First Arab-Israeli War


Southern Asia 1949.0106

First Arab-Israeli War

Independence of India, Pakistan, and the states of South Asia and the Middle East (6 January 1949)

Historical Map of South & Southwest Asia

When Israel declared independence in 1948, the surrounding Arab states immediately declared war and invaded it. Although outnumbered, the Israelis fought back against their disunited enemies, eventually gaining control of the entire former Mandate of Palestine except for Egyptian-held Gaza Strip and the Transjordanian-held West Bank. The Israeli victory pushed some 700,000 Palestinian Arabs to flee to neighboring countries, while a roughly equal number of Jews migrated to Israel - many expelled from Arab countries.

Main Events

Restoration of the Ogaden

Following continued Ethiopian pleas and under pressure from the United States, the United Kingdom ended its military administration of the Ogaden and restored the territory to Ethiopia. However, the British remained in Haud and Reserved Areas - part of the Ethiopian Ogaden but under a separate British administration - until 1955.

October offensives

Israel launched a series of military operations to drive out the Arab armies, securing Galilee in late October. In the same month they pushed south, eventually conquering the Negev and reaching the Red Sea. In December the Israelis crossed the Egyptian border into the Sinai, but withdrew after clashing with the British (who protected the Suez Canal).

Operation Kraai

The Netherlands conducted Operation Kraai, their second military offensive against the Republic of Indonesia. They successfully captured Yogyakarta, the Republic's temporary capital, and seizes President Sukarno. The action was internationally condemned, with the United States threatening to suspend Marshall Plan aid to the Dutch and the United Nations passing a resolution demanding the reinstatement of the Republican government, prompting the Dutch to announce a ceasefire at the end of the year.

Ceasefire in Kashmir

Following Indian military successes and a United Nations resolution proposing a ceasefire on 13 August 1948, India and Pakistan agreed to stop fighting in Kashmir. The ceasefire established a line of control in Kashmir, giving India roughly two-thirds of the territory, and brought an end to the First Indo-Pakistani War. Overall India had lost 1,500 killed and 3,500 wounded, whereas Pakistan had lost 6,000 killed and 14,000 wounded.

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