The End of Arab Tiberias: The Arabs of Tiberias and the Battle for the City in 1948

Tiberias was unique among Palestinian mixed cities for its unusually harmonious Arab-Jewish relations, even during periods of extreme tension like the 1936–39 Arab Revolt. Yet within hours of a brief battle in mid-April 1948, the town's entire Arab population was removed, mostly across the Transjordanian border, making Tiberias a wholly Jewish town overnight. In exploring how this took place, this article focuses on the Arab community's rigid social structure; the leadership's policy of safeguarding intercommunal relations at all costs, heightening local unpreparedness and isolating the town from the rest of Arab Palestine; the growing involvement of the local Jewish community with the Haganah's plans; and the British authorities' virtual abdication of responsibility as they began withdrawing their troops in the last month of the Mandate and as Plan Dalet was launched, engulfing the country in all-out war.

Mustafa Abbasi is a lecturer at Tel Hai Academic College, Upper Galilee, Israel. He is the author of Safad during the Mandate Period: A Social and Political Study (Institute for Palestine Studies, 2005, in Arabic).

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