During the war for Israel's independence, many Jewish villages were destroyed, synagogues and cemeteries desecrated, and fields and buildings burned. The Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem was besieged, and kept without food or water, and eventually the Jordanians expelled the Jews from the Old City.(1)
The gray area on the inset marks the Old City. The Jordanians took over East Jerusalem and a large portion of land on the west bank of the Jordan River, thereby narrowing Israel, seen here in blue, to approximately nine miles at its narrowest point. Egyptian troops overran the Gaza strip in the west as well as the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. Despite tremendous losses, the new Jewish state survived.
In 1949 Israel signed armistice agreements with Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Transjordan,(2) which in April 1949 changed its name to Jordan.(3) One of the major consequences of this was Jordan's annexation of Judea and Samaria. This annexation was not recognized by the international community, with the exception of Britain and Pakistan.(4) This territory became a launching ground for constant terrorist attacks against Israel's civilian population. (5)
1. For a vivid description of the battle for Jerusalem, see Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, O Jerusalem! (London Pan Books, 1972).
2. For the text of the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement of Feb. 24, 1949, see Moore, op. cit., pp. 948-957. See also the Israel-Lebanon Armistice Agreement of March 23, 1949, 43 U.N.T.S. 287-298 (1949); Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement of April 3, 1949, 42 U.N.T.S. 303-320 (1949); Israel-Syria Armistice Agreement, July 20, 1949, 42 U.N.T.S. 327-340 (1949).
3. The Middle East and North Africa 7982-83 (London: Europa Publications, 1982), p. 512.
4. Anne Sinai and Allen Pollack (eds.), The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the West Bank (New York, 1977), p. 27.
5. For details, see Sachar, History of Israel, pp. 443-445.