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December 1, 1947 – NBC News Of The World – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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December 1, 1947 – The Middle East was the focus of attention this day. The situation in Jerusalem had gone from tense to explosive overnight and was only the beginning of things to come.
In the aftermath of the adoption of Resolution 181 by the United Nations General Assembly recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan of Partition, the manifestations of joy of the Jewish community were counterbalanced by protests by Arabs throughout the country and after 1 December, the Arab Higher Committee enacted a general strike that lasted three days.
A ‘wind of violence’ rapidly took hold of the country, foreboding civil war between the two communities. Murders, reprisals, and counter-reprisals came fast on each other’s heels, resulting in dozens of victims killed on both sides in the process. The impasse persisted as British forces did not intervene to put a stop to the escalating cycles of violence.
The first casualties after the adoption of Resolution 181(II) by the General Assembly were passengers on a Jewish bus driving on the Coastal Plain near Kfar Sirkin on 30 November. An eight-man gang from Jaffa ambushed the bus killing five and wounding others. Half an hour later they ambushed a second bus, southbound from Hadera, killing two more. Arab snipers attacked Jewish buses in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Irgun and Lehi (the latter also known as the Stern Gang) followed their strategy of placing bombs in crowded markets and bus-stops. As on 30 December, in Haifa, when members of Irgun, threw two bombs at a crowd of Arab workers who were queueing in front of a refinery, killing 6 of them and injuring 42. An angry crowd massacred 39 Jewish people in revenge, until British soldiers reestablished calm. In reprisals, some soldiers from the strike force, Palmach and the Carmeli brigade, attacked the village of Balad ash-Sheikh and Hawassa. According to different historians, this attack led to between 21 and 70 deaths.
According to Benny Morris, much of the fighting in the first months of the war took place in and on the edges of the main towns, and was initiated by the Arabs. It included Arab snipers firing at Jewish houses, pedestrians, and traffic, as well as planting bombs and mines along urban and rural paths and roads.
In all the mixed zones where both communities lived, particularly Jerusalem and Haifa, increasingly violent attacks, riots, reprisals and counter-reprisals followed each other. Isolated shootings evolved into all-out battles. Attacks against traffic, for instance, turned into ambushes as one bloody attack led to another.
And there was other news – In France, strikes were spreading all over the country, brought largely about by the French Communist Party. On this day, the government had enough and was in the process of arresting, breaking up and dismantling the pockets of Communist agitators around the country.
And so much more was going on, this rather turbulent December 1, 1947 as reported by NBC Radio’s News Of The World program.