Operation Dekel

Operation Dekel

Military Operation
Operation Dekel
Start Date
08 July 1948
End Date
18 July 1948
Zionist Unit(s)
Golani Brigade
Carmeli Brigade
Sheva' Brigade
Arab Unit(s)

It was during Operation Dekel that most of Lower Galilee, including Nazareth, was occupied. Operation Dekel began on the night of 8 July, immediately after the first truce of the war took effect. The first phase in this operation consisted of the capture of a string of villages along a north-south axis in the western Galilean hills, extending from al-Kabri in the north, to al-Birwa in the center, and to Shafa Amr, in the south. The attacking units were drawn from the Sheva' (Seventh) Brigade and the First Battalion of the Carmeli Brigade. This initial phase of Operation Dekel widened the strip of coastal land in Acre District held by Zionist forces.

In the second phase, launched in the Ten Days between the two truces of the war, the Zionist hold on western Galilee was consolidated and large portions of Lower Galilee were seized. Units of the Sheva' (Seventh) Brigade turned westwards to take control of a number of western Galilee villages. Al-Damun (also in Acre District) was among them, falling on 15-16 July 1948. At the same time, an armored battalion of the Sheva' Brigade and two infantry battalions of the Carmeli Brigade moved southeast from Shafa Amr to take Saffuriyya (Nazareth District). They continued to move southeast and attacked Nazareth, joining with infantrymen from the Golani Brigade. The nearby villages of Ma'lul and al-Mujaydil (both in Nazareth) were occupied by a crack unit of the Golani Brigade, according to the History of the War of Independence. That occurred on 14 or 15 July 1948, as the Israeli army closed in on Nazareth. Al-Mujaydil was one of the villages in Lower Galilee which was completely emptied of its inhabitants and then razed to the ground.

At the end of Operation Dekel, Israeli forces scrambled to capitalize on their military successes in Lower Galilee before the second truce of the war took effect. They managed to encroach on a number of villages to the north and east of the area of operations.


Selected bibliography

Israeli Ministry of Defense. Toldot Milchemet ha-Qomemiyyut [The History of the War of Independence]. Tel Aviv: Marakhot, 1959, p. 249.

Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978, p. xv, 75,199-200.