Operation Dekel (palm tree) was the largest offensive in the north of Palestine during the first and second truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was carried out by the Sheva' Brigade, a battalion from the Carmeli Brigade along with some elements from the Golani Brigade between July 8-18. Its objective was to capture Nazareth and the lower Galilee.
The operation was led by Ben Dunkelman, a Canadian volunteer who was the commander of the Sheva' Brigade.
July 15, Israeli aircrafts bombed the village Saffuriya and caused panic among the population. Most of the villagers fled northwards toward Lebanon only about 100 elderly stayed put.
July 16, in the evening Nazareth surrendered to the Israelis after a light fight which only involved one Israeli casualty and one wounded. The ALA forces in the village under the command of Fawzi al-Qawuqji retreated to the mountains in the north. In sharp contrast to the surrounding towns, the inhabitants in Nazareth were never forced to evacuate.
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