalition. All the neighbouring Arab countries were united against us. The Egyptians were attacking from the south, Syrians, Iraqi and Lebanese from the north, Jordanians attacked along the Jordan river, and the Arab Legion was in Jerusalem. We were simply fighting for our survival. We had fewer weapons… and if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts… and the tenacity, and courage of our people, we could have won. It’s like in the story of David and Goliath, really. (laughs)   Narrator: But there is another point the New Historians make – unity. As all the Jews in Palestine were united in the idea that force was needed in order to establish their new state, they gained a huge advantage over their disunited enemies. The Arabs lacked strong leadership; everyone tended to fight for their own particular interests.   New Historian (Benny Morris): The problem with the Arabs was that they had no one to lead them. Most of their leaders had fled out of Palestine in the last days of the British mandate and the people were left with nobody to follow. This is the reason why although progressing, the Arab nation didn’t manage to progress in the high pace the Jews had set. Israeli got arms – Palestinians got arms; Israeli grew in number – Palestinians grew in number… just not fast enough. And the terror… people turned to the leaders with fear for them homes, and the leaders were terrified himself. No unity. No coordination. This is why the Arabs lost the war.   Narrator: An example of the Arab lack of coordination is King Abdullah of Transjordan. Even before the war had begun, he held a secret meeting with one of the Israeli leaders. Even though no agreements were made, he made the Jewish leaders believe that he would not invade territories allocated to the Jewish state. When the war started, Abdullah’s legion defended the Old City against the Israeli offensive. However, the eastern part of Jerusalem had been allocated to the Arabs. The Transjordan army invaded what was to be the new Arab state but it never invaded Israeli territory. Israel and Transjordan became ‘the best of enemies’ – a fact often ignored by the Zionist Interpretation.   King Abdullah: The Palestinian Arab state couldn’t have survived on its own – it was simply too weak.     Narrator: And while King Abdullah was partly supported by the British in his intents to attach the Arab state to his own, the Jewish aims were quite different. Israeli saw the alliance with Transjordan to break the hostile chain of Arab states and deepen the divisions within the coalition, so that they can pick off their opponents one by one. This contradicts the interpretation of the war as the struggle between David and Goliath, but proved useful in helping the Jews win the war.

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