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History Of Israel Part 3...

• In 1947 the United Nations began a study of the Palestine situation. During this period the British government continued its heavy-handed policies toward the Jewish population of Palestine. Several captured Jewish fighters were executed and an immigrant ship headed to Israel, the Exodus 1947, was captured and the immigrants onboard were held in prison ships for a lengthy period before being sent back to Germany. With pressure mounting, in September 1947 the United Nations Special Committee On Palestine (UNSCOP) recommended that a Jewish state be created. The UN ratified the measure November 29, 1947.

• The British refused to cooperate with the UN resolution, and continued to block Jewish migration and imprison immigrants. They also refused to allow the UN to have access to Palestine. As soon as the UN resolution was adopted, Palestinians launched a war against the Jewish towns and settlements. The British began to slowly pull out of Palestine, but continued a blockade of her ports making it difficult for Jewish fighters to receive new supplies of weapons and ammunition. Large numbers of Palestinian Arabs, especially the upper class, decided to leave and resettle in adjoining nations.

• On May 14, 1948, Jewish Agency leader David Ben-Gurion declared the creation of the nation of Israel as the last remaining British troops pulled out. U.S. President Harry Truman quickly granted official recognition to the new nation. Almost immediately Arab League nations, consisting of Transjordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, invaded Israel. Many of the Arab military leaders and troops were British trained. The British government then pushed a weapons embargo resolution through the United Nations to again prevent Jewish fighters from receiving arms. The Czechoslovakian government thumbed its nose at the embargo and shipped in heavy weaponry to Israel, giving Jewish troops enough firepower to counter Arab armaments.

• A permanent ceasefire began in March 1949, and interim borders for the nation of Israel were established. Britain released over 2,000 Jewish prisoners and finally recognized Israel as a nation. The UN admitted Israel as a member on May 11, 1949. Of note, between 1947 and 1949 it is estimated that over 700,000 Arabs left Israeli territory, and over the following two decades approximately 850,000 Jews left Arab nations and settled in Israel.

• Following the war, the plans for a Palestinian state disappeared as Transjordan annexed the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, and Egypt occupied the Gaza strip. Surrounding Arab nations placed Palestinian Arabs in refugee camps and would not allow them to become citizens. Many experts feels the Palestinian issue we still face today could have been solved in 1949 if the Arab world had helped or at least allowed a Palestinian state to be established.

• In the 1950's Palestinian Fedayeen attacks launched from Egyptian controlled Gaza resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israeli citizens. As tensions increased between Egypt and Israel, Egypt initiated a blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba and also closed the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping in 1956. Egypt then nationalized the canal, resulting in an alliance between France, Britain, and Israel to take the canal back. The Sinai Campaign was launched in October 1956 with Israel crossing the Sinai to take the Suez, at which point British and French forces moved into under the guise of restoring peace. After much protest from the United States and the Soviet Union, a deal was reached with Egypt that reopened the Suez to international shipping.

• In May 1967 Egypt, Jordan and Syria began massing military forces near the Israeli borders, and also closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, which the Israeli government took as an act of war. Iraqi troops and armor also began arriving in Jordan, along with fighters from other Arab nations. On June 5, 1967 Israel launched pre-emptive air strikes and over the next two days completely destroyed the Jordanian air force and inflicted heavy losses on the air forces of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq; giving Israel decisive air superiority as it launched ground assaults against the enemy forces arrayed against her. Israeli forces humiliated its opponents and captured the Golan Heights, Gaza, Sinai, West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem. With Israel now established as the preeminent military power in the Middle East, the United States began to deepen governmental and military ties with the Jewish nation.

• After several months of strategic planning by Egyptian and Syrian military leaders, the two nations led a coalition against Israel in a surprise attack on October 6, 1973. Jordan's King Hussein had secretly warned Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir of the coming attack eleven days prior, but the warning was ignored by Meir. The attack occurred on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur and caught the Israeli military flat footed. Despite successes by the Arab forces in the first three days of fighting, Israel quickly regrouped and again humiliated the Egyptian and Syrian militaries over the following days. The war also brought tensions to a head between the United States and the Soviet Union, as the US was supplying arms to Israel and the Soviets feeding military supplies to the Arabs. Some analysts and historians claim the event almost resulted in a nuclear exchange between the two superpowers. With Israeli forces only a few miles form both the Syrian and Egyptian capitals, a ceasefire was brokered on October 25, 1973.

• The decades since the Yom Kippur War have been filled with various peace initiatives, most of which have failed. Israel and Egypt did sign a far reaching peace deal in 1979 that gave the Sinai back to Egypt in exchange for normalized relations and Egypt's official recognition of Israel as a nation. Other land for peace deals have been attempted with Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian Arabs without much success. The Palestinians (Hamas and Fattah) have continued the launch of terrorist attacks and to occasionally direct mortar fire and rockets into Israel from Gaza and the West Bank. In 1982, Israel launched a military campaign into Lebanon to quiet PLO forces embedded there that were firing rockets against Israeli cities. Tensions remain high along the border with Lebanon as Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, continues to stockpile tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. Many see this area as a major flashpoint for a future war. In recent years, the leaders in Iran have become more aggressive in their attitude toward Israel and have vowed to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. This aggression coupled with Iran's quest for nuclear weapons has kept the region on edge. Of course the Bible tells us that Jerusalem will be the center of trouble in the years ahead, and that we should all pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Please check in often on our main page for the latest breaking news and analysis of events concerning Israel.

Western Wall in Jerusalem