Quelques éléments intéressants:
"This Arab optimism about winning the battle politically was not
entirely groundless. Britain and the United States had vital though conflictiog economic interests in the Middle East, including oil reserves, and both were concerned with the strategic danger of Soviet penetration and of anti-Western popular movements in the region.
To same extent, therefore, both powers were dependent on the good will and support of the Arabs and thus unlikely to take steps that would unduly antagonize them. In the historic UN debate on the UNSCOP recommendations, Arab counterproposals were rejected by only avery narrow margin. The Syrian proposal to refer the Palestine issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague was defeated
by a single vote (twenty-one against twenty). The Arab proposal that all cauntries contribute to the alleviation of the plight of Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust by absorbing them "in proportion to their area and economic resources and other relevant factors" was not carried because of a tie of sixteen for and sixteen against, with twenty-five abstentions."
"That Ben-Gurion's ultimate aim was to evacuate as much of the
Arab population as possible from the Jewish state can hardly be
doubted, if only from the variety of means he employed to achieve this purpose: an economic war aimed at destroying Arab transport, commerce, and the supply of foods and raw materials to the urban population; psychological warfare, ranging from "friendly warnings" to outright intimidation and exploitation of panic caused by dissident underground terrorism; and finally, and most decisively, the destruction of whole villages and the eviction of their inhabitants by the army."
"The military campaign against the Arabs, including the "conquest and destruction of the rural areas," was set forth in the Haganah's Plan Dalet, which was mentioned in the opening chapter. Plan D, formulated and put into operation in March 1948, went into effect "officially" only on May 14, when the state was declared. The tenets of the plan were clear and unequivocal: The Haganah must carry out "activities against enemy settlements which are situated within or near to our Haganah installations, with the aim of preventing their use by active [Arab] armed forces." These activities included the destruction of villages, the destruction of the armed enemy, and, in case of opposition during searches, the expulsion of the population to :
points outside the borders of the state."
"Here it is logical to ask why the Americans, who were the
prime supporters of partition only three months before, sought to retreat on the eve of its implementation. Why did the United States suddendly have second thoughts about a proposal adopted by the UN General Assembly with its own backing, and that of the USSR? Was it revulsion at the prospect of war?"
"The Americans knew that British power was waning, not only in
Palestine but also in Egypt, and hoped to fill the developing void
themselves. Though backward and corrupt, the Arab regimes were still largely pro-Western. As Christopher Sykes has written: "There was great British fear, largely shared by Americans, that a victory of Zionism would mean a Soviet victory in the East."
"This support for Israeli statehood was hardly the result of a radical change in the Soviets' attitude toward Zionism, which they continued to regard as a tool of British and American imperialism and a false solution to the Jewish problem. World War 2, however, had created a situation in which Soviet and Zionist interest converged."
"By the end of April 1948 the partition of Palestine had become
more or less a fait accompli. After defeating the various Palestinian fighting units, Jewish forces controlled most of the areas assigned to the Jewish state by the United Nations (except for the Negev), and some areas that were not. The People's Administration, the provisional cabinet established by Ben-Gurion immediately following the US truce proposaIs, had assumed government responsibility in all
Jewish areas and to some extent in Jerusalem. The Yishuv, exhilarated by the Haganah's successes in the civil war against the Palestinians, awaited the transformation of the People's Administration into a provisional government. From this perspective, a truce was unthinkable; it would no doubt have meant allowing most Arab refugees to return to their homes and perhaps forcing the Haganah and the dissident underground organizations, Irgun and LEHI, to retreat from areas intended for the Arab state. Everything seemed to argue for the immediate declaration of statehood."
"In fact, the superiority of the Jews over both the Palestinian Arabs and the invading Arab armies was never in dispute. As Winston Churchill told the British cabinet du ring World War 2, "In the event of a conflict, not only can the Jews defend themselves, but they will defeat the Palestinian Arabs." Both Arab and Jewish military experts, it appears, held similar opinions, as did numerous foreign observers.
On the Arab side, for example, Ismail Safwat of Iraq, chairman of
the Arab League's technical military committee, reported to the
league's council in October 1947 that the Jews enjoyed a decisive military advantage over the local Palestinian Arab population, with the potential number of Jewish soldiers standing at fifty thousand to seventy thousand, not including possible reinforcements in manpower and equipment from overseas. He noted that 42 percent of the Jewish population was of military age, as against 28.5 percent of the Palestinians."
"At about the same time, the American ambassador in Cairo
reported: " Arab morale almost totally collapsed in Palestine. Depression and frustration rampant in most countries as a result of (a) Jewish military successes everywhere, (b) ineptness of Arab military leaders,
(c) failure of Arab League and member states, notwithstanding endless conferences, to agree on concerted program and unified
command, (d) failure to acquire arms abroad. Informed circles inclined to agree that Arabs would now welcome almost any face-saving device if it would prevent open war. Might even accept de facto partition through acquiescence to march of Abdallah troops to ]ewish-Arab frontier. Also feared that Arab armies will probably be soundly defeated by Jews" (emphasis added)."
"The [israeli] Foreign Ministry goes on to suggest the "resettlement" of 305,000 refugees from the
rural sector: 160,000 in Iraq (the Habaniah project), 85,000 in Syria
(the Jazira project), 50,000 in Transjordan (the Yarmuk project), and 5,000 each in AIgeria and Lebanon. Refugees from the urban sector, it claimed, would have no difficulty integrating into the Arab world because of their high level of skills and education, and would, in fact, be a blessing for the underdeveloped Arab countries."
"The Arabs were more flexible regarding refugees from the areas designated for the Jewish state. While insisting that such refugees had the right to return, they agreed that those who did not wish to return should be awarded equitable financial compensation and be allowed to settle in the Arab countries. Those who wanted to return and were not allowed to do so by Israel should receive temtorial compensation.
Thus Israel was offered a choice between repatriation of the refugees to their own homes and villages or territorial concessions from the area assigned to the Jewish state by partition, which meant, in effect, a smaller Jewish state. Israel, on the other hand, dec]ared itself ready to absorb 100,000 refugees in exchange for Arab recognition of the armistice lines as final borders. Moreover, Israel offered to absorb the 200,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip provided that territory was included within the Jewish state."