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Today in History: the Burma road

Today in 1948, the Burma Road was opened to aid the besieged city of Jerusalem.

With the outbreak of the War of Independence, local Arabs began to damage transport to isolated Jewish communities. Jerusalem, despite its size, was also relatively isolated, and the road to it (Route 1 today) was easily blocked. At first, armored convoys were launched, and in April 1948, the Haganah took the strategic initiative in the framework of Operation Nachshon, during which the controlling territories around the axis were conquered and the Arab gangs were expelled. The problem reopened after the declaration of independence in May, when the Jordanian army invaded Israel, took over Latrun and cut off the axis again. The IDF carried out two operations to capture Latrun, but these failed, with terrible losses. After the failure, the besieged state of Jerusalem was seen as bad, and the civilian governor, Dov Yosef, warned that the city was facing famine. Fortunately, a non-military solution was found: During the battles of Latrun, IDF forces failed to conquer Latrun itself and the traffic route, but they managed to conquer the Arab settlements (Beit Jizz and Beit Susin) in the mountainous region south of it. Palmach squads managed to navigate and reach the settlements surrounding Jerusalem from Kibbutz Holda – meaning, the space was open, and there is only one way to find a path. On May 30, 2 Israeli jeeps met at a spot south of Shaar Hagai, after navigating tje lands. The route was found, and was named the Burma Road (after the British supply route to Nationalist China during World War II, which passed through Burma on rough roads), and in hard but fast engineering work the IDF forces managed to make the way suitable for the passage of trucks and supplies. At the same time, a new water pipe was placed near the road (the previous one was blocked by the Jordanians in Latrun). The siege of Jerusalem was broken and ended, and the city had welfare. It should be noted that even after the war, since Latrun remained in the hands of the Jordanians, all of Jerusalem’s transportation had to pass along a route parallel to Burma Road – Route 44 today.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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