How did Arabs within the British Mandate territory react?
After the UN resolution of Nov. 29, 1947, to partition the country into Jewish and Arab states with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum, Palestinian Arabs (including veterans of the 1936-9 disturbances, members of Arab youth organizations, and police) initiated hostilities against the Jewish population. They were soon joined by volunteers from neighboring Arab states. Jewish forces were organized mostly in the Haganah (underground militia) with a fulltime component of about 4,000, mostly members of the Palmah.
The early Arab attacks resembled the Arab Revolt of 1936-9, with attacks on villages and terrorism in the cities. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, the deeply anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator, stated:
- I declare a holy war, my muslim brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!
Muhamed Nimer Al Hawari described the Arab leaders’ ruthless incitement of the Arabs in Jaffa in December 1947:
- … Jaffa was boiling: every second that passed you heard a new rumour, and after every minute the imaginary tales and lies became bigger, finally, they were accepted as definite truth by the public. When the sun was setting down, many of the Mufti henchmen patrolled the streets in private and lorry cars, calling upon the people: oh! people, oh! men, oh! heros; Help … Help . . . , stop the Jewish attack! They have attacked your brothers in the Manshiya; they pillaged their properties; burned their holdings and raped their women and girls. They have committed awful acts of horror and brutality against your brothers!! In but a few minutes Jaffa’s inhabitants were incited and agitated shouted and fired in the air:–On Them! On Them! On Tel-Aviv, the town of the wicked … Groups and individuals, they marched on and among them, behind them or in front of them, went the Mufti henchmen belittling the Jewish strength…
One result of the Arab attacks on the State of Israel and its Jewish population was the flight of Arabs from thier homes in Israel. Even though they were encouraged to stayby the new Israeli government, and those who did remain became citizens, many fled at theurging of their Arab leaders who expected a quick victory over the Jews. The issue ofthe “refugees” is discussedin complete detail on this page of Palestine Facts.