Political map of South & Southwest Asia 06 January 1949 (First Arab-Israeli War): When Israel declared independence in 1948, the surrounding Arab states immediately declared war and invaded it (1948 Arab-Israeli War). 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 (1948 Palestinian exodus), while a roughly equal number of Jews migrated to Israel - many expelled from Arab countries (Aliyah).