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Today in history: Rhodes negotiations

Today In 1949, the negotiation for the end of the Israeli war of Independence began in Rhodes.

The War of Independence, which broke out in November 1947 after the release of the UN Partition Plan, and continued with the invasion of neighboring Arab armies after Israel’s declaration of independence, reached a stalemate on the fronts towards the end of 1948. International mediation was needed to create permanent borders; in January 1949, Ralph Bunch, who replaced the late Polka Bernadotte as a mediator for the United Nations, convened a summit on the Greek island of Rhodes. Bunch, an African-American who managed to climb up the ranks of Academia and become a world-renowned Anthropologist and expert on Africa and colonialism, has at this stage proved to be much more talented and effective than Bernadotte in mediation and persuasion, and his own energy and charm contributed to pushing the sides into dialog (efforts that won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 – the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize). An Israeli delegation arrived in Rhodes, an Egyptian delegation, and later also Syrian. The main Israeli representative in the talks was Walter Eitan, the Director General of the Foreign Ministry (who remained A senior Israeli diplomat until his retirement in 1970; He died only in 2001), with the military backing of Yigal Yadin, the acting Chief of Staff, together with his assistant Yitzhak Rabin and later Moshe Dayan. At first, the Arabs refused direct contact between the delegations and Bunch was forced to make skipping talks; but soon the ice thawed (it could not help thawing in the tourist island, and in the comfortable conditions of the Greek hotel), and the delegations even formed personal ties. Finally, the borders were established with Egypt (including the creation of the Gaza Strip and the demilitarization of Nitzana), Jordan (the Green Line), Syria (including the demilitarization of Ein Gev and the Jordan Guard), and Lebanon (including Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon). Israel beame a reality on the ground.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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