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 Last Battles and the Fall of the Gush
Attacking Arab Transportation 

 

During the period of the siege, in addition to defending the communities and as part of its defense, the defenders of Gush Etzion were involved in attacking Arab transportation on the Hebron-Jerusalem road. This road linked the enemy's concentration of forces - the Arab Legion and the gangs in Hebron and its vicinity - to the capital Jerusalem. The defenders of Gush Etzion captured outposts in the Russian monastery and in Hirbet Sawir from which they controlled part of the road. They blew up water carriers, laid mines and roadblocks, and ambushed gang vehicles and Arab Legion convoys.

The objective behind the Supreme Command’s order to attack Arab transportation was to disrupt the enemy's capability to move towards the city of Jerusalem, and to pin down enemy forces in the Gush Etzion region, in order to alleviate the pressure on the defending forces in Jerusalem.  An officer of the Arab Legion who fought in the region testified that at the beginning of May 1948, the Arab Legion command reached the conclusion that one could not move on to Jerusalem in order to conquer it, as long as Gush Etzion had control of the artery.  Gush Etzion became a front line position in the defense of Jerusalem the capital in accordance with the order of the Supreme Command.  This was seen by the fighters as the main objective and task of Gush Etzion in the battle.

Responding to this offensive action, the Arabs attacked the front outposts of Gush Etzion as well as the communities on several occasions with rifle fire, machine guns and even howitzers

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