The Battle for Bethlehem, Easter 1948

Lt Gen MacMillan and
Brigadier Glubb Pasha
Suffolk Regiment troops

"Arab-Jewish clashes of battle proportions took place in Palestine during Easter. One, which lasted thirty hours, occurred five miles south-west of Bethlehem. On March 27 a large convoy of trucks, with a Haganah guard, dashed from Jerusalem to Kfar and Zion, isolated colonies in the hills near Hebron with supplies, but were ambushed on their return. Road blocks and mines had been laid by the Arabs and marksmen commanded the route. Part of the convoy attempted to break through, but heavy fire drove the Jews to shelter in a stone house near Solomon's Pools, from whence they radio-ed for help. Haganah reinforcements and British troops were called out, but at nightfall the British returned to Jerusalem and the battle continued. On Easter Sunday a force of Life Guards and The Suffolk Regiment and police moved out in armoured vehicles and after 5 o'clock that evening a truce was arranged. The British rescued 149 Jewish survivors, including 24 wounded. The Jews lost 26 dead."

Haganah unit
Arab unit

"Since the Bethlehem engagement the Army has announced that when warnings to convoys not to proceed have been ignored, protection cannot be given."

Source: Illustrated London News, 10th April 1948