*Arab Armies Converge On Palestine
May 2, 1948
The Palm Beach Post
Jerusalem (AP) - The regular armies of the Arab nations of the Middle East invaded Palestine Saturday striking in the north and south with troops and armored forces, Jewish and Arab sources said.
These accounts said Syria, Lebanon and Egypt sent powerful military formations sweeping across the border at dawn Saturday 15 days before the termination of the British mandate over the Holy Land.
Saudi Arabia, Trans-Jordan and Iraq were reported ordering troops to the battle zone or completing final preparations for the drive against the Jews.
Tel Aviv headquarters of Haganah, the Jewish militia, said tanks and armored cars of the Syrian and Lebanese armies crossed the border and engaged Jewish outposts at the settlements of Dafne, Ramot Naftall and Dan in Palestine's northern extremity. Jews in Haifa gave a similar account of the operations taking place in Upper Galilee.
Later reports said the settlement of Lahovoth Habashan also was attacked.
There was no indication last night whether the four villages had been able to beat off the assaults. Dan is built on the ruins of a Biblical city, has a population of 200 while approximately 300 Jews live in Dafne. Military authorities said all British troops withdrew from the area four days ago.
A Damascus dispatch said the Syrian army apparently threw half its entire strength into the invasion. The big Syrian camp at Katana was almost completely emptied by a lightning military movement. A few days ago 6,000 regulars and a few hundred volunteers were based there. Residents of the area said the troops and guns had "gone to Palestine."
Sources in Cairo who wished to be described as unofficial said the Egyptian army struck across the southern Palestine border into the desert at Friday midnight.
While the invasion reports were without official confirmation, the feeling was evident in Cairo and other cities that something was in the air.
Arab dispatches to Damascus said King Abdulla of Trans-Jordan had ordered the simultaneous invasion of the Holy land by the armies of the six Arab countries.
(The British government has said repeatedly it will resist any invasion while it holds the mandate, and thus holds responsibility for the Holy Land. A foreign office spokesman in London said Saturday the British were standing pat on that position.)
The invasion accounts came as thousands of Arab refugees streamed out of Jerusalem and Jaffa. In both cities the Jews have scored marked military gains.
Jaffa, an Arab port, was completely surrounded and its defense lines pierced. The British by guns and negotiations have prevented the city from falling to the Jews. An estimated 30,000 of Jaffa's 70,000 civilian residents have left the city by sea and road during the past two weeks.
Units of Haganah have won the first round in the battle for Jerusalem that opened Friday. The Jews have gained commanding positions in the Katamon district in the southern part of the city.
Fighting continued in Jerusalem where 100,000 Christians of Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Syrian and Armenian churches prepared for their observance of Easter today.
In the late afternoon Arab men, women and children streamed into roads leading to Jericho, Bethlehem and the North. The crash of mortar and rocket bombs and the sputter of gunfire echoed over the city.
The Arabs prepared for another attempt to drive the Jews from the Katamon district. Arab volunteers from Syria and Iraq, identified by their decorations, moved into positions for a counter attack.
The Palm Beach Post