Israel Chronology - From Partition Resolution to pre-Six Day War

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Israel and Zionism - Timeline from Partition Resolution to pre-Six Day War


Nov. 29, 1947

UN Partition Resolution (GA 181) - Palestine was to be divided into a Jewish State and an Arab State; Jerusalem was to be internationalized. The resolution is supported by both the US and USSR. Arab countries and Arab league refuse to recognize the resolution.
Dec. 1, 1947 Arab riots in Jerusalem. Beginning of Arab blockade of Jerusalem. The period to May 1948 was characterized by numerous skirmishes, road ambushes, riots, bombings and massacres, whether organized by one of the other sides or spontaneous. The Haifa riots and massacres were typical.
January 1948 Arab Salvation Army (also called Arab Liberation Army - ALA)  are admitted to Palestine by the British, following a promise not to attack Jewish settlements. Their leader, Fawzi Al-Kaukji may have entered Palestine only in March. Jewish Agency concludes arms deal with Czechoslovakia, but most arms do not arrive until June 1948, after the British have left. The UN, including the US, had placed an arms embargo on Palestine. This did not apply to Arab countries including Transjordan. As independent states, they were allowed to acquire arms. The Jordan Legion received a steady supply of arms from Britain through the Suez Canal, at least until May 1948,  including a large number of 25 pounder cannon at the beginning of 1948. Hagana agents purchased 20 Auster light aircraft in Britain, sold for scrap, rebuilt them and brought them to Palestine for use of the Haganah. Haganah later rebuilt Spitfires left by the mandate for scrap as well, but did not have real fighter and bomber aircraft until May 1948  when Czech Messerschmitts (or Avia-199) and B-17s purchased clandestinely were brought into the country.
Jan 16, 1948 Convoy of 35 - Jewish convoy to Gush Etzion, near Jerusalem,  ambushed, 35 underground members massacred.
Mar. 1948 Provisional Jewish government formed in Tel-Aviv. Convoy to Gush Etzion ambushed in Nebi Daniel. Arabs begin to flee Haifa.
April 6-8, 1948 Arab blockade of Jerusalem is broken temporarily by operation Nachshon. Death of Abd-El-Qader Al-Husseini at Kastel - The foremost Palestinian military leader is shot by a Jewish sentry when he wanders into Jewish held Kastel in the Jerusalem corridor thinking it is in Arab hands.
April 9, 1948 Deir Yassin Massacre - Jewish dissident underground groups - Irgun and Lehi, invade Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Over 100 Palestinian Arab civilians and 4 attackers are killed.
April 13, 1948 Hadassah Convoy Massacre - In retaliation for Deir Yassin, Arabs killed about 80 Jewish medical personnel and sick persons on their way to Hadassah hospital.
April 13-20, 1948 Operation Har'el launched by Hagannah at conclusion of Operation Nachshon, does not succeed in opening the road to Jerusalem. Road closed April 20 when Latrun is taken by Palestinian irregulars. 
April 1948 Arab flight from Haifa continues; Arab flight from Jaffa.
April 22-31 1948 Operation Misparayim launched by Hagannah to assume control of Haifa after British withdrawal and attacks by Arab forces and Irgun.
May 12, 1948 Haganah captures Tsfat (Safed). Arab population flees the city before it is captured.
May 13, 1948 Jaffa surrenders to Haganah.
May 13, 1948 Kfar Etzion Massacre - In retaliation for Deir Yassin Massacre, Arabs killed about 128 Jewish defenders at Kfar Etzion, after they had surrendered.
May 14, 1948 Remaining kibbutzim of Gush Etzion surrender. British High Commissioner Cunningham leaves Palestine. State of Israel declared on Friday May 14, in advance of the Sabbath. recognized immediately by USA and on May 17 by USSR.
May 15, 1948 Israel War of Independence (1948 War). Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia declared war on Israel. Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian invasion began.
May 17, 1948 Haganah captures Acco (Acre). Most of the Arab population flees the city before it is captured.
May 18, 1948 Syrian army captures Massada and Merom Hagolan.
May 28, 1948 Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem falls to the Jordan Legion. The inhabitants were protected from the wrath of a lynch mob by the Legion under Abdullah Tell, and noncombatants were expelled to West Jerusalem. About 300 Haganah defenders were taken prisoner and sent to Jordan. The entire quarter including 58 of the 59 synagogues was demolished by the Arab mob despite efforts of the Legion.
June 11, 1948 First truce begins, lasting until 8 July.
June 23, 1948 Irgun’s Altalena ship brings weapons and 940 immigrants to Palestine. The arms shipment was a violation of UN embargo, but Israel government agreed to it, provided the Irgun handed over the weapons to IDF and formed a unified force. Irgun Commander Menahem Begin refused to hand over weapons and Irgun insisted on keeping a portion of the arms for its own use as a separate force. Palmach units of IDF under Yigal Allon attempted to capture weapons by force, killing 14 Irgun men. Yizhak Rabin, in command of shore batteries in Tel-Aviv, was ordered to fire upon and sink the Altalena after it attempted a landing there. According to some reports, factions of the Irgun (Etzel) were planning a coup with the arms.
June, 28, 1948 Count Folke Bernadotte's first peace plan - Jerusalem to be Arab.
July 08, 1948 Egyptian army breaks truce, due to end July 9. Attacks from neighborhood of Majdal (Ashdod). Israeli counterattack at Faluja was unsuccessful. This phase of the war is known as "the ten days," and included Mivtza Dani - the Israeli conquest of Lydda (Lod) and Ramla, breaking the Arab siege of Jerusalem, and creating thousands of refugees, as well as advances in the north. During this time Israel had acquired three B-17s and some Dakotas. One of the B-17s succeeded in dropping some bombs on Cairo on its way to delivery in Israel, others bombed Damascus and Rafa.
 July 10, 1948 Arab League announced the establishment of a temporary Palestinian civilian administration over Arab held-areas of Palestine, but it was never implemented.
July 12, 1948 Egyptians attack Kibbutz Negba with armor and massive troop concentrations. Israelis suffer 5 dead, 16 wounded, Egyptian casualties 200- 300 dead and wounded.
July 19, 1948 Second truce in Israeli-Arab war.
Sept 17, 1948 Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, a UN mediator, was assassinated in Jerusalem, and Lehi members were suspected. The Israel government outlawed the organization's branch in Jerusalem and shut down its publication, Hamivrak. The leaders of Lehi, Natan Yellin-Mor and Mattityahu Shmuelevitz, were sentenced to long jail terms by a military court, but were released in a general amnesty. Bernadotte, who had been instrumental in saving about 21,000 Jews in WW II, was proposing to "relieve" Israel of the Negev and force return of the Palestinian refugees. The latter proposal was adopted in UN General Assembly Resolution 194. 
Sept 22, 1948 Palestinian States created - AHC communiqué announces the establishment of the Government of All Palestine (APG; Hukumat 'Umum Filastin); Declaration of Independence  proclaimed by Hajj Amin Al Husseini to Palestine National Council in Gaza (30 Sept-1Oct) on 1Oct, with Hajj Amin as President of the PNC, Ahmad Hilmi ‘Abd al-Baqi as PM, Jamal al-Husayni as Foreign Minister, in the Mandate territory of Palestine, with the flag of the 1916 Arab Revolt. Jerusalem as capital, Gaza as seat of government. Recognized and sponsored by Egypt and Arab League, who sought to forestall ‘Abdullah’s plan to annex West Bank; strongly opposed by Jordan, who organized a much larger rival Palestinian Congress in Amman on 30 Sept to support Jordan’s policy in Palestine. APG issued Palestinian passports; but with Egyptian disillusionment, HQ transferred to Cairo in Oct, Hajj Amin was confined to Cairo and his actions curtailed; many leading members left to work for Amman. Ahmad Hilmi continued to represent Palestine in the League until his death in September 63.
Oct. 15, 1948 Second truce ends; Israeli offensive breaks Egyptian siege of Israeli settlements in the Negev (operation Yoav). Beersheva is taken. In the north, operation Hiram defeats the Arab Liberation army.
Dec. 11, 1948 UN Resolution 194 called for cessation of hostilities, return of refugees who wish to live in peace. The resolution reflected UN and US anger over the assassination of Count Bernadotte.
Dec. 1948 Israelis advance into Egypt; Nokrashy Pasha, Egyptian PM, assassinated.
Dec 19, 1948- Jan 7, 49 Israeli Operation Horev conquers Gaza and enters Sinai. Intervention by British and US forces Israel to withdraw. Israel shot down several British reconnaissance planes, apparently unarmed (four Spitfires and one Tempest) January 7, 1949.
March 7-10, 1949 Operation Uvda - IDF captures southern Negev including Eilat with no resistance.
Feb-Jun, 1949 Israel and Arab states agree to armistice in separate agreements.  Israel-Egypt Israel -Lebanon Israel-Jordan  Israel-Syria) Israel gained about 50% more territory than was originally allotted to it by the UN Partition Plan. The war created about 726,000 Palestinian Arab refugees who fled or were evicted from Jewish held areas. Gaza fell under the jurisdiction of Egypt. The West Bank of the Jordan was occupied by Jordan and later annexed, consistent with secret agreements with the Jewish leadership made before the outbreak of hostilities.
April 27 – Sept 1949 Lausanne conference - Abortive Israel Arab Truce Negotiations. Minor achievements - working recognition of Israel by Arab States who attended the conference, and acceptance of UN Resolutions by both sides. However no substantive agreements were reached.
Apr. 1950 De Jure British recognition to Israel and Greater Jordan (including West Bank).
1950 Law of Return passed. Massive immigration to Israel in 1949-1951 and imposition of rationing program. Rationing lasted until 1959. Immigration curtailed because of extreme economic problems.
July, 1951 Assassination of Jordan's King Abdulla because of rumored plans for peace with Israel. His grandson Hussein was crowned in his place following the brief reign of Tallal.
1951-1958 Israel drains the Huleh valley swamps to eradicate malaria and reclaim the land.
Jam. 18, 1953 Beginning of anti-Zionist stance in USSR. Moscow accuses "Zionist agents" of murdering Zhdanov and attempting to murder other Soviet leaders.
July 12, 1953 Shishakly becomes President of Syria.
Sept. 7, 1954 Ben-Gurion resigns as Israeli PM, succeeded by Moshe Sharett.
October 1953 IDF paratrooper unit 101 under Ariel Sharon  killed 69 civilians and destroyed a great deal of property in a raid on the Jordanian village of Qibieh. The raid was a reprisal for a raid on Tirat Yehuda.
July 1954 The Lavon Affair: Israeli government spies, seemingly without PM Sharett’s knowledge, attempt to sabotage British & US property in Egypt to put blame on Egyptian terrorists, thus driving a wedge between Britain and Egypt, and postponing British evacuation of the Suez. The plan’s failure leads to the fragmentation of Mapai’s leadership, with recurring crises of mutual recrimination over the next decade. Ben Gurion insisted on a full investigation of the affair but was rebuffed by Lavon partisans. Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon resigns in Feb 1955.  Egypt retaliated against Egyptian Jews, some of whom were involved in the plot.
Oct 19, 1954 Anglo-Egyptian evacuation agreement signed (troops guarding canal to leave).
Jan. 27, 1955 Military court in Cairo sentences 2 members of Israeli spy ring to death They are executed Jan 27.
Feb, 1955 Pinhas Lavon resigns as Israel defense minister and is replaced by David Ben-Gurion;
1955 Continuous incidents between Egypt and Israel/Syria, primarily in Gaza DMZ. Operation Black Arrow (Hetz Shahor) launched by Israel in Feb 1955, following Egyptian incursions, killed 38 Egyptians, resulted in a major embarrassment for Egypt and caused Nasser to rethink his strategy with Israel.
Sept 27, 1955 Egyptian-Czech arms deal. Secret clause requires Egypt to get financing of Aswan dam from USSR.
Nov. 2, 1955 Ben-Gurion  replaces Moshe Sharett as Israeli PM.
Dec 11, 1955 Israel launched an attack on Syria following firing on a police patrol boat possibly sent as a deliberate provocation. (operation Olive Leaves), condemned in SCR111, 19 Jan 56,
April 5 1956 Increased tension between Israel & Egypt-Syria. IDF claimed 180 attacks on Israel from Gaza in past four months. Three Israelis killed April 4 when Egyptians opened fire on an Israeli patrol. Israel responded, and an artillery duel culminated in an Israeli artillery barrage at centre of Gaza City (4-5Apr) that killed 59, wounds about 100, mostly civilians. Egypt responded with increased commando raids, sending hundreds of fedayeen across the border in separate raids and killing 12 Israelis. Temporarily calmed through offices of UNS-G.
June 1956 Moshe Sharett   resigns as Israeli FM ( dies.1965); Golda Meir takes over; Last British troops leave Suez Canal base on June 13.
July 26, 1956 The US withdraws funding from the Aswan dam, USSR steps in. In response, Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal Company (26 Jul), to opposition of British (lease due to terminate in 1968). Is unanimously supported in this by the Arab League (Aug), though Iraqi leaders secretly call on the British to topple Nasser; imposition of martial law in Iraq. Britain, France and USA announce financial retaliation.
Aug. 16, 1956 London Conference on Suez Canal boycotted by Egypt.
Sept 10, 1956 Egypt rejects 18 nation proposals for Suez Canal.
Sept 19, 1956 Second London conference on Suez.
Sept. 23, 1956 Britain and France refer Suez dispute to UN Security Council.
Oct. 29, 1956

Suez Campaign. In retaliation for a series of escalating border raids as well as the closure of the straits of Tiran and Suez canal to Israeli shipping, and to prevent Egyptian use of newly acquired Soviet arms in a war, Israel invades the Sinai peninsula and occupies it for several months, with French and British collaboration. French and British were interested in reversing the nationalization of the canal. Israel withdraws after a UN peace keeping force is placed in Sinai, and US guarantees right of passage for Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran. Suez Canal reopened March 23, 1957.

1957 Fatah founded (informally) with the aim of destroying Israel. Formal establishment about 1964.
1957 (?) Construction of Israel nuclear breeder reactor using French technology begins in Dimona some time in the latter part of the 1950s. The French later tried to stop the program, but backed down when Israeli FM Peres said Israel would make the deal public. Reactor was discovered by the US in U-2 flights in 1960.
Oct. 23, 1958 Soviet loan to Egypt to finance Aswan Dam.
Nov 18, 1959 Israel abandons earlier Jordan river diversion scheme, begins work on the National Water Carrier Project,  to divert the waters of the River Jordan from the Sea of Galilee to the Negev, taking its share of  Jordan water in accordance with Johnston plan.
1959(?) Yasser Arafat, Khalil al Wazir and others found the Palestine Liberation Committee, soon renamed "Fatah" (Conquest). The organization was to be modeled on the Algerian FLN.
1960 Israeli Agents capture Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and abduct him to Israel. Eichmann had ordered the deaths of millions of Jews as well as Romany people and other minorities.
1961 Eichmann trial is televised and seen around the world. Eichmann was executed in June, 1962.
24 June, 1963 Ben-Gurion resigns as Israeli PM, because of his frustration at being unable to get justice in the Lavon Affair.
 Jan 13-17 1964 First Arab summit at Cairo (ie. heads of State, instigated by Nasser), prompted by Israel’s Jordan diversion scheme and Palestinian agitation against it.  Arabs declare their intentions of stopping the Israeli diversion scheme, which is in accordance with the Johnston plan, and decided on establishment of the PLO. A Unified Arab Command under Egyptian supervision was created. This summit and the one that followed in September caused considerable alarm in Israel, and is cited by Avi Shlaim (The Iron Wall) as the actual beginning of the 6 day war.
May, 1964 PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) founded with the aim of destroying Israel. The Palestinian National Charter (1968) officially called for liquidation of Israel. PLO was founded by Egypt to divert Palestinian energies from the nascent Fatah movement of Yasser Arafat, which had become anti-Nasserist.
Sept 13, 1964 Arab Summit at Alexandria- decides on diversion of the headwaters of the Jordan as well as strengthening regional Arab armies. Arabs declare the aim of destroying Israel. Israel addressed two notes to the UN Security Council, concerning the alarming nature of the summit resolutions to destroy Israel.
Sept. 18. 1965 Third Arab Summit at Casablanca. Conference draws up staged plan for combating Israel, first building up armed forces of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon over 2.5-3 yrs & refraining from war with Israel; then proceeding to war.
Nov 13, 1966 Samu'  raid: Israeli troops kill 15 Jordanian soldiers and 3 civilians, & dynamite 125 houses, in an attack on the frontier village of Samu‘ near Hebron; in response to the death of 3 Israeli soldiers by a road mine. Israel is censured by SCR228 (25 Nov 66), but there is no military response by Jordan. This leads to recriminations in the Israeli government, which had intended a smaller scale raid, and  Palestinian anger & clashes with Jordanian security forces throughout West Bank, especially in Nablus where the army had to intervene. The PLO gains support.
May, 1967 Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser closes the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and dismisses UN peacekeeping force. Negotiations with US to reopen the Straits of Tiran fail.

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