Tri City Herald - May 14, 1948

Dewitt Mackenzie

Lack of Statesmanship Cause Of Arab-Jewish War

This tragic Arab-Jewish war, which has been allowed to develop through the failure of world statesmanship to carry out its stewardship, poses many speculative problems for those trying to foresee the outcome.

Barring success in the new mediation which the United Nations is undertaking, the conflict bids fair in the long run to produce a decision in the old feud between these two races. At worst it could be fought to a bloody finish which would leave the defeated side knocked out and the victor in possession of the entire Holy Land.

However, while we must be prepared for the worst -- and even for the terrors of a Holy War--I don't think we need to regard this as inevitable, the way the signs now read. There area several other possibilities, among which are these:

1. The extent of the invasion of Palestine by the troops of neighboring Arab nations is by no means certain. The Arabs are not a wholly united race. There are many acute differences among the various nations, and some of the greatest clashes revolve about the reported ambitions of King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan to extend his domain and power. This being so, there is always the possibility that the joint invasion might peter out, especially since the Jews have the biggest active army in the Middle East.

2. Some observers feel that there is a chance King Abdullah might set up a government in that part of Palestine not claimed by the Jews. Then would follow an uneasy truce, and ultimately the Arabs and Jews would get together and agree on a division of the Holy Land into two nations.

3. The invading Arabs might surround the New Israel and then settle down to long drawn-out guerrilla tactics which would be calculated to create an economic pressure to put the Jewish government out of commission. However, this scheme would seem to involve a lot of wishful thinking, since it is premised on the far-fetched idea that the Jewish people of America and other countries would get tired of maintaining the Jewish state under such adverse circumstances.

Despite the fact that the Jews are surrounded by hostile Arab nations, which theoretically could produce an overwhelming force of fighting men, the present prospects of the Jewish State are regarded by many military observers as good. The Jewish army is said to total fifty thousand or more trained men who are fairly well equipped with materiel and small arms. It will take a powerful attacking force to beat them.

The Arabs, on the other hand, are attacking under difficulties. As this column pointed out earlier in the week, their problem of supplying their armies will be great. Not only are their lines of communications long, but they run through much desert country and other difficult terrain. So taking it all in all, the Jews have much justification for the optimism they are displaying.

America's prompt recognition of their new government should strengthen the Jews' position greatly.

There remains one other grave possibility. Should the Jewish-Arab warfare be bitter and protracted, there must always exist the danger that another world war might develop from it. The great powers have vast interests in the strategic Middle East, and are bound to defend them against aggression. A clash in those interests might strike fire.


Dewitt Mackenzie, was the head of the London Bureau of the Associated Press during the 1930s. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Dewitt Mackenzie settled in New York as a Foreign News Analyst for AP.

Dewitt Talmage Mackenzie (1884-1962) - AP correspondent - is considered one of the most notable foreign-news analysts of his time.