Upon Britain’s 1947 announcement to quit governing Palestine, communal violence between Jews and Arabs flared again. Following the UN majority vote to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, hostilities dramatically escalated. When the British left in May 1948 and Israel declared independence, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon failed to prevent Israel’s creation. Earlier Arab states’ rejection of two states and the war’s outcome had gripping consequences: the dream of creating a Jewish state was realized; no Arab or Palestinian state came into being; Israel increased its size by nearly 37% above what had been allocated to it; Jordan held the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem including the Old City; and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. Some 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were displaced as a result of the war, and more than 800,000 Jews from Arab lands left and most came to Israel over the next five years as anti-Jewish sentiment soared. No treaties were signed ending the war.
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