What happened at Lod and Ramle in July 1948?
Israelis March from Lod to Ramle, 1948
In 1947-1948 the area near the small cities of Lod (the Hebrew name, also called Lydda, its Greek name) and Ramle (also spelled Ramla) was a stronghold of Arabs, hostile to the creation of Israel. On November 30, 1947 a Jewish bus was ambushed near Lod. The airport at Lod (later expanded to become today’s Ben Gurion International) was so exposed, that in December 1947 the few planes belonging to Jewish forces were moved during Operation Tzipora from Lod to Sde Dov, north of Tel Aviv. On December 14, 1947, the Arab fighters in Ramla attacked a nearby police facility and stole 400 rifles, 8 Sten sub-machine guns and 60,000 rounds of ammunition. In early 1948, a group of Arabs infiltrated Lod Airport and destroyed a small plane and caused other damage.
In 1948, July 9 through 18 was the period between the first and second truce of Israel's War of Independence. One of the main efforts of Israel's newly formed IDF was against the Arab Legion in the area between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The aim of this operation, called Operation Danny (Mivtza Dani in Hebrew), was to relieve the continuing siege of Jerusalem and remove the threat to Tel Aviv. The first phase plan was to occupy the areas of Lod and Ramle, held by the Arab Legion, along the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem corridor. The second phase objective was the capture of Latrun and Ramallah which would open the western approaches to Jerusalem. From the IDF history of Operation Danny:
- The operation was to be carried out under Palmach command, utilizing a task force comprised of the Yiftach Brigade, the new 8th Armored Brigade ( made up of a tank battalion, a commando battalion of jeeps and half-tracks), and two battalions from the Kiryati and Alexandroni Brigades, as well as additional artillery and engineering units. Two forces struck in a pincer movement, one advancing towards Lod and Ramle from the northwest, the other from the southwest. During this advance, a small force detached itself to capture al-Safiriyya and then pushed on to capture the Lod airport... On July 12, Kiryati units took Ramle, which surrendered after a brief engagement.
- On July 12, 1948 the Palmach went house to house and killed, raped and tortured 250 Arab men, women, children and babies in Lydda ...