What was the status of relations between Israel and the Arab countries after the 1948 war?
For Israel, the Armistice Agreements of 1949 were the end of the War of Independence. However, the Arab belligerants view was that a state of war continued and the armistice was just a truce, with no recognition of Israel’s right to exist and no peace. Before 1948 they were determined to prevent any Zionist state from coming into being. After it happened — referred to as al-Nakba (the catastrophe) by Arabs, the destruction of Israel became their fundamental policy.
The Arab states, through their organization the Arab League, established a complete economic boycott of Israel. Furthermore, they threatened Israel's potential trading partners with exclusion from Arab markets. Egypt took direct action with a blockade of the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran to cargo in or out of Israel on vessels of any country. Because of the closing of the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, on August 9, 1949, the UN upheld Israel's complaint that Egypt was illegally blocking the canal. UN negotiator Ralph Bunche declared:
- There should be free movement for legitimate shipping and no vestiges of the wartime blockade should be allowed to remain, as they are inconsistent with both the letter and the spirit of the armistice agreements.
- The arab people will not be embarrassed to declare: We shall not be satisfied except by the final obliteration of Israel from the map of the middle east (Al-Misri, April 12, 1954)