The capture of Jerusalem. 1948
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The Occupation of Jerusalem. Chronology of 1948

Beginning in February 1948, Arab militias blocked the corridor from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Jewish population. This blockade was broken in mid-April of the same year by Jewish militias who carried out the Nahshon and Maccabi operations.

Truckloads of Jews driving along the "Derech Burma", 1948
Truckloads of Jews driving along the “Derech Burma”, 1948

After Israel’s declaration of independence, the neighboring Arab states launched an invasion. Despite the fact that according to the plan for the partition of Palestine, Jerusalem was to become a corpus separatum to be administered by an international body, but…

On May 15, 1948, Jerusalem was attacked by Transjordan. They bombarded the city from the eastern hills and entered the Old City in four days. The Haganah detachment defending the Jewish Quarter could not cope with the superior forces of the enemy.

Jewish Quarter

On May 28, 1948, the defenders of the Jewish Quarter surrendered to the Arab Legion, leading to a mass evacuation of all surviving Jewish residents.

The capture of Jerusalem. 1948

By May, only about 2,000 civilians remained in the Jewish quarter. As a result of the attack, more than 600 Jews (almost half) were killed. Jews were denied access to the Old City and forbidden to visit the Western Wall and other holy sites.

Thousands of tombstones on the Mount of Olives were destroyed in order to build a road, fences and toilets for military bases of the Jordanian army.

Nearly all of the 35 synagogues in the Old City were destroyed. Those that were not completely destroyed were used as chicken coops and stables filled with manure, garbage and dead bodies.

Muslim citizens of Israel were not allowed to visit holy sites in East Jerusalem. Christians were also discriminated against.

Major Abdullah el-Tell
Major Abdullah el-Tell, commander of the 6th Battalion of the Arab Legion

Then, in his memoirs, Major Abdullah el-Tell, commander of the 6th Battalion of the Arab Legion, explained the consequences of the victory:

Al-Quds was cleansed of Jews, and for the first time in 1,000 years there was not a single Jew left“.

“I saw in this defeat of the Jews the heaviest blow inflicted on them, especially morally, as they were expelled from the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter for the first time in fifteen generations”.

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