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Israel's Embarrassing History

13 August, 2007

By Arnaud De Borchgrave


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The Palestinians call Israels 1948 war of independence their nakba, or catastrophic ethnic cleansing, or forced exile. The Israelis, for their part, have steadfastly rejected any suggestion of ethnic cleansing as calumny in all its anti-Semitic horror.

Historic revisionism is now under way. Without fanfare, just below the media radar screen, the Israeli Education Ministry has approved a textbook for Arab third-graders in Israel that concedes the war that gave birth to Israel was a nakba for the Palestinians. The textbook refers to the expulsion of some of the Palestinians and the confiscation of many Arab-owned lands.

Textbooks for Jewish Israelis in the same grade make no such verbal concession. But Israels new wave historians have been combing through fresh material now available from the British mandate period and Israeli archives that document the history of Israel before and after it became a state. Long-lasting myths are being debunked.

Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian and Haifa University lecturer, whose ninth book is titled The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, documents how Israel was born with lands forcibly seized from its Palestinian inhabitants who had lived there for hundreds of years.

During the British mandate (1920-1948), Zionist leaders concluded Palestinians, who owned 90 percent of the land (with 5.8 percent owned by Jews), would have to be forcibly expelled to make a Jewish state possible. Pappe quotes David Ben-Gurion, Israels first prime minister, addressing the Jewish Agency Executive in June 1938, as saying, I am for compulsory transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it.

Pappe outlines Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), which followed earlier plans A, B and C, and included forcible expulsion of some 800,000 Palestinians from both urban and rural areas with the objective of creating by any means necessary an exclusive Jewish state without an Arab presence. The methods ranged from a campaign of disinformation -- get out immediately because the Jews are on their way to kill you -- to Jewish militia attacks to terrorize the Palestinians.

The first Jewish militia attacks, says Pappe, began before the May 1948 end of the British mandate. In December 1947 two villages in the central plain -- Deir Ayyub and Beit Affa -- were raided, and their panicked Palestinian inhabitants fled. Jewish leaders gave the order to drive out as many Palestinians as possible on March 10, 1948. The terror campaign ended six months later. Pappe writes 531 Palestinian villages were destroyed, and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities were emptied of their Palestinian inhabitants.

There is no doubt in Pappes mind that Plan D was a clear-cut case of an ethnic cleansing operation, regarded under international law today as a crime against humanity.

Plan Dalet began in the rural hills on the western slopes of the Jerusalem mountains halfway on the road to Tel Aviv, according to Pappe. It was called Operation Nachshon, and served as a model for massive expulsions using terror tactics. Pappe also details what he calls the urbicide of Palestine that included attacking and cleansing the major urban centers of Tiberias, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Safad and what he calls the Phantom City of Jerusalem once Jewish troops shelled, attacked and occupied its western Arab neighborhoods in April 1948. The British did not interfere.

Lobbied by the World Zionist Organization and its guiding spirit Chaim Weizmann, who became the first president of Israel (1949-52), the British decided in favor of a Jewish state in Palestine in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. This was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary to Lord Rothschild (Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild), the leader of the British Jewish community, for relay to the Zionist Federation. The British also pledged indigenous Arab rights would be protected as they divvied up the Ottoman Empire.

The myth was then created of a land without people for a people without a land even though the empty land had a flourishing Palestinian Arab population. The U.N. partition plan of Nov. 29, 1947, gave the Jews 56 percent of Palestine, with one-third of the population, while making Jerusalem an international city. The Jewish part included the most fertile land and almost all urban areas.

When the British handed power to the Jews on May 15, 1948, including the influx of survivors from Hitlers concentration camps, two-thirds of the population was still Palestinian.

The first Arab-Israeli war quickly followed as the armies of Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan), Syria, Lebanon and Iraq joined Palestinian and other Arab guerrillas who had been attacking Jewish forces since November 1947. The Arabs failed to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state and were defeated. The war ended with four U.N.-arranged armistice agreements between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

Commenting on Pappes historical research, Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut and editor at large of the Beirut Daily Star, writes, Many Israelis will challenge Pappes account. Such a process should ideally spark an honest, comprehensive analysis that could lead us to an accurate narrative of what happened in 1947-48 -- accurate for both sides, if it is to have meaning for either side.

An Israeli official textbook for Palestinian third-graders, says Fares, that fleetingly acknowledges the Palestinian trauma of exile and occupation in 1948 is an intriguing sign of something that remains largely unclear. The something is worth exploring and reciprocating, if it indicates a capacity to move toward the elusive shared, accurate, truthful account of Israeli and Palestinian history that must anchor any progress toward a negotiated peace.

The consensus in Israel today, says Pappe, is for a state comprising 90 percent of Palestine surrounded by electric fences and visible and invisible walls with Palestinians given only worthless cantonized scrub lands of little value to the Jewish state. In 2006, Pappe sees that 1.4 million Palestinians live in Israel on 2 percent of the land allotted to them plus another 1 percent for agricultural use with 6 million Jews on most of the rest. Another 3.9 million live concentrated in Israels unwanted portions of the West Bank and concentrated in Gaza that has three times the population density of Manhattan, notes Pappe. Back from the Middle East last week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said prospects are good for a two-state solution. A viable and contiguous Palestinian state, pledged by the Bush administration, remains a pipe dream.

 

Reader Comments:

The entire Arab World is burying its head in sand.

The Arabs never awoke from their crushing defeat by the Mongols back in the thirteenth century. The centre of gravity of Islam shifted to Ottoman Turkish Empire, where it stayed until its break-up in the twentieth century. Suffice it for the Palestinians to know that the Ottomans invited the Jews who were fleeing in panic from Ferdinand's Spain. If the Ottomans had their way in Palestine, they would still harness the genius and usefulness of Judaism to Islam's advantage. The Palestinians can go on fighting for another half century in futility. Israel is by its very nature, a premature and fragile state. It was not supposed to be created in Israelis' exile. That is saying a great deal about Israel and its dark future. An eminent Israel author summed up Israel's future thus: "Jews were rarely in control of their destinies and where they impinged on history it was because they were troublesome or in trouble." There is painful suffering waiting to hit Israel from the heavens for its illegitimate creation and when that happens a new relationship is expected to begin between the two races.

Sher Mohammad, Pakistan - 13 August, 2007

Israel's Embarassing History amid Population Growth

Trace of suicide bombers come with desire to loot banks for cash acquisition as fleeing refugees needing cash.This continued home & abroad till this day.It started inFirst world war to rob Ottoman Turkish banks and meet expenses of fleeing refugees. Desire to loot cash grew from one village from one bank leading to homes villages with fund storage centres.This created armed soldiers justifying looting scenario as war zone(meaning war between looters and resistance such as Palestinian ) They and their counterparts were just following simple Islamic rule to earn a living and raise family.Fleeing refugees grew from thousands to millions .Like in Israel 22000 Jews were scattered.As start with history of abnormal Holocaust survival growth. They came and their helper created first homes of 700- 900 K ( looted) and owners repulsed, expelled or expulsed due to expulsion.Imagine then famous Deir Yassin massacre 1948 by extremist with suicide bombers of Yehud Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir’s Lehi shedding Lahu ( blood). UN was illicitly created who illicitly allocated 56% to Jews or Bani Israel(a creation in context oil region of Quran Constitution) when UN was not established.This partition was dictated by fleeing refugees under armed Gang.Nasser formed UAR when Iraq withdrew leaving Egypt and Syria alone.But Nasser dismantled revenue from Suez canal affecting London LLOYd Insurance and finance of Pounds and their removal till this day.Begin Itzhak bengurion Dayan tried to expand to Lebanon in ’82 hoping to link to Greek tanker countries Cyprus Kurd Armenia of few Christian.Only Armenia materialized but Turkey became modern and progressive.UN always is a catalyst for those who give their wage even using oil sales.UN is catalyst with divided Haifa and Jaffa creating exile of Palestinian Refugees in swindling exile phenomenon.Currently for 7% Christian they want to give 35% Kosovo and for 3 % Hindus entire IH Kashmir like E Taimoor for 900K none Muslim in 210 million Muslim Indonesia.Suicide bombers Are gone but armed Refugees of so called Israel looted 369 Arab towns and villages creating new exile of local residents with looting further 228 localities followed. Allied troops and their fleeing refugees now call themselves Globalized with fast takeout and Muslim recruits.22000 jews have become 5 million and 5 Million Palestinian reduced into half living in 10% land or under occupation.Suicide Bombers with Jewish army is now well established who have Ventured out for globalizarion.Second coming exodus of 300-400K engulfed Lud Lydda RamAllah syndrome .Palestinian lost by orders of Ben Gurion when 400 Arab villages were wiped off the map or Judaised or 73,000 rooms acquired with houses, 7,800 shops workshops godown warehouses looted with Millions Palestinian US$ dollars with bank accounts gone alongwith 300,000 hectares of land taken . Now a days suicide Bombers die and globalization forces expand.

Z Billo, United Arab Emirates - 15 August, 2007

Palastinian Rights

I feel that Arab Palestinians under the misguidance of Hamas are helping Issrael to consolidate.They should know that Israel is a nuclear nation and jihadi attacks and suicide bombings on civilians will only get international sympathy and support to them.They should give up their armed struggle and start a peaceful agitation in the Gandhian way supported by all the Arab countries so that they can win their legitimate rights.

Mohommed Yunus, Hungary - 16 August, 2007

Palestinians Value Revenge

Mohommed Yunus it is just not within the Palestinian culture to adopt Gandhian agitation methods. They are too focused on immediate revenge against their enemies. That is just the way of their culture. They are not India.

Scott, United Kingdom - 18 August, 2007

Israel's Embarrassing History

History is always written and re-written. There is no point that Israel manufacture and buy so much military hardware from US and others when they have no gutts to use it against anyone in the Arab world. They failed badly against Hezbullah and it was a shame both for US and Israel. you A picture taken by Chinese sattelite showed a group of soldiers were sitting their heads down showing distress and fear. Military hardware and high tech equipment does not work itself. You need strong soldiers to use them not cowards. Its time that Israel start negotiations with Arab world and bring some peace in that region. Israel knows well they will remain in danger and struggling when their young men/women hate wars and seen enough of it. They do not want to join the forces.Without a brave and highly trained army no chance for Israel. Why not extend your hands of friendship and share knowledge and technologies with Arabs and others instead of living in fear of war all the time.Take a right step in right direction and make your own people happy of not others.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 19 August, 2007

Plight of Palestinians

Saudi royals are saving their kingdom, Hussani Mubarak is keeping tight control on Egypt backed by financial aid from u.s.a. Gaddafi of libya, God only knows, what is he up to!!.Without united front by arabs, rights of Palestinians will never be realized. Suicide bombing is no answer to achieving freedom.Innocent lives, Jews or palestinians must be spared.Blood shed leads to more blood shed.Intellectuals in Israel must raise their voices against injustices inflicted on Palestinians.

Gulsher K., United Kingdom - 20 August, 2007

Westernized Israel Terrorism - How it starts?

Terrorism started via Israel in 1916 attack on Turkish Empire with current Israel terrorizing within Israel and Now gone to Turkey Trabzon to Tablisi Armenia conversion to Byzantine with Islamists Headscarf coverup with advancing army towards Iran buildup.Terrorism of USA Canada EU Israel Oil Sheik Japanese leaders come to their hate of Quran Islam which acquired all the oil Gas fields in early and abandoned the rest as worthless.For owning above oil gas and following Quran The terrorists calling Umma Terrorists. This is due to the education and training of leaders (terrorists).Canada (32 m) has 8 times more oil (underground) with 96 x land size of Bangladesh (150m) with more Than ½ electricity comes from NUKE power plant yet terrorizing Iran.$9 billion /month War bill to OPEC is like 5 core brand new homes (worth Rest 1, 00, 00) free ignited. Without adequate evidence Sanjay Dot imprisoned and I myself attending 66 court hearings like f/t lawyer with expertise to produce free water cheaper than above homes with knowledge to produce electricity heat and hydro from many version. The crazy Leaders now come in shape and size in globalization free loot disbursement called Muslim Banking alternative to short term personal banking loan to buy car or jet fighters With project to fetch energy from Moon mars sun Jupitors.These fraudulent leaders and accomplice accomplish little amid day and night terrorism and extravagance look and grip in swindling terrorism business Monopoly.

ZB, Canada - 22 August, 2007

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