During the 1948 war, Jordan captured approximately 2,000 sq. miles of Judea and Samaria west of the Jordan river, and the "Old City" of Jerusalem; 1,300 Jewish residents were expelled or taken to Jordan as prisoners. Jews living in West Bank and Gaza Strip were forced to flee the invading Arab armies. Kfar Etzion and other villages in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem corridor fell to Arab forces in May 1948 and those captured were massacred. For 19 years, Jews were denied access to the Wailing Wall.
The Israelis had been ordered to use small arms wherever possible to avoid damaging Holy places in the Old City. They were up against Jordan's Arab Legion, which had been formed and trained by the British under Glubb Pasha. The fighting was fierce, often hand-to-hand, and house to house. Jordanian mortars and shells continued to be fired into Jewish Jerusalem; snipers positioned in minarets, and behind churches rained bullets down on the Israelis as they made their way through the narrow, cobbled streets.
Slowly but surely, they pushed the Jordanians back until at last the Old City was back in Jewish hands. The destruction had been terrible; during the Jordanian occupation, the Arabs destroyed 58 Jerusalem Synagogues and systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Soon, the repairs would begin; in a few weeks, Israel would remove the barbed wire and minesfields erected by the Jordanians that had divided the city since 1948; both Arabs and Jews would finally have free access to the city. Soon enough the city would be whole again. But, for a moment, time stood still.
Listen to CBS reporter, Michael Elkins report on the battle for Jerusalem here.
Listen to Israel Defense Forces entering the Old City of Jerusalem and reclaiming the Western Wall on June 7, 1967 (in Hebrew) here.
A transcript is available here. (bottom of the page)
The historic radio broadcast of the liberation of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall
was researched, transcribed and translated by Yitschak Horneman / Quality Translations, Jerusalem