Eastern Mediterranean 1948: Israeli Victory in Palestine
United Nations attempts to peacefully resolve the 1948 Arab–Israeli dispute over Palestine failed and in October 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.
8–18 Jul 1948 Ten Day Battles▲
With both the Arabs and the Israelis rejecting a revised United Nations partition plan, and the Arabs rejecting an extension of the June 1948 truce, the Egyptians renewed the war in Palestine by attacking Negba. Both sides followed up with air attacks and the Israelis managed to relieve a number of besieged kibbutzim. After ten days the fighting was brought to an end when the UN Security Council issued a second truce.
18 Jul–15 Oct 1948 Second UN Truce in Palestine▲
At 19:00 on 18 July 1948 the second truce of the First Arab–Israeli War went into effect. On 16 September, United Nations Security Council mediator Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, proposed a new partition plan but was assassinated by the militant Zionist group Lehi the following day. His plan was rejected by both sides anyway and five days later Israel proclaimed the annexation of all lands it had captured during the war.
15 Oct–7 Dec 1948 Northern Negev operations▲
In a series of military operations, Israeli forces expelled the Egyptian expeditionary force from the northern Negev, capturing the local center of Beersheba in October. In the following month, the Israelis finally took the Tegart fort in the village of Iraq Suwaydan—the fort’s Egyptian defenders had repulsed eight previous attempts—reducing Egyptian forces to the western Negev, Gaza, and the surrounded Falluja pocket.
22 Dec 1948–7 Jan 1949 Operation Horev▲
In Operation Horev Israeli troops crossed the Negev and invaded Sinai in an attempt to trap the Egyptian Army in the Gaza Strip. Overwhelming the Egyptian opposition, the Israelis were near success when the United Nations Security Council ordered a ceasefire and the United Kingdom threatened to invoke the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of Friendship. On 6 January 1949 the Israeli Air Force shot down five RAF Spitfires, prompting the British to move reinforcements to Aqaba. Facing direct British involvement, Israel agreed to a ceasefire with Egypt the following day.