Operation ha-Har was an offensive launched by the Israeli army's Har'el and Etzioni brigades after the second truce. The objective of the operation was to widen the Israeli-held corridor to Jerusalem and link it with territory occupied in the Hebron hills. Israeli forces moved to occupy a number of villages in the southern half of the Jerusalem corridor. The operation was complementary to Operation Yoav, mounted further south and both were clearly aimed at getting rid of Palestinian civilian communities in the areas occupied.
The operation began on the night of 18–19 October with an attack on Egyptian forces just west of Dayr Aban. At this location, Israeli and Egyptian forces had been positioned just 60 m apart throughout the second truce, according to the History of the War of Independence. Most of the villages in the vicinity of Dayr Aban were defended by Egyptian units. Although the Israeli forces engaged the Egyptian troops, they took great care not to draw Transjordan's Arab Legion into the battle in this sector. During Operation ha-Har, the Egyptian army was forced to retreat to the west, and Israeli forces captured many villages southwest of Jerusalem.
While there is no documentary evidence that Yigal Allon, the commander of the operation, issued expulsion orders to the units that carried out Operation ha-Har, Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that "… it is quite possible that he indicated his wishes in prebattle têtes-à-têtes with his officers."
The New York Times. 21 October 1948.
Israeli Ministry of Defense. Toldot Milchemet ha-Qomemiyyut [The History of the War of Independence]. Tel Aviv: Marakhot, 1959, p. 311.
Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978, p. xvii, xviii, 75, 217, 219-21.