The first conflict between the two nations, known as the first Arab-Israeli War, started on May 15, 1948, when five Arab armies invaded the one-day- old Jewish state. This war is generally divided into two phases: the first began on November 30, 1947 and ended on May 14, 1948, with the termination of the British Mandate and the second phase started on May 15, 1948 and ended on July 20, 1949, with the signing of the last of the Armistice Agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Significantly, the War of Independence in 1948 was the most destructive wars that the two nations ever fought and it only marked the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict. "By the time the fighting was over, Israel, albeit at the exorbitant human cost of 1 percent of its population, had survived the Arab attempt to destroy it at birth and had asserted its control over wider territories than those assigned to it by the UN Partition Resolution." (Karsh 2008, P. 6). It is essential to realise that the 1948 war was more than a war about national self-determination in the light of concept of the formation of a Jewish homeland and the displacement of the Palestinians. This chapter makes a reflective exploration of the War of Independence in 1948, outlining the balance of forces which shaped the British Mandate of Palestine between Palestinians, Arabs, and the increasing number of immigrant Jews, in order to comprehend the various aspects of the conflict such as the two-state solution provided by the United Nation.
An Overview of the 1948 War
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which was fought between the newly declared State of Israel and its Arab neighbours, has been known in different names, and the Israelis call it as the War of Independence or War of Liberation while the Arabs name it as the Catastrophe. The Palestine War has been the most important Middle-Eastern armed confrontation since the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and this war is generally divided into two. The first phase started on the day after the adoption of the Partition Resolution and ended with the termination of the British Mandate on 14 May 1948. The United Nations made an important decision to partition Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state on Nov. 29, 1947, and the war broke out following the withdrawal of the British force from the region. "It was essentially a civil war, conducted under the watchful eye of the British Mandatory authorities, in which the Palestinian Arab community, assisted by a sizable pan-Arab irregular force, sought to prevent its Jewish counterpart from laying the foundation of statehood in line with the UN resolution." (Karsh 2008, P. 8). The second phase f the war started a few hours after the proclamation of the State of Israel and involved a concerted attack by the armed forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, as well as Saudi. On the whole, the Palestine War of 1948 lasted for less than twenty months and it came to an end July 1949 with the final armistice agreement signed between Israel and Syria. However, those twenty months were crucial as the political landscape of the Middle East was transformed during this period. According to Rogan and Shlaim, the year 1948 may be realised as a crucial moment