THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE

CIA Report

November 28, 1947

Zionism maps history biography definitions e-Zion about issues timeline photos books documents links contact

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE

CIA Report  November 28, 1947

Introduction

Following the UNSCOP report in September of 1947, which recommended partition of Palestine, the matter was brought before the UN General assembly. The United States delegate spoke in favor of partition during the debate, as did the Soviet delegate. However, on November 28, 1947, one day before the partition vote, the CIA released the intelligence estimate below, which advised against partition of Palestine, on the following grounds:

1- Partition would anger the Arabs and endanger oil supplies. The basis of the opposition had nothing to do with claims of self-determination for the Palestinian people as such, or fears of dispossession:

The Arabs violently oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine because they believe that Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world. In addition, they fear that the Jews will consolidate their position through unlimited immigration and that they will attempt to expand until they become a threat to the newly won independence of each of the other Arab countries. They believe that not only politically but also culturally the Jewish state threatens the continued development of the Islamic-Arab civilization.

It is hard to imagine how the tiny total Jewish population could ever be thought to be "a threat to the newly won independence of each of the other Arab countries, even had they all concentrated in Palestine.

2- Partition would engender a war. The Arab states would not participate in such a war directly, but they would aid the Arab guerillas inside Palestine:

The Arab governments realize the debt they owe to the UN. The raising of the question of the evacuation of foreign troops from Syria and Lebanon in the UN led to a speedy and satisfactory settlement among the French, British, and Levant States. Egypt has had an opportunity to air its views on the evacuation of British troops from Egypt and its claims to the Sudan. The UN has provided a medium for the immediate recognition and participation in world affairs of the young Arab states. Although the Arab states are adamant in their determination to make Palestine an Arab state, they will probably avoid a complete rupture with the UN should partition be imposed....

In the event of the partition of Palestine, it is unlikely that the Arab governments will openly proclaim war against the Jews. Pressure from the Arab people for an open declaration of war will be strong, but the governments doubtless realize that such a step in defiance of a decision passed by the UN would seriously jeopardize the Arab position in the UN. However, it is probable that large numbers of Arabs from the surrounding countries will join the Arabs residing within Palestine for the war against Zionism.

The Arab states ultimately did declare war, perhaps because neither the United States nor any other country even hinted that there would be any consequences of such a declaration, and because in fact, there were no consequences. The Arabs defied the UN with impunity. It is interesting to note that the Arab and anti-Zionists declare rather that it is Israel that owes a debt to the UN.

3- The Jewish forces in Palestine could not hold out more than two years according to the CIA estimate:

As the war of attrition develops, however, the Jewish economy (severely strained by mobilization) will break down; furthermore, the Jews will be unable continuously to protect their extended supply lines and isolated settlements or to plant and cultivate their fields in the face of constant harassing. "hit and run" Arab attacks. Without substantial outside aid in terms of manpower and material, they will be able to hold out no longer than two years.

Though the CIA estimate vastly overrates the fighting forces available to the Jews in 1947, and though it also discounts the possibility of an attack by Arab states, it nonetheless considers it unlikely that the Jewish forces could even hold their own. This is in marked contrast to the insistence of revisionist historians that the Jewish forces were superior in equipment and numbers to the Arab forces, and that the victory of the Israeli War of Independence was a foregone conclusion, due to objective military superiority of the Jewish forces. 

The Bludan conference referred to in the report was the Arab league meeting at Bludan in Syria, in June of 1946, which had passed these resolutions regarding Palestine: 

68 Call to make the boycott of a Jewish state a major issue in all Arab League member States, to make it a part of the "creed of the Arab nations."

70 (12 June 1946), "Boycott of Zionist Goods and Products" (Khalil, 2:162-63) - Boycott program to cover all Arab countries

72 (12 June 1946) Urged each member State to enact legislation which made the sale of land to Zionists a crime

80 (12 June 1946) Created a Higher Arab Executive for Palestine in an effort to unify the various Palestinian factions.

82 (12 June 1946), "The Higher Arab Executive Committee" (Khalil, 2:162) - Establish the body to coordinate efforts with regard to Palestine.

The CIA assessment was shared by the Jewish civilian and military leadership, which issued dire warnings in March and April of 1948.  See: Haganah Intelligence Report Regarding the Situation in Jerusalem  Situation in Jerusalem and Palestine, April 1948 . Contrary to the account of revisionist historians, the outcome of the Israeli War of Independence was by no means certain.

Ami Isseroff

Copyright

The introduction above is copyright 2007-2008 by Ami Isseroff. The text in the scanned pages below was converted from the source at the CIA online Web site.  While the CIA document is in the public domain, this text version is copyright by the author. Please link to this text document and excerpt it. Do not copy it.


Title:

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE (ORE 55)

Abstract:

NARA ;pound; NN3-263-92-005, 24-AUG-92

Pages:

0019

Pub Date:

11/28/1947

Release Date:

9/22/1993

Keywords:

ESTIMATE|PALESTINIAN ESTIMATE|indexf199400566

Case Number:

SC-1999-00005

Copyright:

0

Release Decision:

RIFPUB

Classification:

U

Partition of Palestine: CIA Intelligence Estimate 1947


28 November 1947 Copy No. 35

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE

SUMMARY

Armed hostilities between Jews and Arabs will break out if the UN General Assembly accepts the plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab States as recommended by the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP),

Inflamed by nationalism and religious fervor, Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia as well as Palestine are determined to fight against any force, or combination of forces, which attempts to set up a Jewish state in Palestine. While the governments of the Arab states are not expected to make official declarations of war, they will not attempt to keep their people (especially fanatical tribesmen) from joining the battle, they may even encourage such action and furnish clandestine assistance as well.

In composition. the Arab forces will vary from relatively well controlled quasi-military bands to the loose tribal organization of the nomads. The largest number actively engaged against the Jews at any one time will probably be between 100,000 and 200,000. The Arabs are good guerrilla fighters, and they will be well supplied with small arms and will also undoubtedly obtain same planes and tanks.

The Zionists, for their part, are determined to have a state in Palestine or, in the view of extreme elements, all of Palestine and Transjordan as well. Whatever the UN recommends, they will attempt to establish a Jewish state after the British withdrawal (now set by the British for August 1948). The Jews are expected to be able to mobilize some 200,000 fighters in Palestine, supplemented to a limited extent by volunteers and recruits from abroad. The Jewish armed groups in Palestine are well equipped and well trained in commando tactics. Initially, they will achieve marked success over the Arabs because of superior organization and equipment. As the war of attrition develops, however, the Jewish economy (severely strained by mobilization) will break down; furthermore, the Jews will be unable continuously to protect their extended supply lines and isolated settlements or to plant and cultivate their fields in the face of constant harassing. "hit and run" Arab attacks. Without substantial outside aid in terms of manpower and material, they will be able to hold out no longer than two years.

The US, by supporting partition, has already lost much of its prestige in the Near East. In the event that partition is imposed on Palestine, the resulting conflict will seriously disturb the social, economic, and political stability of the Arab world, and 178 commercial and strategic interests will be dangerously jeopardized. While Irresponsible tribesmen and fanatic Moslems are haphazardly blowing up parts of the oil pipeline; and attacking; occasional Americans, it is possible that the responsible governments will refuse to sign pipeline conventions, oil concessions, civil air agreements, and trade pacts. The various projects which are necessary to raise the standard

Note This paper has been coordinated with the intelligence organisations of the Departments of State, Army, Navy, and Air Forces.

1


of living cannot be carried through without US assistance and guidance. With the US committed to partition, such developments will be shelved indefinitely. The poverty. unrest, and hopelessness upon which Communist propaganda thrives will increase throughout the Arab world. and Soviet agents (some of whom have already been smuggled into Palestine as Jewish DP's) will scatter into the other Arab states and there attempt to organize so-called "democratic movements" such as the one existing today in Greece.

It the UN recommends partition, it will be morally bound to take steps to enforce partition, with the major powers acting as the Instruments of enforcement_ The dangerous potentialities of such a development to US-Arab and US-USSR. relations need no emphasis.

 

 

2


THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE

1. INTRODUCTION.

On I September 1947 the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) completed its report, and a majority of its members recommended partition as the best solution of the Palestine problem. In spite of violent opposition from the Arab states and the possibility that partition would not receive the necessary two-thirds majority in the UNGA, there is no doubt that this type of solution of the Palestine problem has been more seriously studied and more generally accepted than any other. It is important, therefore, to attempt to determine what the consequences of partition will be.

The General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine has presented to the GA a partition plan based on the majority report of UNSCOP. Although no final decisions have yet been reached on implementing and enforcing the eventual UN recommendation, certain basic assumptions can be made. It the UNGA (now debating the partition scheme) accepts by a two-thirds majority partition for Palestine, the following situation will result:

    1. A sovereign Jewish state, comprising a substantial part of the area of Palestine, will be established.
    2. A substantial number of immigrants will be permitted to enter this Jewish state.
    3. The Arabs, not only of Palestine but of all the Near East, will strongly oppose both a and b above, and armed hostilities between Jews and Arabs will take place.
    4. Assistance in the form of men, arms, and supplies will be afforded both the Jews and the Arabs from outside Palestine.
    5. The United Nations will not immediately organize an international police force to keep the peace in Palestine.

On the basis of these assumptions, three questions must be answered:

    1. How will the Arab-Jewish conflict develop, and with what results?
    2. How will the stability of the Middle East be affected?
    3. How will US strategic and commercial interests be affected?

In order to answer these questions, an examination of the political situation resulting from partition and the military developments which may arise from that situation follows.

2. POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES

a. Internal Pressures on Arab Governments, (1) Nationalist Pressure.

Arab nationalism is the strongest political force in the Arab world- it grew up in secret societies under Ottoman rule, came out into the open in the Arab Revolt of World War I, and has been the major factor in the independence movement in the Arab world ever since. The independence of all the Arab states in the Near East throws into high relief the continuing mandatory status of Palestine, Because of the strong ties between the various Arab states, political developments in any one country are of vital concern to Arabs everywhere- Palestinian independence is, consequently,

3


the major aim not only of the Palestinian Arabs but also of Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Transjordanians, Egyptians, and Saudi Arabians. It would be political suicide for any Arab government to ignore this situation.

The signing of the Arab League Pact in March 1945 was a victory for the Arab nationalists in that it hastened the day when they could form their own bloc in relation to the other great powers of the world.

The Arab nationalist movement in Palestine has been as active as in any other Arab country. The uprisings of 1929 and 1936 demonstrated the strength of this movement. A stamp commemorating the signing of the Arab League Pact in 1945 appeared in Egypt showing a cluster of flags of country members, one of which was a white flag Inscribed "Palestine." Palestine has been represented at meetings of the Arab League, first by independent individuals and then by the representatives of the new Arab Higher Committee, formed in 1945. At the conference of the Political Committee of the Arab League in October 1947 it is significant that the Mufti, as Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee. played a leading role. Although the Arab Higher Committee and the Arab League. have differed as to the advisability of testifying before UNSCOP, the members of the League are in complete accord over the injustice of partition to the Palestinian Arabs.

The ultimate aim of Arab nationalism is to preserve and enrich the Arab heritage, while the political aims are the independence of all Arab lands and the establishment of some degree of unity among them. The nationalists regard Palestine as the chief stumbling block to the achievement of their political aims. Despite the fact that Arabs and Jews have lived peaceably side by side, determination to make Palestine an independent Arab country is strong in all of the Arab states, from the more educated and ambitious classes down to the poorest and most politically naive peasants. Arab national fervor is so explosive and pervasive a force that Arab government officials who recognize the political implications involved in flouting a UN decision will nevertheless have to oppose any decision for partition or run the risk of losing face.

(2) Religious Pressure.

The Arab governments are probably as greatly influenced by religious pressures as they are by nationalist pressures. The Arabs are capable of a religious fanaticism which when coupled with political aspirations is an extremely powerful force. Whether or not the Arab governments are capable of guiding this force is difficult to judge. It is very possible that certain religious organizations will take the initiative in organizing Arab resistance in Palestine.

The Ikhwan al Muslimin (Moslem Brotherhood), with headquarters in Egypt, is an organization of young Moslems founded for the purpose of orienting Arab society in accordance with Islamic ideologies. Branches of the Ikhwan have been formed in Syria and Lebanon, and one of the most active branches is in Palestine. The Ikhwan regards Westernization as a dangerous threat to Islam and would oppose any political encroachment of Zionism on Palestine with religious fanaticism, should a "Jihad," or Holy War, be declared, the Ikhwan would be the spearhead of any "crusade." The Grand Mufti, as head of the Moslem Supreme Council, can count on the unanimous

 

4


support of all members of the Ikhwan, who are assured of entrance into Paradise if they die on the field of battle.

(3) Tribal Pressure.

The tribes of the Arab countries are a powerful element in the political and military pattern, of the Middle East. The tribe is a group of related families under the leadership of a chief (sheikh) which may be joined in a confederacy with other tribes under a paramount sheikh. The economic basis of tribal life is pastoral nomadism involving periodic migrations to seek pasturage for camels, sheep, and horses, The nomad (Beduin) population of Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, and Saudi Arabia has been estimated at 2,500,000.

The conditions of Beduin life have developed a hardy type of fighting man, not only imbued with a warlike tradition (combining religious fanaticism with an enthusiastic devotion to looting, plundering, and raiding) but also trained in the use of small arms and the methods of desert warfare.

Large stipends have been paid annually to the tribes of the Near East by whatever power wished to have their support, whether that power was British, French, or the local Arab government. Since the Arab governments now pay the stipends, they could rely on the tribes within their regions. The tribes would doubtless join the crusade, not only for reasons o' Arab patriotism but also for plunder, the assurance of additional stipends, and the thrill of battle. The Syrian Defense Minister stated on 9 October that as the Arabs marched into Palestine they "would be buttressed by 100,000 loot-seeking Beduin described as `mine fodder'."

The dramatic meeting of 500 Kurdish and Arab tribal sheikhs at Hllla in Iraq in October passed a resolution for a Holy War to defend Palestine. Although Prime Minister Saleh Jabr took the initiative in organizing this meeting, it is significant that the Arab and Kurdish leaders (many of whom are hostile to each other) consented to meet and to agree to a common program.

b. Probable Attitudes of Arab Governments.

(1) Toward a Jewish Sate.

The Arabs violently oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine because they believe that Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world. In addition, they fear that the Jews will consolidate their position through unlimited immigration and that they will attempt to expand until they become a threat to the newly won independence of each of the other Arab countries. They believe that not only politically but also culturally the Jewish state threatens the continued development of the Islamic-Arab civilization. For these reasons, the Arab governments will not consider any compromise, and they categorically reject any scheme which would set up a Jewish state in Palestine. The meetings of the Political Committee of the Arab League in Lebanon crystallized this feeling of unanimity. In a note, which represents the views of all the Arab states. the Committee stated, "The Arab governments, themselves, shall not be able to restrain the feelings of their nationals revolting against the oppression falling on them, nor shall they stand with folded arms before a danger threatening all the Arab countries, but rather will they be compelled to take every decisive action which will guarantee resistance to the aggression and the restoration

 

5


of justice." In addition, leaders in all the Arab states have stated their determination to resist.

1. Toward the UN.

The Arab governments are embittered by the UNSCOP majority report, which they feel was not arrived at Impartially. Speeches made before Zionist groups by the Guatemalan member of UNSOOP, following the return of the committee, have convinced the Arabs that certain members of UNSCOP had made up their minds on the question before the committee undertook its task.

However, the Arab governments are reluctant to break with the UN. At the meeting of the Political Committee of the Arab League in Cairo following the formation of UNSCOP, the Arab states were not willing to follow the lead of the Arab Higher Committee in boycotting the hearings. The Arab governments supported the Mufti in refusing to give testimony within the frontiers of Palestine, but they all presented testimony to UNSCOP subsequently in Beirut.

The Arab governments realize the debt they owe to the UN. The raising of the question of the evacuation of foreign troops from Syria and Lebanon in the UN led to a speedy and satisfactory settlement among the French, British, and Levant States. Egypt has had an opportunity to air its views on the evacuation of British troops from Egypt and its claims to the Sudan. The UN has provided a medium for the immediate recognition and participation in world affairs of the young Arab states. Although the Arab states are adamant in their determination to make Palestine an Arab state, they will probably avoid a complete rupture with the UN should partition be imposed.

2. Toward the US and UK.

Since the Balfour Declaration the British have been the target of Arab political feeling in Palestine. The recommendation for the partition of Palestine as contained in the Peel Report of 1937 resulted in serious anti-British demonstrations by the Arabs. After the dissolution of the first Arab higher Committee In 1937, the arrest of Arab political leaders, and the escape of the Mufti and others across the border. the Arabs were convinced that Britain was crushing all hopes of Arab political Independence in Palestine. Although the Arabs welcomed the White Paper of 1939, they have continued to criticize the British for permitting Jewish immigration on a limited scale and for refusing to disarm the Jewish underground. As a result, however, of the UK's announced decision to terminate the mandate and to withdraw both its troops and administration from Palestine and its refusal to implement by force any settlement not acceptable to both the Arabs and the Jews, British prestige in the Arab world has definitely improved.

US prestige, on the other hand, has steadily decreased with each new indication that the US supports the Zionists. The good will enjoyed by the US at the time of the Roosevelt-Ibn Saud Conference and following US hacking of Lebanese and Syrian claims for Independence was short lived as a result of President Truman's support of Jewish immigration to Palestine and the Anglo-American Committee report.

After the publication of the Anglo-American Committee report, Arab popular feeling expressed itself in the bombing of the US Legation at Beirut and In the attempt to burn

 

6


the USIS office in that city. The Arab governments' official attitudes were made known at the Bludan Conference. in which the US bore the brunt of the attacks. British-sponsored newspapers in the Levant States placed the responsibility for the Anglo-American Committee's findings on the US, indicating that the UK members of the Committee could only follow the recommendations of the US members, Gradually, within the last two years. the blame for the Palestine situation has passim from the UK to the US.

Because of long-standing cultural ties between the US and the Arab world, the friendly role that the US played in the achievement of Syrian and Lebanese independence, the partial dependence of certain Arab states on oil royalties from US companies, and the promise of increased royalties In the future, the Arab states would like to maintain friendly relations with the US. The Arab governments realize that without US financial aid and technical assistance, they will be unable to carry through the extensive projects that are needed if the standard of living is to be raised above its present subsistence level. little of this development will be possible, however, if the US supports a Jewish state in Palestine.

c. Probable Actions of Arab Governments-

1. Against Palestine.

In the event of the partition of Palestine, it is unlikely that the Arab governments will openly proclaim war against the Jews. Pressure from the Arab people for an open declaration of war will be strong, but the governments doubtless realize that such a step in defiance of a decision passed by the UN would seriously jeopardize the Arab position in the UN. However, it is probable that large numbers of Arabs from the surrounding countries will join the Arabs residing within Palestine for the war against Zionism. These Arabs will be loosely organized under national leaders and tribal sheikhs. Volunteers will leave the armies, and ammunition and military equipment will find their way from the Arab armies to the resistance movement. The Arab governments though not officially endorsing such action, will doubtless allow it to continue.

2. Against Jews in Arab Lands.

Before the enunciation of the Balfour Declaration is 1917, the Jews in the Near East fared as well as other minority groups throughout the world. Since 1917, however, they have had to bear the brunt of Arab antagonism to the development of political Zionism in Palestine. In the event of partition, the lives of the trillion Jews throughout the Arab world (including Palestine) will be Imperiled. The lower element In the population would look forward to attacks on Jewish quarters because of the excellent opportunity for Iooting----as illustrated at the time of the Baghdad revolt in 1941 when the Jewish quarter was attacked, A representative of the Jewish Agency has stated that in the event of partition the 400,000 Jews in the Arab states outside Palestine may have to be sacrificed in the interest of the Jewish community as a whole.

 

7


3. Against the US and UK.

The Bludan Conference of 1946 established a course of procedure,' to be followed by the Arab states in the event that the recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee should be implemented. Following the publication of the UNSCOP report and the speech of Secretary Marshall before UNCA, the Arab League Political Committee met and decided in general terms to apply the Bludan recommendations if partition were voted by the UN. However, in the discussions on the manner In which these recommendations should be applied, there was considerable disagreement in the Political Committee. Some of the Arab governments refused to consider a break in diplomatic relations with the Western powers, and others refused to cancel oil concessions. Nevertheless., there is complete unanimity among the Arab states as regards aim. They are all unalterably opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Whether or not they now agree on retaliatory measures against the US is beside the point; In time US interests will be seriously affected, if not by the decisions of the Arab governments, certainly by the instability and hostility which will inevitably be aroused in the Arab world.

The bombing of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem on 13 October is evidence of the Arab resentment against US support of the majority plan. This action was reported to have been taken by the newly formed Arab terrorist group which calls itself "the Jihad." Whatever the official position of the Arab governments may be, attacks on US property, installations, and personnel by irresponsible groups or individuals can be expected.

d. Aims of Jewish State.

  1. Consolidation.

    In spite of increasing tension and hostilities between various factions in the Jewish community, it can be expected that all Jewish groups in Palestine will join forces against the Arabs in defense of the newly formed Jewish state. The chief aims of the Jewish government will be organisation of defense and increased immigration.

  2. Territorial Ambitions.

    In the long run no Zionists in Palestine will be satisfied with the territorial arrangements of the partition settlement. Even the more conservative Zionists will hope to obtain the whole of the Nejeb, Western Galilee, the city of Jerusalem, and eventually all of Palestine. The extremists demand not only all of Palestine but Transjordan as well. They have stated that they will refuse to recognize the validity of any Jewish government which will settle for anything less, and will probably under-take aggressive action to achieve their ends.

  3. Soliciting of Foreign Aid.

The Zionists will continue to wage a strong propaganda campaign in the US and in Europe. The "Injustice" of the proposed Jewish boundaries will be exag-


The "secret" procedure decided on is reported to include the following provisions:

  1. Not to give the US and UK or their local communities any new concessions, economic or otherwise.
  2. Not to support US and UK special interests in any educational institution/
  3. To institute a "moral boycott" against the US and UK.
  4. To consider cancellation of any concession in the Arab world
  5. To make a strong case of the Arab cause before the UN.

 

8


gerated, and the demand for more territory will be made as Jewish immigration floods the Jewish sector. In the chaos which will follow the implementation of partition, atrocities will undoubtedly be committed by Arab fanatics; such actions will be given wide publicity and will even be exaggerated by Jewish propaganda. The Arabs will be accused of aggression, whatever the actual circumstances may be. This propaganda campaign will doubtless continue to influence the US public, and the US Government may, consequently, be forced into actions which will further complicate and embitter Its relations with the entire Arab world.

e. Attitude of the USSR.

The USSR's aims in Palestine are: (1) to end the British mandate and bring about the removal of British troops from the area; (2) to keep the situation unsettled; and (3) to take an active part in "maintaining order" in the country. The USSR has been highly successful in carrying out the first two aims— without any effort on its part. The accomplishment of the third aim would give the USSR a base in the heart of the Near East from which to disseminate propaganda, carry on subversive activities, and attempt to organize "democratic movements" in the Arab states.

By first recommending a bi-national state in Palestine, the USSR has made at least a gesture toward the Arabs. By supporting partition, the USSR has set ' itself up as the champion of minorities and has posed as a power attempting to find the "just solution" for Palestine. The USSR could now logically claim that Kurdistan should be set up as a Kurdish state and that Kars Province of Turkey should be joined to Soviet Armenia.

Meanwhile, the USSR has been actively but secretly assisting the Jews. In addition to reports that the USSR is assisting Jewish underground agents in Europe, large ships filled with illegal immigrants have been leaving the Rumanian port of Constanza- The British have watched with suspicion Soviet "lumber ships" leaving the Black Sea for Palestine which, the British claim, are carrying arms below decks to both the Jews and Arabs in Palestine.

In the event of Arab-Jewish hostilities, the USSR will continue to support the Jews and will probably also attempt covertly to aid the Arabs,

I. Effect on US Economic Interests in Near East, (1) oil.

If partition is to be implemented in Palestine, it appears unlikely that the Arab governments will initially cancel existing oil concessions. Such action would have the combined effect of alienating the US and cutting off future oil royalties. The subject of cancellation of oil contracts was discussed at the meeting of the Arab League Political Committee in Aley, Lebanon, in October 1947. The Saudi Arabian delegate, stating that the oil companies were private corporations and did not represent the US Government, opposed the Iraqi delegates stand that the contracts should be cancelled.

However, all oil installations and oil pipelines in the Near East would be endangered. Desert pipelines are vulnerable to attack by small Arab bands. which could cut the lines and disappear before they could be arrested. The Arab governments probably would not support such irresponsible action, but they would not be able to

 

9


stop it. Operations outside the actual oil centers. such as Kirkuk and Dhahran, would be greatly hampered, and the oil companies would be forced to restrict production.

Although existing oil contracts will probably not be cancelled, it is possible that the Arab governments will refuse to enter into any new oil contracts with the US. The Syrian Government, for example, has already postponed ratification of the pipeline agreement with the Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company, Whatever their individual desires may be, pressure from the people as well as from the Arab League as a whole may prevent them from entering into any new concessions.

(2) Commerce.

In the event of partition US trade and commercial relations with the Arab world will be seriously affected. The establishment of an Arab boycott, even though only partially effective, would act as a brake on the slowly but steadily improving commercial relations between the US and the Arab states. Such a boycott would also serve as a bar to American participation in projects for the improvement of living standards, increased production, and expanded irrigation programs, many of which would otherwise include the employment of considerable American materials and technical skills. Even more important, perhaps, would be the general instability in the area. Such instability could be expected to reduce the size of US investments in the area as well as the returns from present or contemplated investments, thereby impairing the dollar-earning capacity of the area and its ability to purchase from the US.

It is unlikely that existing air agreements will be cancelled, but the negotiation of new ones may well be delayed throughout the area. Other countries will be quick to take advantage of the inevitable deterioration of relations between the US and the Arab states.

3. Military Consequences.

a. The Arab Forces.

(1) Character,

The bulk of the Arab forces fighting the Zionists will be semitrained guerrilla groups and loosely organized tribesmen. There are three main sources from which the Arabs can raise men to light in Palestine; (1) Arab quasi-military organizations led by ex-army officers, which will form the core of the guerrillas; (2) soldiers volunteering from the official armies of the Arab states to participate in action against the Jews; and (3) tribesmen, who will probably be the largest source.

(2) Strength.

It is estimated that the largest number of Arabs actively engaged against the Zionists at any one time will be between 100,000 and 200,000, including Palestine Arabs, volunteers, Beduin, and quasi-military organizations from the other Arab states. The armed strength of the Arabs in Palestine itself is estimated at 33,000, most of wham are members of such quasi-military organizations as the Futuwwa. the Najjada, the Arab Youth Organization, and the Ikhwan (Moslem Brotherhood). Moreover, the Ikhwan will send contingents from its Egyptian and Syrian branches, which number 15,000 and 10,000, respectively.

The largest Arab group of potential fighting men is the tribesmen (Beduin) of whom some 30,000 are in the area immediately adjacent to Palestine.

 

10


They are expected to come to the aid of the Palestinian Arabs as soon as hostilities break out, and additional rising may be expected to swell the total Arab force as time goes on. Their service will probably be sporadic; but other tribesmen will replace any who drop out of the fighting so that the total Arab strength will undoubtedly be maintained.

The ground forces of the Arab League states (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan, and Yemen) total about 223,000 men, Including gendarmes, security troops, and police forces. Besides these ground forces, Egypt has a small navy, and several of the states have infant air forces and commercial planes, Although the Arab armies are not expected to be officially committed to the fighting, they will supply leadership to the fighters. These armies may also be asked by the new Arab state to enter Arab Palestine to maintain order.

(3) Materiel.

The Arab governments may be expected covertly to furnish arms and ammunition as well as trained military leadership to the guerrillas. Even before World War II, the Arab states had adequate supplies of weapons suitable for guerrilla fighting, These have been supplemented with arms taken from both Axis and Anglo-American dumps following the campaigns in the Near East and North Africa, and with purchase of materiel and equipment from US and UK surplus stocks, Negotiations for the purchase of Czech arms have been reported, The Arabs will, for the most part, rely on small arms rather than the elaborate mat-6ricl of modern warfare, though they may be expected to make use of armored trucks and tractors for attacking Jewish settlements. It is also probable that some light tanks and a few planes which can be used for strafing and bombing will find their way into Arab hands.

Supply constitutes no serious problem for the Arabs. Each fighter will carry his own equipment and will be supplied with funds for buying food from sympathetic villagers. The tribesmen, in particular, are hardy and well accustomed to bare subsistence rations and life in the open. Since they will be moving toward Palestine through Arab territory, they will have no difficulty gaining access to the water holes.

(4) Incentive.

The chief incentive to many of the leaders of this struggle will be opportunism, coupled with nationalist aspirations and religious fervor. The leaders, in turn, will appeal to the newly awakened nationalism as a strong incentive to many Arabs, particularly the better educated townsmen. Volunteers deserting from the armies of the Arab states probably will not incur the disfavor of their governments, and many will even receive secret encouragement from them. The proclamation of a Jihad will also be employed to secure volunteers although such a proclamation is not expected to kindle a mass uprising. The current drought in the northeastern Arabian desert will make the tribesmen restless, and the promise of loot from Jewish settlements will be attractive to many.

(5) Organization.

The Arab forces are expected to vary from relatively well-controlled quasi-military bands to the loose tribal organization of the Beduin, led by their sheikhs. Singleness of purpose wall be the main unifying force. Extensive guerrilla warfare in Palestine will give great power to opportunistic. aggressive, extreme nationalist leaders.

 

11


who (in some instances) may even take over the governments of their countries, It has recently been reported that a unified command for all Arab guerrilla forces has been established.

(6). Course of Action.

Arab action will be directed not only against the Jews but also against any police force attempting to maintain order in Palestine. Guerrilla action is not anticipated until the final UN decision Is made known. The manner and timing of the British withdrawal will be an important factor in the fighting, which Is expected to increase steadily in intensity after the British withdrawal, eventually taking the form of an undeclared war of attrition against the Jews.

The Arab is a good guerrilla fighter while relatively few Jewish soldiers have had experience in guerrilla tactics. Furthermore, the terrain of Palestine is well suited to the Arab's traditional method of fighting. The quasi-military groups, composed of ex-army men and townspeople, will specialize in direct assaults on Zionist colonies, demolition of bridges and railroads. and other sabotage. The tribesmen will engage in activities not requiring technical training or extensive coordination such as attacks on isolated villages, assassination, continual sniping to prevent cultivation of the fields, and attacks on transportation, communications, and supply lines_ Persistent harassing attacks can be expected in time to wear the Zionist economy to the breaking point.

The Arab intelligence system has always been quick and accurate. The traditional "grapevine" can be supplemented by telecommunications and some aerial reconnaissance. Positions in the highlands will provide good observation posts. Also, since nearly hall the population of the Jewish state proposed by UNSC0P will be Arab, the Arabs will have a ready-made "Fifth Column" in enemy territory.

 

 (7) Sources of Support.

The bulk of support for the Arab cause will come from the member states of the Arab League. Responsibility for financial support for the Arab cause will devolve primarily upon Egypt, and to a lesser extent upon the states receiving oil royalties, particularly Saudi Arabia. Support in the form of arms and men will come from all the Arab countries, but its extent will be conditioned by availability of transportation, particularly from such countries as Yemen and the more distant parts of Saudi Arabia. Aid from other Moslem areas, such as Pakistan and North Africa, is expected to be limited in quantity and to consist chiefly of money and moral support. Although the USSR has advocated the adoption of the majority report of UNSCOP with certain modifications, the Soviets will probably give covert aid to the Arabs as well as to the Jews in an effort to create chaos in the Near East. The Arabs will, of course, appeal to world opinion, but more for non-interference or for diplomatic support than for armed assistance.

b. The Jewish Forces.

(1) Character and Composition.

Although it has been estimated that Jewish and Arab forces will be almost equal numerically, the Arabs will have large numbers of replacements while

 

12


 the Jews will have no reinforcements -unless they can facilitate additional emigration from Europe or obtain volunteers from the United States. The Jews will be well equipped, but It is doubtful whether the amount of ammunition they have on hand will be sufficient for a long campaign.

The Jewish forces in Palestine are composed of three organizations: (1) Hagana, the Zionist army; (2) Irgun Zvai Leumi (IZL) ; and (3) the Stem Gang. The three groups differ in their tactics and in the degree of ruthlessness employed in their operations, Hagana being the most sensitive to world opinion- IZL and the Stern Gang are illegal terrorist groups engaging In sabotage and assassination.

Hagana is sponsored by the Jewish Agency. The original and largest group, it is left of center in political sympathy. Because of its defensive work, its restraint, and its non-extremist intentions, Hagana is supported by a majority of the Jewish community of Palestine and by most Zionists. It has become primarily an instrument for the advancement of Zionism and would be a ready-made army for a Jewish state in Palestine.

It is estimated that in the event of hostilities Hagana could mobilize about 200,000 men and women with some combat or supply experience. At present Hagana is believed to have approximately 70,000 to 90,000 members organized into territorial commands under a central headquarters and consisting of three branches: (1) the static force; (2) the field army; and (3) the Palmach or storm trooper unit, The static force consists of settlers and townspeople based at Jewish settlements as a sort of home guard. The field army consists of about 16,000 troops trained in mobile operations. The Palmach is composed of approximately 5,000 permanently mobilized troops trained in commando tactics and supplied with, their own transportation. It includes a smaller group known as Palyam or Palteck, a kind of coast guard trained especially to assist Illegal immigrants arriving by ship.

Social and economic pressure has, in effect, made it compulsory for all able-bodied Jewish men and women in Palestine to serve one year in some armed organization. Thus, a year's term of enlistment is prerequisite to enrollment in Hebrew University. Hagana is well financed by a semilegal tax imposed upon the settlements by the Jewish Agency, by subscriptions, and by contributions from Jews in other countries. The organization also has European branches.

It has been estimated that enough modern weapons are available to arm up to 200,000 members of Hagana. There are also sufficient automatic weapons for each squad of Palmach, as well as some mortars. Hagana has been procuring arms over a period of years, many from the residue of the campaigns in the Near East and others smuggled in from abroad.

The effectiveness and timing of Hagana's diversionary attacks designed to aid illegal immigration are proof that it possesses an excellent intelligence system and that it maintains a high standard of security. "The Voice of Israel," a clandestine radio, is one of its chief mediums for disseminating propaganda,

The Irgun Zvai Leumi is estimated to have a strength of from 6,000 to 8.000 members. It is organized on a regional basis similar to that of Hagana but is cellular in character. It employs sabotage and terrorism as the "only effective" means of attaining its ultimate objective of an independent state in Palestine and Transjordan.

 

13


IZL, is rightist in political sympathy. It has foreign branches and in-creases its Palestinian membership with illegal immigrants, apparently being more interested in securing new recruits with military abilities than in funding a home for less fortunate "displaced" Jews. IZL members are well armed and trained in sabotage, particularly in the use of explosives. It has been reported, but not confirmed, that IZL and the Stern Gang have sufficient armor plate for transforming 500 to 600 tractors into improvised light tanks and for converting an unestimated number of automobiles into armored cars. IZL is believed to cooperate closely with the Stern Gang. and the two organizations are known to have conducted operations jointly. The infrequency of tactical errors in IZL's operations indicates that the organization has an excellent intelligence system with very tight security. It has its own clandestine radio station known as the "Voice of Fighting Zion."

The Stern Gang consists of from 400 to 500 extreme fanatics. They do not hesitate to assassinate government officials and police officers or to obtain funds by acts of violence against Jews as well as others_ Like IZL, they are well supplied with small arms, and the security of the group is excellent as its organization is limited to cells of three.

The founders of the Stern Gang were formerly members of IZL_ How-ever, when IZL restrained its activities against the British during the early days of World War II, the most extreme section of its membership formed a more terroristic body called FFI (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) but more commonly known as the Stern Gang. The political connections of the organization are paradoxical and appear to be the result of opportunism born of necessity. Recent reports confirm the fact that the Stem Gang has connections with the USSR, which is furnishing it with money. The organization has stated that it considers a turn towards Soviet Russia necessary because of the present world situation. It explains that the USSR and the Stern Gang both desire the creation of a "strong and independent Palestine" which would constitute a rampart against British "imperialist designs" but would "not be hostile" to the Soviet Union.

(2) Course of Action.

In the face of an Arab attack, the three Jewish armed groups will be forced to unite. Members of IZL and the Stern Gang will probably be assimilated into Iiagana, which is already established along military tines and coi.ld readily absorb the other two groups into its commando units. Initially, the Jews will gain marked success over the Arabs because of superior organization and equipment, but the Jews will be unable to stand up under the long war of attrition which will develop. ,

The Jewish sections of a Palestine partitioned in accordance with the UNSCGP majority report will be vulnerable to attack by the Arabs. The northeast sector is entirely surrounded by Arabs: Palestinian on the south and west, Lebanese and Syrian on the north, and Transjordanian on the east. The central Jewish sector is flanged on the east by the central Arab sector, while the southern Jewish sector is surrounded by Palestinian Arabs on the west and north, Transjordanian on the east, and Egyptian on the south The Arab sectors contain the strategic highlands of Galilee and those surrounding the proposed international zone of Jerusalem.

 

14


Two major difficulties facing the Jews will be the large numbers of Arabs within Jewish territory (in the northeast Jewish sector, for instance, there are some 72,700 Arabs as opposed to 44,700 Jews) and the extreme vulnerability of outlying Jewish settlements and supply routes to Arab attack. The Jews will be forced to expend a large proportion of their forces in static defense of isolated villages and colonies, or organize many mobile units in key locations so that settlements under attack can be aided quickly, furthermore, many units will have to be used to convoy supply caravans. The establishment of strong defensive positions, within which normal economic life can be maintained, and the protection of transportation routes will be the main strategy of the Jewish forces. The Zionist colonies are estimated to have sufficient stores of food for a month's supply. Owing to the fact that many agricultural laborers will be engaged in combat and that Arab attacks will prevent cultivation of the fields, the Jews will have difficulty in producing food. Moreover, mobilization over a long period of time will so strain the manpower of the Jewish community that its economy will collapse unless large numbers of immigrants and substantial material assistance are supplied from abroad,

The Jews may be expected to employ small-scale, commando-type offensive operations against Arab concentrations if they are able to locate them, or attempts may be made to pursue retreating Arab raiders. Large-scale Jewish efforts to penetrate territory adjoining the contemplated Jewish state are unlikely because such actions would necessitate over-extending the already vulnerable supply lines and would entail the risk of combined rear, frontal, and flanking attacks by Arabs.

It is a distinct strategic advantage to the Jews that the important port of Haifa and the smaller port of Tel Aviv are included In the Jewish sectors, since any assistance to the Jews in the event of open conflict will come from the west.* It is expected, however, that, all cities will be centers of heavy fighting.

c. European Support for Jewish Forces.

There is already In existence a well organized system for transporting Jewish DP's from Eastern Europe southward, particularly through the Balkans, to Palestine. In the event of an Arab-Jewish conflict, this system would be employed to furnish man-power to the Jewish forces in Palestine.

Jewish immigrants from Poland, the Soviet Zone of Germany, Hungary, and the Balkans are gathered together in Austria, Italy, and Germany for transportation to Palestine. It has been estimated that about 1,800 Jews cross into Austria every month, In Italy, Hagana is reportedly operating a secret immigration service for the estimated 30,000 Jewish refugees registered there- Both the Rumanian and Bulgarian Govern-merits are helping Jews reach Black Sea ports in order to board ships which attempt to run the blockade into Palestine.

There has been some evidence that European agents of IZI, and the Stern Gang have been trained and are assisted by the USSR, The Jews will doubtless continue to solicit aid from the-USSR, but in the event of a Jewish-Arab war, it is unlikely that either side would receive overt material aid from the USSR or its satellites, with the


9 The predominantly Arab port of Jaffa, although allocated to the Arab state by UNSCOP. is cut off from the Arab hinterland and thus will not be immediately useful to the Arab forces in the event of war.

 

15


exception of Czechoslovakia. France and Belgium, as well as Czechoslovakia, are thought to be likely sources of arms and ammunition for the Jewish forces. There have been unconfirmed reports of smuggling from France, Belgium, and Luxembourg for Jewish terrorist groups in Palestine. The Czechs are reported willing to sell arms to the Arabs; they would also be willing to supply arms to the Jews. if the transaction were financially advantageous. No estimate can be made of the amount and types of weapons which would be supplied.

d. Support Obtainable in the US.

No information is available upon which to base an estimate of the specific number of volunteers or the amount of funds and supplies to be made available to Jewish armed forces from US sources.

The Zionist movement is very strong in the US, but every organization claiming to represent all American Jewry does not in fact do so, and many Zionist organizations, while supporting the objectives of a National Home for Jews, do not advocate an independent Jewish nation in Palestine. The American Jewish Conference, the Jewish Congress, the New Zionist Organization, and the American League for a Free Palestine are among the leading groups Interested In the political aspects of Zionism which may be expected to support Jewish forces, The principal non-Jewish bodies espousing the Zionist cause are the American Palestine Committee, headed by Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York, the Christian Council on Palestine, and the Political Action Committee for Palestine, Inc. The last-named organization has recently expended approximately $80,000 for purely military supplies. Because it is illegal to supply arms from the US to Jewish groups in Palestine, figures arc difficult to obtain, although part of most Zionist funds collected is probably allotted to the purchase of military supplies.

While no authentic figures are available, it is estimated that support of Jewish armed forces by US private organizations will be on the order of, or somewhat greater than, similar support by US citizens of Government forces In the Spanish Civil War.

4. CONCLUSIONS.

If the UNGA accepts partition as the best solution of the Palestine problem, it is almost certain that armed hostilities will result in Palestine; that the social, economic, and political stability of the Arab world will be seriously disturbed; and that US commercial and strategic interests in the Near East will be dangerously jeopardized. Although the UNGA Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine is now considering establishing a Commission responsible to the Security Council to oversee the implementation of partition. it is unlikely that any sizable international police force will initially be available to the Commission. It is highly probable, therefore, that Jewish and Arab forces will clash over the attempt of the Jews to establish a Jewish state.

Into this struggle between the Jews and Arabs of Palestine, the people of the Arab states will inevitably be drawn. Although most of the Arab governments will be reluctant to act In opposition to a UNGA decision and against the wishes of the major powers, nationalist, religious, and tribal pressures will compel them to support unofficially the Palestine Arabs, Inevitably the extremists, the chauvinists, will increase their influence at the expense of those statesmen in the Arab world who believe that the development of their countries depends on the maintenance of close ties with the

 

16


US and the UK. While irresponsible tribesmen and fanatic Moslems are haphazardly blowing up parts of the pipelines and attacking occasional Americans, it is possible that the responsible governments will refuse to sign pipeline conventions, oil concessions, civil air agreements, and trade pacts. The various projects which are necessary to raise the standard of living cannot be carried through without US assistance and guidance. With the US committed to partition, such developments will be shelved indefinitely. The poverty, unrest, and hopelessness upon which Communist propaganda thrives will increase throughout the Arab world, and Soviet agents (already being smuggled into Palestine as Jewish DP's) will scatter into the other Arab states and there attempt to organize so-called "democratic movements" such as the one existing today in Greece.

In the meantime, the war in Palestine, barring international armed intervention, will Increase in intensity. The Jewish forces will initially have the advantage. However, as the Arabs gradually coordinate their war effort, the Jews will be forced to with-draw from isolated positions, and having been drawn into a war of attrition, will gradually be defeated. Unless they are able to obtain significant outside aid in terms of manpower and materiel, the Jews will be able to hold out no longer than two years.

The UN, having recommended partition, would have to consider the serious threat to the peace resulting from the recommendation- It would, in effect, be compelled to take steps to enforce partition. with the major powers acting as the instruments of enforcement. The dangerous potentialities of such a development to US-Arab and US-USSR relations need no emphasis.

 

17


 

This document is at Zionism and Israel Information Center - Historical Documents and References

General History of Zionism - Zionism and the Creation of Israel


External Links

We are not responsible for information at external sites.

Please do copy these links, and tell your friends about  Zionism and Israel Information Center

Thank you.

Sister sites: Zionism and Israel Pages Zionism and Israel On the Web Brave Zionism

Web Logs at Zionism On the Web: ZOTW's Blogs
ZNN - Zionism News Network - News and Views about Zionism, Israel and Antisemitism - serving a network of Zionist Web sites.

Friends and informative sites:

Zionism - Definition and Brief History

Labor Zionism

Active Zionism - A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Peace with Realism

HSJE-Historical Society of Jews from Egypt

La Bibliothèque Proche Orientale- Le Grand Mufti Husseini

The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini

TheMiddleEastNow - Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Zionism, News and Views

Israel-Palestina - (Dutch) Middle East Conflict, Israel, Palestine, Zionism.... Dutch and English.

Israel Council for Peace and Security (also at Israel Council for Peace and Security)

Look Israel

MidEastWeb- Middle East

Israeli Palestinian Conflict - History

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Peace with Realism

Boycott Israel?

Boycott Israel?

What is Zionism?  Chicago Peace Now on Zionism.
Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism

Zionism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zionism at Jewish Virtual Library 

Six Day War (UK)
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Christians Standing With Israel

 What is Zionism?- ADL on Zionism

 

 

ZioNation - Zionism-Israel Web Log    Zionism & Israel News  Israel: like this, as if History of Zionism Zionism FAQ Zionism Israel Center Maps of Israel Jew Israel Advocacy  Zionism and its Impact Israel Christian Zionism

CIA 1967 SIX DAY WAR ESTIMATE