That is when Israel declared independence?

Were the Jews hungry for land and started kicking Arabs out, or did the Arabs attack first, or is it sort of a mixed bag?

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    Such questions are impossible to answer. Especially in Middle East.
    – quant_dev
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 20:57
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    @quant_dev: I can't agree; this question isn't impossible to answer at all. Broader causes are often hard to pin down, but this question doesn't require them - it's asking specifically about the 1948 war, which is a pretty clear case.
    – Tynam
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


In 1948, the Arabs attacked first. A few hours after Israel became an independent country, most of the Arab countries of the region invaded.

But that's just the 1948 answer.

Local Arab and Jewish militia forces had been clashing for years. A few months earlier (in 1947) bombings and shootings had increased to the level of a civil war. Jews were being driven out of their homes throughout the Arab world, then the Arabs were fleeing their homes in Israel during the '48 war. Whose fault it all was depends entirely on who you ask.

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    "Whose fault it all was" boils down heavily to Britain, whose selfish and clumsy missteps in the region did a lot to finish the previous many-centuries of Muslim/Jewish coexistence.
    – Tynam
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 10:17
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    I think this answer would be much better if it included sources and a timeline. And who are the Arabs? And why starting at the precise moment when Israel declared independence (though that may be the fault of the question to begin with)?
    – Olivier
    Commented May 2, 2014 at 9:43
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    by the time of declaration of the state of Israel, Zionist forces were already occupying/conquering parts of the UN proposed partition Arab state. The slide into civil war and various actions in 1948 any statement that action X started the war is pretty contestable.
    – pugsville
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 5:50
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    @pugsville, post that as an answer along with some sources and I'll upvote it.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 6:04
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    Yeah someday when I've got a lot of time. 1948 is more complex than the Arabs just attacked, and the lumping all the Arab states and the locals together into "the Arabs" is too simplistic. The various Arab states had their own agendas, divergent form the local Palestinians interests, Jordan essential war aim was to annex the proposed Arab partition state rather than invade Israel.
    – pugsville
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 6:37

As the comments say you should separate Arab countries from local Palestinians.

We also need to decide on a date, since again like the comments mention a conflict existed between Jews and local Palestinians long before that. The end of the British Mandate in Palestine on 14 May 1948 marks the beginning of modern independent Israel.

Benny Morris and a group of Israeli historians wrote one of the most comprehensive books on this war called the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem containing a huge number of documents testimonies and interviews (and later the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem revisited with more declassified documents)

There is no free preview of the book, but here's some quotes from related articles:

Survival of the Fittest, Benny Morris.

From the moment the Yishuv [pre-1948 Jewish community in Palestine] was attacked by the Palestinians and afterward by the Arab states

A War In Two Phases

the War of Establishment (milhemet hakomemiyut) -- was to have two distinct stages: a civil war, beginning on Nov. 30, 1947 and ending on May 14, 1948, and a conventional war, beginning when the armies of the surrounding Arab states invaded Palestine on May 15 and ending in 1949.

They argue about the consequences of the war or what did the Arab nations meant by attacking but Their conclusion about "who attacked first" seems simple- the Arabs nations.

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