The Arab Legion and the 1948 War: The Conduct of 'Collusion' - British Library Research Repository
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The Arab Legion and the 1948 War: The Conduct of 'Collusion'

1 August 2015


The partition of Palestine and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War proved to be one of the defining moments of the twentieth century and its continued contemporary resonance has helped maintain a lively historiography. One of the key contentions remains the question of ‘collusion’ between the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan and the Zionists, with the approval of Britain, to partition Palestine in contravention of the UN partition plan. Based on unprecedented access to the unofficial archive of the strongest of the Arab armies—Transjordan’s Arab Legion—this article seeks to further the debate by examining the conduct of the Arab Legion, during the first half of 1948. This new material has enabled a more thorough assessment of the Arab Legion’s aims and actions than ever before. In so doing, this article dampens the revisionist notion of a firm or even tacit Hashemite–Zionist agreement, but nonetheless supports the revisionist argument that negotiations between the parties helped to shape the 1948 war. It reveals that the Arab Legion was used to establish Hashemite–Zionist partition by occupying the Arab areas of Palestine when the mandate ended and acquiescing in the establishment of Israel. Moreover, this article illustrates a significant nuance, concerning the intense fighting that took place, particularly in Jerusalem, after the end of the mandate, differentiating between the influence of King Abdullah of Transjordan and the British commander of his army, Glubb Pasha, in dictating the Arab Legion’s conduct.


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