Arabs Block Food Convoy to Jerusalem

April 1, 1948

Nine Jews are killed and 17 others are wounded in an unsuccessful attempt to move a 60-truck convoy of food and other supplies to Jerusalem through Wadi Sarrar, even though Haganah patrols meant to clear the route reportedly killed 28 Arab fighters. It is the convoy’s second failed attempt to bring supplies to the besieged city.

Heavy fighting breaks out in the city. Explosions are heard throughout the day, particularly around the Haganah-held Yemin Moshe neighborhood, where about 2,000 Arabs are prepared to attack. The assault is canceled only after a last-minute British threat of military intervention.

After U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 was passed Nov. 29, 1947, sectarian violence broke out across Palestine. The roads to Jerusalem saw some of the heaviest fighting before and during Israel’s War of Independence.

In March, according to police statistics, 566 people were killed, 352 were seriously wounded, and 686 were slightly wounded across Mandatory Palestine. About an equal number of Jews and Arabs died, along with 18 British soldiers and police officers. One of the worst pre-independence attacks occurs April 13, when 79 people, mostly doctors and nurses, are killed in the Arab ambush of a medical convoy bound for Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus.

The hilly terrain and fortifications such as Latrun complicate Jewish attempts to relieve the siege of Jerusalem. Yitzhak Rabin leads a successful convoy into the city April 17, but it is not until June that Jerusalem receives regular supplies along the Burma Road, a makeshift bypass through the hills built under the supervision of American-born Army officer David “Mickey” Marcus.