HAIFA (Jul. 23)
The primary factors in the Arab League’s acceptance of the Palestine truce were the rapidly deteriorating Arab military position and the growing political suspicion and disunity within the ‘Arab League, observers here believe.
The Arab states which bitterly invaded Palestine two months ago, expecting to destroy the new state of Israel within a matter of weeks, learned too late that they did not have what it takes to win even a small-scale modern war. They produced a sequence of pointless engagements which at no time were aimed at effective over-all strategy. The Arabs could have fought a guerrilla-like war of attrition and hurt Israel badly. Instead, they chose to slug it out with man who had fought in Worth Africa, Italy and Europe, and knew all the tricks of war.
The Jews had obtained sizeable quantities of supplies, especially artillery pieces. For instance, before May 15 when the British Mandate ended, the Jews had four artillery pieces in all Palestine. Except for the fighting around Latrun, the Jews used these to train gun-crews. “When they received field pieces, they had men ready to use them effectively.
The crowning blow to the Arabs was the ease with which Israeli forces took Ramleh and Lydda from the Arab Legion and pushed the Arabs around at Nazareth. These defeats were not mentioned in the tightly controlled Arab press and radio, but government and military leaders knew the scope of the impending disaster.
The Legion’s defeat was a psychological blow to the Arabs, Syria, Iraq, the Lebanon and Egypt, all militarily weak, had counted on coasting into Palestine in the wake of Arab Legion victories. They were ill-prepared for war; their armies were virtually non-existent.
The Legion was, apparently, a magnificent fighting unit, but it, too, was short of supplies. According to British reports from Palestine when the Legion broke at Remleh, it had sufficient ammunition to continue fighting for only one hour. That defeats repercussions were responsible for the reports of the resignation of Brigadier John Bagot Glubb Pasha.
SYRIAN ARMY SUPPLIES LOW; IRAQI SUPPLY AND TRANSPORT SYSTEM DISORGANIZED
Similarly Syria, with the largest proportion of her army of 7,000 (and 2,000 crack desert guards who normally control the restive tribes committed inside Palestine, was getting nowhere. In the first two days after the first truce was accepted, the Syrian army may have had only three weeks’ reserve supplies of ammunition left. Syrian agents had tried unsuccessfully to purchase German material from Turkey. Syria had no hard currency to use in the European market.
Iraqi’s transport and supply system was chaotically disorganized. The Lebanon had assumed the burden of supporting irregulars under Fawzi El Kaukuji, but her hard currency was also limited. Some supplies came from France, but in very small amounts.
Information about the Egyptian army is scanty, but its past victories have generally been of the communique variety except for sporadic clashes at isolated settlements. It seems significant, however, that only two weeks ago the Egyptians were outspoken leaders of those Arabs who wanted to continue fighting in Palestine. But Egypt’s Premier introduced the motion to accept the truce at the Arab League meeting and was the first to vote in its favor. It would seem that Egypt too has felt the war drain.