The 1948 Arab–Israeli War or the First Arab–Israeli War was fought between the State of Israel and a military coalition of Arab states and Palestinian Arab forces. This war formed the second stage of the 1948 Palestine war, known in Arabic as al-Nakba (Arabic: النكبة‎, "The Catastrophe") and in Hebrew as the Milkhemet Ha'atzma'ut (Hebrew: מלחמת העצמאות‎, "War of Independence") or Milkhemet Hashikhrur (Hebrew: מלחמת השחרור‎ "War of Liberation").

 

There had been tension and conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, and between each of them and the British forces, ever since the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1920 creation of the British Mandate of Palestine. British policies dissatisfied both Arabs and Jews. The Arabs' opposition developed into the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. The Jewish resistance developed into the Jewish insurgency in Palestine (1944-1947), These ongoing tensions erupted on 30 November 1947 into civil war between the Arab and Jewish populations in response to the UN Partition Plan to divide Palestine into three areas: an Arab state, a Jewish state and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.

 

On 15 May 1948 the ongoing civil war transformed into an inter-state conflict between Israel and the Arab states. A combined invasion by Egypt, Jordan and Syria, together with expeditionary forces from Iraq, entered Palestine - Jordan having declared privately to Yishuv emissaries on May 2 it would abide by a decision not to attack the Jewish state. The invading forces took control of the Arab areas and immediately attacked Israeli forces and several Jewish settlements. The 10 months of fighting, interrupted by several truce periods, took place mostly on the former territory of the British Mandate and for a short time also in the Sinai Peninsula and southern Lebanon.

 

As a result of the war the State of Israel retained the area that the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 had recommended for the proposed Jewish state and also took control of almost 60% of the area allocated for the proposed Arab state, including the Jaffa, Lydda and Ramle area, Galilee, some parts of the Negev, a wide strip along the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem road, West Jerusalem, and some territories in the West Bank. Transjordan took control of the remainder of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Egyptian military took control of the Gaza Strip. No Arab Palestinian state was created. In 1949 all the belligerents - except the Iraqis and the Palestinians - signed the 1949 Armistice Agreements.

 

The conflict triggered important demographic changes in the area and through the Middle East. Around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the area that became Israel and they became Palestinian refugees. The war and the creation of Israel also triggered the Jewish exodus from Arab lands. In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews residing elsewhere in the Middle East fled or were expelled from their countries, with many of those Jewish refugees migrating to Israel.