International: On the Eve?

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

If the Jews succeeded in building up a solid coastal fortress, they would then have to make a major strategic decision. Should they lash out at the main center of Arab strength in the hills north of Jerusalem, trying to destroy the Arab armies (which could be steadily reinforced from neighboring Arab states)? Or should the Jews take up a defensive posture on the coast and in Jerusalem, facing endless guerrilla attacks? The Jews' better organization, discipline and tactics had paid off in the early days of the battle for Palestine. But in the long run they knew they could hold on only if the Arabs wearied of fighting or started quarreling among themselves.

"When We Have Won ..." Last week there were no signs of either. Jewish successes had consolidated the Arabs as never before. In anger and wounded pride Arabs cried out against their leaders. The prestige of Haj Amin el Husseini, ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, sagged lower & lower. The Arab League was under pressure to act quickly. Said the Cairo daily Al Balagh: "We can no longer suffer one catastrophe after another. Zionism in Palestine means that no Arabs will be left . . ."

Last week Arab leaders flew to Amman, capital of Trans-Jordan, to talk to the one man most Arabs thought could save Palestine for them. King Abdullah said that he would lead his Arab Legion (10,000 men) and Syrian and Lebanese armies into Palestine by May 1. Said Jamal el Husseini, No. 2 man to Abdullah's old rival, the Mufti: "When we have won, the Legion will return across the border. Then we will hold a plebiscite to determine who will govern the new Palestine." Other Arabs were not so sure that, once he had taken all or part of Palestine, Abdullah would give it up. In their extremity, they were willing to take that chance.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page