Armistice Agreements End the War of Independence

The armistice negotiations were held on the Greek island of Rhodes, beginning on 13 Jan 1949, and continuing until 24 Feb 1949. Further separate talks took place with Jordan. Iraq refused to participate relying on the absence of a common border between Iraq and Israel. Egypt agreed to an armistice on 24 Feb 1949, followed by Lebanon on 23 Mar 1949, Jordan on 3 Apr 1949, and Syria on 20 Jul 1949.  Although Iraq and Saudi Arabia declared war on the Israel, they failed to enter armistice agreements.  Neither the four Arab countries which entered Armistice agreements, nor Iraq and Saudi Arabia would recognize the State of Israel.Agreement with Egypt – 24 Feb 1949;

Modus Vivendi – 22 Feb 1950
Map 1 – Ascalon
Map 2 – Khan Yunis

Agreement with Lebanon – 23 Mar 1949

Armistice line based on border of Palestine Mandate

Agreement with Jordan –  3 Apr 1949

Map 1 – North
Map 2 – South
Map – Jerusalem

Agreement with Syria – 20 Jul 1949

Map – Houle

Analyses of the armistice agreements:

  • Shabtai Rosenne, Israel’s Armistice Agreements with the Arab States (1951)
  • David Brook, Preface to Peace: The United Nations and the Arab-Israeli Armistice System, pp. 16–26 (1964)
  • Higgins, United Nations Peacekeeping, Vol. 1, pp. 32–52 (1969–81)

Security Council Call for Armistice

The UN Security Council, in S. Res. 62 (16 Nov. 1948), called for the establishment of an armistice between the warring parties, as a next step in the transition from the then existing truce.  The Council based the Resolution’s call for negotiating an armistice on article 40 of the UN Charter.

Arab States Declare War Against New State of Israel

Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq invade the newly founded state, intent on its destruction.  Fighting continues into the first months of 1949, punctuated by two truces, the first lasting from June 11 to July 8, 1948, and the second from July 18 to October 15, 1948.

Declaration Establishing State of Israel

The Provisional State Council assembled in one of Tel-Aviv’s oldest buildings and declared the establishment of the State of Israel. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, delivered the declaration. As explained on the website of the Israeli Knesset,

“The proclamation may be divided into four sections: the section that describes the history of the Jewish people, its struggle to renew its political life and the international recognition of this right; the operative section, that proclaims the establishment of the state; the section that declares the principles which will guide the State of Israel; and the appeal to the U.N., the Arab inhabitants of the state, the Arab states and world Jewry.

Even though the proclamation is neither a law nor an ordinary legal document, it has legal validity, and its first and third sections were made use of by the [Israel] Supreme Court for the purpose of normative interpretation.

The second section is the primary source of authority in the Israeli legal system. Some were inclined to view the Proclamation of Independence, and especially its declaratory section, as a constitution, but the Supreme Court stated, in a series of decisions, that the proclamation does not have constitutional validity, and that it is not a supreme law which may be used to invalidate laws and regulations that contradict it.”

[Official English translation]

Hebrew Scroll of the Declaration




UN Partition Resolution

Following on the British determination to end the Palestine Mandate, and the deliberation of the UN Special Committee on Palestine, the UN General Assembly [G.A. Resolution 181 (II)]  recommends partitioning of the Mandate into separate Jewish and Arab States, with Jerusalem to be placed under an international regime.  The resolution requested that the Security Council act on the recommendation, but no action was taken.  Although the Jews accepted the proposal, it was rejected by the Arabs.  Fighting among the local population remains prevalent through the founding of the State of Israel.

Map of Proposed Partition