: מִבְצָע פְּלֶשֶׁת
, Mivtza Pleshet
, lit. "Operation Philistia
"), named for the geographical region
where it took place, was an Israeli
military operation during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
. It was carried out from May 29 to June 3, 1948, in the Isdud
area of the southern front, against the Egyptian Army
. The aim of the operation was to capture Isdud and stop the Egyptian advance northwards. While only the June 2–3 engagements are officially named Operation Pleshet, the events immediately preceding are historiographically joined with it.
The preceding events consisted of an aerial bombardment, followed by small-scale Israeli harassment of the Egyptian lines, and later a ground assault (Operation Pleshet). The original plan was to attack on June 1–2, but this was canceled due to an impending ceasefire, and re-attempted on June 2–3. The Israelis, under the Givati Brigade's umbrella command, attacked in two main forces: one from the north (3 companies) and one from the south (4 reinforced companies). The Israelis had little intelligence on their enemy and were forced to retreat. They failed to capture territory, and suffered heavy casualties. However, following the operation, Egypt changed its strategy from offensive to defensive, thus halting their advance northwards.
Two unsettled historiographic debates exist revolving around the operation: whether the Egyptians were intending to advance toward Tel Aviv, which most historians agree was not the case; and whether the operation was a turning point on the Israeli southern front. Traditional Israeli historiography, supported by early Arab accounts, maintains that it was a turning point, while later Arab sources, and New Historians, dispute this.
, also known as Khaled Mashaal
, Khaled Meshaal
, and Khalid Mish'al
: خالد مشعل
, Ƈálɩd Maśoɑl/Mɩśoɑl
; born 1956) has been the main leader of Hamas
since the assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi
in 2004. In addition, Mashal heads the Syrian
branch of the political bureau of Hamas
Mashal was born in Silwad, a village north of Ramallah and moved to Jordan in 1967. While attending Kuwait University, Mashal, as an Islamic student leader, challenged the dominance of Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization, participating in the foundation of the Islamic Haqq Bloc, which competed with Fatah for leadership of the General Union of Palestinian Students in Kuwait. After the founding of Hamas in 1987, Mashal came to lead the Kuwaiti branch of the organization. Mashal moved from Kuwait to Jordan in 1991. Since the expulsion of the Hamas leadership from Jordan in August 1999, Mashal lived in Qatar before moving to the Syrian capital of Damascus in 2001. In 2010, The British Magazine New Statesman Listed Khaled Mashal at number 18th in the list of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010".